Learning the Language: Eco-lingo Goes Mainstream

Environmental buzz words are everywhere – from ‘carbon neutral’, to ‘gas guzzler’, to ‘peak oil’, a number of terms that were the preserve of us tofu eating classes for many years are now heading firmly into the mainstream. We’ve written about biodiesel’s entry into the dictionary here, and we’ve celebrated carbon neutral’s status as word of the year here. Now Alison Benjamin, over at the Guardian, has an interesting blog entry on how the rise in environmental concern is changing our language, and our dictionaries:

With the plethora of newsprint and commentary about climate change in the last couple of years, reflecting its meteoric rise up the political and media agenda, it is perhaps little surprise that these green buzzwords have entered the lexicon. So next time someone looks at me blankly when I tell them their Chelsea tractor is increasing their carbon footprint, I can add "A large, four-wheel-drive vehicle used in urban areas" is causing a rise in "the amount of carbon dioxide emitted due to the activities, especially the consumption of fossil fuels, of a particular person"(i.e.you).

We just hope that this change goes beyond mere semantics and lexicography. It’s not enough to know what a carbon footprint is – we need to know how big it is, and more importantly, we need to know how we can make it smaller. ::The Guardian::via site visit::

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