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NYO - Glossary of environmental terms
Category: Meteorology and astronomy > Glossary of environmental terms
Date & country: 16/11/2010, US
Words: 85


Afforestation
Planting trees where there were none before.

Arid
Regions where precipitation is insufficient in quantity for most crops and where agriculture is impractical without irrigation.

Biodegradable
Capable of being broken down by living organisms into inorganic compounds. Ideally all waste should be biodegradable.

Biomass
The total amount of living organisms in a given area.

Biosphere
The global ecosystem; that part of the earth and atmosphere capable of supporting living organisms.

CFC
Chlorofluorocarbon

CITES
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Climate
The long term average condition of the weather in a given area.

Conservation
The long-term protection and sustainable management of natural resources in accordance with principles that ensure long-term economic and social benefits.

Developed World
Those countries that have industrialized through possessing the means and the technology to do so. Also referred to as the "North" or the "Industrialized World."

Dioxin
Any of a family of compounds known chemically as dibenzo-p-dioxins. Concern about them arises from their potential toxicity and contamination in commercial products.

EETU
Environmental Education and Training Unit

EEU
Environmental Economics Unit

Effluent
The discharge of industrial or urban waste material into the environment; the outflow from a lake or river.

EIA
Environmental Impact Assessment

ELIU
Environmental Law and Institutions Unit

Emissions
The release of greenhouse gases and/or their precursors into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time.

Endangered species
A species threatened with extinction.

Environmentally Sound
That which does not harm the environment in any way.

Extinct species
A species that no longer survives anywhere in the world.

FAO
(UN) Food and Agriculture Organization

GATT
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

GEF
Global Environment Facility

GEMS
Global Environment Monitoring System

GESAMP
Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution

GRID
Global Resource Information Database

Gross National Product (GNP)
The total market value of all the goods and services produced by a nation during a specific period of time.

Groundwater
The supply of fresh water found beneath the earth's surface (usually in aquifers) which is often accessed through wells and springs.

HABITAT
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)

Hazardous waste
Refuse that could present dangers through the contamination and pollution of the environment. It requires special disposal techniques to make it harmless or less dangerous.

Hydroelectricity
Electric energy produced by water-powered turbine generators.

Hydrologic cycle
The cycle that water through its natural process of evaporation and precipitation

IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency

IE/PAC
Industry and Environment Programme Activity Centre

IEEP
International Environmental Education Programme

ILO
(UN) International Labour Organization

IMF
International Monetary Fund

IMO
(UN) International Maritime Organization

IOC
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

IPA
(UNEP) Information and Public affairs

IRPTC
International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals

IUCN
The World Conservation Union

MARC
Monitoring and Assessment Research Centre

Molecules
A group of atoms held together by chemical forces.

NGO
Non-Governmental Organization

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
An organization centred around a cause or causes that works outside the sphere of governments. NGOs often lobby governments in an attempt to influence policy.

Non-renewable resources
Natural resources that are not naturally replenished once they have been harvested. Non-renewable resources can be used up completely or else used up to such a degree that it is economically impractical to obtain any more of them. Fossil fuels and metal ores are examples of non-renewable resources.

North
See "Developed World."

OCA
Oceans and Coastal Areas

OECD
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Organic Compounds
Compounds composed of carbon and hydrogen. Organic compounds form the basic building blocks of living tissue.

Organism
A living thing.

Ozone layer (stratospheric ozone)
Ozone that is formed in the stratosphere from the conversion of oxygen molecules by solar radiation. Ozone absorbs much ultraviolet radiation and prevents it from reaching the Earth.

PAC
Programme Activity Centre

Parts Per Million (PPM)
The number of "parts" by weight of a substance per million parts of water. This unit is commonly used to represent pollutant concentrations. Large concentrations are expressed in percentages.

PCRI
Pollution Control Research Institute

Plankton
Those organisms that are unable to maintain their position or distribution independent of the movement of water or air masses.

RCU
Regional Co-ordinating Unit

Reforestation
The process of reestablishing a forest on previously cleared land.

Septic Tank
An tank (usually kept underground) that is used to hold domestic wastes when a sewer line is not available to carry them to a treatment plant. It stores the solid waste until bacteria breaks it down and the relatively clean water is absorbed by the ground.

South
See "Developing World."

Stratosphere
The layer of the atmosphere between about 10 and 40 km above the Earth's surface within which temperatures rise with altitude. The stratosphere contains 90 per cent of the atmosphere's ozone (O3).

Sustainable development
Development that ensures that the use of resources and the environment today does not compromise their use in the future.

TEB
Terrestrial Ecosystems Branch

Toxic
Harmful to living organisms.

Transnational corporation
A corporation that is not based in any one country but may maintain corporate offices in several countries.

Ultraviolet Radiation (UV)
Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of 200 to 400 nanometres. (Also known as ultraviolet light).

UNCED
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (The Earth Summit)

UNCHE
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

UNCLS
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

UNCOD
United Nations Conference on Desertification

UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNDP
United Nations Development Programme

UNDRO
United Nations Disaster Relief Organization

UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme

UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund

UNICEF
United Nations Children's Fund

UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization

UNITAR
United Nations Institute for Training and Research

UNSCEAR
United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation

UNSO
United Nations Sudano-Sahelian Office

VOC (volatile organic compound)
The term used to describe the organic gases and vapours that are present in the air. They are believed to be involved in ground-level ozone formation. Some VOCs are toxic air pollutants.

WHO
(UN) World Health Organization

WICEM
World Industry Conference on Environmental Management

WMO
(UN) World Meteorological Organization