The correct term is ‘climate change,’ not ‘global warming’

Juliana Conyer

More stories from Juliana Conyer

May 11, 2023

Jaclyn Conyer

If people change their words, then mindsets will be changed as a result.

The entire world has been affected by the disastrous impact of climate change. The glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, storms are more common and the oceans are warming with intensity according to the World Wildlife Fund. These effects are going to decimate the wildlife population and change the way individuals and communities live.

While there are many things humans can do to reverse this issue, one of the most simple steps individuals can take is banishing the term “global warming” from their vocabulary and substituting it with “climate change.”

To many people, these terms appear to be synonyms; however, they actually have different definitions. According to NASA, global warming is only one effect of climate change, and refers to the “long-term warming of the planet.” Whereas, climate change “refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet.”

By using these terms interchangeably, the issue of climate change comes across as less severe than it actually is. Climate change has been a controversial topic for many years, with a constant battle being waged between those who believe in the scientific evidence of the climate crisis, and those who don’t.

The misuse of the terms global warming and climate change has led to confusion, and ultimately to less people believing in the cause. Additionally, if people don’t know the full extent of climate change, they will be less motivated to take action against the very serious and real problem. If global warming is used as an all-encompassing term, then it is implied that as long as the temperature isn’t too hot and winter still comes, the problem isn’t real.

This is not the case.

This way of thinking excludes the other effects of climate change, such as natural disasters, food shortages and rising sea levels. Using “global warming” also downplays the impacts that once-thriving habitats and animals are experiencing, not to mention complications humans are currently facing.

People who don’t believe in climate change will stay set in their beliefs as long as they still have to put on a winter coat, thus completely ignoring the other catastrophic effects the planet is suffering from.

Just because there is snow on the horizon this year doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t real. By realizing that climate change is a broader and proper way of referring to this problem, more people will be aware of the issue before it is too late to save the planet.

If everyone begins using “climate change” instead of “global warming,” then those who oppose the idea of the climate crisis have more cause to alter their opinions once they realize that there is more of an impact to climate change than just warmer weather.

Words are powerful and meant to be used. If people simply change their words, then mindsets can be changed as a result.