Sustainable Development Glossary – M

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!

magnitude – The degree of size, importance, etc. of something.


maintenance – The act of keeping a building or piece of equipment in general repair.


mangrove – Subtropical (or tropical), coastal marine community dominated by mangrove trees, which can withstand high salt concentrations.


manure – Organic matter, excreted by animals, which is used as a soil fertilizer.



market economy – (1) An economy where goods are freely bought and sold. (2) An economy in which many crucial economic decisions are made by numerous private individuals, companies, and government agencies, designed specifically for competitive markets; the role of government itself tends to be confined to setting the rules of the game, providing a framework of legislation together with monetary and fiscal policies.


maternal – Relating to or derived from one’s mother.


mechanical – (1) Concerning machinery. (2) Of, connected with, produced by or operated by a machine or machines.


media – The agencies of mass communication, such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.


Mediterranean countries – The countries in southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that surround the Mediterranean Ocean.


membrane – A cell wall.


mercury – Mercury, also called quicksilver, is a heavy, silvery, transition metal, mercury is one of only two elements that are liquid at room temperature (the other is bromine). Mercury is used in thermometers, barometers and other scientific apparatuses.


mesosphere – The region of the Earth’s atmosphere extending from 64 to 80 km above the Earth’s surface. In this layer, temperatures drop rapidly as altitude increases.


methane gas (CH4) – The simplest hydrocarbon. It is sometimes called marsh gas because it is produced by decomposing organic wastes. Natural gas is nearly pure methane.


micro-climate – A very small-scale variation from the overall climate pattern, usually caused by local physical conditions.


metabolism – The chemical reactions that occur in a living cell.


microorganism – Any organism that can only be seen with a microscope; protozoa, bacteria, fungi, and viruses are examples of microorganisms.


Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – A set of measurable goals set by world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women.


minimize – To reduce something to the smallest size, amount or degree.


mitigate – To make less severe. i.e. steps to eliminate further damage after a loss occurs.


model – (pattern, example, guide) (1) A representation of something. (2) An example of something that is made so that it can be studied or copied.


modification – (from the word “modify” meaning to change something slightly, especially to improve it) Modifying or being modified.


moisture –  – Small amount of liquid that causes wetness.


monitor – To make continuous observations of something; record or test the operation of something.


monoculture – A method of farming in which only one type of crop is grown on a large area over a number of years. Monoculture farming results in a reduction in the diversity of associated animal species, including beneficial insect predators; it also increases pest and disease infestations.


mortality – The ratio of the total number of deaths to the total population.


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