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Authors Irene Delgado
Published 2021
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H[edit | edit source]

  • habitatW - an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species.
  • hard wasteW - household garbage which is not normally accepted into rubbish bins by local councils, e.g. old stoves, mattresses.
  • heat– energy derived from the motion of molecules; a form of energy into which all other forms of energy may be degraded.
  • hectare - 1 hectare = 100 ares = 10,000 square metres = (100 metres)² 2.47 U.S. survey acres 107,639 square feet
  • herbicideW – a chemical the kills or inhibits growth of a plant.
  • herbivoryW - predation in which an organism known as an herbivore, consumes principally autotrophsW such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria.
  • heterotrophW (chemoorganotrophy) - an organism that requires organic substrates to obtain its carbon for growth and development.
  • hierarchyW – an organisation of parts in which control from the top (generally with few parts), proceeds through a series of levels (ranks) to the bottom (generally of many parts) cf. heterarchy.
  • high density polyethyleneW (HDPE) - A member of the polyethylene family of plastics and is used to make products such as milk bottles, pipes and shopping bags. HDPE may be coloured or opaque.
  • hitchhiking (also called lifting or thumbing) - a form of transport, in which the traveller tries to get a lift (ride) from another traveller, usually a car or truck driver. It's a more sustainable form of transport than driving your own car, but it still requires people to drive cars in general. see http://hitchwiki.org/
  • homoclimeW – a region with the same climate as the one under investigation.
  • horsepowerW (hp) = 745.7 watts.
  • homeostasisW - the property of either an open system or a closed system, especially a living organism, that regulates its internal environment so as to maintain a stable, constant condition.
  • Horton overland flowW - the tendency of water to flow horizontally across land surfaces when rainfall has exceeded [[infiltration capacityW and [[depression storage capacityW.
  • house energyW rating - an assessment of the energy efficiency of residential house or unit designs using a 5 star scale.
  • household metabolismW - the passage of food, energy, water, goods, and waste through the household unit in a similar way to the metabolic activity of an organism cf. industrial metabolism.
  • humus - organic material in soil lending it a bark brown or black colouration.
  • human equivalentW (He) - the approximate human daily energy requirement of 12,500 kJ or its approximate energy generating capacity at basal metabolic rate which is equivalent to about 80 watts (3.47222kWh/day). A 100 watt light bulb therefore runs at 1.25 He.
  • humus – semi-persistent organic matter in the soil that can no longer be recognised as tissue.
  • hydrocarbonsW - chemicals made up of carbon and hydrogen that are found in raw materials such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, and derived products such as plastics.
  • hydroelectric power - the electrical power generated using the power of falling water.
  • hydrological cycleW (water cycle) - the natural cycle of water from evaporation, transpiration in the atmosphere, condensation (rain and snow), and flows back to the ocean (e.g. rivers).
  • hydrosphereW - all the Earth's water; this would include water found in the sea, streams, lakes and other waterbodies, the soil, groundwater, and in the air.

I[edit | edit source]

  • if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it is brown, flush it down - saying to promote reduced toilet flushing and water conservation. This is good advice in American toilets with their high water levels, but in so-called "European-style toilets" (also used in Australia and other countries) this leads to a higher concentration of urine, and an unpleasant smell if left. However, modern European-style toilets have a half-flush, suitable for use with urine. see also ultra light flush
  • incinerationW - combustion (by chemical oxidation) of waste material to treat or dispose of that waste material.
  • indicator speciesW - any biological species that defines a trait or characteristic of the environment.
  • industrial agriculture - a form of modern farming that involves industrialized production of livestock, poultry, fish, and crops.
  • Industrial RevolutionW - a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation had a profound effect on socioeconomic and cultural conditions.
  • infiltration (hydrology)W – movement of water below topsoil to the plant roots and below.
  • Infiltration (hydrology)W - the process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil.
  • indicatorsW– quantitative markers for monitoring progress towards desired goals.
  • industrial ecology (term int. Harry Zvi Evan 1973) - the observation that nature produces no waste and therefore provides an example of sustainable waste management. Natural Capitalism espouses industrial ecology as one of its four pillars together with energy conservation, material conservation, and redefinition of commodity markets and product stewardship in terms of a service economy. Publications:[1][2][3]
  • insectiary - areas staffed with those types of plants which will attract beneficial insects. Insectiaries must provide food, water, shelter and space to grow new bugs. Forage might be introduced for direct insect consumption or for prey, also for nesting etc. Also may include watercourses, pebbles etc.
  • insecticideW - a pesticide used to control insects in all developmental forms.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - a pest control strategy that uses an array of complementary methods: natural predators and parasites, pest-resistant varieties, cultural practices, biological controls, various physical techniques, and the strategic use of pesticides.
  • intercropping - the agricultural practice of cultivating two or more crops in the same space at the same time.
  • in-streamW use - the use of freshwater where it occurs, usually within a river or stream: it includes hydroelectricity, recreation, tourism, scientific and cultural uses, ecosystem maintenance, and dilution of waste.
  • integrated pest management (IPM) – pest management that attempts to minimise chemical use by using several pest control options in combination. The goal of IPM is not to eliminate all pests but to reduce pest populations to acceptable levels; an ecologically based pest control strategy that relies heavily on natural mortality factors and seeks out control tactics that disrupt these factors as little as possible.
  • integrated product life-cycle managementW - management of all phases of goods and services to be environmentally friendly and sustainable.
  • interdependence - idea that specialization and cooperation gives many benefits so individuals and communities that depend on others may be more sustainable than individuals or communities that depend only on themselves. Cities are places of interdependence - rural environments are the typical settings for proposed self-sufficient utopias but are not practical for current population levels. Cities with medium to high population density make transport more efficient and facilitate interaction, and enable people to more easily meet and collaborate. contrast with Self-sufficiency
  • inter-generational equityW – the intention to leave the world in the best possible condition for future generations.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme to provide the scientific and technical foundation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), primarily through the publication of periodic assessment reports.[4]
  • internal water footprintW – the water embodied in goods produced within a country (although these may be subsequently exported) cf. external water footprint.
  • intrinsic valueW – the value of something that is independent of its utility.
  • irrigation indexW – an efficiency indicator showing degree of match between applied and used water. Ideal rating = 1, an Ii of 1.5 means an oversupply of water by 50%.
  • irrigation schedulingW – watering plants according to their needs.
  • irrigation – watering of plants, no matter what system is used.
  • ISO 14001W- The international standard for companies seeking to certify their environmental management system. International Organisation for Strandardisation (ISO) 14001 standard was first published in 1996 specifying the requirements for an environmental management system in organization (companies and institutions) with the goal of minimizing harmful effects on the environment and the goal of continual improvement of environmental performance.

J[edit | edit source]

  • jouleW (J)– the basic unit of energy; the equivalent of 1 watt of power radiated or dissipated for 1 second. Natural gas consumption is usually measured in megajoules (MJ), where 1 MJ = 1, 000,000 J. On large accounts it may be measured in gigajoules (GJ), where 1 GJ = 1 000,000,000 J.

K[edit | edit source]

  • kerbside collectionW - collection of household recyclable materials (separated or co-mingled) that are left at the kerbside for collection by local council services.
  • keystone speciesW - a species that has a disproportionate effect on its environment relative to its abundance, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and help in determine the types and numbers of various others species in a community.
  • Kyoto ProtocolW - an international agreement adopted in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The Protocol sets binding emission targets for developed countries that would reduce their emissions on average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels.

L[edit | edit source]

  • land use, Land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) - land uses and land-use changes can act either as sinks or as emission sources. It is estimated that approximately one-fifth of global emissions result from LULUCF activities. The Kyoto Protocol allows parties to receive emissions credit for certain LULUCF activities that reduce net emissions.
  • landfill- solid waste disposal in which refuse is buried between layers of soil, a method often used to reclaim low-lying ground; the word is sometimes used as a noun to refer to the waste itself.
  • landfill gas – the gas emissions from biodegrading waste in landfill, including CO2, CH4, and small amounts of nitrogen, oxygen with traces of toluene, benzene and vinyl chloride.
  • landfill levyW - levy applied at differential rates to municipal, commercial and industrial and prescribed wastes disposed to licensed landfills the levies used to foster the environmentally sustainable use of resources and best practice in waste management.
  • landfill prohibitionW - The banning of a certain material or product type from disposal to landfills. Occurs occasionally, for example, where a preferable waste management option is available.
  • landfill (dump or tip and historically as a midden) - a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment.
  • land use planningW - a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way.
  • leachingW – the movement of chemical in the upper layers of soil into lower layers or into groundwater by being dissolved in water.
  • lithosphereW - the solid outermost shell of a rocky planet.

considered ideal for gardening and agricultural uses.

  • leachateW (waste) - the mixture of water and dissolved solids (possibly toxic) that accumulates as water passes through waste and collects at the bottom of a landfill site.
  • leaf area indexW (LAI) – the ratio of photosynthetic leaf area to ground area covered (optimal for photosynthesis = 3-5) . LAI is often optimised by shifts in leaf angle, a form of solar tracking.
  • levelW (scale, context or framework) – a context, frame of reference or degree of organisation within an integrated system. A level may or may not be spatially delimited.
  • life cycleW (of a product) - All stages of a product's development, from raw materials, manufacturing through to consumption and ultimate disposal.
  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) - an objective process to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with a product, process, or activity. A means of identifying resource use and waste released to the environment, and to assess management options.
  • life support systemsW - according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the biophysical processes "that sustain the productivity, adaptability and capacity for renewal of lands, waters, and / or the biosphere as a whole."
  • lilacwaterW – recycled water that is unsuitable for drinking.
  • linear low density polyethyleneW - a member of the polyolefin family of plastics. It is a strong and flexible plastic and usually used in film for packaging, bags and for industrial products such as pressure pipe.
  • linear metabolismW - direct conversion of resources into wastes that are often sent directly to landfill
  • loamW - a soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in relatively even concentration (about 40-40-20% concentration respectively)
  • locally existing capacityW - the total ecological production that is found within a country’s territories. It is usually expressed in hectares based on world average productivity.
  • low density polyethyleneW - A member of the polyolefin family of plastics. It is a flexible material and usually used as film for packaging or as bags.
  • low entropy energyW - to high-quality energy, or energy that is concentrated and available. Electricity is considered the energy carrier with the lowest entropy (i.e. highest quality) as it can be transformed into mechanical energy at efficiency rates well above 90%. In contrast, fossil fuel chemical energy can only be converted into mechanical energy at a typical efficiency rate of 25% (cars) to 50 percent (modern power plants). The chemical energy of biomass is of lower quality.

M[edit | edit source]

  • magmaW - molten rock that sometimes forms beneath the surface of the Earth (or any other terrestrial planet) that often collects in a magma chamber and is ejected by volcano's.
  • manure - organic matter used as fertilizer in agriculture.
  • marine reservesW - area of the sea which has legal protection against fishing or development.[5]
  • market benefitsW - benefits of a climate policy that can be measured in terms of avoided market impacts such as changes in resource productivity (e.g., lower agricultural yields, scarcer water resources) and damages to human-built environment (e.g., coastal flooding due to sea-level rise).
  • material flowW – the cycling of materials, which is driven by the flow of energy.
  • material identificationW - words, numbers or symbols used to designate composition of components of a product or packaging. Note: a material identification symbol does not indicate whether an item can be recycled.
  • materials recovery facilityW (MRF) - a centre for the reception and transfer of materials recovered from the waste stream. At a MRF, materials are also sorted by type and treated (e.g. cleaned, compressed)
  • Mauna Loa recordW - the record of measurement of atmospheric CO2 concentrations taken at Mauna Loa Observatory, Mauna Loa, Hawaii, since March 1958. This record shows the continuing increase in average annual atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
  • maximum soil water deficitW – amount of water stored in the soil that is readily available to plants
  • megadiverse countriesW – The 17 countries that are home to the largest fraction of wild species (Australia is one such)
  • microorganismW – an organism visible only through a microscope.
  • Middle EastW– 15 countries - Bahrain, Islamic Rep. Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
  • mobile garbage binW - A wheeled kerbside container for the collection of garbage or other materials.
  • monoculture - the practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area.
  • mortality rateW – generally understood as the total number of deaths per 1000 people of a given age group
  • mulch - any composted or non-composted organic material, excluding plastic, that is suitable for placing on soil surfaces to restrict moisture loss from the soil and to provide a source of nutrients to the soil.
  • municipal wasteW - solid waste generated from domestic premises (garbage and hard waste) and council activities such as street sweeping, litter and street tree lopping. Also includes waste dropped at transfer stations and construction waste from owner/occupier renovations.

N[edit | edit source]

  • National Packaging CovenantW - a self-regulatory agreement between packaging industries and government.
  • naturalW- the existing air, water, land and energy resources from which all resources derive. Main functions include resource production (such as fish, timber or cereals), waste assimilation (such as CO2 absorption, sewage decomposition), and life support services (UV protection, biodiversity, water cleansing, climate stability). The environmental services that must be maintained so that human development can be sustainable.
  • natural capitalW - natural resources and ecological processes that are equivalent to financial capitalW.
  • natural resourcesW - naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified (natural) form.
  • natural selectionW - the process by which favorable heritable traits become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable heritable traits become less common.
  • neighbourhood environment improvement planW - plans developed by a local community including residents, special interest groups, local government, local industry and government agencies.
  • nematocideW – a chemical that kills nematodes.
  • net primary productionW - the energy or biomass content of plant material that has accumulated in an ecosystem over a period of time through photosynthesis. It is the amount of energy left after subtracting the respiration of primary producers (mostly plants) from the total amount of solar energy that is fixed biologically; gross primary productivity minus respiratory losses (this is the carbon gain).
  • nickel cadmiumW batteries - batteries typically used in appliances such as power tools and mobile phones. Cadmium is a heavy metal that poses risk to human and ecosystem health.
  • noise pollution (environmental noise) - displeasing human or machine created sound that disrupts the activity or happiness of human or animal life.
  • nonpoint source pollutionW - water pollution affecting a water body from diffuse sources, rather than a point source which discharges to a water body at a single location.
  • no-till farming - considered a kind of conservation tillage system and is sometimes called zero tillage.
  • non-ferrous metalsW - those metals that contain little or no iron, e.g. copper, brass and bronze.
  • Non Government OrganisationW (NGO) - A not-for-profit or community based organization.
  • nutrients – chemicals required for the growth of organisms. Phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium are major plant nutrients but there are also many trace elements, elements that are needed in small quantities for the growing and developing of animal and plant life.

O[edit | edit source]

  • Ocean acidificationW - reduction in pH. Caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • OceaniaW - the islands of the southern, western, and central Pacific Ocean, including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Sometimes extended to encompass Australia, New Zealand, and Maritime Southeast AsiaW.
  • old growth forestW - an area of forest that has attained great age and so exhibits unique biological features.
  • omnivoreW - a species of animal that eats both plants and animals as its primary food source.
  • open-pit miningW (opencast mining, open-cut mining) - a method of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow.
  • old growth forestsW - forests dominated by mature trees and with little or no evidence of any disturbance such as logging, ground clearing and building.
  • organic agriculture - a holistic production management system that avoids the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and GM organisms, minimises pollution of air, soil and water, and optimises the health and productivity of interdependent communities of plants, animals and people.
  • organic gardening – gardening that follows, in general principle, the philosophy of organic agriculture
  • organicW – derived from a living organism.
  • organicsW - plant or animal matter originating from domestic or industrial sources, e.g. grass clippings, tree prunings, food waste.
  • overshootW- growth beyond an area’s carrying capacity; ecological deficit occurs when human consumption and waste production exceed the capacity of the Earth to create new resources and absorb waste. During overshoot, natural capital is being liquidated to support current use so the Earth's ability to support future life declines.

P[edit | edit source]

  • pay-by-weight systemsW - financial approaches to managing waste that charge prices according to the quantity of waste collected, rather than a price per pick-up or fixed annual charge, as typically applied to households for kerbside services. Pay-by-weight systems may provide an incentive to reduce waste generation.
  • per capita consumptionW - the average amount of commodity used per person.
  • pervious surfaceW – one which can be penetrated by air and water.
  • pesticide - means any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest. This includes substances intended for use as a plant growth regulator, defoliant, desiccant, or agent for thinning fruit or preventing the premature fall of fruit, and substances applied to crops either before or after harvest to protect the commodity from deterioration during storage and transport. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2003).
  • photosynthesisW – the transformation of radiant energy to chemical energy by plants; the manufacture by plants of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. The reaction is driven by energy from sunlight, catalysed by chlorophyll and releases oxygen as a byproduct. The capture of the Sun’s energy (primary production) to power all life on Earth (consumption).
  • photovoltaic - the direct conversion of light into electricity
  • phytoplanktonW– plant plankton cf. Plankton.
  • planktonW – mostly microscopic animal and plant life suspended in water and a valuable food source for animals cf. Phytoplankton.
  • plant qualityW - a standard of plant appearance or yield.
  • plastic - One of many high-polymeric substances, including both natural and synthetic products, but excluding rubbers. At some stage in its manufacture every plastic is capable of flowing, under heat and pressure, if necessary, into the desired final shape.
  • Polluter Pays PrincipleW (PPP) - the principle that producers of pollution should in some way compensate others for the effects of their pollution.
  • polyethylene terephthalateW (PET) – a clear, tough, light and shatterproof type of plastic, used to make products such as soft drink bottles, film packaging and fabrics.
  • polypropyleneW (PP) - a member of the polyelofin family of plastics. PP is light, rigid and glossy and is used to make products such as washing machine agitators, clear film packaging, carpet fibres and housewares.
  • polystyreneW (PS) - a member of the styrene family of plastics. PS is easy to mould and is used to make refrigerator and washing machine components. It can be foamed to make single use packaging, such as cups, meat and produce trays.
  • polyvinyl chlorideW (PVC) - a member of the vinyl family of plastics. PVC can be clear, flexible or rigid and is used to make products such as fruit juice bottles, credit cards, pipes and hoses.
  • postconsumer material or wasteW - material or product that has served its intended purpose and has been discarded for disposal or recovery. This includes returns of material from the distribution chain; waste that is collected and sorted after use; kerbside waste cf. pre-consumer waste.
  • potableW – safe to drink.
  • powerW- the rate at which work is done; electrically, power = current x voltage (P = I V)
  • Precautionary PrincipleW – where there are threats of serious irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for introducing measures to prevent that degradation (Rio Declaration).
  • precipitationW – (weather) any liquid or solid water particles that fall from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface; includes drizzle, rain, snow, snow pellets, ice crystals, ice pellets and ha
  • preconsumer material or wasteW - material diverted to the waste stream during a manufacturing process; waste from manufacture and production.
  • pre-industrialW - for the purposes of the IPCC this is defined as 1750.
  • prescribed waste and prescribed industrial wasteW - Those wastes listed in the Environment Protection (Prescribed Waste) Regulations 1998 and subject to requirements under the industrial waste management policy 2000.Prescribed wastes carry special handling, storage, transport and often licensing requirements, and attract substantially higher disposal levies than non-prescribed solid wastes.
  • primary productivityW - the fixation rate at which energy is fixed by plants.
  • producer responsibilityW – the legal responsibilities of producers/manufacturers for the full life of their products.
  • producerW – (ecology) a plant, that is able to produce its own food from inorganic substance; (energetics) an organism or process that generates concentrated energy from sunlight beyond its own needs.
  • product stewardshipW – the principle of shared responsibility by all sectors involved in the manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of products for the consequences of these activities; manufacturing responsibility extending to the entire life of the product.
  • ProductW – a thing produced by labour; mostly the material items we buy in shops; (ecology) the results of photosynthesis.
  • productivityW (ecology) - the rate at which radiant energy is used by producers to form organic substances as food for consumers.
  • provisioning servicesW – one of the major ecosystem services: the products obtained from ecosystems e.g. genetic resources, food, fibre and fresh water.
  • pyrolysisW - advanced thermal technology involving the thermal decomposition of organic compounds in the complete absence of oxygen under pressure and at elevated temperature.

R[edit | edit source]

  • radiative forcingW - changes in the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere system in response to a change in factors such as greenhouse gases, land-use change, or solar radiation. Positive radiative forcing increases the temperature of the lower atmosphere, which in turn increases temperatures at the Earth's surface. Negative radiative forcing cools the lower atmosphere. Radiative forcing is most commonly measured in units of watts per square meter (W/m2).
  • rain gardenW – an engineered area for the collection, infiltration and evapotranspiration of rainwater runoff, mostly from impervious surfaces; it reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which can cause erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater). They can also absorb water contaminants that would otherwise end up in water bodies. The terminology arose in Maryland, USA in 1990s as a more marketable expression for bioremediation.
  • rainwater harvesting – collecting rainwater either in storages or the soil mostly close to where it falls; the attempt to increase rainwater productivity by storing it in pondagesW, wetlands etc., and helping to avoid the need for infrastructure to bring water from elsewhere. Practiced on a large scale upstream this reduces available water downstream.
  • rangelandW – a region where grasing or browsing livestock is the main land use.
  • raw materialsW - materials that are extracted from the ground and processed e.g. bauxite is processed into aluminium.
  • reclaimed waterW - water taken from a waste (effluent) stream and purified to a level suitable for further use.
  • recovered materialW – (waste) material that would have otherwise been disposed of as waste or used for energy recovery, but has instead been collected and recovered (reclaimed) as a material input thus avoiding the use of new primary materials.
  • recovery rateW – (waste) the recovery rate is the percentage of materials consumed that is recovered for recycling.
  • recyclablesW – strictly, all materials that may be recycled, but this may include the recyclable containers and paper/cardboard component of kerbside waste (excluding garden organics).
  • recycled contentW - proportion, by mass, of recycled material in a product or packaging. Only pre-consumer and post-consumer materials are considered as recycled content.
  • recycled materialW – see recovered material.
  • recycled water – treated stormwater, greywater or blackwater suitable for uses like toilet flushing, irrigation, industry etc. It is non-drinking water and is indicated using a lilac non-drinking label.
  • recycling - a wide range of activities, including collection, sorting, reprocessing and manufacture of products into new goods.
  • recycling – (waste) changing the physical structure and properties of a waste material that would otherwise have been sent to landfill, in order to add financial value to the processed material, this may involve a range of technologies including composting, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste technologies such as pyrolysis, gasification and incineration.
  • reforestationW – the direct human conversion of non-forested land to forested land through planting, seeding or promotion of natural seed sources, on land that was once forested but no longer so. According to the language of the Kyoto Protocol, for the first commitment period (2008–2012), reforestation activities are limited to reforestation occurring on lands that did not contain forest at the start of 1990; replanting of forests on lands that have recently been harvested.
  • regulating servicesW – (sustainability) the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes including, for example, the regulation of climate, water or disease.
  • renewable energy - any source of energy that can be used without depleting its reserves. These sources include sunlight (solar energy) and other sources such as, wind, wave, biomass, geothermal and hydro energy.
  • renewable energy certificatesW - Market trading mechanisms created through the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 in connection with the commonwealth government's mandatory renewable energy target. The certificates provide a 'premium' revenue stream for electricity generated from renewable sources.
  • residual wasteW – (waste) waste that remains after the separation of recyclable materials (including green waste).
  • resource flowW - the totality of changes in multiple resource stocks, or at least any pair of them, over a specified period of time
  • resource intensityW – ratio of resource consumption relative to its economic or physical output; for example, litres of water used per dollar spent, or litres of water used per tonne of aluminium produced. At the national level, energy intensity is the ratio of total primary energy consumption of the country to either the gross domestic product, or the physical output (total goods produced).
  • resource productivityW – the output obtained for a given resource input.
  • resource recoveryW – (waste) the process of obtaining matter or energy from discarded materials.
  • resource stockW - the total amount of a resource often related to resource flow (the amount of resources harvested or used per unit of time). To harvest a resource stock sustainably, the harvest must not exceed the net production of the stock. Stocks are measured in mass, volume, or energy and flows in mass, volume, or energy per unit of time.
  • respirationW – (biology) uptake by a living organism of oxygen from the air (or water) which is then used to oxidise organic matter or food. The outputs of this oxidation are usually CO2 and H2O; the metabolic process by which organisms meet their internal energy needs and release CO2.
  • retail therapyW – using shopping to obtain a ‘lift’ to make up for other things lacking in our lives.
  • retrofit - to replace existing items with updated items.
  • reuseW - the second pillar of the waste hierarchy - recovering value from a discarded resource without reprocessing or remanufacture e.g.clothes sold though opportunity shops strictly represent a form of re-use, rather than recycling
  • riskW – the probability of a (negative) occurrence.

S[edit | edit source]

  • salinisationW – (ecology) the process by which land becomes salt-affected.
  • salinityW – (ecology) salt in water and soils, generally in the context of human activity such as clearing and planting for annual crops rather than perennial trees and shrubs. Can make soils infertile.
  • scaleW – the physical dimensions, in either space or time, of phenomena or events; cf. a level which may or may not have a scale.
  • sectorsW – (economics) economic groupings used to generalise patterns of expenditure and use.
  • sedimentW – (ecology) soil or other particles that settle to the bottom of water bodies.
  • self-organisationW – the process by which systems use energy to develop structure and organisation.
  • sentinel indicatorW – (ecology) an indicator that captures the essence of the process of change affecting a broad area of interest and which is also easily communicated.
  • septic sewageW – sewage in which anaerobic respiration is taking place characterised by a blackish colour and smell of hydrogen sulphide.
  • septic tank - a type of sedimentation tank in which the sludge is retained long enough for the organic content to undergo anaerobic digestion. Typically used for receiving the sewage from houses and other premises that are too isolated for connection to a sewer.
  • sequestrationW – (global warming) the removal of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and storage in a sink as when trees absorb CO2 in photosynthesis and store it in their tissues.
  • sewage- water and raw effluent disposed through toilets, kitchens and bathrooms. Includes water-borne wastes from domestic uses of water from households, or similar uses in trade or industry.
  • sewerW - a pipe conveying sewage.
  • sewerageW - a system of pipes and mechanical appliances for the collection and transportation of domestic and industrial sewages.
  • sewerage systemW – sewage system infrastructure: the network of pipes, pumping stations and treatment plants used to collect, transport, treat and discharge sewage.
  • sewer-miningW - tapping directly into a sewer (either before or after a sewage treatment plant) and extracting wastewater for treatment and use.
  • shredder flockW - the residue from shredded car bodies, whitegoods and the like.
  • simple living - a lifestyle individuals may pursue for a variety of motivations, such as spirituality, health, or ecology. Others may choose simple living for reasons of social justice or a rejection of consumerism. Some may emphasise an explicit rejection of "westernised values", while others choose to live more simply for reasons of personal taste, a sense of fairness or for personal economy. Simple living as a concept is distinguished from the simple lifestyles of those living in conditions of poverty in that its proponents are consciously choosing to not focus on wealth directly tied to money or cash-based economics.
  • sinks - processes or places that remove or store gases, solutes or solids; any process, activity or mechanism that results in the net removal of greenhouse gases, aerosols, or precursors of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Slow FoodW – the slow food movement was founded in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini as a response to the negative impact of multinational food industries. Slow Food is a counteracting force to Fast Food as it encourages using local seasonal produce, restoring time-honoured methods of production and preparation, and sharing food at communal tables. Slow Food encourages environmentally sustainable production, ethical treatment of animals and social justice. Gatherings of Slow Food supporters are called convivia and in September Victoria has 11 of these. Slow Food members seek to defend biodiversity in our food supply, to better appreciate how our lives can be improved by understanding the sensation of taste, and to celebrate the connection between plate and planet.
  • sludgeW - waste in a state between liquid and solid.
  • sodicityW – (ecology) a measure of the sodium content of soil. Sodic soils are dispersible and are thus vulnerable to erosion.
  • sodificationW - the build-up in soils of sodium relative to potassium and magnesium in the composition of the exchangeable cations of the clay fraction.
  • soil acidificationW - reduction in pH, usually in soil. Acidification can result in poorly structured or hard-setting topsoils that cannot support sufficient vegetation to prevent erosion.
  • soil bulk densityW – the relative density of a soil measured by dividing the dry weight of a soil by its volume.
  • soil compactionW' – the degree of compression of soil. Heavy compaction can impede plant growth.
  • soil conditionerW - any composted or non-composted material of organic origin that is produced or distributed for adding to soils, it includes 'soil amendment', 'soil additive', 'soil improver' and similar materials, but excludes polymers that do not biodegrade, such as plastics, rubbers, and coatings.
  • soil moisture deficitW – the volume of water needed to raise the soil water content of the root zone to field capacity.
  • soil organic carbonW (SOC) – the total organic carbon of a soil exclusive of carbon from undecayed plant and animal residue.
  • soil organic matterW (SOM) – the organic fraction of the soil exclusive of undecayed plant and animal residues.
  • soil structure – the way soil particles are aggregated into aggregates or “crumbs”, important for the passage of air and water
  • soil water storageW – total amount of water stored in the soil in the plant root zone.
  • solar energy - the radiant energy of the Sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.
  • solar power - electricity generated from solar radiation.
  • solid industrial wasteW - solid waste generated from commercial, industrial or trade activities, including waste from factories, offices, schools, universities, State and Federal government operations and commercial construction and demolition work. Excludes wastes that are prescribed under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and quarantine wastes.
  • solid inert wasteW - hard waste and dry vegetative material and which as a negligible activity or effect on the environment, such as demolition material, concrete, bricks, plastic, glass, metals and shredded tyres.
  • solid wasteW - non-hazardous, non-prescribed solid waste materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial waste, generally: domestic and municipal; commercial and industrial; construction and demolition; other.
  • source separationW – (waste) separation of recyclable material from other waste at the point and time the waste is generated, i.e. at its source. This includes separation of recyclable material into its component categories, e.t. paper, glass, aluminium, and may include further separation within each category, e.g. paper into computer paper, office whites and newsprint; The practice of segregating materials into discrete materials streams prior to collection by or delivery to reprocessing facilities.
  • specialist speciesW – those that can only thrive in a narrow range of environmental conditions and/or have a limited diet.
  • specific heat capacityW – the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 kg of a substance by 1oC. It can be considered a measure of resistance to an increase in temperature and important for energy saving.
  • stakeholdersW - parties having an interest in a particular project or outcome.
  • State Environment Protection PoliciesW - statutory instruments under the Environment Protection Act 1970 that identify beneficial uses of the environment that are to be protected, establish environmental indicators and objectives and define attainment programs to implement the policies.
  • State of the Environment reportingW - a scientific assessment of environmental conditions, focusing on the impacts of human activities, their significance for the environment and social responses to the identified trends.
  • steady stateW – a constant pattern e.g. a balance of inflows and outflows.
  • stormwater – rainfall that accumulates in natural or artificial systems after heavy rain; surface run-off or water sent to (stormwater) drains during heavy rain.
  • strategic Environmental AssessmentW (SEA) - a system of incorporating environmental considerations into policies, plans and programs esp in the EU.
  • sullageW – domestic waste water from baths, basins, showers, laundries, kitchens and floor waste (but not from toilets).
  • supporting servicesW – (sustainability) ecosystem services that are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services e.g. biomass production, production of atmospheric oxygen, soil formation, nutrient and water cycling.
  • surface runoffW – that part of rainfall passing out of an area into the drainage system.
  • suspended solidsW (SS) – solid particles suspended in water; used as an indicator of water quality.
  • sustainability - the Brundtland definition is ‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
  • sustainability covenantW - Under Section 49 of the Environment Protection Act 1970, a Sustainability Covenant is an agreement which a person or body undertakes to increase the resource use efficiency and/or reduce ecological impacts of activities, products, services and production processes. Parties can voluntarily enter into such agreements with EPA, or could be required to if they are declared by Governor in Council, on the recommendation of EPA, to have potential for significant impact on the environment.
  • sustainability science - the multidisciplinary scientific study of sustainability, focusing especially on the quantitative dynamic interactions between nature and society. Its objective is a deeper and more fundamental understanding of the rapidly growing inter-dependence of the nature-society system and the intention to make this sustainable. It critically examines the tools used by sustainability accountingW and the methods of sustainability governanceW.
  • sustainability TriangleW – a graphic indication of the action needed to stabilize CO2 levels below about 500 ppm. It shows stabilization ‘wedges’ indicating savings made per year by the use of a particular strategy.
  • sustainable consumptionW - sustainable resource use - a change to society's historical patterns of consumption and behaviour that enables consumers to satisfy their needs with better performing products or services that use fewer resources, cause less pollution and contribute to social progress worldwide.
  • sustainable development – see Sustainability.
  • swale – an open channel transporting surface run-off to a drainage system, usually grassed; a swale promotes infiltration, the filtration of sediment by plants and ornamental interest.
  • systemW – a set of parts organised into a whole, usually processing a flow of energy.

T[edit | edit source]

  • take-backW - a concept commonly associated with product stewardship, placing responsibility on brand-owners, retailers, manufacturers or other supply chain partners to accept products returned by consumers once they have reached the end of their useful life. Products may then be recycled, treated or sent to landfill.
  • technosphereW – synthetic and composite components and materials for med by human activity. True technosphere materials, like plastics, are not biodegradable.
  • temperateW – with moderate temperatures, weather, or climate; neither hot nor cold; mean annual temperature between 0 – 20 deg C.
  • thermal mass – (architecture) any mass that can absorb and store heat and can therefore be used to buffer temperature change. Concrete, bricks and tiles need a lot of heat energy to change their temperature and therefore have high thermal mass, timber has low thermal mass.
  • third pipe systemW – a third pipe, in addition to the standard water supply pipe and sewer disposal pipe, which carries recycled water for irrigation purposes.
  • thresholdW – (ecology) a point that, when crossed, can bring rapid and sometimes unpredictable change in a trend. An example would be the sudden altering of ocean currents due to the melting of ice at the poles.
  • topsoilW – mostly fertile surface soil moved or introduced to topdress gardens, roadbanks, lawns etc.
  • total energy useW – as applied in this book is the total of combined direct and indirect energy use
  • total fertility rateW – the number of children that, on average, a woman would have in her lifetime at present age-specific fertility rates. Calculated as the average number of children born per woman of every given age in a particular year and totalled for all ages.
  • total water useW - in water accountingW: distributed water use + self-extracted water use + reuse water use cf. water consumption; here used to mean total direct and indirect water use.
  • town waterW – water supplied by government or private enterprise and known as the mains or reticulated water supply.
  • transfer stationW – (waste) a facility allowing drop-off and consolidation of garbage and a wide range of recyclable materials. Transfer stations have become an integral part of municipal waste management, playing an important role in materials recovery and improving transportation economics associated with municipal waste disposal.
  • transgenic plantW – a plant into which genetic material has been transferred by genetic engineering.
  • Triple Bottom LineW – a form of sustainability accounting going beyond the financial ‘bottom line’ to consider the social and environmental as well as economic consequences of an organisation’s activity; generally included with economic accounts. Term coined by John Elkington in 1994[6]
  • tropicalW – occurring in the tropics (the region on either side of the equator); hot and humid with a mean annual temperature greater than 20oC.
  • turbine - A machine for converting the heat energy in steam or high temperature gas into mechanical energy. In a turbine, a high velocity flow of steam or gas passes through successive rows of radial blades fastened to a central shaft.

U[edit | edit source]

  • United Nations - an international organisation based in New York and formed to promote international peace, security, and cooperation under a charter signed by 51 founding countries in San Francisco in 1945
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate ChangeW (UNFCCC) – The UNFCCC and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) were established at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Kyoto Protocol was then formulated by the UNFCCC and sets specific timelines and timetables for reducing industrialized nations’ GHG emissions and allows some international trading in carbon credits. For more information visit:[7]
  • upstreamW – those processes necessary before a particular activity is completed e.g. for a manufactured product this would be the extraction, transport of materials etc. needed prior to the process of manufacture cf. downstream.
  • urban Heat IslandW - the tendency for urban areas to have warmer air temperatures than the surrounding rural landscape, due to the low albedo of streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and buildings. These surfaces absorb solar radiation during the day and release it at night, resulting in higher night temperatures.
  • urban metabolismW – the functional flow of materials and energy required by cities.

V[edit | edit source]

  • velowayW - cycle track; cycleway; contrasts with freeway.
  • vinylW - a type of plastic (usually PVC) used to make products such as fruit juice bottles, credit cards, pipes and hoses.
  • virtual waterW - the volume of water required to produce a commodity or service. First coined by Professor J.A. Allan of the University of London in the early 1990s, though this is now more widely known as cf. embedded (embodied) water.
  • visual waste auditW - observing, estimating and recording data on waste streams and practices without physical weighing.
  • volatile organic compoundW (VOC) – molecules containing carbon and differing proportions of other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine and chlorine. With sunlight and heat they form ground-level ozone.
  • volt - The unit of potential difference between two points is the volt (V) (commonly called voltage). One thousand volts equals 1 kilovolt (kV).

W[edit | edit source]

  • waste - any material (liquid, solid or gaseous) that is produced by domestic households and commercial, institutional, municipal or industrial organizations, and which cannot be collected and recycled in any way for further use. For solid wastes, this involves materials that currently go to landfills, even though some of the material is potentially recyclable.
  • waste analysisW -the quantifying of different waste streams, recording and detailing of it as a proportion of the total waste stream, determining its destination and recording details of waste practices.
  • waste assessmentW - observing, measuring, and recording data and collecting and analysing waste samples. Some practitioners consider an assessment to be one where observations are carried out visually, without sorting and measuring individual streams (see visual waste audit).
  • waste auditW -see waste assessment.
  • waste avoidanceW – primary pillar of the waste hierarchy; avoidance works on the principle that the greatest gains result from efficiency-centred actions that remove or reduce the need to consume materials in the first place, but deliver the same outcome.
  • waste factorsW - (used in round-wood calculations) give the ratio of one cubic metre of round wood used per cubic metre (or tonne) of product.
  • waste generationW - generation of unwanted materials including recyclables as well as garbage. Waste generation = materials recycled + waste to landfill.
  • waste hierarchyW (waste management hierarchy)– a concept promoting waste avoidance ahead of recycling and disposal, often referred to in community education campaigns as 'reduce, reuse, recycle.' The waste hierarchy is recognised in the Environment Protection Act 1970, promoting management of wastes in the order of preference: avoidance, reuse, recycling, recovery of energy, treatment, containment, disposal.
  • waste management - practices and procedures that relate to how the waste is dealt with.
  • waste minimisationW - techniques to keep waste generation at a minimum level in order to divert materials from landfill and thereby reduce the requirement for waste collection, handling and disposal to landfill; recycling and other efforts made to reduce the amount of waste going into the waste stream.
  • waste reductionW - Measures to reduce the amount of waste generated by an individual, household or organisation.
  • waste streamW - Waste materials that are either of a particular type (e.g. 'timber waste stream') or produced a particular source (e.g. 'C&I waste stream').
  • waste treatmentW - where some additional processing is undertaken of a particular waste. This may be done to reduce its toxicity, or increase its degradability or compostability.
  • wastewater - used water; generally not suitable for drinking.
  • water consumptionW - in water accounting: distributed water use + self-extracted water use + reuse water use - distributed water supplied to other users - in-stream use (where applicable).
  • water cycleW (hydrological cycle) passage of the water between the oceans and waterbodies, land and atmosphere.
  • water entitlementW - the entitlement, as defined in a statutory water plan, to a share of water from a water source.
  • Water FootprintW - the total volume of freshwater that is required in a given period to perform a particular task or to produce the goods and services consumed at any level of the action hierarchy. Country water footprint is a concept introduced by Hoekstra in 2002 as a consumption-based indicator of water use in a country – the volume of water needed to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of a country.
  • water harvestingW – see rainwater harvesting.
  • water intensityW - volume of water used per unit of production or service delivery; this is generally further reduced to monetary unit return per given volume of water used. Essentially equivalent to water productivity.
  • water neutralW – a scientifically based calculator for individuals <www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/Concept> to be extended to cover the construction industry, the food and beverage sector and other corporations or organizations. The water offset calculators aimed at business and other organizations are being developed and will be launched with the Individual Water Offset Calculator.[8]
  • water productivityW – the efficiency of outcomes for the amount of water used; the quantity of water required to produce a given outcome. WP-field relates to crop output e.g. kg of wheat produced per m3 of water. WP-basin relates to water productivity in the widest possible sense as including crop, fishery yield, environmental services etc. Increasing WP means obtaining increasing value from the available water.
  • water quality - the microbiological, biological, physical and chemical characteristics of water.
  • water resourcesW - water in various forms, such as groundwater, surface water, snow and ice, at present in the land phase of the hydrological cycle—some parts may be renewable seasonally, but others may be effectively mined.
  • water restrictionsW - mandatory staged restrictions on the use of water, which are relative to water storage levels.
  • water tradingW - transactions involving water access entitlements or water allocations assigned to water access entitlements.
  • water treatment - the process of converting raw untreated water to a public water supply safe for human consumption; can involve, variously, screening, initial disinfection, clarification, filtration, pH correction and final disinfection.
  • water tableW – upper level of water in saturated ground.
  • watershed – a water catchment areaW (North America) or drainage divideW (non-American usage).
  • weatherW - the hourly/daily change in atmospheric conditions which over a longer period constitute the climate of a region cf. climate.
  • well-beingW – a context-dependent physical and mental condition determined by the presence of basic material for a good life, freedom and choice, health, good social relations, and security.
  • wetlands - areas of permanent or intermittent inundation, whether natural or artificial, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water not exceeding 6 m at low tide. (Adapted from definition of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance). Engineeredd wetlands are becoming more frequent and are sometimes called constructed wetlands. In urban areas wetlands are sometimes referred to as the kidney of a city.
  • whitegoodsW - household electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, and dishwashers.
  • wind energy - the kinetic energy present in the motion of the wind. Wind energy can be converted to mechanical or electrical energy. A traditional mechanical windmill can be used for pumping water or grinding grain. A modern electrical wind turbine converts the force of the wind to electrical energy for consumption on-site and/or export to the electricity grid.
  • wind turbines – see wind energy.
  • workW – physical or mental effort; a force exerted for a distance; an energy transformation process which results in a change of concentration or form of energy.

Z[edit | edit source]

  • zero waste – turning waste into resource; the redesign of resource-use so that waste can ultimately be reduced to zero; ensuring that by-products are used elsewhere and goods are recycled, in emulation of the cycling of wastes in nature.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Journal of Industrial Ecology (since 1997)
  2. International Society for Industrial Ecology (since 2001)
  3. Progress in Industrial Ecology (since 2004)
  4. [1] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  5. Enric Sala: Glimpses of a pristine ocean
  6. [2] Trile Bottom Line Accounting
  7. [3] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  8. Acc. 26 Nov 2007 Hoekstra & Chapagain's Water Offset Calculator for the construction industry, the food and beverage sector and other corporations or organizations.

External links[edit | edit source]

(multilingual environmental glossary in 28 languages: ar, bg, cs, da, de, el, en, es, et, eu, fi, fr, hu, is, it, lt, lv, mt, nl, no, pl, pt, ro, ru, sk, sl, sv, tr)