Sustainable Development Glossary – S

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!

salting – Salting is an ancient food preservation technique that is used particularly for meat. The salt draws out moisture from the food and makes it difficult for bacteria to grow. Salted food can last for several years.


saltwater intrusion – A displacement of fresh water because of the encroachment of saltwater from natural causes or from groundwater withdrawal.


sanitation – Maintaining clean, hygienic conditions that help prevent diseases.



sanitary – (1) Free from dirt or substances that may cause disease. (2) Of, or concerned with protecting health.


scalding – (1) To burn something with boiling liquid or steam. (2) To heat something almost to boiling-point. (3) To clean something with boiling water.


scarcity – (shortage, limited, not plentiful) (1) The quality or state of being scarce. (2) Lack of provisions necessary for the support of life.


second-hand shops – Stores that sell previously-owned goods, such as clothes, shoes, bicycles, household appliances, etc.


self ignite – Setting itself on fire.



service – (help, assistance, aid) (1) Work done for another or others. (2) Business that does work or supplies goods for customers, but does not make the goods, themselves. (3) Work serving customers.


severe – (drastic, extreme, harsh) Very bad, difficult, etc.


sewage – Waste matter from human bodies, factories, towns, etc. that flows away in sewers.


silt – Sand, mud, etc. carried by flowing water. Silt is often deposited on the bottom of the water body as the water slows down.


siltation – A term applied to the gradual sedimentation of silt-sized (very small) particles in a body of water. Siltation often occurs behind the dam in a reservoir.


smog – Fog having a high pollution content.


smoking – The process of exposing foods to smoke kills bacteria and removes some of the moisture from the substance which helps preserve it.


smokestack – A large tall chimney through which combustion gases and smoke can be evacuated.



social model – A representation of specific social organizations and conditions that is used to scientifically study various aspects of the society such as drivers, barriers and responses to changing conditions.


“society in the information revolution” – Modern societies are gradually changing from societies based on industrial production to those based on information exchange and services.


soil contamination – Soil or dirt that has been polluted by harmful substances.


soil erosion – The loss or removal of soil material by a transport process, such as water and/or wind.


solar energy – Any form of energy derived from the energy coming from the sun. Solar energy can be direct or indirect, and includes the production of both heat and electricity.


specification – (requirement, details) Details and instructions describing the design, materials, etc. of something to be made or done.


species diversity – The variety of species within a region or a given area. An area that has a large number of species and many representative individuals from each species is more diverse than an area that has only a single species.


stakeholder – Someone who has an interest or a stake in an organisation, this could include shareholders, directors, management, employees, suppliers, government, regulators, non-governmental organisations and the community at large.


standard of living – Refers to the quality and quantity of goods and services available to people.


storm water – Water that runs off the surface of the land as a result of a rain storm.


strategy – (procedure, tactics) (1) Planning and directing an operation. (2) Planning or managing any affair well. (3) Plan or policy designed for a particular purpose.


stratosphere – The region of the Earth’s atmosphere between the troposphere and the mesosphere. It extends from roughly 20 to 50 km above the Earth’s surface.


stratospheric ozone layer depletion – The ozone layer is thought to be threatened by the use of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and efforts are being made to restrict the production and use of these substances. The preservation of the ozone layer is most important for the survival of humanity, as it protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.


subspecies –  A subpopulation of a species, defined on the basis of more than one character that distinguishes the members of the subpopulation from other members of that species.


substances – A large group of identically structured molecules.


sulphur dioxide (SO2) – A major air pollutant; a gas formed when sulphur burns in the presence of oxygen. It is corrosive and harmful to plants and animals, and is especially damaging to trees.


sustain – (supply, maintain nourish) To give support or relief to.


sustainable development – Economic growth and activities that do not deplete or degrade the environmental resources upon which present and future economic growth depend.


sustainable entrepreneurship – Integrating people, planet and profit in the development of business and organisations..


sustainable society – (sustainable global society) A holistic view that sustainable development needs to be considered within the framework of the society.

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