Words are important and how we use them has an influence on what matters to us and how we perceive the world.

Questioning the way we think about our environment is central to the exhibition Dear2050: Entangled Forests. This also means that we must reflect on language and embrace its potential for bringing about new perspectives and ideas. The glossary explains how we understand different terms that you will come across in the exhibition and the catalogue.

Climate, climate change, global warming, climate crisis

Climate is the average conditions of the earth’s atmosphere in a specific place within a defined time frame. It is an average of weather data of the last 30 years. Climate change is a global change of the climate over a longer period of time. Due to how rapid and severe the consequences of manmade climate change are, some people even use the term climate crisis to describe the process.


Animals are living thigs* that consume other organisms* or their byproducts. From a biological perspective, humans are animals. Post-feminist movements promote the belief that animals aren’t inherently inferior to humans.


Aesthetic asks the question why humans like some, but not all, artworks, objects, animals or landscapes. How are things perceived and judged? In some languages, aesthetic and beauty are often used interchangeably. However, aesthetic is simply the study of perception and sensory observation. Aesthetic objects can be anything that trigger a sensory response.


The term Anthropocene stems from the Greek word Ánthropos (human*). Increasingly, the term Anthropocene is used to describe the geological era we are currently in. Particularly since the industrial revolution, the impact that humans have on Earth* has become a dominating force affecting all ecosystems*, including the geology of our planet.

However, the term faces some criticism. Firstly, it does not reflect the significance of non-human elements in the development of ecosystems and geological processes. This reinforces the perspective of humans being separate from their environment and dominating it. Secondly, the term Anthropocene makes all human actions seem equally impactful. Thus, a significant detail is missed: the effect that humans have on their environment varies greatly depending on their culture, society and region. There is a large disparity in the impact that different groups have, and the consequences of climate destruction are much starker for unprivileged groups. These differences are not reflected by the term Anthropocene.

Atmosphere, atmospheric

The atmosphere is a thin layer of gases that surround a plant. The Earth’s* atmosphere, the air, has undergone many cycles of change and is made up of mostly nitrogen and oxygen today. Atmospheric things or processes are in some way related to this combination of gases.

Biodiversity vs. species diversity

Biodiversity is a scientific way of measuring the number and diversity of different living things in a specific region. There are different ways to define biodiversity. They include the visible genetic variation within the same species, the diversity of different species in one area or the number of different ecosystems* in one region. However, species diversity describes the number of different species present in a specific region. Globally, biodiversity is threatened because of human actions. Protecting biodiversity is essential for the survival of humans.


When different instruments or voices come together in harmony, they can create a symphony, and bio means life. The sounds and noises that different life forms emit come together in a biosymphony.

Body, bodily

Everything that takes up three-dimensional space is a body. When we speak of bodies, we mostly think of human bodies. What else could we mean? Could we be talking about an object, a human*, an animal*, a state of being, an idea? What constitutes a body and where are its limits?

Coexistence, coexist

Coexist means to exist next to each other. When different life forms coexist in the same habitat, it means they live alongside each other in reciprocal relationships without suppressing one another. Promoting coexistence between humans and non-humans aims for these life forms to live together and sometimes includes the notion that technology be a part of the community. For coexistence to be successful, the abolition of discrimination, power structures and exploitative relationships is necessary. This is the basis for the continued survival of life on Earth*.


Planet Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old and its conditions and atmosphere are perfect for the existence of life. Earth is an intertwining network that is not only a world for humans, but also for other life forms. This is why we try to avoid possessive phrases such as “our” planet, as it does not belong to anyone.

Ecology, ecological

Following the original definition, the term ecology is the science of the relationships among living things and to their environment*. Increasingly, the term is also used to describe the global environmental situation, blurring its definition. The adjective ecological describes anything surrounding the relationship between living things and their environment. Colloquially, the word is used to describe human* actions and perspectives that are kind to their environment.


An ecosystem is made of living and non-living things. For example, a forest ecosystem is comprised of specific organisms* that coexist in a habitat of stone, earth, water and air. These components create a dynamic community that is constantly interacting – an ecosystem.

Entanglement, entangled

See intertwining* / entangled.


The environment of a living thing* encompasses everything it is related to. This includes everything that surrounds and influences the living thing and vice versa. In order to avoid the term nature*, we often speak of a living thing and its environment.

Human, human-centered

The human is a mammal closely related to primates.

The idea that humans dominate all non-human* living things* is deeply anchored, particularly in western culture. Our perception is very human-centric. Modern theories such as the idea of coexistence* counter this idea of human domination. Human actions have an unparalleled impact on Earth* and all living things.

Immersive technology

The term immersive stems from immersion, a synonym for embed or submerge. Immersive technologies embed virtual content into the physical surrounding of observers.

Examples of immersive technology include virtual reality (VR), where reality is displayed completely virtually, or augmented reality (AR), which enriches reality with virtual elements.

Intertwining / entangled

Intertwining is an interesting word. It evokes images of yarn coming together to form a bigger piece. When something is intertwined, it becomes part of a fabric or a network. This can create countless connections and relationships to everything in the surrounding network of relationships. The term expresses how everything on Earth is connected and has a relationship with an impact on others. According to the idea of coexistence*, everything is intertwined / entangled.


See intertwined / entangled*.

Living being

See organism*.


When something (for example a creature) changes from one form into another, it has undergone a metamorphosis.


The more-than-human refers to the complex intertwined relationships that exist between humans* and non-human* bodies* such as animals*, plants*, ecosystems* and even rocks or rivers.

Where do the borders of “being human” lie? Thinking and acting in a more-than-human way goes beyond viewing the human as the subject and suggests a new path of coexistence*, in which intertwining* and creating networks with non-human* elements is central.

Nature, natural

Particularly western cultures understand the term nature to mean everything that was not made by humans*. They create a duality, placing everything artificial or cultural on the opposite side. However, there is no clear border between humans and nature as the whole living environment consists of relationship networks where humans are included. Every living thing* and every element is only a part of a network of relationships to its environment. By creating a separation, nature becomes foreign. For this reason, we avoid the term nature. As of yet, there is no term that groups nature and humans*, which is why we speak of living things and their environment.

Network of relationships

See intertwining*/ entangled.


When something is objectified, it is described in an untouched state and without prejudices. An objective judgement should be generalizable. However, some meaning is lost in objectification, for example when a whole personality is objectified and reduced to its body*.


Anything that is non-human is a living thing* or structure that came about without human influence, but it can also be an object created by humans*. On the one hand, the term distinguishes between everything that is human and non-human, making it human-centric (anthropocentric). On the other hand, it does not see a difference between nature* and culture. The dualism of human* and non-human helps sum up all parts of a network.

Origin, original

The word origin assumes that there is or was an unchangeable state that was the root of everything else. However, everything is always changing. Many environmental policies aim to preserve an original state, even though this does not exist. The word original is often used synonymously for natural.

Organism, organic

An organism is a single living thing. It is made of one individual cell or multiple connected cells. An organism has a metabolism and is capable of growth and reproduction. Living things include plants, animals, fungi, algae, bacteria and archaea.

Anything organic is alive or once lived. The chemical definition of organic is anything that contains carbon.


Plants are a group of living things* that photosynthesize and do not travel. This means that they do not need any organic* food. With the help of light, they can create strong organic connections. Fungi, algae and bacteria also photosynthesize, but they each belong to separate groups of living things.

Species diversity

See biodiversity*.


Speculative ideas and thoughts go beyond lived experience and the boundaries of scientifically proven occurrences. Speculative ideas can lie beyond what we believe is possible, they can even describe impossible things. This means they can push open the boundaries of experience and scientific discovery.

Symbiosis, symbiotic

When two different living things live in symbiosis, they support each other. They both profit from the relationship.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are chemical compounds that solids or liquids emit into the air as gases.

VOCs are volatile because they evaporate at room temperature and they contain carbon, making them organic. In the process of supplying oxygen to the air, trees breathe. In this process, they emit large quantities of VOCs, which we can perceive as the smell of the forest. Currently, there is little research about the complex relationship between VOCs and the climate.


Colloquially, world* is used as a synonym for Earth*. Sometimes it just describes everything that exists, or it is used to denote an individual system that is mostly separate from others. For example, the plant world represents all plants and how they relate to one another.

Climanosco / Dear2050
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