In an email today, the folks at Universe Spirit suggested that those of us concerned about the climate on Planet Earth stop using the phrase “climate change” to describe the group of problems that have brought the globe to the brink of humanity’s extinction. They argue that the term “climate change” was injected into the debate by organizations, companies, and individuals who oppose the idea that climate change is real or that humanity is causing or exacerbating the problem. I don’t know the history, so they may well be right. Either way, there call for a change in language seems like it probably has merit.
On the other hand, they suggested changing the phrase to “escalating global warming” or “climate destabilization”. They contended that either or both of those phrases lends a greater sense of urgency and removes the problem from the realm of recurring, naturally caused issues. While I agree that they have come up with two phrases that do sound more critical and urgent than “global warming” or “global climate change”, I don’t think they’ve gone far enough in suggesting that we re-label the debate.
To me, we are experiencing “climate catastrophe” or perhaps, “climate disaster.” Those both to a better job, in my opinion, of addressing the urgency and the unnatural character of the crisis.
So, in response to their request that I take a pledge to stop saying “climate change,” I agreed to do so. I will henceforth refer to it as either “climate catastrophe” or “climate disaster”.