Build Your Green Glossary
When undertaking any new endeavor, you often must sift through mountains of information. Here are some new terms to help you pursue green living practices. Write these and other new terms down on a note card and carry it with you as a reminder. (It's your going green card!)
Sustainability: The ability of an ecosystem to maintain a defined or desired state of ecological integrity over time.
Carbon Footprint: A measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide. Articles on going green frequently mention "carbon footprints."
Watershed: The land area draining into a river or other nearby body of water.
Biodiversity: A healthy variety of life, including plant and animal species.
CSA: Short for “Community Supported Agriculture,” which typically means farms supported by the local community. These farms offer an affordable way to both shop and eat locally. CSA members often pay an annual subscription fee and pick up their share of fresh produce each week. Many farms offer discounts to members who volunteer to help out with planting, weeding and harvesting.
Organic: The simplest definition of “organic” is food produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified ingredients or antibiotics. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists three categories of organic products: 100% Organic, Organic (meaning 95% of the product was organically produced), and Made with Organic Ingredients (at least 70% organic ingredients and no genetically modified organisms, or GMOs). Manufacturers must adhere to these standards when labeling products.
Biofuel: Gas or liquid fuel made from plant materials. Read more about the debate over biofuel and if they should be part of the "going green" movement at all.
Off the Grid: Typically used to refer to operating a home or building powered by alternative energy sources, such as wind or solar, instead of traditional utility companies.
Recycling: To make ready for reuse.
Don't forget the motto of the passionate conservationist: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle