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Ecopedia Home
From 'Carbon Footprints' to 'Freecycling', the Ecopedia will give you a 'greener' vocabulary.




Sick Building Syndrome
    "Sick building syndrome probably originated as a result of the oil embargoes that began in the mid-1970s," reports the journal Archives of Environmental Health. Indoor air quality is very important, and if toxins are present may result in e

Organics
    Put simply, organic crops and meats by law must be raised without sewage sludge, pesticides, ionizing radiation, genetically modified organisms and manmade fertilizers. Organic food and organic labels defined.

Green Collar Economy
    Generally speaking, the green-collar economy refers to the millions of jobs anticipated to be created by the development of clean, renewable energy technologies, though other jobs in sustainability may apply, such as organic farming.

Tankless Water Heater
    A tankless water heater provides hot water only when needed. That means higher energy efficiency and energy conservation. You'll also save money and have lower utility bills.

Wildlife
    Due to global warming, many birds have moved up the start of their annual migrations by as much as three weeks in response to rising temperatures. Polar bears and other wildlife are threatened by climate change.

Greenwashing
    Greenwashing is environmental whitewashing, when individuals or corporations claim to be going green without backing it up with real environmental change.

Fair Trade
    When you buy products bearing a label stating they're Fair Trade Certified, you're guaranteeing workers rights. Fair trade is often considered a green label, because it results in a cleaner environment.

Green Mortgages
    A green mortgage simply is a type of mortgage that provides you a money-saving discount or a bigger loan than normally permitted as a reward for energy efficiency improvements and energy conservation.

Flooding
    The United Nations calls extreme weather a sign of global warming, and it blamed the year's record hot average global temperature for spawning flooding disasters.

Heritage Foods
    Heritage foods are heirloom varieties of livestock, fruits and vegetables that deserve to be saved, since they promote genetic diversity and offer many benefits.

Compassionately Raised Meats and Poultry
    Modern agribusiness's meat industry treats livestock as commodities. Compassionately raised meats and poultry is an animal welfare movement based on free farm and certified humane labels.

Smart Growth
    Smart growth, also known as the new urbanism or transit-oriented development, is about building sustainable community into the fabric of a new place.

Green/Renewable Energy
    Green and renewable energy sources include solar power, wind power and geothermal, and there is debate over nuclear and hydropower.

Drought
    Drought is being worsened by global warming, which is causing extreme weather and altering the climate. Water conservation is an important way to confront drought.

New Green Cuisine
    What the heck is "new green cuisine"? Answer: Recipes that use delicious local, organic, natural, fresh, unprocessed foods raised sustainably and humanely with as little impact on the environment as possible.

Localvores and Localtarians
    Just as a "carnivore" eats only meat, a "localvore" or "localtarian" eats foods raised locally. Eating local foods supports local farmers, ensures fresh food, reduces food miles and means healthy eating.

Asthma
    Asthma is a chronic, episodic affliction that obstructs lung passageways and robs the victim of oxygen. Air pollution and poor air quality are major causes of asthma.

Cap & Trade
    Cap and trade is really one of the most promising ideas for controlling the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming.

Energy Audits
    An "energy audit" is a good first step toward realizing those money savings and making your place more energy efficient. Energy conservation is easy with an audit, which measures insulation, leaks, appliances and more.

Heat Waves
    Technically, a heat wave is three consecutive days above 90 degrees. Heat waves are increasing due to global warming, and are becoming more severe. They can kill.

Biodiversity
    Biodiversity cobbles together two words – biological diversity. Preserving genetic diversity and endangered species is crucial to the health of the planet.

Ozone
    There are two kinds of ozone - one good, the other bad. One protects us in the ozone layer, which has a hole in it, and the other is ground level air pollution, or smog.

Colony Collapse Disorder
    Colony Collapse Disorder – the term for the inexplicable die off of honeybee colonies - threatens bees across the world, which are major pollinators.

Green Home Labels
    Green home labels include FSC, Forest Stewardship Council, for wood, LEED certification, Energy Star, EPA's Watersense and more.

Wildfires
    Also called a "forest fire" or "brush fire," wildfires spread quickly – wildly -- in grasslands, forests or brush. They are becoming more common as a result of global warming.

Peak Oil
    Oil is a finite resource — it is produced by subterranean pressure over the course of millions of years. Peak oil may be close, meaning high gas prices and tight supply, as well as the end of the era of fossil fuels.

Co-op
    Small local stores known as food cooperatives – co-ops for short – are destinations for health-conscious shoppers who want fresh food, organics and natural products.

Carbon Footprints
    Your carbon footprint is a measurement of the effect you have on the climate in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases you produce. It's how much your carbon emissions contribute to global warming.

Climate Vs. Weather
    What's the difference between climate and weather? Answer: Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get. Global warming is changing everything, however.

CAFE Standards
    CAFE Standards, Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency, is a hot political issue. Greens want higher gas mileage, better fuel economy, but automakers have been dragging their heels.

Free Range Foods
    The term "free range" is absolutely unregulated for eggs, beef or any food except live poultry. The meat industry and animal welfare advocates disagree over free range meats.

Solar Panels
    What the heck is a solar panel? Colloquially, it's something that converts the sun's rays into electricity.

Green Building
    Green building is about energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and sustainability.

Volatile Organic Compounds
    Volatile organic compounds, VOCs, are indoor air quality toxins that can be harmful to our health.

Wind Energy
    Wind energy is a growing form of renewable energy that offers clean power and no greenhouse gases.

Flexitarian Diet
    The American Dialect Society deemed flexitarian the "most useful word of the year" in 2003. Definition: a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.

Food Miles
    A "food mile" is the distance food travels from the farm to the store where you buy it, and these miles are costly to the environment. Eating local reduces your food miles, and therefore energy use.

Deconstruction
    A tenant of green building is deconstruction, in which old buildings are taken apart, and their materials are reused and recycled, instead of sent to a landfill.

Cancer Cluster
    Cancer clusters can form around places where toxic pollution threatens public health, as around mines, hazardous waste, polluting factories and other problems.

Artisanal Foods
    Artisanal food is handcrafted, high quality, often gourmet food. It can be found in farmers markets, part of the Slow Food movement and in co-ops. It is natural, unprocessed and fresh, often made by local farmers.

Hardiness Zones
    Plant hardiness zones divide the US and Canada into 11 areas based their average annual minimum temperature. Global warming has caused them to shift.

Biofuels
    Biodiesel and other alternative fuels burn cleaner than fossil fuels, and are made from renewable sources.

Heirloom Seeds
    Heirloom seeds are great for preserving biodiversity in gardening and in our food supply. Heirloom varieties are often rich in nutrients and flavor.

Slow Food Movement
    The Slow Food Movement is all about enjoying high quality food, especially local, heirloom and organic varieties. It is about healthy eating and living more gently on the Earth.

Growing Season
    Spring is arriving sooner in much of the country, as global warming changes the climate. Plants are having different growing seasons, making gardening more challenging.

Bisphenol A
    Many plastics contain hormone mimics called endocrine disruptors, which may be harmful to our health, mimicing estrogen and other hormones.

Hurricanes
    Hurricanes are being made more intense and more frequent as a result of global warming, believe many weather scientists. Hurricanes are also more destructive, since more people live on the coasts.

Autism
    Why are more and more children being diagnosed with autism – now about 1 in every 150 children born? Is there a link between autism and environmental toxins?

Greenhouse Gas
    Greenhouse gases can build up in the atmosphere, causing global warming, or climate change. They can result from industry and transportation, and include carbon dioxide emissions, water vapor, nitrous oxides, fluorocarbons and methane.

Green Roof
    A green roof is planted with a dense layer of vegetation that absorbs rainwater, filters air pollutants, provides insulation and can create wildlife habitat. Increases property value and decreases energy needed for cooling.




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