5 Rs of Recycling-Refuse, Reduce, Reuse/Repurpose, Recycle, Rot (Compost)
Black Water-wastewater from your toilets. Cannot be reused without being treated as it contains harmful bacteria. Basically don’t water your plants with this stuff. See grey water.
Carbon Emissions– Exhaling as we breathe, burning processes, organic decaying, or any process that emits carbon dioxide (CO2) also known as carbonic acid gas into the atmosphere is a carbon emission.
Carbon Footprint– The amount of carbon gases released into the atmosphere by an individual, group or company, or any activities and events.
Carbon Neutral – A business term in which companies try to remove as much of their carbon emissions as they put into the earth. They can do this by eliminating their emissions or by carbon offsetting.
Carbon Offsets – Carbon offsets are a way to buy a balance to your carbon footprint. The money goes to fund projects designed to reduce greenhouse gases like renewable energy projects.
Circular Economy– The idea of using materials to create a product and then keeping that product as material to create a new product. This type of economy would not only end waste, but reduce pollution as well. See cradle-to-cradle and closed-loop system.
Closed-Loop System– The production process where companies take post-consumer waste and recycle it into new products instead of using new, raw materials. See circular economy and cradle-to-cradle.
Consumerism/Throw-Away Culture– The attachment to material things and the constant urge to upgrade, buy new, and buy more. Heavily influenced by advertising. When a product breaks or is out of style the item gets thrown away. The mantra He who dies with the most toys wins perpetuates the culture. Also referred to as Keeping up with the Joneses.
Cradle-to-Cradle– The manufacturing process that creates products that are used, but when the lifespan of that product is complete it goes back to be remanufactured into something new. This saves resources and creates less pollution. See also circular economy and closed-loop system.
Cradle-to-Grave– The manufacturing of products that are used but eventually thrown away to a landfill. This process is depleting the Earth of natural resources faster than she can recover them. See also linear economy and World Overshoot Day.
Earth-Friendly/Environmentally Friendly– The assertion that a product, service, policy, law, etc. will cause no harm or minimal harm to the environment.
Earth Overshoot Day– The day of the year in which humans have used all the resources the Earth can create in one year. In 2019 this was the 29th of July, in 1987 the date was the 23rd of October. We began using more than the Earth could produce in the 1970s.
Eco-Friendly– Companies that brand themselves as environmentally friendly or produce sustainable products and services.
Eco Minimalism– A minimalist lifestyle of living with less but with the motivation of reducing waste and making earth friendly choices in the process.
Flexitarian– Someone that follows a mostly vegetarian diet, but may have a meat or other animal product. Someone who is almost vegetarian.
Global Warming/Climate Change– The tracking of the rise in the Earth’s average temperature created by human activities. The temperatures are often compared to pre-industrial levels. As the Earth reaches the pivotal 2°C increase, changes can already be seen in the frequency and severity of natural disasters.
Greenhouse gases– Gases in the atmosphere that are turning Earth into a giant greenhouse, i.e. causing it to overheat. See Global Warming. Some of these gases include; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, ozone, and fluorocarbons (CFCs, HFCs, PFCs).
Greenish Lifestyle– Living your life making greener choices for the planet in terms of your family, shopping habits, diet, and travel while discovering your happy along the way.
Greenwashing– When a company claims to be environmentally friendly when their product, process, or service is not. Think Shell and their Carbon Neutral program. They are still a crude oil company and purchasing carbon credits does not make them environmentally friendly.
Grey Water– water from your unfinished water bottles, shower, bath, sinks without any traces of poop. Can be used for watering plants and gardens. Don’t use soapy water as the soaps can contain harmful chemicals for the plants. See black water.
Land Footprint– The amount of land used by an individual or company to produce a product. The agriculture industry is currently under fire for the use of land (think burning the Amazon forest).
Linear Economy– Created with the help of the industrial revolution, it’s the system we’ve been using since; harvesting materials to create a product, we use the product, then dispose of the product when we are done with it. See also cradle-to-grave.
Minimalism– The choice to live with only what is necessary or makes you happy. Choosing to live with less may even lead to a happier disposition. There are different types of minimalistic lifestyles from those doing it for aesthetic reasons, to those doing it for environmental reasons, and plenty of grey shades between.
Pescatarian– Someone who avoids animal meat except for fish. This may be a steppingstone to a full vegetarian diet.
Renewable Energy– Naturally occurring resources that renew themselves like sunlight, wind, rain, tidal activity, waves, and geothermal heat.
Sustainable Products– Products created with careful consideration of protecting the environment from the time raw materials create them until their usefulness has ended and they are thrown away or reused.
Water Footprint– Every product we consume uses fresh water either directly or indirectly. Our footprint is the volume of water individuals or companies consume (or in some cases, pollute).
Vegan– Someone who does not eat animals or animal products (think milk, eggs, honey). Ethical or Environmental Vegans also avoid animal products (like leather) where possible.
Vegetarian– Someone that avoids eating animal meat, but still eats products like eggs, cheese, and milk. Some vegetarians may also avoid either eggs or dairy products as well.
Zero-Waste– The goal of preventing any waste from ending up in landfills, incinerators, or in the environment as litter. It is a type of minimalism focused specifically on eliminating waste.