In early January, the editors of NPR published a list of global buzzwords that will likely dominate the headlines in 2023. Some of the words are neologisms, while others are old, well-known terms. Here are their selections:
polycrisis: a series of old problems (famines, wars, pestilence, etc.) occurring at a faster rate and with compounding effects.
poverty: the state of being extremely poor (from the Latin paupertas from pauper meaning “poor.”
traveler surveillance: testing and gathering date on people who travel.
child wasting: a life-threatening form of malnutrition in which a child has very low weight for their height.
zero-dose children: children who never receive any of the most essential vaccinations (eg, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus).
tarmac to arm: the delivery of urgent supplies (eg, medical supplies, PPE, and food) flown into crisis-hit areas and offloaded onto airport tarmacs.
gender food gap: women who are underpaid or unemployed and live in poverty, unable to feed themselves.
aridification: the increasing mismatch between supply and demand of available water.
climate impact resilience: adopting strategies to prepare for and help blunt the impact of climate change.
The editors reached out to its readers and asked them to submit additional buzzwords for 2023. Here are some additional new words for 2023:
elite-directed growth: “Global problems (poverty, climate change, child wasting) stem from the same cultural cause. Power has become concentrated among elites — decision makers who make decisions that benefit themselves but are maladaptive for the population and environmentbecause these decision makers are insulated from the impacts of their policies. So they are either unaware of the adverse human consequences their policies have or they don’t care.”
microplastics: Microscopic bits of plastic that find their way into land, ocean, and humans (eg, the lungs) that can cause great harm.
precariat: a person who does not live in security. A portmanteau combing the words precarious and proletariat.
solastalgia: a form or emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change. Formed by the Latin word solacium (meaning “comfort”) and the Greek word forming element -algia (meaning “pain, suffering, grief”
superabundance: an amount or supply more sufficient to meet a person’s needs.
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For further reading: .npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/01/17/1148994513/a-guide-to-9-global-buzzwords-for-2023-from-polycrisis-to-zero-dose-children
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