How Language and Climate Connect

Image via Open University, Creative Commons

While we’re losing biological diversity, we’re also losing linguistic and cultural diversity at the same time. This is no coincidence.

By Chi Luu
Computational Linguist

The world is getting uncomfortably warm. At present, much of Europe is suffering under a heat wave of record-breaking temperatures. It’s so hot that piles of manure are spontaneously combusting and setting off wildfires in Spain. Across the pond, mussels looking to cool off on Californian beaches are actually cooking in their shells and starfish are melting. This is not good, to put it mildly.

Meanwhile, in many parts of the United States, you just might not know it. Around 90% of US homes are air-conditioned, compared to a paltry 5% of European homes. In modern buildings, climate is controlled through mechanical means. A heck of a lot of energy is needed to avoid climate realities. Builders in the U.S., especially in more hot and humid climes in the south, are wont to warn homeowners not to even open their windows, lest nature seep in, and mold eat away at the very walls. This is the way many of us live now, isolated from the outdoors.




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