Glossary: Cheat sheet for environmental terms

By |2023-01-10T15:09:41+00:00November 27th, 2012||Comments Off on Glossary: Cheat sheet for environmental terms

A cheat sheet or glossary of environmental terms for budding environmentalists looking to learn more about the environment by decoding jargon.

Advocacy – individuals or groups that aim to publicly provide recommendations to influence decisions within social, political, and economic institutions.

Agroecology – applying a sustainable approach to farming using practices that mitigate climate change and encourages a positive balance between plants, animals, and people. In-depth discussion here.

Biocultural diversity – describes the variety of connections between human culture and nature. See our Biocultural Diversity Programme.

Biodiversity –the varieties of life found within a particular region, from plants and animals, to fungi and even microorganisms like bacteria, found within a particular region.

Carbon offsetting – a process by which carbon dioxide is reduced/removed from the atmosphere, to make up for carbon dioxide emissions occurring somewhere else.

Carbon zero/neutral – having a balance between the amount of carbon being emitted and the amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere by carbon sinks.

Carbon sequestration – the process of capturing, removing, and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into a carbon sink.

Carbon sink – plants or bodies of salt water that actively absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – a global agreement that provides a set of laws and regulations for biodiversity conservation.

COP – (formerly known as the Conference of the Parties) the meetings of the Parties of a global convention such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Circular economy – a closed cycle of production, consumption, repairing, recycling, and reusing materials and products for as long as possible.

Civil Society Organisation (CSO) – a non-profit network of people organised to democratically serve general interests.

Conservation – the process of protection and preventing a resource and/or species from extinction.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – when businesses aim to take action to reduce any damaging effects that they may have upon people and/or the environment. This can include the effects of energy use, emissions, and waste management, for example.

Deep-sea mining (DSM) – extracting and retrieving minerals from 200+ metres deep in the ocean. In-depth discussion here.

Ecology – the study of relationships between living organisms and the physical environment and understanding the connections between them.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) – a set of considerations used to monitor investments for corporate policies and encourage companies to act sustainably and be mindful of their social responsibilities.

Fishing subsidies – the sums of money provided by governments to help reduce the unsustainable costs of industrial fishing. In-depth discussion here.

Free, prior, and informed consent – a specific right for Indigenous Peoples to freely give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories.

Food insecurity – a lack of regular and reliable access to safe and nutritious food needed for normal growth and living an active, healthy life.

Food sovereignty – the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food that is produced, traded, and consumed sustainably.

Freshwater – a body of water, not of the sea, that can be liquid or frozen that contains none to small quantities of dissolved salt and minerals e.g. ponds/lakes, rivers/streams, and swamps/wetland areas. See our Freshwater Programme.

Freshwater habitats – the presence of natural resources and environmental conditions needed for the survival and reproduction of freshwater wildlife. See our Freshwater Programme.

Freshwater wildlife – the variety of organisms that live independently of humans, found within bodies of freshwater. See our Freshwater Programme.

Hydropower – a source of energy generating power through a fast-moving body of water in turbines, turning that kinetic energy into electricity, often using dams. In-depth discussion here<