Sustainable Development Glossary – H

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!

habitat – The natural environmental of an animal or a plant; in other words a home.


hazardous – (dangerous, risky) Something that can cause danger or harm.


hazardous household wastes – Hazardous substances found in the home (usually man-made chemicals), which are no longer useful and considered as wastes.


hazardous waste – Any by-product or waste that is harmful to humans or the environment when improperly handled. Hazardous wastes are often products of industrial processes such as nuclear power production or chemical synthesis, but ordinary fertilizers can also be hazardous wastes because they can pollute groundwater sources.


heating, scalding, blanching and pasteurization – Processes that destroy microorganisms using heat. However, these food preservation methods can also affect the appearance, nutrient quality and taste of food.


heavy metals – Metals with moderate to high atomic numbers – such as lead, cadmium, silver, arsenic, chromium, and mercury – that are toxic in relatively low concentrations. They persist in the environment and can accumulate to levels that interfere with plant and animal life. Mining and industrial wastes and sewage sludge are all sources of potentially harmful concentrations of heavy metals.


health hazard – Any physical, chemical or biological substance that can damage human health.


hectare (ha) – Measure of area in the metric system equal to 10,000 square meters.


herbicides – Chemicals used to kill plants.


HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) – Chemicals used to replace chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants. They appear to be less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs.


highlight – (emphasize) (1) To throw a strong light on. (2) To centre attention on.


historical overview – A general survey or summary of past events.


Human Development Index (HDI) – A measurement of human progress introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its Human Development Report 1990. By combining indicators of real purchasing power, education, and health, the HDI provides a more comprehensive measure of development than does the GNP alone. The criteria for calculating rankings include life expectancy, educational attainment, and adjusted real income.


hunter-gatherer society – A group of people dependent primarily on gathering wild foods and hunting, as opposed to cultivating crops and domesticating animals.


hydrogen gas (H2) – Gas that has no color, taste or smell and is the lightest substance known, combining with oxygen to form water.


hydropower – Electricity produced from the energy of falling water.


hydrosphere – The total amount of water encompassing the earth, comprising all the bodies of water, ice, and water vapor in the atmosphere.


hygiene – (cleanliness, health, sanitation) The study and practice of cleanliness as a way of maintaining good health and preventing disease.

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