Terms + Definitions

Biodegradable: “Capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms” (Oxford Dictionary).

Biodiesel: Diesel coming from plants or animals. Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning replacement that can be substituted for diesel.

Biomass: Renewable energy from organic materials such as plants and animals. Biofuel is created using biomass.

Carbon Footprint: The total amount of carbon emissions caused by a specific individual, group, or event.

Compost: Decomposed organic materials to be used as a fertilizer. Compost is often made up of vegetables and manure.

Eco-friendly: Not harmful to the environment.

Ecoterrorism: The use of threats and/or violence to further the interest of environment-oriented groups or individuals. Often these acts of violence are directed toward property.

Fair Trade: Trade between producers in developing countries and businesses in which producers are paid fair wages.

Fast Fashion: Clothing made at a high speed to mimic current trends or popular designs. Fast fashion clothing is often very cheaply made through the use of mass production and is only intended to be worn a few times before falling apart or being thrown away.

Fracking: The process of forcing liquid into the ground to extract resources such as oil or gas.

GMOs: Genetically modified organisms. The genomic sequence of these organisms have been altered to produce a more preferable product.

Global Warming: The gradual rise in the atmosphere’s overall temperature, largely attributed to the Greenhouse Effect.

Greenhouse Effect: The process by which radiation and heat are trapped in the earth’s lower atmosphere, heating the planet.

Greenhouse Gases: Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing inferred radiation. The primary greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide.

Greenwashing: When an organization or corporation puts out misleading claims in regards to their environmental influence and/or impact. Greenwashing usually comes in the form of advertising.

Greywater: Wastewater collected from households without fecal contamination. This water is not potable and should not be reused unless treated.

Hazardous Waste: Potentially harmful waste that poses a potential threat to the environment or human health. This type of waste ought to be disposed of carefully. Some examples include weed killers, cleaning chemicals, batteries, paint, hygiene waste, and electronic waste.

Microplastics: Small fragments of plastic (smaller than 5 mm) that enter ecosystems from human sources such as industry and consumer products.

Organic: Related to living matter. In terms of food or agriculture, organic signifies that production did not involve the use of artificial agents, pesticides being a primary example.

Radiation: Energy that can penetrate various materials. Radiation comes in two forms – ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation is produced by unstable atoms and can produce charged particles.

Rewilding: Restoration of an area to its natural state. Rewilding may include the reintroduction of species that previously went extinct in that area.

Slow Fashion: A concept that opposes the fast fashion phenomenon. Slow fashion clothing is made of high quality materials, characterized by specific styles (only released occasionally), and locally sourced.

Wish-cycling: The process of placing items in a recycle bin without knowing whether they are actually recyclable or not. This process is harmful as it could contaminate and make unusable other recyclable items and possibly damage recycling equipment.

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