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Mind your language—communicating the climate problem

Language isn't everything but finding the right vocabulary is important

By Alice Bell   July 2019

IlLUSTRATION BY CLAY DISARRAY

Why are we so inarticulate when it comes to climate change? Why do campaigners like me garble our words, hesitate, stumble, sound crass, confusing or boring, or avoid the topic entirely?

It’s not just our language that feels clunky—our visual vocabulary can seem weirdly limited too: a polar bear holding onto a vanishing bit of ice or that graphic of a burning earth in a pair of hands. If we do get to see some people’s faces, we might get a shot of some protestors,…

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