2nd Edition just released in 2023!
A Climate Vocabulary of the Future is the first book to focus on creating a new vocabulary encompassing all aspects of climate change – political, economic, moral, behavioral as well as technological and scientific. The vocabulary presented is broad based and far reaching because climate change is and will affect every aspect of life for most everyone on the planet.
With some 265 new words and terms, and over 165 currently used terms this book explains many of key concepts in climate change with a combination of wit, simplicity, brevity and clarity.
Some entries are straightforward words or phrase like dark snow or negative emissions, others are playful terms like frozen chicken syndrome or robin carbon hood tax or sharply drawn phrases like carbon war criminal or the no solutions coalition.
The need for urgent action is reflected in the descriptions of many of these terms. Some 75 new words and terms present ideas for action – most eminently practical, others aspirational or inspirational.
This second edition of A Climate Vocabulary of the Future offers a unique and compelling perspective on the climate crisis by providing the words to understand the emerging impacts and forces—psychological, economic, political, scientific, and technical—that will dominate our lives.
It skillfully explains with “a great combination of advocacy, wit, science, and policy” more than one thousand terms, almost half newly created by Herb Simmens, and twice the number of terms in the original edition.
Readers will learn the importance of guilt per gallon, comfort rationing, heat hate, biotic genocide, transplant nations, carbonoscopy, and climatrarian, as well as the robin carbon hood tax, media omerta, climautocracy, intentional grounding, Friends of the Enemies of the Earth, and the Kardashian Climate Index. Simmens also offers dozens of new ideas to inspire action before it is too late to save ourselves from … ourselves.
A Climate Vocabulary of the Future 2nd Edition includes a 2035 vision that cleverly weaves many of the entries into an exciting and hopeful narrative for how the world can truly restore a safe climate.
Use A Climate Vocabulary of the Future as a reference or as a creative way to learn the many dimensions of the climate crisis. Above all, use it to acquire the words, images, ideas, and actions necessary to thrive in a world increasingly dominated by climate concerns.
Praise for the Book
“This book is a Sciencepoem. It is An Act of Cognitive Mapping, a Great Clarification, an Inspiration, a Prophecy, a Utopian Science Fiction Novel, and a Spur in the Butt. We can create a Good Anthropocene, and this book helps us to understand how. Also: hilarious. Dive in and see.”
— Kim Stanley Robinson, Author of The Ministry for the Future
“Words matter, climate words, especially. This book raises the bar to a new level.”
— Dan Bloom, Editor, The Cli-fi Report
“This compendium gives any reader some sense of just how enormous the climate fight has become, and how many ideas and organizations and initiatives are underway. May it all amount to enough!”
— Bill Mckibben, Author of The End of Nature
“Herb’s second edition is a masterpiece of climate education through definitions. He goes beyond what the words mean to the concepts behind them, which make the work an extraordinary learning experience. He defines, for the first time in one reference, a plethora of new climate concepts. I will be slipping it into my back pocket for a handy reference.”
— Edward Saltzberg, Executive Director, Security and Sustainability Forum
“If Banksy were a guerrilla writer instead of a guerrilla graffiti artist, Climate Vocabulary might be spray painted through stencils on the walls of UN conferences and capitol rotundas, provoking passersby to personal epiphanies and Apollo-13 moments.”
— Albert Bates, Author of more than twenty books on history, ecology, and the climate emergency
“A Climate Vocabulary of the Future might seem a bit optimistic, given the way we are heading. A radioactive and toxic sedimentary layer will be the only way we speak to the future unless we change our ways and overthrow destructive systems. But whatever our fate, it’s good to talk about the current madness to find ways back to sanity and love. This book is a useful guide along that path, whatever the future turns out to be.”
— Professor Jem Bendell, University of Cumbria, and author of Breaking Together
“Language matters, and Herb Simmens challenges the reader to think anew about climate in this engaging, quirky, and innovative book.”
— David Spratt, Author of Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action
“This second edition provides over one thousand entries and is much more than a dictionary or textbook — opinionated while accurate, humorous while serious, in its commitment to climate education and action. Herb Simmens has written an impressive book, explaining many terms that might become familiar to us quite soon, like speedscalescope, the great climate game, triad based climate restoration plan, and climataceuticals. If he talks about insecure infrastructure of all types: “buckled, barked, bellowed, bent, ballooned, belched and blew-away,” this almost sounds poetic. He sketched a dystopian future, though combined with the hope that social tipping points will occur. The book not just creates awareness, it also provides inspiration and encourages students, professionals, scientists, politicians, and citizens to think creatively out of the box and take action. This educational book can help us to imagine the unimaginable, which is precisely what we need at this moment in time.”
— Prof. dr. Lummina G. Horlings, Professor in Socio-Spatial Planning, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
“This conversation of Climate Change, Predicament, and Collapse is very familiar territory that has called out for new thinking and new language for decades. Herb is one of the few who has stepped up to that call. CVF is chock full of Herb’s many clever new terms and those of many others curated and defined with consistent clarity and nuance. The real inspiration, context, and disturbing learning came from Herb’s weaving many of these new terms into projected future scenarios (2035 and 2025). There’s not much more I could ask for from a language curator and innovator. We need each of these bases covered in this, the most challenging conversation in human history.”
— Dean Spillane-Walker, Author of The Impossible Conversation: Choosing Reconnection and Resilience at the End of Business as Usual
“I have been constantly impressed by his deep, long, and broad, dedication, knowledge, and insight into our dual climate and ecological crises. This book is an invaluable resource for all who wish to understand the language of climate change in all of its scope and complexity. I highly recommend.”
— Ron Baiman, Associate Professor of Economics at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, Author of Our Two Climate Crises Challenge (2022), and In Support of 16 a Renewable Energy and Materials Economy (2021)
“With the second edition of A Climate Vocabulary for the Future, Herb Simmens extends and enriches his unique perspective on the perils of climate change—what he prefers to call “climate chaos”—and how our current ways of describing potential solutions may actually be obscuring the true scope of the problem and, in the process, inhibiting our ability to conceptualize the solutions we actually need. Essentially, he is saying that we must radically rethink how we talk about climate in order to radically reimagine the innovations needed to actually address and reverse climate chaos.
“He makes a compelling case, especially in his “It’s 2035” rumination on what our planet might look like as it begins to turn the climate chaos corner. Getting there won’t be pretty and will generate a range 30 of new challenges that we will need to face—from “heaticanes” to “dust debacles“ to “pollen precarity” and “plant purgatory”—all of which are defined and explained by Simmens. That’s the bad news. The better news is that by 2035, albeit after horrific climate chaos has impacted the world, these challenges will actually have galvanized sufficient social and technological innovation—also described in the CVF — that climate chaos is beginning to slow and even reverse itself. But, why go through so much hardship to get to the solutions? Why not start now? A good question and one that, Simmens suggests, must begin with a whole new language for discussing climate. A Climate Vocabulary for the Future provides this new language. It is a witty, well-researched, and comprehensive resource for anyone concerned about our climate and its future … and that should include just about everybody on the planet.”
— Deane Evans, Executive Director, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Center for Building Knowledge
“The Climate Vocabulary of the Future presents a novel window into the world we’re all going to be facing. Hundreds of original words and terms, many of which are striking in their perceptiveness, cleverness, and even humor are described with verve and imagination.
“This ensemble of fresh ideas and images touches our minds and our hearts as it gently leads us to grapple with the possibilities of a future so radically different than the world we have experienced in the past decades.”
— Sybilla, President, Fashions for Freedom, Founder, Son Rullan Agricultural and Ecological Center, Mallorca, Spain, Founder, Sustainable Designs, Madrid, Spain
“Powerfully effective. Simmens’ Climate Vocabulary of the Future provides us with a map of sorts — grounding us in a temporal present, from where he guides our gaze further — making the abstract real, and the existential decisions before us non-elusive.
— Russell Greene, Climate Emergency Artist, Activist, and Strategist
“A Climate Vocabulary of the Future is a terrific starting point for understanding and addressing climate change and its associated risks to our society and planet.”
— Rafe Pomerance, Senior Fellow, Woodwell Climate Research Center
“This second, greatly expanded and updated, edition is an even more brilliant, passionate combination of advocacy, wit, science, and policy.”
— David N. Kinsey, Princeton University
“This book is a terrific introduction to readers who wish to learn about any and every facet of climate change, its consequences, and its prevention. The many entries that focus on the psychological dimensions and consequences of the climate crisis make the book uniquely valuable to students and practitioners of psychology. Readers can look up a word, read a section, or study the entire book to become conversant and up-to-date about the most important topic facing our generation. I recommend it to everyone.”
— Danielle Knafo, Ph.D., Psychology Professor, and Author
“Herb writes with a broad awareness of the climate situation, and yet also makes what could be a very heavy topic, light enough to read, by adding considerable wittiness to this well-informed compendium.”
— Leslie Field, PhD Founder and CEO of nonprofit Bright Ice Initiative, and Adjunct Lecturer teaching on Engineering and Climate Change at Stanford
A Climate Vocabulary of the Future (2nd edition), is hard science, sociology, research, and also poetry. It makes you think of climate in a new way. The book inspires imagination, vision, and courage to think about, ponder, and act. Herb is a wordsmith, serious and playful.”
— Fulya Sari, Information Architect, Citizen Science Consultant, Education Policy & Teacher Voice Researcher at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
“Herb is a wordsmith with a vast climatological, environmental, technical, and political understanding to help educate and entertain the reader … must-read for anyone who truly wants an in-depth understanding of the complex and interconnected environmental crises we are currently facing—and what it could take to turn things around.”
— Aria McKenna, Creative Producer/Host Global Cooling Productions, Becoming the Change
“We think in words, and where words fail, we get to work to add one. In these words, you can see decades of invention and feedback as we have collectively tried to grasp the size and shape of our social and ecological crises. If you need to convince someone of how urgent things have become, just browsing this collection might do the trick.”
— Richard Reiss, Editor, City Atlas
“Our consciousness, ethics, and politics are made of words. New names and phrases sharpen our ability to understand phenomena we were already experiencing: this is science. New words also help to focus our new feelings of danger and beauty: this is poetry. This book is a Sciencepoem. It is An Act of Cognitive Mapping, a Great Clarification, an Inspiration, a Prophecy, a Utopian Science Fiction Novel, and a Spur In the Butt. We can create a Good Anthropocene, and this book helps us to understand how. Also: hilarious. Dive in and see.”
— Kim Stanley Robinson, Author of The Ministry for the Future