Sustainable Development Glossary – D

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!

dam – Barrier (made of concrete, earth, etc.) built across a river to hold back the water to form a reservoir, prevent flooding.


DDT – Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, the first chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide. It is a colorless, odorless insecticide that has a half-life of 15 years. It can collect in fatty tissues and has a toxic effect on most animals.


degradation – (diminish) (1) The process of degrading. (2) Becoming less complex in structure. (3) slowly being destroyed.


decision makers – The groups or persons that make decisions affecting other people in the society.


deforestation – The practice of permanently removing forest to clear the way for a different land use such as cultivation or development.


dehydration – Complete water removal.

demolition – Demolition is the opposite of construction: the tearing-down of buildings and other structures.


depletion – The loss of something at a rate greater than that of recharge.


desalinisation – Converting saltwater to freshwater.


densely populated societies – Societies that have a large number of people and not much land to share among them.


desertification – The process of climate and environmental changes leading to the formation of a more arid, desert-like landscape.


design stage – The stage of the life-cycle when a product or service is being planned to be produced.


detrivors – All living organisms are classified as producers, consumers and detrivors. Detrivors use what is left of producers and consumers when they die as their food.


dilution – (1) To make something thinner or weaker by adding water or another liquid. (2) To make something weaker in force, effect, etc.


dioxins – A family of organic compounds containing chlorine that are among the most toxic substances known. The toxic properties of dioxins are enhanced by their capacity to pass into the body through all major routes of entry, including the skin, the lungs and the mouth. Dioxins can produce chronic skin diseases, muscular dysfunctions, bodily inflammations, impotence, birth defects, genetic mutations, nervous disorders, and cancers.


discontent – Showing or experiencing dissatisfaction.


disease – causing bacteria (pathogens) – Single-celled organisms that cause illness or disease.


disposal – Getting rid of something.


disassembly – Dismantling: the act of taking something apart (as a piece of machinery).


DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid, a substance found primarily in the nucleus of cells. DNA carries the instructions for making all the structures and materials the body needs to function. It is the molecule that carries genetic information.


domestic – (native, home) (1) Of the home, household or family. (2) Of, or inside a particular country, not foreign or international.


driver – A force that causes change.


durable – (strong, long-lasting, enduring, tough) Lasting a long time.


dye – A usually soluble substance for staining or colouring.


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