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47 Cards in this Set

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shifting cultivation
Clearing a plot of ground in a forest, especially in tropical areas, and planting crops on it for a few years (typically 2Ð5 years) until the soil is depleted of nutrients or the plot has been invaded by a dense growth of vegetation from the surrounding forest. Then a new plot is cleared and the process is repeated. The abandoned plot cannot successfully grow crops for 10Ð30 years. See also slash-and-burn cultivation.
environmental scientist:
Scientist who uses information from the physical sciences and social sciences to (1) understand how the earth works, (2) learn how humans interact with the earth, and (3) develop solutions to environmental problems. Compare conservation biologist, conservationist, ecologist, preservationist, restorationist.
pollution cleanup:
Device or process that removes or reduces the level of a pollutant after it has been produced or has entered the environment. Examples are automobile emission control devices and sewage treatment plants. Compare pollution prevention
environmental degradation
Depletion or destruction of a renewable resource such as soil, grassland, forest, or wildlife that is used faster than it is naturally replenished. If such use continues, the resource can become nonrenewable (on a human time scale) or nonexistent (extinct). See also sustainable yield.
Anything obtained from the living and nonliving environment to meet human needs and wants. It can also be applied to other species.
exponential growth
Growth in which some quantity, such as population size or economic output, increases by a fixed percentage of the whole in a given time period; when the increase in quantity over time is plotted, this type of growth yields a curve shaped like the letter J. Compare linear growth
rule of 70:
Doubling time (in years) = 70/percentage growth rate. See doubling time, exponential growth.
All external conditions and factors, living and nonliving (chemicals and energy), that affect an organism or other specified system during its lifetime
point source
Single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment. Examples are the (1) smokestack of a power plant or an industrial plant, (2) drainpipe of a meatpacking plant, (3) chimney of a house, or (4) exhaust pipe of an automobile. Compare nonpoint source
frontier environmental worldview
Viewing undeveloped land as a hostile wilderness to be conquered (cleared, planted) and exploited for its resources as quickly as possible. Compare environmental wisdom worldview, planetary management worldview, spaceship-earth worldview.
slash-and-burn cultivation
Cutting down trees and other vegetation in a patch of forest, leaving the cut vegetation on the ground to dry, and then burning it. The ashes that are left add nutrients to the nutrient-poor soils found in most tropical forest areas. Crops are planted between tree stumps. Plots must be abandoned after a few years (typically 2Ð5 years) because of loss of soil fertility or invasion of vegetation from the surrounding forest. See also shifting cultivation
doubling time
The time it takes (usually in years) for the quantity of something growing exponentially to double. It can be calculated by dividing the annual percentage growth rate into 70.
Person concerned primarily with setting aside or protecting undisturbed natural areas from harmful human activities. Compare conservation biologist, conservationist, ecologist, environmentalist, environmental scientist, restorationist.
conservation biologist
Biologist who investigates human impacts on the diversity of life found on the earth (biodiversity) and develops practical plans for preserving such biodiversity. Compare conservationist, ecologist, environmentalist, environmental scientist, preservationist, restorationist
An undesirable change in the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of air, water, soil, or food that can adversely affect the health, survival, or activities of humans or other living organisms.
environmentalist :
Person who is concerned about the impact of people on environmental quality and believe that some human actions are degrading parts of the earthÕs life-support systems for humans and many other forms of life. Compare conservation biologist, conservationist, ecologist, environmental scientist, preservationist, restorationist.
solar capital
Solar energy from the sun reaching the earth. Compare natural resources
environmental science
Study of how we and other species interact with one another and with the nonliving environment (matter and energy). It is a physical and social science that integrates knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology (especially ecology), geology, geography, resource technology and engineering, resource conservation and management, demography (the study of population dynamics), economics, politics, sociology, psychology, and ethics.
pollution prevention:
Device or process that (1) prevents a potential pollutant from forming or entering the environment or (2) sharply reduces the amount entering the environment. Compare pollution cleanup.
Person concerned with using natural areas and wildlife in ways that sustain them for current and future generations of humans and other forms of life. Compare conservation biologist, ecologist, environmentalist, environmental scientist, preservationist, restorationist
perpetual resource
An essentially inexhaustible resource on a human time scale. Solar energy is an example. Compare nonrenewable resource, renewable resource
economic growth:
Increase in the capaity to provide people with goods and services produced by an economy; an increase in GNP. Compare economic development, environmentally sustainable economic development.
tragedy of the commons:
Depletion or degradation of a renewable resource to which people have free and unmanaged access. An example is the depletion of commercially desirable fish species in the open ocean beyond areas controlled by coastal countries. See common-property resource.

common-property resource:
Resource that people normally are free to use; each user can deplete or degrade the available supply. Most are renewable and are owned by no one. Examples are clean air, fish in parts of the ocean not under the control of a coastal country, migratory birds, gases of the lower atmosphere, and the ozone content of the upper atmosphere (strato-sphere). See tragedy of the commons.
Scientist or other person devoted to the partial or complete restoration of natural areas that have been degraded by human activities. Compare conservation biologist, conservationist, ecologist, environmental scientist, preservationist
developed country
Country that is highly industrialized and has a high per capita GNP. Compare developing country.
nonrenewable resource
Resource that exists in a fixed amount (stock) in various places in the earthÕs crust and has the potential for renewal by geological, physical, and chemical processes taking place over hundreds of millions to billions of years. Examples are copper, aluminum, coal, and oil. We classify these resources as exhaustible because we are extracting and using them at a much faster rate than they were formed. Compare renewable resource.
developing country:
Country that has low to moderate industrialization and low to moderate per capita GNP. Most are located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Compare developed country.
information and globalization revolution:
Use of new technologies such as the telephone, radio, television, computers, the internet, automated databases, and remote sensing satellites to enable people to have increasingly rapid access to much more information on a global scale. Compare agricultural revolution, environmental revolution, hunterÐgatherers, industrial revolution.
Biological scientist who studies relationships between living organisms and their environment. Compare conservation biologist, conservationist, environmentalist, environmental scientist, preservationist, restorationist
Collecting and reprocessing a resource so that it can be made into new products. An example is collecting aluminum cans, melting them down, and using the aluminum to make new cans or other aluminum products. Compare reuse.
environmentally sustainable economic development
Development that (1) encourages environmentally sustainable forms of economic growth that meet the basic needs of the current generations of humans and other species without preventing future generations of humans and other species from meeting their basic needs and (2) discourages environmentally harmful and unsustainable forms of economic growth. It is the economic component of an environmentally sustainable society. Compare economic development, economic growth
renewable resource
Resource that can be replenished fairly rapidly (hours to several decades) through natural processes. Examples are trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, most groundwater, fresh air, and fertile soil. If such a resource is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted and converted into a nonrenewable resource. Compare nonrenewable resource and perpetual resource. See also environmental degradation.
agricultural revolution
Gradual shift from small, mobile hunting and gathering bands to settled agricultural communities in which people survived by learning how to breed and raise wild animals and to cultivate wild plants near where they lived. It began 10,000-12,000 years ago.
Using a product over and over again in the same form. An example is collecting, washing, and refilling glass beverage bottles. Compare recycling
gross national product (GNP
Total market value in current dollars of all goods and services produced by an economy, usually during a year. Compare gross domestic product, gross world product.
sustainable yield (sustained yield
Highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used without reducing its available supply throughout the world or in a particular area. See also environmental degradation.
gross world product (GWP
Market value in current dollars of all goods and services produced in the world each year. Compare gross domestic product, gross national product.
per capita GNP
Annual gross national product (GNP) of a country divided by its total population. See gross national product.
People who get their food by gathering edible wild plants and other materials and by hunting wild animals and fish. Compare agricultural revolution, environmental revolution, industrial revolution, information and globalization revolution.
nonpoint source:
Large or dispersed land areas such as cropfields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area. Compare point source.
gross domestic product (GDP):
Total market value in current dollars of all goods and services produced within a country, usually during a year. Compare gross national product, gross world product.
environmentally sustainable society
Society that satisfies the basic needs of its people without depleting or degrading its natural resources and thereby preventing current and future generations of humans and other species from meeting their basic needs
Broad process of global social, economic, and environmental change that leads to an increasingly integrated world. See information and globalization revolution.
Study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy; study of the structure and functions of nature.
economic development
Improvement of living standards by economic growth. Compare economic growth, environmentally sustainable economic development.
industrial revolution
Use of new sources of energy from fossil fuels and later from nuclear fuels, and use of new technologies, to grow food and manufacture products. Compare agricultural revolution, environmental revolution, hunterÐgatherers, information and globalization revolution