Portal:Environment
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Portal:Environment

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Welcome to the Environment Portal
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Introduction

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.

Selected article

Participation in the Kyoto Protocol: dark green indicates countries that have signed and ratified the treaty, yellow indicates those that have signed and hope to ratify it, and red indicates those that have signed but not ratified it.
Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change international treaty on climate change, assigning mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the signatory nations. The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) produced by "Annex I" (industrialized) nations, as well as general commitments for all member countries. It works on an emission allowance scheme.

Kyoto includes defined "flexible mechanisms" such as Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation to allow Annex I economies to meet their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limitations by purchasing GHG emission reductions credits from elsewhere, through financial exchanges, projects that reduce emissions in non-Annex I economies, from other Annex I countries, or from Annex I countries with excess allowances. In practice this means that Non-Annex I economies have no GHG emission restrictions, but have financial incentives to develop GHG emission reduction projects to receive "carbon credits" that can then be sold to Annex I buyers, encouraging sustainable development. In addition, the flexible mechanisms allow Annex I nations with efficient, low GHG-emitting industries, and high prevailing environmental standards to purchase carbon credits on the world market instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions domestically. Annex I entities typically will want to acquire carbon credits as cheaply as possible, while Non-Annex I entities want to maximize the value of carbon credits generated from their domestic Greenhouse Gas Projects.

Did you know...

  • ...that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) can cause ozone depletion, and the ozone hole needs to take more than a decade to recover?

Current events

Selected biography

Buckminster Fuller
Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller (July 12, 1895 - July 1, 1983) was an American visionary, designer, architect, poet, author, and inventor.

Throughout his life, Fuller was concerned with the question "Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?" Considering himself an average individual without special monetary means or academic degree, he chose to devote his life to this question, trying to find out what an individual like him could do to improve humanity's condition that large organizations, governments, or private enterprises inherently could not do.

Fuller published more than 30 books, inventing and popularizing terms such as "Spaceship Earth", ephemeralization, and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes were later named by scientists for their resemblance to geodesic spheres.

Selected image

Radioactive.svg
Credit: Cary Bass

Radioactive contamination is the uncontrolled distribution of radioactive material in a given environment. It is typically the result of a spill or accident during the production or use of radionuclides (radioisotopes). Contamination may occur from radioactive gases, liquids or particles. For example, if a radionuclide used in nuclear medicine is accidentally spilled, the material could be spread by people as they walk around. Radioactive contamination may also be an inevitable result of certain processes, such as the release of radioactive xenon in nuclear fuel reprocessing.

Selected organization

The Wildlife Trusts partnership, or simply The Wildlife Trusts, is a partnership of 47 local wildlife trusts in the United Kingdom plus the Isle of Man and Alderney.

Wildlife Trusts are local organisations of differing size, history and origins, and can vary greatly in their constitution, activities and membership. However, all wildlife trusts share a common interest in wildlife and biodiversity, rooted in a practical tradition of land management and conservation. Almost all county wildlife trusts are significant landowners, with many nature reserves. Collectively they are the third largest voluntary sector landowners in the UK. The partnership's member trusts, between them, look after 2,200 nature reserves covering 80,000 square hectares.

Wildlife Trusts are local organisations of differing size, history and origins, and can vary greatly in their constitution, activities and membership. However, all wildlife trusts share a common interest in wildlife and biodiversity, rooted in a practical tradition of land management and conservation. Almost all county wildlife trusts are significant landowners, with many nature reserves. Collectively they are the third largest voluntary sector landowners in the UK. They often have extensive educational activities, and programmes of public events and education. The Wildlife Trusts centrally and locally also lobby for better protection of the UK's natural heritage, by becoming involved in planning matters and by national campaigning through the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. The trusts rely heavily upon volunteer labour for many of their activities, but nevertheless employ significant numbers of staff in countryside management and education. Thanks to their work promoting the personal and social development of young people, the Wildlife Trusts is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).

Selected quote

Sir David Attenborough
Were we and the rest of the back-boned animals to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well.

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