Join a Smart Word! We know how frustrating it can be to read an interesting article on sustainable development and not knowing certain terms. Finding a concise definition on internet can take some time. At the YMP we want to make your reading and learning easier with our Sustainable Development Glossary A-Z.
Is the term that you look for missing in the list below? Let us know in a comment at the end of this page. We will add that term for you!
educational institution – An established organization devoted to education.
“ecodesign” – Designing a product or service so that throughout its life-cycle creates a minimum of ecological impacts.
ecological diversity – The variety of biological communities or ecosystems in a given area.
ecology – The branch of biology that studies the relationships among living organisms and between organisms and their environments.
economically viable – Something that can be developed and maintained within an economy.
economy – (1) The system of production and distribution and consumption. (2) The efficient use of resources; “economy of effort”.
economics – (1) Matters concerning the economy. (2) Connected with trade and industry.
economy of scale – What happens to cost if we increase the quantity of all input factors by some amount. If costs increase proportionately, there are no economies of scale, if costs increase by a lesser amount, there are (positive) economies of scale.
ecosystem – A functioning unit of nature that combines communities of living organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. Ecosystems vary greatly in size and characteristics.
effect – (result, consequence, outcome) (1) Something that directly occurs as a result of a cause. (2) The result of something.
Electrolux – The brand name of one of the first companies to produce mechanical domestic refrigerators in the USA during the 1920s and 1930s.
emission – Discharge of a pollutant.
emissions trading – One of the three market mechanisms established by the Kyoto Protocol. It is a market mechanism that allows emitters (countries, companies or facilities) to buy emissions from or sell emissions to other emitters. Emissions trading is expected to bring down the costs of meeting emission targets by allowing those who can achieve reductions less expensively to sell excess reductions to those for whom achieving reductions is more costly. The aim is to improve to overall flexibility and economic efficiency of making emissions cuts.
empower – To provide individuals and or groups with skills, information, authority and resources in order to carry out their responsibilities.
endeavour – (1) Enterprise: a purposeful or industrious undertaking . (2) Attempt: earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something.
“end-of-life” – This term refers to the “life-cycle” stage of a product or service when, after its use stage, is discarded, reused or recycled.
end-of-pipe solutions – Trying to clean up pollution after it has been created during some process. This method is different from a “preventative approach” which looks at the design, manufacture, and operational phases of a process for opportunities to minimize pollution discharges.
energy recovery – Saving and reusing energy that is normally wasted during some process, it includes recovering heat energy by burning garbage and wastes.
enforcement – The act of enforcing; insuring observance of or obedience to.
entrepreneur – An individual who recognises opportunities and organises resources to take advantage of the opportunity.
environmental impact – Human-induced change in the natural environment.
environmental issues – An important topic, concern or problem involving the environment.
“environmentally friendly” – A product or service that throughout its “life-cycle” produces minimal environmental impacts.
environmentally preferable products and services – Those products and services that have less related environmental impacts than other, similar products and services, and are therefore more preferable.
epidemic – (1) Spreading rapidly and affecting a large portion of a population at one time. (2) Also, an outbreak of disease with such extensive characteristics.
erosion – The wearing down or washing away of the soil and land surface by the action of water, wind or ice.
escalate – Increase in extent or intensity.
eukaryotic – Cells containing a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles.
eutrophication – The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process.
evaporator – (from the word “evaporate”, meaning to cause something to change from a liquid into a gas) A machine that causes the liquid refrigerant to change into a gas during the refrigerator’s cooling cycle.
evolution – The process by which all existing organisms developed from earlier ones through changes inherited over many generations.
evolutionary stage – A particular point in the overall process of evolution.
exert – (1) Put to use (“to exert one’s power or influence”). (2) To make a great effort at a mental or physical task.
excessive – Beyond normal limits.
exhaust – Gases ejected from an engine as waste products.
existence – (being, living, survival, life) (1) The state or fact of existing. (2) Way of living. (3) Continuance of life.
existence values – A non-use value, that is a value that a person attaches to a unique nature or a specific animal just because it exists. You can have such a value, for example, for pandas living in their natural environment, although you might never see them there.
exotic – (foreign, imported, strange) Introduced from another country; not native.
expansion – (from the word “expand” meaning to become greater in size, number or importance) The action of expanding; state of being expanded.
expansion valve – A mechanical device that controls the rate of expansion of the refrigerant in a refrigerator’s cooling system.
expiration date – (from the word “expire” meaning to end or no longer in use) The date when something (for example, food) can no longer be used.
explicit – Precisely and clearly expressed.
exploitation – The selfish or unfair using of someone or something for one’s own advantage.
extended producer responsibility (EPR) – Making producers responsible not only for production but also for the end-of-life management of their products.
extraction – (from the word “extract”, meaning remove, obtain, take out) To take or get something out, usually with effort or by force.
extinct – No longer in existence.