Every year the publisher of the august Oxford English Dictionary peers into the zeitgeist and selects a “word of the year” whose sudden appearance or rising popularity tells us something about our collective mood or obsessions. The last three, for instance, have been toxic, youthquake, and post-truth. Take from those what you will.
This year’s word — in actuality a phrase — is “climate emergency.” The publisher Oxford Dictionaries said the choice was prompted by a 100-fold increase in usage over the previous year, a rise that reflected the rising heat of environmental activism and the growing guilt and angst over our role in the problem.
Along with climate emergency, Oxford selected a short list of other environment-related terms whose usage also grew noticeably. That includes some that will seem familiar to many — climate action, climate denial, climate crisis, net zero, extinction, and plant-based — and others newer to the tongue — eco-anxiety, ecocide, flight shame, and global heating, whose usage soared 18,358 percent.
Read more at Harvard Gazette