Portal:Environment


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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Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand is a 2011 non-fiction book about climate-change denial, coauthored by Haydn Washington and John Cook, with a foreword by Naomi Oreskes. Washington had a background in environmental science prior to authoring the work; Cook, educated in physics, founded (2007) the website Skeptical Science, which compiles peer-reviewed evidence of global warming. The book was first published in hardcover and paperback formats in 2011 by Earthscan, a division of Routledge.

The book presents an in-depth analysis and refutation of climate-change denial, going over several arguments point-by-point and disproving them with peer-reviewed evidence from the scientific consensus for climate change. The authors assert that those denying climate change engage in tactics including cherry picking data purported to support their specific viewpoints, and attacking the integrity of climate scientists. Washington and Cook use social-science theory to examine the phenomenon of climate-change denial in the wider public, and call this phenomenon a form of pathology. (Full article...)
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  • ...that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) can cause ozone depletion, and the ozone hole needs to take more than a decade to recover?
  • ... that each year in 22,500 cemeteries across the United States approximately 30 million board feet (70,000 m³) of hardwoods are buried as caskets?

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Credit: Bruno de Giusti

Coral bleaching refers to the loss of color of corals due to stress-induced expulsion of symbiotic unicellular algae. It can be caused by sedimentation, change in pH, change in water temperature, or pathogen infections. When coral bleaching occurs, the productivity of the coral reefs are lost.

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James B. Harkin (30 January 1875 – 27 January 1955), also known as the Father of National Parks, was a Canadian-born journalist turned bureaucrat with a passion for conservation but also widely renowned for his commodification of the Canadian landscape. Harkin began his career as a journalist under the umbrella of the Ottawa Journal and Montreal Herald, two conservative newspapers at the time, but soon through his persistence and prowess gained entry into civil service during his mid-twenties. Under the tutelage of some influential figures working for the Liberal Party of Canada, most notably Clifford Sifton and Frank Oliver, Harkin was able to acquire an appointment to be the first commissioner of the Dominion Parks Branch in 1911. During his career, Harkin oversaw the establishment of national parks that include Elk Island, Mount Revelstoke, Point Pelee, Kootenay, Wood Buffalo, Prince Albert, Riding Mountain, Georgian Bay Islands and Cape Breton Highlands.

On a fundamental level, Harkin's philosophy had two dominant components: the economic, which saw park lands in commercial terms, and the humanitarian which saw parks as being integral to the well-being of the human spirit on a physical, mental and moral level. In successfully bringing these two principles together in a symbiotic way, Harkin was able to facilitate the incredible growth of Canadian tourism and, at the same time, justify his conservationist goals. (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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To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we thought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.

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