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Agenda 21
A comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which humans have an impact on the environment.

Air Pollution

Contaminants or substances in the air that interfere with human health or produce other harmful environmental effects.

Alternative Energy

Usually environmentally friendly, this is energy from uncommon sources such as wind power or solar energy, not fossil fuels.

Alliance to Save Energy

A non-profit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders. The Alliance to Save Energy supports energy efficiency as a cost-effective energy resource under existing market conditions and advocates energy-efficiency policies that minimize costs to society and individual consumers, and that lessen greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on the global climate.

Alternative Fuels

Similar to alternative energy. Not fossil fuels, but different transportation fuels like natural gas, methanol, bio fuels and electricity.

Annual Consumption

Annual consumption refers to the amount of electricity used by a consumer in one year and is typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This information is available on your electricity bill or by contacting your energy provider.


Substances which, when left alone, break down and are absorbed into the eco-system.

Black Water

The wastewater generated by toilets.


A type of fuel made by combining animal fat or vegetable oil with alcohol; biodiesel can be directly substituted for diesel), or be used as an additive.


Energy generated from renewable, biological sources such as plants, to be used for heat, electricity, or vehicle fuel.


Living or recently-dead organic material that can be used as an energy source or in industrial production; excludes organic material that has been transformed by geological processes.


Land previously utilized by commercial or industrial facilities that remains abandoned with known or perceived environmental contamination.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an atmospheric gas that is a major component of the carbon cycle. Although produced through natural processes, carbon dioxide is also released through human activities, such as the combustion of fossil fuels to produce electricity. Carbon dioxide is the predominate gas contributing to the greenhouse effect, and as such is known to contribute to climate change.

Carbon Footprint

A measure of your impact on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

Carbon Trading

A trading system for countries, companies and individuals designed to offset carbon emissions from one activity with another, whereby those who cannot meet their emissions goals may purchase credits from those who surpass their goals.

Clinton Climate Initiative

Focuses on worldwide issues that demand urgent action, solutions, and measurable results global climate change, HIV/AIDS in the developing world, childhood obesity and economic opportunity in the United States, and economic development in Africa and Latin America.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The continuing commitment by businesses to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workplace as well as the local community and society at large; a company’s obligation to be accountable to all of its stakeholders in all its operations and activities with the aim of achieving sustainable development not only in the economic dimension but also in the social and environmental dimensions.

Climate Change

A change in temperature and weather patterns due to human activity like burning fossil fuels.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also known as a compact fluorescent light bulb is a type of fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp. Compared to incandescent lamps of the same luminous flux, CFLs use less energy and have a longer rated life. A CFL can save over $30 in electricity costs over the lamp’s lifetime compared to an incandescent lamp and save 2000 times their own weight in greenhouse gases.


Preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources.


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