“That’s going to be my work for the rest of my brief future. It’s going to be about you. Because your reality is partly a result of what we imagine.”
Not all our problems in my time had to do with language, but some of them did. At first we had the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming, which didn’t sound nearly as bad as they are. Who doesn’t like a greenhouse? Isn’t happiness warm?
Then came “climate change.” Doesn’t sound bad either—a change of climate might be nice. They were all accurate, more or less, and nicely neutral.
Then we got caught in technocratic language, like “mitigation” and “adaptation.” Who could keep them straight? Either one could mean the other. Words like that are about being a member of the club that understands them.
If we as a society started talking about the CAUSES (greenhouse gases) and EFFECTS (drought, sea level rise etc. and resulting catastrophes) of the climate crisis, and how the two are related and so we have to address both, then maybe things are better for you than I imagine they might be.
But there’s something you grapple with that we’ve barely started to consider: what perspectives, what qualities of mind and heart are going to help you the most? Where in our stories do we find them? What is the soul of the future?
That’s going to be my work for the rest of my brief future. It’s going to be about you. Because your reality is partly a result of what we imagine. I hope that some of what we left you is sensible, inspiring, and otherwise useful.