Multilingual Lexicon

One of the aims of this project is to build a multilingual lexicon of environmental terms. We have been gathering words and phrases that are key to different nature-cultures in order to learn about

  • how different languages think and talk about the environment
  • what other connotations a word such as ‘land’ might have in translation
  • what vocabulary of environmental violence, resistance and (in)justice have developed across different histories and geopolitical contexts
  • what resonances, convergences and divergences emerge across different languages of the environment
  • and how a multilingual and multicultural lexicon of environmental terms can help us in our efforts to rethink our relationship to the more-than-human

The entries below can be filtered by language. Each entry includes the word or phrase, the language it’s in, an English translation, the definition, and details about the author.

We want to keep developing this multilingual lexicon and are interested in submissions of words of phrases from any language field(s), geographical and historical context(s). If you would like to contribute, we’d be delighted to hear from you – please contact us with any ideas or questions at Entries should be approximately 500-1,000 words in length, and can of course include images, hyperlinks, or anything else that you’d like to share.

Umweltschutz / Naturschutz / Klimaschutz environmental protection / nature protection / climate protection


Nachhaltigkeit (sustainability) itself is not the same as Umweltschutz (environmental protection), as Umweltschutz is a vital aspect of sustainability but more diverse. Sustainable development is a development that meets today’s generations needs without endangering the potential of future generations (UN World Commission for Environment and Development, 1987). It often comes down to a compromise between […]

Zone à défendre / zad zone to defend


‘We are not defending nature, we are nature defending itself’: from Indigenous-led environmental justice action to Extinction Rebellion, this sentence resonates as a mission statement for activists for whom human beings are not at the centre of, not apart from, but a part of the environment, and who rise and fight against the ecocidal colonial-capitalist […]

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