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Coverage 32054km
Towns Visited 353
Projects 152
Hospitality Partners 405
CSR 116500ZAR
Last Trip 17 March 2017

 

 

 


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Glossary of Terms (A-D)

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A

Alien Vegetation
Plants from another geographic location. Alien vegetation uses more water than indigenous vegetation.

Animal-Friendly
Products, cosmetics and foods that avoid animal cruelty in their production processes.

Aerial Ocean
The Earth's atmosphere.

Animal Rights
The philosophy that animals have the right to be treated fairly and humanely.

Animal Testing
The practice of testing products, cosmetics and medicines on animals to make sure that they are safe for humans to use.

Acid Rain
The rain that is produced when water vapour collects carbon deposits from polluted air. Air pollution produced when acid chemicals are incorporated into rain, snow, fog or mist. The "acid" comes from sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, products of burning coal and other fuels. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released from power plants and other sources, winds blow them far from their source. If the acid chemicals in the air are blown into areas where the weather is wet, the acids can fall to Earth in the rain, snow, fog, or mist. In areas where the weather is dry, the acid chemicals may become incorporated into dusts or smokes. Acid rain can damage the environment, human health, and property.

Air Quality Index:

The standard system that state and local air pollution control programs use to notify the public about levels of air pollution. The AQI tracks levels of two pollutants - ozone (smog) and particle pollution (tiny particles from ash, vehicle exhaust, soil dust, pollen, and other pollution).

Alternative fuels:

Fuels that can replace ordinary gasoline. Alternative fuels may have particularly desirable energy efficiency and pollution reduction features. Alternative fuels include compressed natural gas, alcohols, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and electricity.

Anthropocene

Term meaning the 'age of humanity'. Some believe it began 8000 years ago and others that it started in 1800AD.

Anthropogenesis
The scientific study of the origin of humankind and how it has developed.

Aquifer

A subsurface formation of rock, glacial material, or other deposits which are capable of storing and yielding water to a well or spring.

Aerosols

Compacted gasses, which discharge a high amount of CO2 into the atmosphere when sprayed, contribute to global warming.

Alternative Energy

Energy from sources that do not produce harmful emissions; for example, unconventional power from the sun, wind or running water. ([Click here]to learn more about alternative sources of energy.

Arsenic

Arsenic is often found in circuit boards where it is used as a conductor. Electronics contain low levels of the element, but if it is allowed to accumulate in dumps or landfills, it can be a serious threat to health.

 

B

Bio-Fuel / Bio-Diesel
Energy sources made from natural materials like algae, sugar cane, palm oil, corn and wheat. Any fuel that is created from biomass (recently living organisms or their metabolic by-products, such as manure from cows) Unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal, and nuclear fuels, biofuels are a renewable energy source. They are 'carbon neutral' which means that although they release carbon into the atmosphere, they have already absorbed that carbon as plants. For this reason, Biofuels are championed by environmentalists as a way to reduce CO2 emissions.

Bio-Energy
Stored solar energy. The Earth has been gathering and recycling it ever since life began 3.8 million years ago.

Biomimicry
The science of looking to nature for solutions to human problems, e.g. cement that absorbs rather than releases CO2, just like a coral reef.

Biodegradable
A product or item that nature can break down easily and harmlessly. Able to break down or decompose rapidly under natural conditions and processes.

Buyback Centers

Locations where consumers can drop off recyclables and receive payment for them.

Biodiversity
The multitude of unique animal and plants on earth.

Buy Direct
The idea that buying products directly from a local producer limits wasted energy and unnecessary expense.

Butterfly Effect
An analogy that explains 'Chaos Theory' by saying that a butterfly flapping its wings in China could cause a hurricane in America.

Black Carbon
Black carbon is created when biomass and fossil fuels burn. It is responsible for 21% of global warming.

Blue Fuel
Possible diesel substitute; also known as DiMethyl Ether, which can be made from fossil fuel, bio-fuel or by combining green hydrogen with waste CO2.

Bioengineering

Restoration and stabilization techniques that use plants, often native species, to mimic natural functions and benefits.

Biofiltration

The use of vegetation (usually grasses or wetland plants) to filter and treat storm water runoff as it is conveyed through an open channel.

Biological diversity

Multiple species of organisms living together in balance with their environment and with each other.

Bioretention

The use of vegetation in retention areas designed to allow infiltration of runoff into the ground. The plants provide additional pollutant removal and filtering functions while infiltration allows the temperature of the runoff to be cooled.

Brownfields

Abandoned or underutilized properties where development is complicated by real or perceived contamination.

Buffer zone

A designated transitional area around a stream, lake, or wetland left in a natural, usually vegetated state so as to protect the water body from runoff pollution. Development is often restricted or prohibited in a buffer zone.

Bleaching

A process that eliminates impurities from yarn and fabric. Conventional production often uses chlorine for this process, but organic production uses hydrogen peroxide, which disintegrates quickly and balances pH levels.

Buffer Zone

A boundary that borders an organic production site and is used to keep forbidden substances away from the area.

Biodiesel

A clean burning alternative fuel produced from domestic renewable resources, such as soybean oil. It can be used in diesel engines with little to no modification.

Biodiversity

A large variety of different species represented in a certain area.

Biofuel

Fuel that is produced from renewable sources.

Biomass

Most commonly, plant matter grown for the use as biofuel.

Barium

Barium is a metallic element that is chemically similar to calcium but more reactive. Found in sparkplugs and fluorescent lamps, it is highly unstable in the pure form and it becomes poisonous when it comes in contact with air. Short-term exposure to Barium can lead to brain swelling, muscle weakness, damage to the heart, liver, and spleen.

Beryllium

Beryllium is a naturally occurring element found in soil. It's used in electronics to produce springs and connections. Beryllium dust is toxic to humans, and exposure to it can cause lung cancer and respiratory problems.

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)

BFRS are used in electronic and electrical appliances to make materials more flame resistant. They have been found in indoor dust and air through migration and evaporation from plastics. Combustion of halogenated case material and printed wiring boards at lower temperatures releases toxic emissions including dioxins which can lead to severe hormonal disorders. Major electronic manufacturers have begun to phase out brominated flame retardants because of their toxicity.

 

C

Carbon Footprint
The total effect that you have on the earth through the carbon emissions that your lifestyle produces.

Choice Fatigue
The paralyzing effect that the overwhelming number of available goods and services has on consumers.

CSI (Corporate Social Investment)
An assigned effort made by businesses to contribute to community and conservation initiatives.

Car Pool
To share driving between friends, family and colleagues instead of each driving to the same place in his/her own vehicle.

Compost Heap
A place or container for discarding food and other natural waste so that it can become compost for your garden.

Carbon-Free
Unnatural energies produce and unnatural amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Carbon-free fuel does not release excessive CO2 into the atmosphere.

Chaos Theory
Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as "the butterfly effect".

Conservation
The science of protecting our earth and everything in it – animals, minerals and plants. The wise use of natural resources (nutrients, minerals, water, plants, animals, etc.) and planned action or non-action, to preserve or protect living and non-living resources.

Compost

Nature’s way of recycling, and refers to a solid waste management technique that uses natural processes to convert organic materials to humus through the action of microorganisms. Compost is a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land.

Contaminant

Any item or material that reduces the quality of paper for recycling or makes it unrecyclable, such as metal, foil, glass, plastic, stickies, food, hazardous waste, carbon paper, waxed boxes, and synthetic fabrics. Collecting paper co-mingled with other recyclables may increase contaminants.

Carbon Neutral
Humans are naturally carbon neutral unless we produce excess CO2 by using modified energy sources and other pollutants. To be carbon neutral, you have to use as much CO2 as you produce, which cancels out your negative effect on the atmospheric balance.

Carbon Offsets
The CO2 produced in return for energy or life.

Carbon Sinks
Places where carbon gathers once it leaves our atmosphere.

Contrails
The CO2 vapour trails produced by jet aeroplanes. Night flights require more energy and so they produce more contrails.

Contraction & Convergence
Contraction and Convergence (C&C) is a proposed global framework to combat climate change. Conceived by the Global Commons Institute [GCI] in the early 1990s, the strategy consists of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level. This involves every country reducing its per-person emissions to a single, predetermined level.

Conflagration:

 A large and destructive fire, typically aggravated by strong winds that carry burning debris over natural or artificial barriers.

Crown Fires:

 Fires spread by wind moving quickly along the tops of trees.

Catch basin

An inlet to a storm or combined sewer equipped with a sediment sump, and sometimes a hood, on its outlet pipe to the sewer. Catch basins can collect some of the sediment and debris washed off the streets, and help to provide a water seal against the venting of sewer gases. Catch basins should be cleaned out regularly to function properly.

Channel erosion

The widening, deepening (called channel scour), and upstream cutting of a stream channel caused by moderate and extreme flow events. Channel erosion is one way that a stream reacts to changes in flow patterns.

Chemical water quality

The quality of a water body determined using chemical rather than physical or biological parameters and methods.

Conservation Design

A type of site design that incorporates conservation measures such as on-site tree preservation, preserving natural areas and open space.

Certified Organic

A USDA-accredited agency has confirmed that the farmer, company or business who raised and handled the product meets all USDA organic requirements.

Contamination

Contact with any substance that makes an organic product ineligible for certification.

Conventional

A technique or substance that is not organic.

Carbon Monoxide (CO):

A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas, produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, oil, and wood. Carbon monoxide is also produced from incomplete combustion of many natural and synthetic products, including cigarette smoke. When carbon monoxide enters the body, it reacts with chemicals in the blood and prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs. The body needs oxygen for energy, so high-level exposures to carbon monoxide can cause serious health effects and even death. Symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide can include vision problems, reduced alertness, and general reduction in mental and physical functions.

CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons):

These chemicals and some related chemicals have been used in great quantities in industry, for refrigeration and air conditioning, and in consumer products. When CFCs are released into the air, they rise into the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere high above the Earth, where they take part in chemical reactions which result in reduction of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Clean Air Act (CAA):

The original Clean Air Act was passed in 1963, but our national air pollution control program is actually based on the 1970 update. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments are the most far-reaching revisions of the 1970 law, which is also the 1990 Clean Air Act.

Clean Fuels:

Low-pollution fuels that can replace ordinary gasoline. These are alternative fuels, including gasohol (gasoline-alcohol mixtures), natural gas, and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

Combustion:

Another word for burning. Many important pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates (PM-10) are combustion products, often products of the burning of fuels such as coal, oil, gas, and wood.

Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS):

Machines which measure, on a continuous basis, pollutants released by a source. The 1990 Clean Air Act requires continuous emission monitoring systems for certain large sources

Carbon Dioxide

A gas found in the atmosphere. It is a byproduct of human respiration as well as a by product of an engine combustion from an automobile. CO2 is a heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere that reflects heat back down into the Earth.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

A cathode ray tube (CRT) is the glass tube that converts an electronic signal into a visual image on a television or computer. Most desktop computer displays and older televisions use CRTs. Cathode ray tubes are toxic because of phosphor, which contains several toxic metals, and because of the high lead content in the glass of the cone part of the CRT.

Cadmium

Cadmium is used in contacts and switches, rechargeable batteries and cathode-ray tubes. Cadmium is highly toxic to plants, fish and humans. Inhalation has been linked to lung cancer.

Chromium

Chromium and its oxides are widely used because of their high conductivity and anti corrosive properties. While some forms of chromium are non-toxic, most compounds are irritating to eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Chronic exposure can cause permanent eye injury, unless properly treated, and can also cause DNA damage.

Corrosivity:

The degree to which a substance dissolves materials and living tissues by chemical action. Examples of corrosive substances are drain openers and oven cleaners.

 

D

Diversity
Variety.

Dry Thunderstorm:

Typically a thunderstorm with a high altitude base in which thunder and lightning are observed, but little or no rain reaches the ground.

Dioxins

Dioxins and furans are a family of chemicals comprising 75 different types of dioxin compounds and 135 related compounds known as furans. Dioxins have never been intentionally manufactured, but form as by-products in the manufacture of substances such as pesticides and in combustion processes. Dioxins are known to be highly toxic to animals and humans because they accumulate in the body and can lead to deformities of the fetus, decreased reproduction and growth rates, and cause impairment of the immune system.

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Latest Earth Fact

13.7 billion Years ago the universe was born. The sun was then created from a nebula cloud of dust and gas.

Latest Lifestyle Tip & Idea

Car pool when possible.

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