Green Lancaster header displaying a picture of an Amish buggy, and corn field, horses in a field, cows being milked, and windmills.

Educate > Live Green > Glossary Terms

Below are a list of terms I collected during this project. These terms are also included at the end of the My Project link. Green Living may all seem to be a little confusing to you right now, so some vocabulary might help you to understand the Green lifestyle, and what the different parts are.

Bio-based Product – A product (other than food or feed) that is produced from renewable agricultural (plant, animal and marine) or forestry materials.

Biodegradable – Capable of decomposing in nature within a reasonably short period of time.

Ecological Footprint – The resulting impacts on the environment based on the choices we make (i.e., raw materials selection, transportation, etc.)

Ecosystem – The interaction of organisms from the natural community with one another and their environment to sustain one another.

Emission- The release of any gas, particle or vapor into the environment.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – An independent executive agency of the federal government, established in 1970, responsible for the formulations and enforcement of regulations governing the release of pollutants, to protect public health and the environment.

Environmentally Friendly – A generic statement often used to designate a product or process that has a reduced ecological footprint when compared to other products/processes.

Fossil Fuel – Any petroleum based fuel (gasoline, natural gas, fuel, oil, etc.)

Global Warming Potential (GWP) – This is the impact of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to the ‘greenhouse effect’. Elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and increased climate variability. Also referred to as Climate Change.

Greenhouse Effect – Greenhouse gases trap heat inside the atmosphere, warming the earth’s surface. (Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.)

Green Tag – A green tag or Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), represents the environmental attributes created when electricity is generated using renewable sources instead of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. REC’s can be sold separately from their associated electricity and enable customers to ‘green’ the electricity they consume from their retail power supplier(s).

Life Cycle Assessment – A compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product or system throughout its life cycle.

Nonrenewable Energy – Sources of energy that cannot be replaced in a reasonable period of time. Fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, natural gas) are examples of nonrenewable energy sources.

Offsets – Greenhouse gas reduction activities undertaken to compensate for emissions elsewhere.

Recycling – The series of activities, including collection, separation, and processing, by which materials are recovered from the waste stream for use as raw materials in the manufacture of new products.

Recyclable – A designation for products or materials that are capable of  being recovered from, or otherwise diverted from waste streams for recycling.

Renewable Energy – Energy derived from sources which are regenerative or recurring. Examples include wind energy, hydro, geothermal, or wave action.

Renewable Resources – A resource that can be replenished at a rate equal to, or greater than its rate of depletion. Examples of renewable resources include corn, trees, and soy-based products.

Sustainability – “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development, Brundtland Commission, “Our Common Future”). Leaving the world better than you found it.



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Last updated on February 10, 2008

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