Advocating for an 18th SDG goal - Reenergising Climate Language


The language we use to describe ‘climate change’ has profound implications for how we act to arrest or mitigate that change. Rob Nixon, Professor in Humanities and Environment, Princeton Environmental Institute

Climate breakdown is changing some of the baselines of language. Words that were once deemed sufficient at defining climate-related events are fast becoming inept.


This column advocates for an 18th SDG goal for Climate Language and it is a very humble attempt to standardise a universal language for climate action.

Our objective is to create a more expansive, relevant, and dimensional climate vocabulary and we will do this by re-evaluating and re-energising the existing climate glossary.

The introduction of an 18th SDG goal would be a call for a new global language and consequentially a new climate centered global mentality.

Simply put, unless we understand and use the right words to think and talk about the climate crisis, we won’t know how to act and adapt to the climate crisis.

The few minutes it will take you to read this column is a moment for you to reflect on your climate evolution with enquiry and compassion. This is an opportunity to step back and observe beyond the latest climate clickbait news headlines, the loud but seemingly abstract corporate slogans, the tired narratives, and the virtue signaling that punctuates the moments in between.

The stories behind some of these words reflect much larger cultural notes. Others were picked because they are well placed to make climate-related risks and impacts seem more instinctive, textured, and intimate.


Curiosity pays unexpected dividends. Stay tuned for more insights, observations, and acronyms for your world within.