Global Language Monitor’s Earth Day Words that Changed the World analysis
Since 1970 a whole new vocabulary has entered the English Language.
New Words and New ‘Senses’ of Old Words
Austin, Texas,Earth Week April 2015. For the first time since its annual survey began, ‘Climate Change’ has been dethroned in the Global Language Monitor’s Earth Day Words that Changed the World analysis. ‘Climate change’ fell to No. 7 while its close companion, ”global warming fell to No. 12. in the fourth annual analysis of Global English.
Since the first Earth Day was celebrated as an ‘environmental teach-in’ on April 22, 1970 a whole new vocabulary has entered the English Language. The Global Language Monitor has determined the top new words and new ‘senses’ of old words that have been engendered since that first Earth Day. The words are ranked by order of present-day usage in the English-speaking world. The study was updated the second week of April 2015
“The fact that neither ‘climate change’ nor ‘global warming’ tops this years list is interesting, indeed,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. “In fact,there appears to be a profound shift in the awareness of environmental change on everyday living-level. This is certainly suggested by words like ‘eco-‘, free-range, and vegan moving toward the top of this year’s list.”
The words analyzed are but the most profound examples of a movement that has been gaining momentum at least since the 1960s, especially since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
GLM used its Narrative Tracker methodologies to determine and rank the Earth Day words. The criteria included determining which words have had an impact on the environmental movement and/or were influential in its growth.
The Top Words Engendered by Earth Day and the Environmental Movement since 1970 are listed below.
Rank/Word/Last Year’s Rank/Definition
|1||Green||3||2||Practices that are in harmony with nature.|
|2||Eco- (as a prefix)||5||3||Shorthand for ‘ecological’; from the Greek ‘oikos’ for house (or table).|
|3||Free-range||26||23||The animal has been raised with access to the outside; not the same as ‘free roaming’.|
|4||Sustainable||2||-2||The ability to create self-replicating systems that can persist over time. Sustainable was GLM’s word of the year in 2006.the environment.|
|5||Vegan||6||1||Those who abstain from eating animal or dairy products, often avoiding any products made from animals (such as leather or gelatin); coined in 1944 in the UK by Donald Watson.|
|6||Emissions||12||6||In this sense, gases and particles sent out into the atmosphere through industrial production, automobiles, etc.; from the Late Latin emittere, to send out of.|
|7||Climate Change||1||-6||Now used twice as much as the term ‘global warming’. Originally favored by those who think the warming of the planet is primarily dues to long-term atmospheric cycles.|
|8||Ecology||7||-1||The relations of beings to each other and their environment; from the Greek ‘oikos’ for house (or table).|
|9||Recycle||8||-1||The re-using of materials once viewed as waste.|
|10||Renewable energy||15||5||Energy derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and similar ‘sustainable’ sources.|
|12||Global warming||4||-8||Favored by those who think the warming of the planet is primarily due to human influence. (Compare Climate Change, above.)|
|13||Solar Power||28||15||China adds Solar the Size of France’s total capacity in First Quarter of 2015|
|14||Biomass||22||8||Material derived from plants that can be used as a renewable energy source.|
|15||Hybrid (car)||9||-6||Cars that use a mixture of technologies to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.|
|16||Biodegradable||18||2||Organic material that decays naturally in a relatively short time.|
|17||Organic food||16||-1||Food grown or produced without synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, hormones, irradiation and genetic modification.|
|18||Greenhouse gas (GHG)||19||1||Any gas emitted into the atmosphere that trap heat (e.g., CO2); without them the Earth would be uninhabitable for humans; with an excess the Earth would be uninhabitable for humans.18. Solar power (12) — Energy derived by harnessing the sun’s electromagnetic radiation.|
|19||Carbon footprint||17||-2||The total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generate by a human activity. Driving a late-model, fuel-efficient car emits about 6 pounds of CO2 every ten miles. Term first used in 1980. Alternative definition — Your life reduced to the a series of equations on energy (carbon) consumption.|
|20||Biofuels||23||3||Finally, we are reaching a break-even point with sugar based biofuels in Brazil.|
|21||Natural (food)||14||-7||Food grown with without artificial ingredients (such as color) and produced in a manner similar to that used in a well-stocked home kitchen.|
|22||Post-consumer (waste)||20||-2||Material that can be used as a resource to build new products.|
|23||Greenhouse Effect||24||1||The heating of the Earth’s surface in a fashion similar to a greenhouse, with GHG acting as glass windows that trap heat. The result of the increased emission of CO2 and other GHGs.|
|24||Greenwash||21||-3||Highlighting aspects of a product that may or appear to be favorable to the environment in order to re-shape its brand image.|
|25||Locavore||10||-15||Thinking globally while eating locally.|
|26||Carbon trading||25||-1||Trading, in effect, the rights to pollute between different manufacturers in the global marketplace.|
|27||Xeriscape||13||-14||Literally ‘dry landscaping’; using natural elements in a desert landscape for yard enhancement. Begging the question: must every yard resemble an English Manor?|
|28||Save a Tree!||27||-1||One of the first rallying cries of the Environmental Movement. Unfortunately, replacing a renewable resource with one made of petroleum created ecological problems of its own.|
For this analysis, the Global Language Monitor collected data from the Internet, blogosphere, the top 300,000 print and electronic media, as well as new social media as they emerge.
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