Towards a safe-climate future with safe-climate lifestyles
In the fight against global warming, no matter what side of the aisle
one is coming from, leftwing or rightwing or right down the center --
or even, in some cases, outright denial that man-made global warming
exists at all -- the words and slogans used by activists and
campaigners can have a powerful impact on the debate, not only swaying
minds but also changing the ways that people live their lives, carbon
footprint at all.
Recently, there was a news item on the Internet with a headline that
went like this:
"Five keys to a safe-climate future"
When a blogger in Taiwan read that headline and saw for the first time
the phrase "safe-climate future", his eyes did not glaze over, quite
the contrary. He woke up from the normal quiet buzz in the email cafe
where he was surfing the Internet that day and realized that the using
the two words together, with a hyphen connecting them --
"safe-climate" -- had a very good ring to it, and was immediately
recognizable and understandable due to earlier coinage of "safe-sex"
practices among activists fighting other battles.
If "safe-sex", which had a particular ring to it after being
popularized in English around the world, could have an impact, then
perhaps "safe-climate" could also play a role in the debate over
climate change and global warming, the blogger in Taiwan thought to
himself as fellow denizens of the email cafe continued playing a
variety of noisy "computer games" on the Internet all over the
cavernous room. Yes, he thought, this term, whoever coined it, has
come up with a very good concept, and it could be applied to other
topics in the global warming debate -- for example, one could speak of
"safe-climate lifestyles" and "safe-climate education" and
"safe-climate ideas," in addition to talking about a "safe-climate
According to sources, Rhett Butler, of the mongabay.com website, first
coined the "safe-climate future" wording when he wrote the headline
for the article about the Code Red report linked to above. From there,
the phrase spread around the Internet, via blogs and comments and news
websites, and a new phrase was born. So whether we are talking about a
safe-climate future or practicing a safe-climate lifestyle, the new
coinage has great possibilities of rallyng people around the vital
issues of the day and inspiring them to lead more safe-climate
The phrase seems like a good wake-up call, using language as a tool.
When asked about this idea, comments on the blogosphere ranged from
"inspired" to "important". Of course, there were also some naysayers,
there are always people who don't cotton to a new word or phrase when
they first encounter it and shy way from wanting to use it when it
seems so strange to them at first. Later, they might come around. Or
later, they may still not like the new coinage. That's okay. If the
words or phrases are useful, they will be used. If they are not useful
or inspiring, they will fall by the wayside.
But talking about a safe-climate future and leading safe-climate
lifestyles seems to make sense in this day and age. Here are what some
people said in comments:
"I think it's a good PR phrase. The article says that now
'radical' responses from activists are required. I don't know what to do
'radically', but anything that helps, such as promoting a 'safe-climate'
consciousness, lifestyle, future, surely has to help. It's a good phrase."
"Go, go, go! ''Safe-climate future or safe-climate lifestyles'' sounds
like a great idea. Good framing."
"I Like the term a lot! -- Catchy."
"It's simple, succinct and catchy. It's an idea that most people can
easily grasp. So it seems good."
"Tha is an awesome term, safe-climate, and yes, we should get it used!
In the media and in the blogosphere. Who coined it?" [Ed note: Rhett
"I too have been looking for a phrase to embody this idea. I've seen a
couple -- such as "climate preservation" -- but nothing that sounds as
good to me as "safe-climate lifestyle"
"That sounds good. We need catchy phrases like that to get people
thinking. And it doesn't sound ego-threatening or scare-mongering."
"The ways of language are mysterious, and impossible to predict. But
there's no doubt that the new reality of the 21st century calls for
such a phrase as "safe-climate lifestyle or safe-climate future, and
that phrase is definitely a good contender -- perhaps in time it will
come to be known as the phrase that saved the climate!"
So a new phrase has been born, thanks to Rhett Butler's creativity and
inspiration. If the word term catches on with media people at
newspapers and on TV and radio, in addition to people blogging day and
night about climate issues, it might have a long shelf life and be an
important addition not only to our vocabulary, which is always
evolving, but also the fight against global warming itself, as a means
to help raise public awareness and concious.
Here a list Margeurite Rao compiled of the top 100 green-related keywords in online searches, using Wordtracker:
tankless water heater
tankless water heaters
effects of global warming
cause of global warming
mother earth news
what is global warming
endangered species list
price of oil
causes of global warming
solar powered cars
an inconvenient truth
department of energy
solar water heater
global warming facts
consequences of global warming
genetically modified food
earth science dictionary
national wildlife federation