Sustainable Development Glossary – A

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.

A

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abiotic – Non-living things, like rocks, water and sunlight.

 

absorption – (from the word “absorb”, meaning to take something in or to include something as part of itself) The process of absorbing or being absorbed.

 

acidification – The process of making a substance acidic, lowering its pH or making it “sour”. The direct effects of decreased pH on plants and animal is one of overall impoverishment, with a sharp decline in species richness.

 

“actors in society” – Actors are key players (people) who influence what happens in society and how it happens. (Term connected to stakeholder when discussing topics of sustainable development

 

acute – (1) Very great or severe. (2) Coming quickly to the most critical stage.

 

affect – (influence, cause, change) (1) To have an influence on somebody or something. (2) To produce an effect on.

 

Agenda 21 – Agenda 21 is a document adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Its objective is the alleviation of poverty, hunger, sickness, and illiteracy worldwide, while at the same time stopping the deterioration of the ecosystems on which humans depend to sustain life.

 

agrarian society – A group of people dependent primarily on cultivating crops and farming, also usually having domesticated animals.

 

alternative – (option, choice) (1) A choice between two things. (2) A choice of two or more possibilities.

 

ammonia (NH3) – Colorless gas with a strong smell, used in refrigerators and for making explosives.

 

analyze – (examine, investigate, explain) To study carefully.

 

antibiotics – Chemical drugs that fight infection caused by bacteria.

 

anti-oxidants – Substances that slowdown or stop the process of oxidation (or aging).

 

aquifer – (1) An underground body of water. (2) A natural storage area for groundwater.

 

artificial nutrients – Essential chemicals needed by plants and animals for growth, produced by man, and made as an imitation of a natural product.

 

ash – The powder that remains after something has been burned.

 

assessment – The critical evaluation of the likely effects of a proposed project, activity, policy or product/service.

 

 assimilate – To absorb or take in. Often referred to as the conversion of nutritive materials into a living organism.

 

atmosphere – The layer of gas surrounding the earth.

 

availability – (from the word “available”, meaning things that can be used or obtained) The degree or state to which something is available.

 

awareness – (knowledge, perception, information) (1) Having knowledge or realization of somebody or something. (2) Well-informed or interested.

 

 

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