The Guardian made headlines worldwide for making afew simple changes to its style guide.
The British daily newspaper announced that its staff would no longer be using the term “climate change” to describe the global rise of temperatures and disruption to standard weather patterns due to human causes. Instead, they’ve begun describing this process as a “climate emergency, crisis, or breakdown.”
And lessons on the use of these terms will soon be reaching Canadian post-secondary institutions as well. Dr. Diane Dechief, faculty lecturer on scientific and technical writing at McGill University, says she plans to incorporate a lesson on The Guardian’s style updates into her undergraduate and graduate-level courses on communicating science (which touch both on science journalism and academic science writing).
“It’s super important for us to harness the words or get power out of our language to make the kinds of social change that we need to be seeing,” Dechief says.