Minority Languages as Collateral Damage in the Climate Crisis – The incidental Result of Climate Catastrophe on Y Gymraeg/Welsh Language

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter is based on empirical qualitative data, captured through focus groups conducted in three rural towns along the Northwest Wales Coastline, all within the county of Gwynedd. Participants were between 18-30 years of age and expressed an increasing anxiety about the impact of the climate crisis on y Gymraeg or the Welsh Language. Geographically and linguistically, many areas in Northwest Wales are considered to be a part of Cadarnleoedd y Gymraeg or the Welsh speaking Heartlands and therefore have their own distinct identity and culture. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (2023) finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming, significantly impacting the probability of extreme weather events and rising sea levels globally. For many coastal areas across the world, this will have a detrimental impact on the social and cultural makeup of communities with the potential for catastrophic language and cultural loss into the next century (Jaakkola et al, 2018). This also holds true for Wales, a country already grappling with language loss according to recent UK Census data (2021). From an environmental justice perspective, this invites us to consider how minority Language Death is an incidental consequence of climate breakdown due to forced migration and how the same forces driving ecological collapse are destroying cultures and languages around the world. This is an issue of injustice for many of these communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcoviolence Studies: Human Exploitation and Environmental Crime
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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