Language plays a fundamental role in the understanding and awareness of the environment. Therefore, we have created a dictionary of keywords to understand better the key challenges and concepts in the environmental field.
Climate change refers to the increase in the Earth’s average temperature due to human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. This has significant consequences on weather patterns, ecosystems, and life on the planet.
The carbon footprint represents the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by a particular person, organization, or event. It measures the individual or collective contribution to climate change.
Biodiversity is the variety of life forms on Earth, from plants and animals to microorganisms. Maintaining biodiversity is essential for the balanced functioning of ecosystems.
Deforestation refers to the removal or degradation of forests, usually due to agriculture, logging, or urban development. It has a negative impact on biodiversity and contributes to climate change.
Renewable energies come from natural sources and regenerate quickly, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy. These sources are cleaner and more sustainable than fossil fuels.
Sustainable development seeks to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It seeks a balance between economic growth, social equity, and environmental preservation.
Recycling involves the transformation of used materials into new products. It helps reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources, and reduces pollution.
Pollution refers to the introduction of harmful substances or agents into the environment, such as air, water, or soil. It can have detrimental effects on living beings and ecosystems.
Sustainability implies the responsible use of natural resources to meet current needs without compromising the needs of future generations. It seeks a balance between the economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Ecology is the science that studies the interactions between organisms and their environment. It examines how living things relate to each other and to their habitat.
An ecosystem is a community of living beings (plants, animals, and microorganisms) that interact with each other and with the physical environment in which they live. Examples of ecosystems include forests, oceans, rivers, and deserts.
Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes arid, generally due to inadequate land use, climate change, and deforestation. This can lead to biodiversity loss and soil degradation.
Exhaustion of resources
Resource depletion refers to the excessive or unsustainable use of natural resources, such as water, fossil fuels, and minerals. This poses challenges for future generations and the health of the planet.
Climate resilience is the ability of natural and human systems to adapt to and recover from the impacts of climate change. It involves planning and adopting measures to reduce vulnerability to extreme climate events.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
POPs are toxic chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment and can accumulate in the tissues of living organisms. These contaminants represent a risk to human health and the environment.
Ocean acidification is the increase of acidic pH in the oceans due to the absorption of carbon dioxide. This has negative effects on marine ecosystems, especially corals and other marine organisms with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.
Hazardous wastes are materials that pose a significant risk to human health or the environment due to their corrosive, flammable, toxic, or reactive characteristics. Proper disposal is essential to prevent contamination.
Global warming is the increase in the Earth’s average temperature due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This has negative impacts on ecosystems, weather patterns, and life in general.
Nature reserves are areas designated and protected to conserve biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources. These areas play a critical role in the preservation of endangered wildlife and habitats.
Air pollution refers to the presence of harmful substances in the atmosphere, such as fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide. It can have harmful effects on human health as well as on the environment in general.
Nuclear energy is energy generated from the fission or fusion of atoms in nuclear reactors. While it can be a powerful source of energy, it also raises concerns about safety and radioactive waste management.
Conservation refers to the protection and preservation of natural resources, ecosystems, and species. It includes measures such as the proper management of protected areas and the adoption of sustainable practices.
The ozone hole is a significant decrease in the ozone layer of the atmosphere, especially over Antarctica. This allows harmful amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun to pass through, increasing the risk of damage to health and the environment.
Permaculture is a design approach that seeks to create sustainable systems that mimic patterns found in nature. It is based on principles such as efficient use of resources, diversity, and interconnection of elements.