1st Station – Exploring Language


Find yourself a quiet space to work. You will need a dictionary, other reference sources such as a thesaurus and/ or encyclopedia (hard copy or online) a pen and paper and access to the Discovering a Spirit of Environmentalism resource sheet either in hard copy or online.

Download resource sheet here>


When we talk about the Environment our choice of words depends on how we see the world and, in turn, has the power to influence how others see it too. When we use words like “sustainability” and “interdependence” and “stewardship” to define our relationship with all living things and the world around us, it promotes a sense of stability and permanence. When we talk about “climate crisis”, it is a call to action that conveys a greater sense of urgency than “climate change”. A “natural disaster” demands attention more readily than a “natural event”.

Words can be powerful. They can influence how we feel, how we make others feel, and the actions that both we and they take as a result. But with that power comes a responsibility to choose and use our words in ways that promote positive change and affirmative action, backed up by a well-informed and well-balanced understanding of the issues and concepts behind those words.


Take a look at the list of words below and give each a short definition or create a word cloud around it to capture what you understand it to mean.

Now look up a formal definition for each, using printed and online sources. If you have internet access, try searching them in the context of environmental issues and consider how they are used in that context as opposed to their more general use. Specifically:

Look up a formal definition of the word “development” and then look up “sustainable development”? Does the meaning of “development” change when you connect it with the world “sustainable”? In what way? What contradictions or tensions does this point to?

Now look up the word “climate” and then “climate change”, “climate emergency”, “climate crisis” and “climate resilience”. Do these terms have different meanings, or do they refer to different perspectives on the same thing? How does this change with each swap of words? Does it change how you feel?

If you are working in an on-line group discuss your findings with your classmates.

Now refer-back to your definitions or word clouds and add to, or amend, them based on your findings.

When we develop an understanding of environmental issues and a capacity and desire to involve ourselves in tackling some of those issues, Round Square describes this as having a Spirit of Environmentalism. We also consider that along the way to developing a Spirit of Environmentalism we make 12 Discoveries about our capabilities and virtues, and learn to apply these to the challenges ahead.

Locate your Discovering a Spirit of Environmentalism resource sheet, place yourself in the role of a Round Square Explorer and read through the definitions of the 12 RS Discoveries in the context of Environmentalism.

Circle any words or terms that you want to look up and use your dictionary or online sources to do this.

Now ask yourself these questions:

Write your own Discovery along with a definition and give it an icon.

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