Any ideas on how the English language can help nurture our environment would be greatly appreciated.
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I think that the construction of language can reflect different sensitivities cultivated amongst human beings. One such development has been how the natural setting has been described through language. There is/ was an advertisement that used the tagline, "Green used to be a word/ Now it means much more." The construction of the term "Green" can be used as both a noun and verb that relates to environmental awareness. "Going green" or "Greening the organization" are terms employed to describe a greater sense of environmental awareness. "Warming" is a term that can be typed into any search engine to generate a listing of websites centered on the increase or change of the Earth's temperature. The language has evolved to involve more of the scenario around the concept of environmental understanding. This process might have gone back almost as far as Rachel Carlson's work, "Silent Spring." Her inclusion of words such as "ecosystem," "awareness," and "human interaction" helped to define the language around the environmental movement. If we operate under the umbrella that argues language as being reflective of ever changing social condition and circumstances, then it would make sense that as there is a greater understanding and empathetic response to the condition to environmental awareness would be reflected in the language employed used to describe and articulate it.
How about something very literal--using language to encourage respect for our natural resources. It's true that pictures, something visual, have significant impact on people. Recently we've seen the images of oil-covered water birds on the Gulf. Those images have power. However, the words from the oil spill incident were powerful, as well. Numbers and descriptions also drew a picture of the tragedy. Even better, it's language which can eventually make things better--through laws and public awareness campaigns and emotional appeals.
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