Climate breakdown, not climate change. The words we use to discuss an issue like the impact of climate on the world have an important effect on the way we communicate and the way we understand what is happening. George Monbiot underlines this fact in an article entitled Natural Language saying: If we want people to engage with the living world, we should stop using such constipated terms to describe our relationship to it.
According to George Monbiot, using the expression ‘climate change‘ puts a soft, ambiguous edge on a phenomenon that requires a cold, hard look. He suggests talking about climate breakdown. Using the expression ‘climate change’ goes hand in hand with the tacit agreement in mainstream media to avoid imputing climate-driven disasters like the Huston flooding to man-made causes. Media justify this ostensive modesty by a refusal to talk about politics when there is so much death and distress.
And why aren’t the media willing to confront the reality of climate breakdown? George Monbiot, in a broadcast on Democracy Now, pointed out that doing so would require questioning the social and economic model our societies are built on. Most media are not prepared to take that step. The current model inevitably leads to the catastrophes that are playing out around the world. See Monbiot’s new book, Out of the Wreckage for a sketch of a more suitable social order.
George Monbiot, The Guardian | Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked?
George Monbiot | Natural Language
A toxic ideology rules the world – of extreme competition and individualism. It misrepresents human nature, destroying hope and common purpose. Only a positive vision can replace it, a new story that re-engages people in politics and lights a path to a better world…
Out of the Wreckage – A new politics for an age of crisis, George Monbiot, Verso Books. To be published on 5 Sept. 2017.