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Essential Green Terms You Should Know
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Essential Green Terms You Should Know

If you're into eco-conscious living, it's in your best interest to educate yourself.

With the wealth of information and seemingly countless options, it's not hard to get lost. And there's no denying that it's a recurring theme in businesses across the globe right now.

Yes, green is the new black - the only issue is that it's getting hard to tell if for the right reasons.

Net zero? Carbon footprint? Circular economy? What do these even mean?

Photo of a Woman Thinking

So, protect yourself the best way there is - with knowledge and awareness.

Sustainability and eco-consciousness are only buzzwords if you let them. We should do our best to make informed decisions or at the very least - educated guesses.

But let's start with the basics. As always they can take us pretty far.

Let's make sure these words aren’t just fancy marketing terms we should accept at face value without any second thoughts. And this actually goes beyond just consumerism or products as we're soon going to find out.

Net Zero

What is Net Zero?

Net zero means achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere and the amount removed.

In theory, it can be done through a combination of reducing emissions and implementing carbon offset projects at the same time.

That could mean dedicated technologies, solutions, or practices - whatever it takes to get just the right balance.

Why does it matter?

In short? To mitigate climate change.

If we find the right ways to reduce emissions and invest in projects that absorb carbon dioxide (such as reforestation) we'll take the weight off our weary planet's shoulders.

Many countries and corporations are setting net zero targets to demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future.

Carbon Footprint

What is Carbon Footprint?

That's a big one. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) generated by our actions.

Silhouette of Trees in front of Factories

These are normally measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Why does it matter?

Sure, it's all about climate change. But there's more.

It helps us understand, recognise and measure the impact of our lifestyle. It makes us realise our choices do matter and may make a difference.

Circular Economy

What does Circular Economy mean?

The circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources.

It contrasts with the traditional linear economy and its make-use-dispose MO.

Instead, we go down a different route. Reusing, sharing, repairing, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recycling. All that to finally create a closed-loop system.

Why does it matter?

The circular economy reduces pressure on natural resources and helps minimise waste.

Our stone bath mat could be considered a product like that. After many years of use, it can be recycled (turned into a fine powder) and then repurposed as a gardening aid.

Diatomite Earth in Bowel

If products and materials are always in use, we can reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability.

This model offers more efficient resource management through innovation. Not an easy path, but definitely worth it.

Carbon Balancing

What is Carbon Balancing?

Carbon balancing is very similar to the Net Zero concept.

It involves offsetting the carbon emissions we produce with dedicated projects that reduce or absorb an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This can include renewable energy projects, reforestation, or energy efficiency initiatives.

Why does it matter?

Carbon balancing gives us a means to take responsibility. And that goes for everyone - individuals, companies and organisations of all sorts and sizes.

It's like Net Zeo, but much less comprehensive.

Sustainability

What does Sustainability mean?

Sustainability is the ability to meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

There are three sustainable pillars: environmental, economic, and social.

Person's Left Hand Holding Green Leaf Plant

Why does it matter?

Sustainability teaches us how to use resources responsibly and maintain a balance that supports long-term ecological health, economic prosperity, and social equity.

It's a way of living that can save life itself in the long run.

Greenwashing

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a deceptive practice where a company presents itself as environmentally friendly while its business practices are actually harmful to the environment. That's just turning important ideas into buzzwords for their own benefit.

Unfortunately, we see a lot of that nowadays, and it's bad for everybody.

Why does it matter?

Because we should all know it's out there. That's the only way to protect ourselves and focus on the goal.

Bamboo towels or organic cotton towels are only eco-friendly if certain practices are followed during manufacturing, including removing any toxic chemicals from the production processes.

A natural bath mat is exactly the same. That's why this stamp of approval from established organisations makes all the difference.

Renewable Energy

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy comes from sources that are naturally replenishing. That includes sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

Three White Windmills on Green Field Under Blue Sky in Wales

Why does it matter?

This transition towards renewable energy can be a vital point in the worldwide struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Unlike the negative effects of fossil fuels including the air pollution it causes, renewable energy sources won't run out and produce little to no environmental pollutants.

Biodiversity

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. That includes different species, ecosystems, as well as genetic diversity within species.

Why does it matter?

We need it for ecosystem stability and resilience. It provides critical services such as pollination of crops, water purification, and disease regulation.

Upcycling

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, or unwanted products into new materials or products of higher quality or value.

Plants and Paintbrushes in Upcycled Jars

Why does it matter?

Upcycling reduces waste and the demand for new resources, promoting environmental sustainability.

It encourages creativity and innovation in product design, leading to unique and valuable items while reducing landfill waste.

Zero Waste

What does Zero Waste mean?

Zero waste is a philosophy and design principle that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.

The end goal is to keep any waste from going into landfills or oceans.

Why does it matter?

The Zero Waste movement aims to minimise the environmental impact of waste by promoting sustainable consumption and production.

It’s about practices that can help us reduce pollution, conserve resources - and create a healthier planet.

Regenerative Agriculture

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming that focuses on regenerating soil health, increasing biodiversity, improving water cycles, and enhancing ecosystem services.

Aerial View of a Field

Why does it matter?

This form of agriculture can help reverse climate change with increased soil organic matter and biodiversity.

And the results of that? Healthier food systems, resilient ecosystems, and increased carbon sequestration.

Carbon Sequestration

What is Carbon Sequestration?

Speaking of the devil, carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

This can be done naturally with forests, soil, and oceans, or artificially through all sorts of technological methods.

Why does it matter?

Because it's a critical tool in mitigating climate change.

Whether through natural processes or new technologies, it gives us the necessary means to capture and store carbon and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

What are Sustainable Development Goals?

The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

Flags of Countries in front of the United Nations Office at Geneva

They address various global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

Why do they matter?

They are basically a roadmap to a sustainable future.

The SDGs provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. They are a call to action for all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the environment.

The More You Know

It's important to understand these concepts and know what they represent for many reasons.

They remind us that we share responsibility for our planet and that our choices do matter while giving us enough awareness and knowledge to protect ourselves against unjust business practices.

Start applying these terms in your daily life and share this knowledge with others in your local community. An educated consumer is a safe consumer.

So, let's all work together for a greener future, creating a safer, cleaner and more secure world for our children and grandchildren.

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