Climate vs. Environment

28 July 2023

Hi there. This week on Ask a Teacher, we will answer a question about the difference between "environment" and "climate."


Hello, VOA learning English,

My name is Sukhwant, and I am from India. I have a question about the difference between "environment" and "climate."

Thank you so much,



Thank you, Sukhwant, for this important question!

"Climate" is part of the "environment." Let's look at the meanings of each.

Let's start with "environment."


"Environment" has many meanings.

Your "environment" can be everything that surrounds you. Different conditions and objects make up your environment.

My home environment is a peaceful place that includes my husband and my pets.

"Environment" can also be social and cultural elements that contribute to your life or a community.

The phrase "nature or nurture" describes the debate about whether your biology or your environment shapes you.

When we are talking about science, the "environment" is all the physical, biological and chemical conditions around you. The "environment" includes things like climate, geography, diversity of plants and animals and many other things. The environment affects the condition and survival of the things within it. And those things, likewise, affect the environment.

Deserts are environments with land features like sand or dry ground and extreme temperatures of hot and cold.

We must protect our environment.

Note that the word "environment" can be used in specific professions like computer science and linguistics, or the study of language.

Let's move onto "climate."


"Climate" has several different meanings. In science, "climate" is the overall weather pattern for an area over time. Climate includes amounts of rain and snow, temperatures and other weather conditions. Climate is part of the environment.

"Climate" also can describe an area that has a certain kind of climate.

She moved to the southern US last year for the warmer climate.

And lastly, "climate" can mean a general atmosphere or situation in a place or period.

The political climate of 1950s in the United States was marked by fears about the spread of communism.

Please let us know if these explanations and examples have helped you, Sukhwant.

Do you have a question about American English? Send us an email at

And that's Ask a Teacher.

I'm Faith Pirlo.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

nurture – v. to take care of, feed and protect someone or something, especially young children or plants

diversity – adj. characteristics or qualities that are different

pattern n. the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done