Hello! How is your day going?
I am an Environmental Scientist, so discussing and using words such as “climate change” and “sustainability” comes easy to me as I’ve learnt what they mean. However, many people haven’t been immersed in the environmental field and may have checked a website using a bunch of words that sound like it’s a good thing, but in actual fact you are not actually sure what you are supporting.
How would you define sustainability? If you don’t know, then do not fret. Here are a list of terms that are hot right now in the environment and many of them might be familiar to you. Hopefully you will be more understanding of these words and it might help you to shop more sustainably.
Sustainability – The best definition would be from the UN Bruntland Commission that you are “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Climate Change – a change in global or regional climate patterns, especially visible from the mid to late 20th century onwards. This is mainly due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels by human/anthropogenic activities.
Greenhouse Effect – A large amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that destroys the ozone layer (this layer protects humans and the environment). The greenhouse gases are trapped with the sun’s heat which heats up the earth and sadly is linked to climate change and other negative changes in our ecosystem.
Ocean Acidification – The decrease in the pH of the ocean due to the increased uptake of carbon dioxide. This causes the inhibition of shell growth in marine animals and studies have detected reproductive disorders in some fish due to altered pH levels.
Recyclable – A material, product or piece of packaging that can be recycled at the end of its lifecycle e.g. aluminium cans can be broken down into their original form to be made into new aluminium cans.
Reuse – A material that can be used over and over again for the the same purpose e.g. plastic shopping bags.
Carbon Footprint – The measured amount of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) that are released into the atmosphere by activities e.g. transport.
Fair Trade – The trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries to allow fairer prices to be paid to the producers.
Fast Fashion – A term used to describe how designs on the catwalk quickly capture trend in the current fashion trends, being sold for cheap prices and not in great quality.
Biodegradable – A product made of natural, raw materials that will decompose into the earth and having no negative affect on the environment.
Eco-friendly – Simply, not harmful to the environment.
Renewable – A natural resource or a source of energy (e.g. solar, wind) that is not depleted when it is used, compared to fossil fuels.
Zero Waste – A philosophy encouraging the redesign of resource life cycles to ensure all products are reused and to prevent products being thrown away in a landfill.
So, I hope these terms were of use to you and if so, you’ll be more aware of these terms when you next stumble across it.