The Swiftness of Glaciers: Language in a Time of Climate Change

Language bends and buckles under pressure of climate change. Take the adjective ‘glacial’. I recently came across an old draft of my Ph.D. dissertation on which my advisor had scrawled the rebuke: ‘You’re proceeding at a glacial pace. You’re skating on thin ice.’ That was in 1988, the year that the climatologist James Hansen testified