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639 terms

AGRI - sustainable agriculture (EN-EN)

The nonliving component of an ecosystem,
including the soil, water, and air
The original or native inhabitants of
a country or region
Absorptive capacity
The maximum amount of
waste that can be absorbed by the environment
Acceptable daily intake
A daily exposure
level that will not cause adverse health effects
Adaptation to changing or new
Acid precipitation
Rain, snow, fog, or dew
containing sulfuric and nitric acids produced by
fossil fuel combustion
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
A disease caused by the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV), which reduces the
body's ability to fight other diseases
Active solar heating
The use of solar panels to
collect and concentrate the sun's energy for
A brief but high level of exposure to a
hazardous substance or an adverse health effect
resulting from a brief exposure to a hazardous
Biological modification that allows
species to better exist in a specific environment
Chemicals added to food, often considered
to represent a threat to human health
A suspension of particles in the atmosphere
Establishment of forest in an area
not previously forested
Carcinogenic toxins produced by
molds in stored crops
Age distribution or structure
The proportions
of a population falling into three distinct
groups: preproductive, reproductive, and
Extent to which humans are able to
create and change the world in which they live
Agenda 21
One of several documents emerging
from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in
June 1992
Agent orange
A mixture of several herbicides
that is considered to be a carcinogen because it
is contaminated with dioxin. The name comes
from the orange-banded barrels in which it was
Industrialized agriculture controlled
by corporations
Agricultural economy
An economic system
based primarily on crop production
Agricultural revolution
A shift that took place
10,000 to 12,000 years ago and was characterized
by the movement of human activity from
hunting and gathering to agriculture
An agricultural system based on
the cultivation of trees with other crops
See acquired immune deficiency
Air pollution
Contamination of the air with
solids, liquids, or gases that may be hazardous
to humans or other living organisms
The five
primary pollutants
carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons,
nitrogen compounds, particulate matter,
and sulfur dioxide
Alternative agriculture
Agriculture based on
reduced use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides,
increased use of crop rotation, and reduced
tillage of the soil
Alternative crops
Nontraditional crops that
can be grown in an area to diversify rotations
and increase income
Alternative energy
Energy produced from
sources other than fossil fuels (solar, wind, hydroelectric,
geothermal, and biomass)
Seeking the good for others
The Amazon Basin area of South
America, consisting of 5-7 million kilometers of
grasslands, wetlands, shrublands, lakes, and
tropical forests
Surrounding or outside
Amoebic dysentery
A human disease caused
by one-celled parasites called amoebae
Ancient forests
Forests that have never been
cut and typically consist of trees 250 years of
age and older
Animal rights
The belief that animals have
rights similar to those afforded to humans
Relating to the period during which
humans have existed on earth
Anthropocentric ethic
The belief that only
humans have value and that the environment
exists solely for the benefit of humans; nature
has no rights
Based on human activities; often
used to refer to environmental changes
caused by human activity
Appropriate technology
small-scale, production methods using renewable
The farming of fish for human
A rock, gravel, or sand formation in
which water is collected
Aquifer depletion
Depletion of water of an
aquifer resulting from withdrawal that is greater
than natural or artificial recharge
Arable land
Land that can be cultivated
A condition in which less than 10 inches
of rain falls each year and the level of evaporation
is greater than the level of precipitation
Arithmetic growth
An increase in some
phenomenon at a constant rate over a specified
time period
Artificial fertilizer
A chemical added to soil to
enhance crop production
Artificial recharge
Adding water to an aquifer
Assimilative capacity
The ability of a water
body such as a lake or stream to purify itself of
The air that surrounds the earth
and is bound by the earth's gravitational attraction
Atmospheric inversion
A situation in which a
layer of warm air traps pollutants
Average life expectancy
The number of years
that an average person can expect to live
Balance of nature
An idea popularized by
George Perkins Marshall that all life is interrelated This idea has been rejected
by modern biological ecology but embraced
by proponents of deep ecology
Basic needs
The basic items and services
needed by an individual to ensure a reasonable
standard of living
Refers to an industrial accident at a
Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India in 1984,
resulting in the deaths of close to 4,000 humans
and thousands of animals and the injury
of 300,000 persons
The accumulation of pollutants
in an organism; sometimes referred to as
Biocentric ethic
The idea that nature, not humankind,
is the measure of all things
An agent that kills many organisms in
the environment
Capable of being broken down
into basic elements as a result of bacterial or
other microbial action
The degree of species richness and
natural genetic variation
Methane gas produced by animal and
human dung, crop residues, and other organic
matter; can be used as a fuel or fertilizer
Biogeochemical cycle
The cycling of chemicals
or nutrients between abiotic and biotic sectors
of the biosphere
Biological amplification
The accumulation of
higher levels of pollutants in organisms higher
up in the food chain
Biological control
The use of natural enemies
or diseases to control pests
Biological evolution
Changes in the gene pool
of a species over time
All living matter in an area and stored
energy in an organic form like wood
Biomass energy
Energy derived from plant
A large ecosytem that has distinct climate,
geology, and organisms; e.g. desert, tundra,
grassland, savanna, woodland, coniferous
forest, temperate deciduous forest, and tropical
rain forest
An area defined by natural ecological
systems, such as a river watershed
Restoring a natural area by the
addition of living organisms
The natural system of the earth and
the atmosphere that supports life
The plant and animal life of an ecosystem;
often referred to as flora and fauna
Biological manipulation of living
organisms to produce foods, drugs, and
other products for humans
Birth cohort
A group of people born during a
specific time period
Birth rate
The number of live births in a given
year divided by the midyear population
A large grazing animal that once reigned
over the grasslands of North America but was
slaughtered in great numbers during the 1870s
Black Death
The name for the plague that
swept Europe and Asia during the Middle Ages
Blocked development
Economic development
in less developed countries that is impeded by
developed countries
Breeder nuclear fission
A nuclear fission process
in which new radioactive fuel is produced
Brundtland Commission
The World Commission
on Environment and Development chaired
by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem
Bubble policy
A policy that allows polluters to
discharge more pollutants at one source, if an
equivalent reduction occurs at other sources
California condor
A bird once found in the
mountains of California but now virtually extinct
The breakdown of the normal process
of cell growth in which cancerous cells invade
and destroy other cells and tissues
Capital goods
Accumulated items used to produce
other goods and services
An economy based on private enterprise
and the use of markets for allocating economic
Capitalist economy
An economic system in
which the means of production are owned privately
Car emissions
Chemicals produced by the internal
combustion engine and considered hazardous
Carbon cycle
The process by which carbon,
the chemical foundation of living organisms,
circulates throughout the natural world
Carbon dioxide
A gas that is an important part
of the carbon cycle
Carbon sink
A part of the biosphere that absorbs
more carbon dioxide than it releases
Carbon tax
A tax imposed on fossil fuels according
to the amount of carbon contained in
An environmental agent, such as a
pesticide, that causes cancer
An animal or plant that feeds on and
digests animals
Carrying capacity
The total population that a
particular area can support at a subsistence
Cash crop
Agricultural produce marketed for
cash rather than retained for household use
Centrally planned economy
An economy
whose investment and production are coordinated
by a central government body
See chlorofluorocarbons
Chemical—An element or compound naturally
occurring or created by humans
A nuclear power plant in the
former Soviet Union that suffered a serious accident
in 1986
Child labor
A practice whereby children between
the ages of 8 and 15 are forced to work
for a living
China Syndrome
The meltdown of a nuclear
Chipko movement
A local movement that began
in India in the early 1980s and is opposed
to governmental and other deforestation programs
Nontoxic chemicals
used as coolants in refrigerators and air-conditioners,
as propellants in aerosol cans, and as
A health effect that takes a long time
to manifest itself or that persists for some time
Circle of poison
The use of pesticides banned
in the developed countries on crops that are
produced in less developed countries for export
to developed countries
Civil suit
A lawsuit centered on an individual
seeking damages for injury or loss
A person's ranking in a social hierachy;
based on access to wealth and other scarce resources
Class action suit
A lawsuit centered on a
group seeking damages for injury or loss
Class system
A system of social inequality
based on the unequal distribution of economic
An action taken to deal with the release
of a hazardous substance that could affect
the environment or human health
A logging practice in which a majority
of the trees in an area are cut
The long-term average of weather conditions
in an area
Climate change
A change in climate caused by
human activities or natural phenomena
Cognitive process
A mental process involved
in human learning and reasoning
The practice of economic and political
domination of less developed countries by
developed countries
Goods and services that can be
bought and sold
Common law
Legal principles based on previous
legal decisions
A group interacting at a specific
time and place, as well as sharing a similar cultural
Decayed organic and animal matter
used as fertilizer
Those wanting to preserve
natural resources
Conservation tillage
The practice of reducing
or eliminating tillage operations and leaving
crop residues on the soil to prevent erosion
Contagious diseases
Diseases that are transmitted
by physical contact
Any substance that has an adverse
effect on air, water, or soil
Contingent valuation
Valuation of commodities
not traded in markets
Contour plowing
A soil conservation technique
in which cultivation follows the contours
of the land
A birth control practice, such as
use of condoms, intrauterine devices, or the
Convenience food
Processed food often containing
high levels of fat, sugar, and/or salt; production
and marketing are controlled by large
transnational corporations
A multilateral agreement between
countries, usually a legal agreement on international
environmental issues
Convergence thesis
The idea that different
countries are becoming similar
Core countries
Developed countries having
the most technologically advanced, capital-intensive,
and high-wage economies, e
Coronary heart disease
A disease affecting
the heart and/or coronary vein or artery
A view that natural resources are
A large private organization with
multiple owners
Cost-benefit analysis
Evaluating projects, policies,
and programs in terms of economic costs
and benefits
Cover crops
Plants used to hold the soil during
the fallow season
Cowboy economy
An economy that behaves
as if natural resources are infinite in supply and
nature can absorb all wastes
Criteria pollutants
Substances that result in
the most air pollution: carbon monoxide, sulfur
dioxide, particulates, hydrocarbons, nitrogen
oxides, ozone, and lead
Crop rotation
An agricultural method in which
two or more crops are rotated from year to year
to reduce nutrient depletion of the soil and reliance
on pesticides
A commonly held set of beliefs, attitudes,
and rules for behavior in a society
See developed country
See dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane
Death rate
The number of deaths in a given
year divided by the midyear population
Debt crisis
A financial crisis faced by a number
of less developed countries who borrowed extensively
in the 1970s and early 1980s
Debt-for-nature swap
A method begun in
1987 to help deal with the debt crisis by swapping
debt for creation of nature preserves
Deep ecology
The environmental ethic maintaining
that all species are of equal value and
that humans have no right to reduce life except
to satisfy basic needs
Forest loss; typically defined as a
forest losing 40 percent or more of the trees
Delaney amendment (Delaney clause)
amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic
Act that bans the use of all food additives that
are carcinogenic
A government in which the political
power of elites is minimized and the political
power of nonelites is maximized
Demographic transition
The argument that as
countries improve their standard of living, birth
and death rates converge, and zero population
growth is achieved
The study of the size and composition
of human populations, especially fertility,
mortality, and migration patterns
The asymmetrical relations that
characterize interaction patterns between countries
occupying different positions in the world
Dependency theory
The theory that dependent
relations between nations foster positive
development in the developed countries but
distorted and constrained forms of development
in the less developed countries
Dependent development
A type of development
characterized by economic growth but
high income inequality and a repressive state
Depletion time
The actual time taken to deplete
a nonrenewable resource
The process of removing salt
and related minerals from water for human
The process by which land becomes
desert through climatic change or human
An organism that feeds on dead organic
Developed country
A country with a technologically
advanced, capital-intensive, and highwage
A value-laden notion referring to
the extent to which a society is meeting the
needs of its people
A sudden decline in the population of
an area after the carrying capacity of the environment
is reached
Diet transition
A change in diet that is
associatated with increased affluence
Several chemicals created in the production
of pesticides that have no industrial use
but are hazardous to human health
Direct action
A type of environmental protest
practiced by environmental groups such as
Direct regulation
A direct intervention in the
market to regulate a hazard
Dirty dozen
A group of 12 chemicals identified
by the Pesticide Action Network as dangerous
and posing a significant health risk
Discount rate
A rate used in cost-benefit analysis
for discounting future values to the present
Diseases of civilization
Heart disease and cancer
Affluence increases fat consumption and
causes a more sedentary and stressful lifestyle,
which put people at risk for these diseases
The number of species in an area
Dominant social paradigm
A western
worldview maintaining that humans are superior
to other creatures, the world provides unlimited
resources for humans, and human
history is characterized by substantial progress
The level of exposure to a hazard
Dose-response assessment
The determination
of the relationship between dose or exposure
and the intensity of the adverse effect
Doubling time
The amount of time required
for the population of a country to double
Drift net fishing
The use of huge nets that drift
on the water to catch fish
Drinking water
Water fit for human consumption
Drip irrigation
Irigation using a tape or pipe
with small holes that release water near the
roots of plants and eliminate runoff
Driving forces
Social forces identified as the
sources of environmental problems
forces are population expansion, economic
growth, political and economic institutions,
technology, and cultural values
The prolonged absence of natural precipitation
See dominant social paradigm
Dual economy
An economy with a rich modern
sector and a poor traditional sector; often a
problem for less developed countries
Dust bowl
An area in the Great Plains that experienced
drought and soil erosion in the late
1920s and 1930s
Earth Day
An event established in 1970 by
Gaylord Nelson and held every year on April 22
to raise environmental awareness
Earth Summit
The United Nations' Conference
on Environment and Development, which took
place at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June, 1992
See European Community
A prefix derived from the Greek word for
A planned effort to exterminate an
ecosytem or part of it
An environmental position maintaining
that environmental problems can be
traced to male-dominated institutions emphasizing
competition, dominance, and individualism
Environmental problems will be solved
only when male-dominated institutions are replaced
with egalitarian, cooperative, and
nonaggressive institutions
Ecological economics
Nontradional economics
that focus attention not only on allocation
and distribution of resources but also on the
larger ecosystem or environment
The economy
is viewed as a subsystem of the larger and finite
Attention centers on the flow of
matter and energy from the environment as
raw materials and back to the environment as
Ecological limit
The carrying capacity of a
given area
Ecological niche
The role of a species in an
The study of the relationship between
all living organisms and the environment
Economic depletion
The use of 80 percent of
a nonrenewable resource
Economic growth
Growth in the output of an
The gross national product (GNP) often
is used to measure growth in the economy
The study of the means by which
humans produce, distribute, and consume
goods and services
Economic system
A system of ownership, institutions,
and allocative and distributive
mechanisms of an economy
A human system by which resources
are produced, distributed, and consumed
An interacting system of a biological
community (biota) and its nonliving environment
Ecotage and ecoterrorism
Aggressive acts undertaken
against corporations and other parties
to protect the environment
See European Economic Community
The amount of product produced
per input unit of energy, labor, or material
A discharge of waste or other noxious
material into the environment
Effluent fee
A fee paid by a polluter to discharge
noxious emissions into the air and water
Electromagnetic pollution
Electronic and
magnetic fields created by electrical circuits
They may represent human health risks
Eleventh commandment
A commandment
put forward by the population control movement
that "Thou shall not transgress the carrying
capacity of the environment
Population migration away from an
The release or discharge of gases or
particulate matter into the air
Endangered species
Organisms that are at
risk of becoming extinct
Endangered Species Act
An act passed by the
Congress in 1973 to protect species in
danger of becoming extinct
The capacity to do work; usable power
Energy conservation
Elimination of energy
Energy efficiency
The amount of fuel needed
to sustain a particular level of production or
It typically is defined as annual
primary energy consumption per dollar of gross
domestic product
The measure of the degree of disorder
within a system; derived from thermodynamics
All living and nonliving components
by which an organism is surrounded and
Environmental accounting
An effort to incorporate
into measures of economic output the
environmental consequences of economic production,
such as soil depletion and air pollution
Environmental change
A human-caused decline
in the quantity or quality of a renewable
Environmental currency
Monetary values
that adequately reflect costs to the environment
of human activities, by determining such factors
as energy flows
Environmental degradation
Depletion or destruction
of a potentially renewable resource
such as soil
Environmental ethics
Moral relations that
hold between humans and the natural world
Environmental impact assessment
The process
of identifying and assessing environmental
impacts associated with a project, policy, or program
Environmental impact statement
A report
identifying the likely environmental consequences
of some project, policy, or program
Environmental movement
A political movement
to reduce resource depletion/destruction
and pollution
Environmental pathway
An environmental
path of hazard exposure; major pathways include
the air, soil, and water
Environmental Protection Agency
regulatory agency established in 1970 to control
pollution and conduct research on the environment
Environmental refugees
Migrants from an
area devastated by natural or technological hazards
Environmental services
The restorative functions
of nature, such as conversion of carbon dioxide
to oxygen by plants
Environmental sociology
A branch of sociology
examining the interaction between humans
and the natural environment
Individuals who attempt to
curb resource depletion/destruction and pollution
See Environmental Protection Agency
The study of environmental and
other factors determining disease
studies use human population data to examine
the distribution and determinants of
adverse health conditions
A pattern of fairness
A process by which rock particles and
soil are deposited in a new location through
water or wind action
See Endangered Species Act
A code of behavior regarding what is appropriate
and inappropriate
European Community
A group of 12 countries:
Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland,
Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, United
Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, and Germany
European Economic Community
An economic
union established in 1958 to promote
trade in western Europe that currently includes
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great
Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain
A process of biological or social
change involving adaptation to an ecosystem
Exponential growth
A growth pattern in
which some entity doubles in size during a
given time period
Export of pollution
Transporting pollutants to
another area or country
Exposure assessment
Determination of the
extent of contact between an organism and a
Extensive agriculture
Maximizing the amount
of land used for agricultural production
Beneficial or harmful effects associated
with production and consumption of a
good that are not included in its market price
The disappearance of a species
Exxon Valdez
An oil super tanker that ran
aground and spilled 300,000 barrels of oil in
Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989
This is
considered to be the worst oil spill in U
Factory farming
The mechanized, high-tech
production of animals for human consumption
Growth hormones and antibiotics used to enhance
growth of animals may pose health risks
to humans
Family planning
The practice of providing information
and contraceptives to help people
limit the number of children
Malnutrition and starvation resulting
from a shortage of food
See Food and Agriculture Organization
The animal life of an area
An area containing a high density of
animals that are fattened by intensive feeding;
high concentrations of wastes make them hazardous
A substance containing chemical elements
needed for plant growth, mainly potassium,
phosphorus, and nitrogen
First law of thermodynamics
A law stating
that energy is neither created nor destroyed,
but it does change form
First World
Countries that were the first to industrialize
The process of splitting atoms to release
Flood plain
A low area along a river considered
to be at risk of flooding
The plant life of an area
Fly ash
An air emission created by the incineration
of solid wastes
Food and Agriculture Organization
A United
Nations Agency based in Rome and given the
charge to improve efficiency of production and
distribution of agricultural products
Food chain
A hierachy of organisms, each feeding
on the lower one
Food gap
The difference between what people
need to subsist and what is produced by farmers
This occurs in some low-income countries
that are unable to produce basic foodstuffs
A biome with enough precipitation to
support various tree species
Fossil fuels
Mineral fuels that occur in rock formations
They include coal, oil, and natural gas
and provide a majority of the energy used in
the world
Free market
A market in which buyers and
sellers are free to contract on whatever terms
they like without government interference
Friends of the Earth
An environmental advocacy
group founded in 1970 by David Brower
An animal that lives on fruit
Fuelwood crisis
A shortage of wood for heating
and cooking purposes
A pesticide that kills fungi
Parasitic or saprophytic plants lacking
the green pigment chlorophyll and thus incapable
of photosynthesis
The process of combining atomic nuclei
in order to release energy
Gaia hypothesis
The hypothesis proposed by
Lovelock and Margulis that living organisms on
earth help regulate and stabilize the climate
General Agreement on Tariffs and
gross domestic product
Global Environmental Monitoring
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
multilateral trade agreement regulating the
world trade system
Genetic diversity
The genetic variability
within a group of related organisms
Genetic engineering
The manipulation of genetic
material for economic purposes
Geographic Information System
A computer
software mapping system that provides a basis
for manipulating, analyzing, and displaying spatial
The nonliving portion of the earth,
excluding the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and
Geothermal energy
Steam and hot water (created
by the earth's molted core) used to produce
electricity and considered to be a
renewable energy
Ghost acres
The land on which cheap foodstuffs
and agricultural products are produced by
less developed countries for export to the industrialized
See Geographic Information System
Global commons
Natural systems and resources
that do not belong to any one country,
Global Environmental Monitoring System
A global effort to monitor the earth's environment;
established in 1972 and operated by the
United Nations Environment Programme
Global positioning system
Global warming
An increase in the earth's surface
temperature caused by the heat trapped in
the earth's atmosphere by human-created gases
Gross National Product
An animal living on a diet of grain
or seeds
A biome with a moderate level of
precipitation and vegetation dominated by
Great Plains
A grassland area in the western
, extending from North Dakota south to
Texas and from the Rocky Mountains east to
western Minnesota and Missouri
Green consumerism
Purchasing environmentally
sound products
Greenhouse effect
A rise in the earth's surface
temperature caused by heat radiated by the
sun that becomes trapped by greenhouse gases
Greenhouse gases
Trace gases that contribute
to the greenhouse effect, mainly carbon dioxide,
methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons
An environmental organization
emphasizing sea mammal protection and elimination
of toxic pollution
Green politics
Politics centering on issues surrounding
environmental problems
Green revolution
The effort organized by the
United Nations in the 1960s to increase world
food production by introducing high-yield varieties
of rice, wheat, and maize and new techniques,
including irrigation and use of
Political parties with an environmental
Green tax
A tax on activities that pollute, deplete,
or degrade the environment
Gross domestic product
The value of goods
and services produced in the country
Gross national product
The value of goods
and services produced in a country plus remittances
received from abroad
Gross primary production
The total energy
produced by photosynthesis and stored in a
given biotic community
The water stored underground
in rock and soil
Group of 7
Seven of the largest industrial countries,
including Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United
Group of 10
The 10 most influential environmental
organizations in the United States
These include the Environmental Defense
Fund, Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, National
Audubon Society, National Parks and Conservation
Association, Natural Resources Defense
Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental
Policy Institute, National Wildlife Federation,
and Izaak Walton League of America
Group of 15
A group of 15 less developed
countries that meet to discuss issues of the
Third World
Group of 77
A group of less developed countries
in the Third World and Eastern Europe,
originally including 77 countries but later expanded
to include 129
Growth mania
A belief that "bigger is always
Growth rate
The annual percentage increase in
the gross national product
The place where organisms live
Habitat loss
The loss of natural habitat, often
by human actions
Hamburger connection
The clearing of land
in Central and South America to produce cattle
whose meat is exported to U
The wood of broad-leaved, flowering
trees (oak, mahogany, walnut, etc.)
A technology, activity, or substance that
has adverse effects on the environment or human
Hazard identification
The process of determining
that a technology, activity, or substance
causes adverse health, safety, or environmental
Hazardous waste
Waste possessing chemical,
physical, or biological characteristics that represent
a threat to either the environment or human
Hegemonic power
The power exercised by
states on an international basis because of their
economic and military status
See human exemptionalism paradigm
A chemical used to control weeds
and unwanted plants
An organism that obtains energy
from plant consumption
Human ecology
An area of inquiry concerned
with the relationship of humans and their activities
with the physical environment
Human exemptionalism paradigm
A set of
assumptions underlying the belief that humans
transcend the environment in which they live
Chemicals consisting of hydrogen
and oxygen and contributing to air pollution
Hydroelectric power
Electricity created by
movement of water
The water portion of the planet
Ice Ages
Periods when ice sheets moved from
the polar cap and covered areas of North
America, Europe, and Asia
Population migration into another
An economic decline among
poor people, making it difficult for them to
meet their basic needs for food, health, and
A system in which one country
uses the resources of a less powerful country
for its own benefit, typically involving economic
and political control
Burning wastes for purposes of
A gain or benefit expressed in money
or in goods and services over a specified time
Index of sustainable economic welfare
alternative measure for assessing the strength of
an economy and human well-being
gross national product and similar indicators, it
includes measures of environmental degradation
Indicator species
A species that can indicate
whether an ecosystem is being degraded
Industrial economy
A production system
based on machines to produce things of value
A stage in societal development
when resources are shifted from agriculture
to manufacturing
Infant mortality rate
The number of infant
deaths (children between the ages of 0-12
months) per 1,000 live births
Infectious diseases
See contagious diseases
Informal economy
Business outside of the recognized
sector of a country's economy
A chemical substance used to kill
Integrated pest management
A management
effort combining biological and chemical controls
to reduce reliance on synthetic pesticides
Intensive agriculture
A system to maximize
output of land through use of chemicals and
Intergenerational equity
A norm that calls for
considering the interests of future generations
when dealing with natural resources and a
healthy environment
Internal cost
The direct cost associated with a
product or service that is paid by the producer
and/or consumer
International regime
An international agreement
between nations
International Union for Conservation of Nature
and Natural Resources
A nongovernmental
organization founded in 1948 and
concerned with threats to the quality of the
natural environment, especially wilderness areas
and endangered species
The model holding that environmental
degradation (I) is an interactive function of human
population size (P), affluence (A), and
technology (T)
Artificial watering of crops
See index of sustainable economic welfare
See International Union for Conservation
of Nature and Natural Resources
J-shaped curve
An exponential growth curve
Land ethic
A philosophy developed by Aldo
Leopold around the idea that land is more than
a commodity and deserves to be treated with
A dump site in which waste is spread
in thin layers and covered with soil
Land scarcity
A situation in which 70 percent
or more of the arable land in a country or region
is under cultivation
See lethal dose
See less developed country
Liquid that has percolated through
soil or solid waste and picked up potentially
hazardous materials
Leaking underground storage tanks
causes of groundwater pollution in the U
Less developed country
A country with a low
per capita income and low to moderate industrialization. LDCs include nearly 150 nations
and 80 percent of the world's population
Lethal dose
The quantity of a chemical that is
lethal to 50 percent of the organisms in a specific
test situation
Life expectancy
The number of years that an
average person can expect to live
Little Ice Age
A cold period in Asia, Europe,
and North America (A
Its end coincided with the beginning of the industrial
revolution and an increase of greenhouse
Locally unwanted land use
A land use with
adverse environmental consequences
Love Canal
The location of a landfill site near
Niagara Falls that was used by Hooker Chemicals
and Plastics Company as a dumping site for
thousands of tons of chemical wastes during
the 1950s
See locally unwanted land use
See leaking underground storage tanks
Insufficent nutrition
The belief that population outstrips
society's ability to provide for its members
The theory of Karl Marx that all societies
go through a series of economic stages as
the production system evolves and increases
human control over the environment
Maternal mortality
Death during childbirth
See more developed country
A gas created as a waste product of
bacteria living with little oxygen and considered
to be a greenhouse gas
The movement of populations from
one area to another
The process accompanying industrialization
Modernization theory
A theory holding that
less developed countries will follow the course
of industrial development experienced by the
developed countries
See ecotage
An agricultural practice in which
a single species of plant is cultivated in an area
It requires large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides
Montreal Protocol
A treaty signed in 1987 by
24 countries, which pledged to phase out use
of all chlorofluorocarbons by 1999
The incidence of disease in a population
More developed country
A country with high
per capita income and a high level of industrialization,
, the United States, Canada, Japan,
Australia, New Zealand, and the western European
Deaths in a population
Multinational corporation
A large corporation
that owns property and produces and sells
products in a large number of countries
An environmental agent that causes
genetic mutations or defects
See National Ambient Air Quality
See North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement
The birth rate of a population
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Regulations established by the Clean Air Act
prescribing levels of pollution that may not be
exceeded during a specified time in a defined
National Audubon Society
An organization
founded in 1905 to protect bird populations but
now concerned with broader environmental
National Environmental Policy Act
A federal
environmental law (1969) that requires all federal
agencies to file environmental impact statements,
sometimes referred to as "the environmental
Magna Carta
National Institute of Occupational Safety and
National Wildlife Federation
An organization
founded in 1936 as an environmental advocacy
and educational group
Natural hazard
A natural event that damages
the environment and humans, e
Natural pollutants
Pollutants created through
natural processes, e
Natural resources
Substances and processes
used by people that they cannot create
Natural Resources Defense Council
An organization
founded in 1970 to protect natural
Natural sciences
Sciences that examine the
physical environment
The idea that human populations
grow until they reach the carrying capacity
of the environment
See new environmental paradigm
See National Environmental Policy Act
Net economic welfare
The gross national
product adjusted by subtracting the "bads"
such as pollution and by adding the value of
beneficial, nonmarket activities such as leisure
Net primary production
The total energy produced
by photosynthesis and stored in a biotic
community (gross primary production) minus
energy consumed by photosynthetic organisms
New environmental paradigm
A new set of
assumptions about the nature of the relationship
between humans and the larger environment
This paradigm holds that humans,
despite their exceptional characteristics, represent
one among many species on earth; human
activities are determined not only by social and
cultural factors but by the environment; and
humans are dependent on a finite environment
New international economic order
A list of
demands made by the Group of 77 nations in
the 1970s regarding changes in the structure of
North-South economic relations
New social movements
Recent social movements
whose origins, political tactics, and goals
differ substantially from those of the traditional
class and economic-based, social movements,
Newly industrializing countries
that have been industrialized only recently, e
nongovernmental organization
not in anybody's backyard
not in my backyard
not in my term of office
National Institute of Occupational
Safety and Health
Nongovernmental organization
An international
nonprofit organization that is not affiliated
with any government but is concerned
with problems of global and local environment
and development
Nonpoint source pollution
Pollution from
many different sources
Nonrenewable resource
A resource that cannot
be replenished
Nontransmissable disease
A disease that is
not caused by organisms and cannot be transmitted
through human contact, e
That part of the biosphere that is
affected by human activities
See not on our planet
North or Northern
Industrialized countries located
mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and
referred to as the First World
North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement
treaty freeing trade restrictions between
Canada, the U
Not in anybody's backyard
The idea that hazardous
activities and substances should not be
located in anybody's backyard
Not in my backyard
The idea that hazardous
activities and substances should not be located
in my backyard
Not in my term of office
The idea that hazardous
activities and substances should not be
located in the area during a politician's term of
Not on our planet
The idea that hazardous activities
and substances should not be located on
Physically harmful to living organisms
Nuclear energy
The energy produced through
nuclear fission or nuclear fusion
Nuclear winter
The theory that nuclear war
would lower the global temperature by adding
smoke, dust, and other materials to the atmosphere
and reducing incoming solar energy
Ocean dumping
Dumping hazardous wastes
and other substances in the oceans
See Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development
Ogallala Aquifer
An underground water
source that streches from Texas to South Dakota
and is used for irrigation in the Great
Old-growth forests
Forests consisting of trees
250 years or older in age
An animal that eats both plants and
Organic agriculture
The practice of growing
crops without chemical fertilizers and pesticides,
but otherwise similar to alternative agriculture
Organic beef
Beef from cattle raised without
antibiotics, growth hormones, or synthetic
Organic farming
Farming without the use of
artificial fertilizers or pesticides
Organic fertilizer
Organic matter added to the
soil to increase production, e
Organization for Economic Cooperation and
An organization founded in
1961 to further economic development and
consisting of 13 European countries plus the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
An organization created in 1960 and
consisting of 13 countries that control 60 percent
of the world's oil reserves
A situation in which some
people consume resources at levels beyond
their needs, often at the expense of those who
cannot meet their basic needs
Grazing by animals on vegetation
at a rate greater than the ability of vegetation to
regenerate itself
Excessive food consumption, especially
red meat, fats, sugars, and processed
More organisms in a population
than the existing resources can support
Population growing beyond the carrying
capacity of the environment
Ozone depletion
Depletion of the ozone layer
in the earth's upper atmosphere primarily by accumulation
of human-produced gases such as
Ozone layer
A layer of ozone in the earth's upper
atmosphere that acts as a protective shield
by filtering out ultraviolet light
Pacific Rim
The 34 countries and 23 islands in
and around the Pacific Ocean with an area of
70 million square miles and a population of 2
A set of assumptions about the nature
of reality
An organism living in or on another organism
Particulate matter
Tiny solid particles, such as
dust or soot, suspended in the air and representing
a human health risk
Passive solar heating
Heating a building
through the direct absorbtion of the sun's energy
A causal agent of a disease
The lowest position in the threestrata
hiearchy (periphery, semiperiphery, and
core) characterizing the world economic system
An organism that is detrimental to agricultural
A chemical that destroys or suppresses
Pesticide resistance
A situation in which pests
are not affected by a particular pesticide
Pesticide treadmill
A situation in which more
pesticides are applied to maintain previous levels
of production because their effectiveness has
been decreased by development of resistance in
Substances created during the
refinement of oil and used in the production of
plastics, paints, and other products
A process whereby radiant energy
of the sun is taken in by green plants and
converted into chemical energy
Photovoltaic cell
A cell that converts sunlight
into electricity
Physical quality of life
A measure of economic
welfare that is more sophisticated than
the gross national product
See place in blacks' backyard
See put in their backyard
Place in black's backyard—The idea that hazardous
activities and substances should be located
in areas inhabited by blacks
Point source pollution
Pollution that can be
linked to a single source
An activity by which people try to control
decisions about the distribution of resources
and other matters affecting their
Any substance that contaminates the
A negative change in the quality of
some part of the biosphere
Pollution prevention
A measure to reduce
emissions of noxious wastes into the air and
Population density
The number of persons per
unit of land area
Population explosion
Acceleration of the rate
of population growth, especially after 1800 in
industrialized countries and in the 20th century
in less developed countries
Postconsumer recycling
The reuse of materials
from residential or commercial waste
Postindustrial society
A modern economy
dominated by services and information, rather
than industry
A low standard of living in terms of
other people (relative poverty) or in terms of basic
needs (absolute poverty)
Power dependency relations
Relations between
individuals, groups, or countries characterized
by dominant/subordinate positions
Private good
A good that, when consumed by
one person, cannot be consumed by another
and whose supply can be restricted to one consumer
The amount of real output produced
by input units of labor and capital
Proximate causes
Those human activities that
directly cause some environmental problem
Public good
A commodity or service that is
available to everyone in an area, that cannot be
withheld from nonpayers, and whose consumption
by one person does not diminish that by
Push-pull hypothesis
The argument that certain
conditions (such as poverty) push people
out (emigration), whereas other conditions in
the area pull or attract people (immigration)
Put in their backyard
The idea that hazardous
activities and substances should be located in
others' areas
Quality of life
The extent to which basic human
needs (including health, education, shelter,
and food) are being met
Radical ecology
A variety of philosophic positions
that deny the possibility of slowing environmental
problems through economic and
political reforms, e
A naturally occurring radioactive gas
that is linked to lung cancer
Rain forest
A dense forest located in areas receiving
80 inches or more of rain each year
An area that provides vegetation for
grazing animals
Real gross national product
The gross national
product adjusted for inflation
The process of restoring natural
areas damaged by human activities, e
Still retaining useful properties after
serving a primary function and, thus, capable of
being used again
The reuse of scarce raw materials,
especially paper, glass, and metals
Recycling in your backyard
Engaging in recycling
Red tides
Sudden increases in red algae in areas
along seacoasts
Replacing forests
A set of principles, norms, rules, and
procedures governing negotiations and other interactions
between international participants
Renewable resource
A resource considered to
be inexhaustible
Replacement fertility rate
The rate at which
the number of people born equals the number
of people dying, resulting in a constant population
The ability of an organism to live in
the presence of environmental stress, pathogens,
or pests
However, resistance
acquired by weeds and insects can be a problem
see pesticide resistance and pesticide
Resource depletion
Using a resource at a
nonreplacement rate
Resource mobilization theory
A theory arguing
that social movements arise and act when
resources are available
Things obtained from the biosphere
by humans to meet their basic needs and
Rest of the world
The belief that hazardous
activities and substance should be located
somewhere else
Rio Conference
The United Nations Conference
on Environment and Development, which
took place at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June,
Riparian rights
A legal principle holding that
users of land adjoining a river have the rights to
the water, as long as plenty of water is left for
those downstream
The expected frequency and magnitude of
undesirable effects (death, disease, and injury to
humans and threats to the environment) resulting
from exposure to hazards
Risk assessment
An estimation of the probability
and magnitude of adverse health and environmental
effects of hazards
Risk-benefit analysis
A comparison of the
risks and benefits associated with a particular
hazard to determine its acceptability
Risk characterization
An overall summary of
what is known about the likelihood and magnitude
of adverse health, safety, and environmental
Risk communication
A process of providing
the public with information about the risks associated
with particular products, substances,
activities, and technologies
Risk evaluation
A determination of the acceptability
of an identified health, safety, or environmental
Risk management
A process of reducing or
controlling unacceptable risks
Risk perception
Human perception of health,
safety, or environmental risks
recycling in your backyard
The part of irrigation or precipitation
that runs off of land and into surface water and
often carries pollutants
A curve describing population growth
Having acceptable risk
The arid region south of the Sahara
Desert in West Africa in which food shortages
often occur because of infrequent seasonal
A process by which the salt content
of the soil is increased
An organism (especially a plant)
that lives on dead or decaying organic matter
A biome similar to grasslands, but receiving
more precipitation and containing more
An effort to understand physical or social
phenomena through replicable procedure
and observation
An antipollution device that removes
acid gasses and particulates from exhausted air
Second law of thermodynamics
A law holding
that, when energy is converted from one
form to another, some of the energy is degraded
or lost
Secondary air pollutants
Substances created
when primary pollutants combine with one another
and other substances
Secondary forest
A forest that has resulted
from replacement of original trees by new species
The middle position in the
three-strata world economic system; partially
industrialized countries such as Brazil, Taiwan,
the former Eastern Bloc nations, and related
countries fall in this category
Sex ratio
The number of males relative to females
Sierra Club
An environmental organization
founded by John Muir in 1892 that promotes
public education, litigation, and outings and
A part of an environmental system that absorbs
substances generated
strategic lawsuit against public participation
Slash-and-burn cultivation
A form of agriculture
in which land is cleared and farmed for a
short time; then the process is repeated on a
new piece of land when the original land is depleted
Hazy, unhealthy air polluted by smoke,
chemical fumes, or dust
Social construction of reality
A process in
which people's experience of reality is determined
by the meaning they attach to that reality
Social ecology
A radical ecological position
championed by Murray Bookchin and maintaining
that environmental problems can be traced
to a hierarchical political/economic system that
dominates humans and nature
Social evolution
A process of increasing societal
complexity that results from industrialization
Social movement
A large number of people
acting together to pursue some shared objective
Social sciences
Sciences concerned with the
study of human behavior, including anthropology,
economics, psychology, geography, political
science, and sociology
Social structure
Patterned social regularities
that emerge over time and typically represent
the interests of those controlling available resources
Socialist economy
An economic system in
which the means of production are owned publicly
Soft energy paths
Alternative energy sources
Soil erosion
The process by which productive
topsoil is eroded by wind or water action
Solar pond
A group of black plastic bags filled
with water and laid out in large areas
Solar power
The use of solar energy for heating
purposes or for generating electricity
Solid waste disposal
The final placement of
waste that cannot be recycled or salvaged
Source reduction
Controlling waste by changing
use at the level of production, for instance,
reducing the waste stream by stopping use of
unnecessary packaging
South or Southern
Less developed countries
located in the Southern Hemisphere and often
referred to as the Third World
Special risk group
A group that is at high risk
because of sensitivity or exposure to hazards
A group of similar organisms that are
capable of reproducing with one another
Standard of living
The quality of life or the extent
to which basic human needs are met
Steady state economy
An economy with a
constant population size and stock of capital
Stockholm Conference
The 1972 United Nations
Conference on the Human Environment
Strategic lawsuit against public participation
A lawsuit used increasingly by corporations
to stifle environmentalists
A hierarchical system based on
unequal distribution of resources or other
things that humans value
The upper atmosphere
Subsistence economy
An economy in which
production meets a population's minimum
needs but produces no surplus
A sequential change in vegetation
often in response to environmental change
An economic fund of the Environmental
Protection Agency earmarked for cleaning
up major hazardous waste sites
Production of goods and services beyond
the minimum needed to sustain life
Sustainable agriculture
Agricultural practices
that ensure long-term productivity with few
harmful effects
Sustainable development
The perspective
emphasizing the need to reconcile present and
future economic needs through environmental
Swidden agriculture
Another term for slashand-
burn agriculture
A set of standardized operations
that yields predetermined results
A substance that causes birth defects
Tertiary sector
The part of the economy that
produces services and information
Third World
Less developed countries that
have low per capita incomes, large agricultural
sectors, and a shortage of most kinds of capital
Three Mile Island
A nuclear power accident
that occurred at the Three Mile Island plant in
Pennsylvania on March 29, 1979
Three R's
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
The use of mechanized means to loosen
soil and improve growing conditions for crops
See transnational corporation
The top layer of the soil that contains
large amounts of organic matter
Toxic chemicals
Chemicals that can cause
harm to humans and the environment
Toxic wastes
Wastes that can cause harm to
humans and the environment and can be found
in the air, water, or soil
The study of the harmful effects of
hazardous substances on humans and other organisms
A hazardous substance produced by a living
Trace gases
Gases that occur in only small
Traditional agriculture
Farming based on
practices such as crop rotation, use of animal
manures instead of chemical fertilizers, and use
of animal power
Tragedy of the commons
The tendency for
people to overuse and degrade resources to
which they have free access, because it is in
their individual short-term interest to use them
in an unconstrained fashion
Transfrontier pollution
Pollution that moves
across national boundaries through natural
forces such as rivers and air currents
Transmissible disease
A disease caused by a
living organism transferred from one person to
another through physical contact
Transnational corporation
A firm with substantial
operations in many countries but controlled
from its home country
True costs
Market and nonmarket costs associated
with the production and use of goods and
An herbicide used to kill weeds and considered
to be a carcinogen and a mutagen
United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development
United Nations Development
United Nations Environment
Unequal exchange
A pattern describing trade
relations between two or more countries when
one country benefits more than another
Uneven development
The tendency for some
areas of a country or region to prosper, while
other areas stagnate
United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development
The Earth Summit held
in Rio in 1992
United Nations Development Programme
program with the stated purpose of enhancing
development worldwide
United Nations Environment Programme
program conceived at the 1972 Stockholm
Conference with the purpose of raising environmental
consciousness on a global level
The process by which an increasing
share of the population of a country lives in
Value added
A means of increasing the value
of agricultural commodities by improvements
A person who does not eat meat
Water pollution
Degradation of the natural
quality of water
Water table
The level below the surface at
which the ground is saturated with water
See World Commission on Environment
and Development
Several different types of habitats
containing water, e
World Health Organization
Why in my backyard
The question of why
hazardous activities and substances are placed
in a particular location
An area uninhabited by humans
All undomesticated organisms in an
area, especially animals
why in my back yard
Wind power
The generation of electricity
through wind, a renewable source
World Bank
The popular name for the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
which was established in 1947
World Commission on Environment and Development
Committee chaired by Norwegian
Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland
and also known as the Brundtland Commission
World economic system
A capitalist world
economy consisting of a three-tiered hierachy of
countries, including a periphery, semiperiphery,
and a core
World Environment Day
June 5 of each year;
designated by the 1972 UN Conference on the
Human Environment as a day to focus on environmental
World Health Organization
A United Nations
agency established in 1948 to promote cooperation
among nations in controlling disease
World Resources Institute
Policy research
center set up in 1982 to address environmental
issues on a global level
World-systems theory
A theory that views the
countries of the world as arranged in a hierarchical
system and linked through a capitalist
economy characterized by patterns of dependence
A set of beliefs and perceptions regarding
the manner in which the world operates
Worldwatch Institute
A research organization
founded in 1974 to track global problems
World Wildlife Fund
An organization founded
in the US in 1961 and working globally to
protect endangered wildlife and wetlands
World Resources Institute
Worldwide Wildlife Fund
Worldwatch Institute
Yes, in my background-for a price
of the location of hazardous activities and
substances in an area for a price
yes, in my backyard-for a price
Zero discharge
The complete prevention of
pollutants from entering ecosystems
Zero population growth
A lack of population
growth caused by a balance among births,
deaths, and migration
Zero Population Growth
An organization
founded in 1968 to inform people about problems
associated with global population growth
zero population growth