‘The awful sense of loss’

The language of climate grief
by
May 2021, no. 431

‘The awful sense of loss’

The language of climate grief
by
May 2021, no. 431

A little over a year ago, I was writing about the effects of the Black Summer of bushfires on our language. When Covid-19 hit, suddenly we were collecting the words of the pandemic. Despite the overwhelming focus on the pandemic (and its language) over the past year, the language of climate change has continued to evolve. My column on the Black Summer bushfires touched on the broader vocabulary of climate change and talked about both the language of climate crisis, such as tipping point, mass extinction, and eco-anxiety, and that of climate activism, such as school strikes, climate justice, and climate protests. More recently, however, it has struck me that the language around climate change is also increasingly that of climate grief.

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Comment (1)

  • What an interesting contribution to the moment. Grief is arguably a phase rather than a permanent condition, so not only will I look for some of the terms associated with climate grief to become redundant but I will also seek the signs in language that we have moved to a new optimism - that our response to climate change will not only limit the impacts but will reinforce our belief that a positive and enduring future is possible.
    Posted by Patrick Hockey
    19 May 2021

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