Language matters when it comes to climate change.
In December 2018, The Guardian changed its wording – using “global heating” instead of “global warming” – after scientists found that Earth’s temperature is set to rise from between 2.5C and 4.5C. There had been a goal to keep the rise within 2C. And on May 1, the UK parliament declared a “climate emergency”, becoming the first parliament to do so.
2018年12月，《卫报》将“全球变暖”改为“全球变热”，在此之前，科学家们发现，地球的温度将上升2.5 – 4.5摄氏度。而先前的目标是将气温上升幅度控制在2摄氏度之内。5月1日，英国议会率先宣布进入“气候紧急状态”。
It’s true that “global heating” and “climate emergency” are – in terms of language – two simple phrases. But they send out plenty of messages.
If with “global warming” we’re still inside our comfort zone of handling the situation, entering the state of “global heating” is like heading to a point where the delicate balance of nature is disturbed so much that there is no turning back. Everything will be changing: Coral will die, polar bears will lose their habitats completely, and extreme weathers like droughts and heavy storms will happen at a higher frequency. There is no denying that we’re entering a “climate emergency”.
“Decades ago when the science on the climate issue was first increasing, the impacts could be seen as an issue for future generations,” but, as Katharine Mach, a Stanford University climate scientist, told The New York Times, now it’s definitely our issue, “a shift we all are living together”.
However, getting these messages through is far from enough. It depends on each and every one of us to find a solution – if there are any solutions left to find.
但理解这些信息是远远不够的。我们每个人都要去寻找应对之道 —— 如果还有办法可寻的话。
“We have no time to waste,” said the UK’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to the BBC. Corbyn urged that “we take rapid and dramatic action now”.
Indeed, language matters. But action matters even more.