Glossary of Terms (E-H)

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Eco Circle
Closing the loop in human processes by being carbon neutral, having zero waste and not exploiting natural resources.

Eco Buildings & Eco Cities
Buildings and communities that are designed and developed with the environment in mind. To qualify, they must use natural light, energy and heating/cooling as a pre-requisite.

Eco Sports
Sports that do not harm the environment.

Eco Tourism
Tourism that is not harmful to the environment or local community.

Eco Driving
Driving your vehicles in a manner friendly to the environment.

Focused on the environment.

The natural science of researching and protecting the nature, origins and processes of the environment.

A biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in it.

Term coined by 'The EXPEDITION Project' meaning "overly passionate about the environment".

The extermination, loss or death of a species.

The growth or progression of a species to adapt with its natural surroundings.

In danger of becoming extinct.

Ecological Footprint
The total imprint you make on the earth through the resources you consume and the carbon emissions you produce.

Energy Saving
To use energy sparingly.

Electric Cars
Cars powered by batteries or electricity, not fuel.


A semi-enclosed coastal water body such as a bay, mouth of a river, salt marsh, or lagoon, where freshwater and saltwater mix. These waters support a rich and diverse ecology.


A process whereby water bodies, such as lakes, estuaries, or slow-moving streams receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth. This enhanced plant growth, often called an algal bloom, reduces dissolved oxygen in the water when dead plant material decomposes and can cause other organisms to die.


The branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment, including other organisms.


All of the biotic and abiotic factors that act on an organism, population, or ecological community and influence its survival and development. Biotic factors include the organisms themselves, their food, and their interactions. Abiotic factors include such items as sunlight, soil, air, water, climate, and pollution.


Goods and services considered to impose minimal harm on the environment.


Release of pollutants into the air from a source.

Emission Controls

Any measure that limits and reduces the release of emissions.

Environmental Footprint

The environmental impact of a company or person, measured by the raw materials and nonrenewable resources or products it wastes.

Environmental Impact

Any change to the environment whether it is harmful or helpful.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

A federal government program that helps government agencies purchase environmentally friendly products and services and stimulates other companies to "buy green."



Fast Food
Convenience food that often made by unhealthy processes using unwholesome ingredients.

Fair Trade Produce
Business exchange with countries that have sound political principles. Fair trade means you believe there are some rules in trade that must be placed in order to provide for producers who have disadvantages in a free market. If you buy a fair trade cup of coffee, it means that the farmer who harvested the beans in a developing nation had some help getting his specific product to you. Fair trade aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and gives an extra boost to those producers who promote sustainability (that is, eco-friendly agriculture). Rather than leaving environmental standards and wages up to the market, fair trade actively pushes for higher price for producers as well as social and environmental standards.

Opponents of fair trade say that any solution that favors one group over another harms growth overall. Producers in developed countries, for instance, resent having to compete with what they call cheaper, lower-quality imports. The agreement, they say, is unfair because developing nations often sell more of their product but end up buying less from other countries.

So when you are deciding on that cup of coffee, which should you buy – free or fair? We’ve provided the information, and now it’s up to you to decide. If you ask us, the only thing we could tell you for sure is that it’s super important that you don’t forget the whipped cream on our cappuccinos.

Free Trade Produce
Business exchange with countries that have sound social principles. The producer (farmers, small business owners, manufacturers, etc.) who harvested the coffee beans sold them without the interference of the government's tax or monetary gifts - tariffs, subsidies, price controls or pork-barrel politics. Sounds pretty good, right? For some, it is. Free trade proponents believe that leveling the playing field among producers from all nations is the best way of matching global supply to demand while making all people involved more prosperous.

Though by some accounts, free trade leaves producers in developing countries at a disadvantage. In those countries, producers lack social security and other safety nets that would help them hold out on selling their wares during times when prices are low. While producers in more prosperous nations can wait to sell at times like these, their counterparts in developing nations must sell immediately. As a result, they lose a lot of money.


Free Range
The farming practice of not severely confining animals to limited areas like cages and pens.

To exchange or give away your unwanted items for free. Operates on the principle that you can have it of you can collect it.

Fractal Theory
The idea that a simple process becomes very complex when it is infinitely repeated.



Manmade gases, like the CFCs and HFCs used as refrigeration coolants and aerosol propellants. These have been phased out because using them depletes the ozone layer.

Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The more ancient the fossil fuel, the more burning it damages the atmosphere. Any fuel that was created by decomposed plants and animals. Burning fossil fuels create carbon dioxide and are a large contributor to pollution.

"Frogs in a Well"
This refers to a famous Korean proverb, which says that if a frog is born in a well and lives its whole life there, it will have no concept of the outside world. The same can be said for most restricted or caged animals, but in the frog's case it cannot even see what else might be out there. The analogy can also be related to human mentality.

Fire Fuels:

All the dead and living material that will burn, including grasses, dead branches and pine needles on the ground, as well as standing live and dead trees, and minerals near the surface or artificial structures.

Filter Strip

Grassed strips situated along roads or parking areas that remove pollutants from runoff as it passes through, allowing some infiltration, and reductions of velocity.


Can be either a natural feature or statistically derived area adjacent to a stream or river where water from the stream or river overflows its banks at some frequency during extreme storm events.

Food Miles

The distance that food travels between the field and the grocery store.



Global Warming
The theory that humans are contributing to the increase of the Earth's temperature by producing excessive CO2 and using environmentally damaging products. The rapid increase of the Earth's overall temperature due to the release of too much Co2, methane, and other heat trapping gases.

Global Dimming
The theory that pollutant particles in the atmosphere reflect the sun's light so that less of it reaches the Earth's surface.

Green Washing
The practice of creating a corporate image that seems environmentally friendly when it is only a façade.

An informal term meaning to be environmentally friendly.

Greenhouse Effect
The result of sunlight getting trapped in the atmosphere so that it acts like a hot house by "storing" heat. The ability of an earthly atmosphere to reduce heat loss from its surface, making it possible to use the absorption of solar radiation to warm the earth’s surface instead.

Greenhouse Gases
Gases that contribute the greenhouse effect.

Geyser Blanket
A covering that insulates your geyser so that it uses less energy to heat up water.

The metaphysical energy inherent in everything, as related by Hwee Yong Jang in his description of the Gaia Project.

The concept that the earth is a living, breathing organism, with humans simply being one part of that organism. It proposes that any disturbance we create is felt throughout the larger organism, just as it would be in a human body.

Genetically Modified (GM)
Food products that have been artificially changed at a genetic level to make it grow faster, bigger, more pest resistant etc.

Great Change
Refers to the shift in awareness that we are experiencing and the global change that will soon occur as a result.

Green Roofing
Environmentally friendly roofing, or gardens planted on the tops of city buildings.

A galaxy is a massive system, bound by gravity. It consists of stars, star fragments, gas dust and an important but poorly understood component tentatively called "dark matter".

Geothermal Power
Energy produced by drawing on underground heat.

Grey Water
The used water that comes from your household, e.g. washing machine, bathtub, sinks (milky, soapy or grey in colour). This water can re-used for gardening (once filtered if necessary).

Ground Fires:

Fires that burn on or below the forest floor through the root system. Usually, they are started by lightning.


Water that flows below the ground surface through saturated soil, glacial deposits, or rock.

Genetic Engineering

When DNA from different species is combined or altered to develop new organisms. This results in GMOs – genetically modified organisms – and is prohibited in organic production. Loose or bunched produce items may be identified as genetically modified in the grocery store by a PLU code that begins with an eight.

Geothermal energy

Obtaining energy from the heat of the earth. Though it is considered renewable, heat can eventually be depleted after a certain point, and therefore it is not entirely renewable. ([Click here] to learn more about renewable energy).

Gray Water

Any dish, shower, sink, or laundry water that has been used in the home is called gray water and may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation.

Green Design

Incorporates environmental principles, such as durability, efficiency, and renewability, into constructing a building or designing a product.

Green Tags

Tradable commodities which represent that a certain amount of energy (1 megawatt hour) was generated from a renewable energy resource.


A movement incorporating environmental awareness, social responsibility, bioregionalism, and nonviolence.



Hollywood Superhero Theory
A humorous phrase coined by The EXPEDITION Project, which refers to the idea that the earth will get saved in the same way it always does in Hollywood movies.

Electricity generated by harnessing the energy of moving water (e.g. tides, waves).

New-age vehicles that run on both petrol and electricity.

Hydrogen Power
Hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe and when separated from its partner it can be burned and used as a fuel. It is not a fuel source, but an energy carrier. This means you still have to use energy to make it, therefore it is not clean.

Human Nature Theory
A paradox theory coined by The EXPEDITION Project, which speaks of the fact that human beings are instinctively selfish and concerned mainly with their immediate happiness and direct surroundings, even though they are inherently drawn to nature.


The use of helicopters to transport crews, equipment, and fire retardants or suppressants to the fire line during the initial stages of a fire.


The science addressing the properties, distribution, and circulation of water across the landscape, through the ground, and in the atmosphere.


The stable, long lasting organic material resulting from decomposition of plant or animal matter which forms the organic portion of the soil.

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs):

Toxic chemicals that cause serious health and environmental effects. Health effects include cancer, birth defects, nervous system problems, and death due to massive accidental releases. Hazardous air pollutants are released by sources such as chemical plants, dry cleaners, printing plants, and motor vehicles.


Energy obtained from water, usually by damming a river or by using tidal power. ([Click here] to learn more about renewable energy).

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