Climate Scientist Asks Twitter Users to Describe the Climate Crisis in One Word

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Apr. 21 2022, Published 3:57 p.m. ET

Climate Crisis One Word
Source: Getty Images

Everyone thinks differently of the climate crisis — some tend to view it as something that won't affect them in their lifetime, while others are painfully aware of the degree that it's affecting nature and humanity alike.

That's why NASA Climate Scientist, Peter Kalmus, polled his followers about what one word they would use to describe the climate crisis. The results are pretty interesting, to say the least.

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In case you don't recall, Kalmus was one of the many scientists who famously chained themselves to Chase Bank earlier this month, in April 2022. This was in protest of big banks, such as Chase, which are guilty of financing fossil fuels.

So it comes as no surprise that he's continuing to raise awareness of global warming with his most recent tweet, which has gained quite a bit of traction since he posted it yesterday.

"Describe the climate crisis in one word. I'll start..." the tweet reads. He followed it up with the word "URGENT."

Here's the one word Twitter users would use, to describe the climate crisis:

Twitter users responded to Kalmus' tweet with their one word to describe the climate crisis. Some are totally on-point while others, well, don't seem to hit the nail on the head.

Keep reading for a few of the most notable responses to Kalmus' prompt.


One of the most common responses to Kalmus' prompt had to do with greed and narcissism, because it can be applied to most climate issues. Major corporations solely focus on financial outcome of their actions, as opposed to the well-being of communities and ecosystems. Companies, organizations, the government, and people alike also care less about the environment and other people, and more about themselves — whether that relates to wasting water, eating meat, or using single-use plastic.


Twitter user @Gallifrey001 responded with the word "unjust," which was accompanied by a graphic of a human surrounded by symbols involving nature, with the word "ego" on top. Then, next to it, was a circle of nature symbols including the human, with the word "nature" on top.

It means that humans are too focused on themselves, and their actions towards nature are injust.

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This one is interesting because it can be interpreted in many different ways. It means we could have prevented the climate crisis from ever happening — which is true, if we had known of the effects of human activity. But it also means that making it worse is preventable, but governments, companies, and people aren't doing what they can to curb it.

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Greenhouse gases largely come from manufacturing plants, which operate as they do thanks to capitalism. Large amounts of waste also come from the things we buy, whether it's plastic from packaging or textile scraps from the clothing industry.

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Between ongoing wildfires, nasty storms, and species continuously going extinct, sometimes it does feel as if the world is truly ending.

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Yes, unfortunately our planet is full of climate deniers — and even those who believe in the climate crisis are in denial of how bad it is.

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While many industries are responsible for contributing to the climate crisis, one of the leaders is undoubtedly the agricultural industry. Between land clearing and deforestation; methane from farm animals; toxic pesticides; and water waste, it's a large contributor to global warming that is often overlooked.

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Sadly, many are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. POC communities are at the frontlines of the climate crisis, as they are often ignored and given the short end of the stick by policymakers and politicians.

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As we said, there are unfortunately real-life climate deniers out there... yikes!

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There is truly nothing worse than seeing people, plants, and animals alike suffering — heartbreaking is an obvious but on-point description.

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