Language Translation Can Bridge the Climate Gap

The climate crisis continues to plague our world. As carbon emissions continue to rise and abnormal weather events begin to frequent communities across the globe, first-world countries have started to take action, their first goal being to educate the public. The crisis requires a massive shift in our approach to energy, which can only be enacted with the support of the people.

First-world countries continue cultivating the conversation around climate change, writing, speaking, and striking for the cause. However, the issue continues to worsen, and the majority of the world continues to act as they have in decades past. Countries, particularly third-world countries, are left behind, unaware of the crisis, and uneducated on how to help. First-world countries alone cannot keep the Earth below 1.5 degrees of warming -- a statistic climate scientists have claimed we cannot surpass without lethal repercussions.

In a 2012 study conducted on Scopus, one of the world’s largest scientific databases, 80% of articles were written entirely in English. Developing countries are being forgotten in our efforts to correct climate change. Developing countries possess many solutions our technologically-based world needs to correct our energy consumption habits. From intensive knowledge of small-scale agriculture to day-to-day life without consequential technologies, we have much to learn from these communities. There needs to be more scientific literature in the native languages of these regions and more translations of our English academic sources.

Many assume developing regions in Africa and South America are to blame for rapid emissions. However, this is not the case. In truth, the highest yearly emissions come from China and the US, with Russia and Japan not far behind, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It is important to remember the detrimental impact of first-world countries, despite their constant discussion of the climate crisis.

Language translation not only would further the education of many countries about the causes and effects of the climate crisis but would also allow more countries to have a voice in the laws and restrictions put into place on a global scale. Doing so would eliminate biases and ignorance in America and other first-world countries and hold all of the world accountable.

Education is the first step, a step all activists agree upon. We must bridge the gap and educate our world, not our bubble.