Portal:Environment
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Portal:Environment

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Welcome to the Environment Portal
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Introduction

Land management has preserved the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls, Australia while allowing ample access for visitors.

The natural environment or natural world encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components:

In contrast to the natural environment is the built environment. In such areas where humans have fundamentally transformed landscapes such as urban settings and agricultural land conversion, the natural environment is greatly changed into a simplified human environment. Even acts which seem less extreme, such as building a mud hut or a photovoltaic system in the desert, the modified environment becomes an artificial one. Though many animals build things to provide a better environment for themselves, they are not human, hence beaver dams, and the works of mound-building termites, are thought of as natural.

People seldom find absolutely natural environments on Earth, and naturalness usually varies in a continuum, from 100% natural in one extreme to 0% natural in the other. More precisely, we can consider the different aspects or components of an environment, and see that their degree of naturalness is not uniform. If, for instance, in an agricultural field, the mineralogic composition and the structure of its soil are similar to those of an undisturbed forest soil, but the structure is quite different.

Natural environment is often used as a synonym for habitat, for instance, when we say that the natural environment of giraffes is the savanna. (Full article...)

A biophysical environment is a biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environment can vary in scale from microscopic to global in extent. It can also be subdivided according to its attributes. Examples include the marine environment, the atmospheric environment and the terrestrial environment. The number of biophysical environments is countless, given that each living organism has its own environment.

The term environment can refer to a singular global environment in relation to humanity, or a local biophysical environment, e.g. the UK's Environment Agency. (Full article...)

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Seacology is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization headquartered in Berkeley, California, that works to preserve island ecosystems and cultures around the world. Founded in 1991, it began with the work of ethnobotanist Paul Alan Cox, who researched tropical plants and their medicinal value in the village of Falealupo in Samoa during the mid-1980s. When the villagers were pressured into selling logging rights to their rainforest in 1988 to build a new school, Cox and his wife offered to help secure funds for the new school in return for an agreement with the villagers to protect their forest. With the help of his friends and family, Cox secured the funds within six months, later earning him and the village chief, Fuiono Senio, the Goldman Environmental Prize for their efforts. Word spread throughout the islands, and with increasing demand for similar projects, Cox, along with Bill Marré and Ken Murdock, decided to form Seacology and expand their work internationally. For the first few years, the organization operated on a volunteer basis. Duane Silverstein became the first employee in 1999, and headquarters were relocated to Berkeley, not far from his residence.

Because of the high risk of extinction for island fauna and the decline in coral reef ecosystems, Seacology's primary focus is projects in which villagers sign contracts under which they agree to help protect either terrestrial or marine habitat for a specified time in return for new buildings or services. The operations are low-cost, averaging around US$20,000 to $25,000. Construction is done with local labor and sometimes without the use of machinery. Seacology selects its projects by reviewing the recommendations of its field representatives and its scientific advisory board. (Full article...)

Did you know - show different entries

  • ... that the concept of reduce, re-use, and recycle as three equal options, but they are instead meant to be a hierarchy, in order of importance?

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An animated image showing projections of stratospheric ozone concentrations if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had not been banned. CFCs and other halogenated ozone-depleting substances are mainly responsible for man-made chemical ozone depletion. Since the ozone layer absorbs UVB ultraviolet light, its depletion is expected to increase surface UVB levels, which could lead to damage, including increase in skin cancer.

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Lester Brown in 2003.

Lester Russel Brown (born March 28, 1934) is a United States environmental analyst, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and former president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. BBC Radio commentator Peter Day referred to him as "one of the great pioneer environmentalists."

Brown is the author or co-author of over 50 books on global environmental issues and his works have been translated into more than forty languages. His most recent book is The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy (2015), in which he explains that the global economy is now undergoing a transition from fossil and nuclear energy to clean power from solar, wind, and other renewable sources. His previous book was Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity (2012). (Full article...)

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".

Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to sustainable development in its projects. IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation. It tries to influence the actions of governments, business and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, and through building partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various environment-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Margaret Thatcher
When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands.

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