Environmental terms defined and explored.

Rewilding

Deconstructing natural resources that suffered from some development or human activities, and making them wilder, more natural, less domesticated

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Aarhus Convention

“It is truly a trailblazer.” Mary Robinson

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1 Sep 2013

Adaptation and Mitigation

Minimising GHG emissions and dealing with unavoidable impacts from climate change

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1 Apr 2014

Biocidal Products

Biocidal products, often called biocides, are used to control harmful organisms, and are found in such products as disinfectants, preservatives, rodenticides, insecticides anti-fouling products, …

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1 Feb 2012

Biodiversity

In its simplest meaning, “biodiversity” is a shortened form of the phrase “biological diversity.”  Biodiversity means the diversity of life in all its forms …

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4 Jan 2010

Biomass

The term refers to biological or organic material that serves as a renewable source of energy either by being burned directly (like wood) or …

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1 Sep 2011

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB)

On bovine TB, cows and badgers

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1 Jul 2014

Brexit (or UKexit)

The essential meaning and wider implications of Brexit which affects all parts of the United Kingdom (UKexit)

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1 Oct 2016

Brownfields

Dealing with former commercial or industrialised sites that contaminated the land and now sit empty or unused, often in derelict condition.

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1 Jul 2016

Cap and Trade

The term refers to ways of trying to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by controlling how much GHGs are emitted from major sources

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1 Oct 2012

Carbon Bubble

If the known fossil fuel reserves are burnt we will seriously exceed 2°C, putting us in dangerous territory

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1 Jun 2013

Carbon Budget

Budgeting for carbon dioxide like we budget for our households

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1 Oct 2013

Carbon Capture And Storage

The term “carbon capture and storage,” or CCS, refers to the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) gases are separated from other material in …

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1 Sep 2010

Carbon Neutral

Eliminating our carbon emissions as much a possible with offsets for what we cannot remove

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1 Jan 2017

Carbon Offset

Paying someone else to reduce their carbon emissions to compensate for our emissions.

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1 Jun 2017

Circular Economy

Moving from a linear “take, make, dispose” economic model to one relying on reducing, reusing, and recycling

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1 Aug 2014

Climate Computer Modeling

Using computer models to estimate future global temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions

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30 Nov 2012

Climate Movement

In the 21st century we have entered into a new era of a movement related to the environment, the “climate movement.”

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1 Nov 2014

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

A project to provide a secure supply of food in Europe gets out of control

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1 Nov 2016

Common Fisheries Policy (Eu)

The European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the way the EU manages fisheries and aquaculture throughout the EU. At the beginning of the …

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1 Mar 2010

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

An economic model for production and distribution of food where farmers and consumers share risks and benefits

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1 Sep 2016

Conference of the Parties (COP)

The global negotiations over climate change, and what to do about it, are undertaken pursuant to a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change …

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1 Jan 2015

Crowdsourcing

Getting ideas and action from the collective online community

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1 Dec 2013

Decoupling

Separating economic growth and environmental harm

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1 Apr 2015

Think Global, Act Local

Thinking about things on a global level without being stymied from taking action in your own community

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1 May 2015

Deregulation

What businesses and industries dream of

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1 Mar 2015

Dieselgate

How Volkswagen and others falsified air emission data from its “clean diesel” cars and raised pollution in the air

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2 May 2017

Disaster Risk Reduction

The concept, disaster risk reduction (DRR), is a modern form of emergency relief. In the past when a disaster struck, and we’re talking generally …

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1 May 2012

Distributive Justice

The term from philosophy and politics is somewhat abstract, relying on two Latinate words, but it encompasses a simple idea:  to each her or …

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24 Jan 2012

Divestment

Dumping stock from fossil fuel companies whose products are destroying the earth

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1 Jul 2015

Eco Driving

Changing driving behavior to reduce fuel consumption, and GHG emissions, and save money

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1 Apr 2016

Ecosystems

The term is most often used in speaking of biodiversity or nature. A simple and effective definition is, “A community of organisms that depend …

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3 Jan 2011

Effort Sharing Decision (European Union)

To expand its climate and energy policies and programs, the EU established GHG limits for sectors of the economy not covered by the ETS

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1 Aug 2013

EU Emission Trading System (ETS)

On the workings of the EU ETS to control greenhouse gases

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1 Jun 2016

Energy Efficiency

On fixing climate change and saving money at the same time

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1 Sep 2014

Enteric Fermentation

The term is a bit abstract and Latinate which is ironic in light of what it represents — the gas that comes from cows, …

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3 Oct 2011

Environmental Cooperatives

Working with others to generate mutual benefits and a sustainable way of life

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1 Mar 2016

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

An EIA is a critical, fundamental step in what constitutes environmental protection in many parts of the world. It is a transparent process that …

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30 Nov 2014

ESPOO Convention

Requiring States to notify and consult with other States on projects that are likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts across national boundaries

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1 Sep 2017

Eutrophication

When a lake or surface water body or groundwater gets too many nutrients added to it, then certain organisms in the water grow rapidly …

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1 Mar 2011

Feed-In Tariff

The term refers to a scheme through which people who generate electricity from renewable sources, e.g., solar or wind, are guaranteed a price for …

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1 Jun 2011

Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases

F-gases remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years

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29 Jun 2013

Forest Hydrology

On the critical role of forests in promoting and protecting clean water, a resource that is becoming scare

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1 Dec 2015

Geoengineering

Climate change risks can be addressed by individual action, by community initiatives, and by national and international policies and agreements.  Another weapon in the …

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1 Dec 2009

Ghost Estates

The term refers to empty, usually abandoned, homes in developments in Ireland that remain unfinished …

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30 May 2012

Global Warming Potential

Global climate change results from the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide …

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1 Dec 2011

Grass-Fed Farming

Grass-fed farming contrasts with farming that relies on grain-feed or chemical-based feedstock as the prime, often only, source of food for cows or other animals.

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1 Feb 2013

Green Economy

On an economic model that serves as an alternative to focusing on only growth in GDP

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1 Jan 2016

Green Infrastructure

There is no standard understanding of Green Infrastructure (GI), but there are a number of common strands. GI refers to natural, semi-natural and managed …

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2 Nov 2009

Green New Deal

The term “Green New Deal” is derived from the term “New Deal” coined by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became President of …

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2 Nov 2009

Green Public Procurement

The European Union Commission states that “Green public procurement means that public purchasers take account of environmental factors when buying products, services or works”. …

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1 Feb 2010

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a play on the term “whitewash” which means to “gloss over or cover up, or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory …

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1 Dec 2009

Habitat Fragmentation

How human activities are changing the face and size of our natural habitats

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1 Feb 2016

Habitats

A habitat refers to the physical dimensions of an environment or place or site that serves as home for an organism or community of …

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1 Jul 2011

Hedgerows

With little natural woodland remaining, the hedgerows have become a critical habitat for a wide variety of insects, birds, and mammals

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1 Sep 2015

Hydraulic Fracturing

Using pressurized fluids to crack rocks to extract natural fossil fuels is called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  The process is used to extract oil …

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4 Aug 2010

Indirect Land Use Change

Converting land from food crops to crops for biofuels with impact on GHG emissions

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1 Mar 2013

Installed Capacity

The installed capacity, or ICAP, of a power system represents the maximum capacity that the system is designed to run at. It’s also known …

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1 Oct 2014

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)

In other words, What are you going to do to help fight climate change?

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1 Jun 2015

Keeling Curve

The famous graph that shows the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere from 1958 to the present

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1 Aug 2015

Landscape Character Assessment

Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is a tool for identifying the features that give a locality its particular ‘sense of place’ and can be used …

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1 Apr 2010

Landscape Connectivity

Enhancing the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species on a landscape.

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1 Mar 2014

Life Cycle Assessment

The term “life cycle assessment” (LCA) refers to a way of measuring the environmental impact of the production of things and services. It allows …

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1 Dec 2010

Mechanical Biological Treatment

The term, abbreviated as MBT, refers to a process for handling waste that serves as an alternative to landfilling or incineration, or a process …

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4 Oct 2010

Methane

Methane (CH4) is the principal component of natural gas, a significant source of energy for heating buildings or producing electricity.  It also has its …

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1 Nov 2011

Microgeneration

Opportunities for switching to renewable, efficient energy and community or local ownership of energy sources

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1 May 2016

Montreal Protocol

On efforts to protect the ozone layer

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1 Feb 2015

Natural Wealth Accounts

The term is used in the field of biodiversity to refer to the economic value of all biodiversity services and assets in a particular …

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16 Nov 2010

Ocean Acidification

The more carbon dioxide in the air, the more acid in the ocean, and the more damage to ocean life

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1 Apr 2017

One-Off Housing

The term sounds innocuous enough but it can raise strong emotions.  In Ireland, it most often refers to the practice of building single homes, …

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28 Jun 2010

Ozone

Good ozone in the upper atmosphere and bad ozone at ground level

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1 Aug 2016

Paleoclimatology

Studying past climates

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1 Jan 2014

Particulate Matter

“Particulate matter,” or PM, can refer to matter found in sea spray and dust but it is most often used to refer to the …

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21 Sep 2009

Planetary Boundaries

Ways of talking about how to identify and measure limits to our natural resouces

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4 Nov 2012

Planning Zones in Northern Ireland

DUP and Sinn Fein’s attempt to highjack control over planning

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1 Nov 2013

Plastic Bag Levy

Eliminating plastic bags from, and their detrimental impact on, the environment

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1 Oct 2015

Polluter Pays Principle

This principle holds that if you pollute the environment, you should be held to account, i.e., you should be made to pay for the costs associated with that pollution

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31 Jul 2012

Precautionary Principle

The standard definition, according to the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992), is: “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack …

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1 May 2013

Public Participation Networks (PPN)

Formalising the participation of various civic groups in the workings of local government in Ireland

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1 Aug 2017

Public Trust Doctrine

Certain natural resources, including water, shorelines and air, are owned by the public for the use of all people

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1 Jul 2017

Radiation

In its simplest terms, radiation is defined as the emission and propagation of energy in the form of rays or waves.  There are two …

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1 Apr 2011

Rainwater Harvesting

The term encompasses a variety of systems and facilities for collecting and storing rainwater for use in homes or businesses.  Perhaps the simplest form …

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1 Feb 2011

REACH

A law to give us better information on, and control of, chemical uses

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1 Feb 2014

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)

Why it is so important to stop cutting down forests

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31 Oct 2015

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy refers to those sources for generating energy that naturally renew, or replenish, themselves after being used to produce energy.  For example, wind …

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1 Aug 2011

Rewilding

Deconstructing natural resources that suffered from some development or human activities, and making them wilder, more natural, less domesticated

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2 Nov 2017

Risk Assessment

The meaning of “risk assessment” can be elusive as many people and professions use the term in different ways and for different purposes.  So …

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5 May 2010

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

“short-lived climate pollutants” include methane, black carbon (soot), tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons and they contribute to warmer climates and air pollution

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1 Jan 2013

Smart Grids

On the “digitization of the electric grid.”

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1 Jun 2014

Smart Growth

The concept is another term that encompasses many of the same principles as “sustainable development.” While “sustainable development” grew out of a concern for …

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16 Jan 2010

Smart Metering

 You are familiar with electric meters located outside your house or apartment that measures the amount of electricity you use, measured in kilowatts per …

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2 Jun 2010

Stranded Assets

How climate change concerns can convert coal and oil into worthless commodities

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1 Oct 2017

Sustainable Development

The concept of a “sustainable development” arose in the early 1980s, following a decade of activism in support of environmental protection. It was generally …

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21 Mar 2009

Sustainable Intensification

The term is used to mean simultaneously raising productivity, increasing resource use efficiency, and reducing environmental impacts in agriculture.

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1 Sep 2012

Tar Sands

The term refers to a form of sandstone which contains sand, clay and water and is saturated with a dense viscous form of petroleum …

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1 Mar 2012

Tipping Point

The term “tipping point” is used in a number of disciplines with the same basic meaning but slight variations.  Generally it means a turning …

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1 Apr 2013

Tobacco Strategy

As originally used, the term refers to a political campaign by the tobacco industry to undermine attempts by government to regulate the sale or …

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1 Apr 2012

Toxins

On risks and benefits from poisons that are produced by an organism, such as a plant or animal

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1 May 2014

Unconventional Gas

“unconventional gas” is that gas found in low permeability rock or sand formations that do not allow for free movement of the gas.

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2 Jul 2012

Unconventional Gas/Oil Exploration

A euphemism for the process of exploring for dirty, risky, hard-to-get fossil fuels

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1 Feb 2017

Urban Density

Getting a handle on how dense our cities and mega-cities are across the globe

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1 Mar 2017

Urban Sprawl

The negative connotations of the term derive from the word, “sprawl,” which means to spread out in an ungainly or untidy, disorganized way.  It …

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21 Sep 2009

Waste from Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE)

Computers, MP3 players, cell phones, TVs, blackberries, video games: they all end up as waste, sooner or later.  The issue of how they end …

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21 Sep 2009

Water Framework Directive

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes a water management program based on river basins as the natural geographical and hydrological units for such management.  …

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1 May 2011

Zero Waste

Campaign to treat waste as something not to be burned or landfilled but treated as a resource to be re-used

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1 Dec 2016