Portal:Environment

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Welcome to the Environment Portal
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Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall, New Zealand.
The natural environment comprises all naturally occurring surroundings and conditions in which living things grow and interact on Earth. These include complete landscape units that function as natural systems without major human intervention, as well as plants, animals, rocks, and natural phenomena occurring within their boundaries. They also include non-local or universal natural resources that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water and climate.

The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished by components:

As human population numbers increase and as humans continue to evolve, human activity modifies the natural environment at a rapidly increasing rate, producing what is referred to as the built environment. The potential of the natural environment to sustain these anthropogenic changes while continuing to function as an ecosystem is an issue of major worldwide concern. Key environmental areas of interest include climate change, water supply and waste water, air pollution, waste management and hazardous waste, and land use issues such as deforestation, desertification, and urban sprawl.

More about the environment...
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Selected article

Kissimmee River restoration from the air
The restoration of the Everglades is an ongoing effort to remedy damage inflicted on the environment of southern Florida during the 20th century. It is the most expensive and comprehensive environmental repair attempt in history.

The degradation of the Everglades became an issue in the United States in the early 1970s after a proposal to construct a jetport in the Big Cypress Swamp. Studies indicated the airport would have destroyed the ecosystem in South Florida and Everglades National Park. After decades of destructive practices, both state and federal agencies are looking for ways to balance the needs of the natural environment in South Florida with urban and agricultural centers that have recently and rapidly grown in and near the Everglades.

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  • ...that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) can cause ozone depletion, and the ozone hole needs to take more than a decade to recover?
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News
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Selected biography

Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born May 29, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is currently the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in 1957 from the University of Kansas. He is a renowned entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies). He is also well known as a researcher and author on the subject of human overpopulation notably for his 1968 book The Population Bomb. In the years since many of Ehrlich's predictions have proven incorrect, but he stands by his general thesis that the human population is too large and is a direct threat to human survival and the environment of the planet.

Selected picture

Oil-spill.jpg
Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

An oil spill is the unintentional release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment as a result of human activity. The term often refers to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters. Oil can refer to many different materials, including crude oil, refined petroleum products (such as gasoline or diesel fuel) or by-products, ships' bunkers, oily refuse or oil mixed in waste. Spills take months or even years to clean up.

Selected organization

Logo of World Conservation Union
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization dedicated to natural resource conservation. Previous names include World Conservation Union or International Union for the Preservation of Nature (IUPN).

Founded in 1948, its headquarters is located in the Lake Geneva area in Gland, Switzerland. The IUCN brings together 83 states, 108 government agencies, 766 NGOs and 81 international organizations and about 10,000 experts and scientists from countries around the world.

IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

The first Director General of UNESCO, (Sir Julian Huxley), wishing to give UNESCO a more scientific base, sponsored a congress to establish a new environmental institution to help serve this purpose. At that first congress (held at Fontainebleau, France), on 5 October 1948, 18 governments, 7 international organizations, and 107 national nature conservation organizations all agreed to form the institution and signed a "constitutive act" creating an International Union for the Protection of Nature. From this beginning, the overriding strategy and policy of the institution has been to explore and promote mutually beneficial conservation arrangements that suit those promoting development as well as assisting people and nations to better preserve their flora and fauna.

At all times, the institution (in all its forms) has heavily emphasised as a key operating principle the strong need to cater for and address the needs of local nations, communities and peoples, so that those nations, communities and peoples can take ownership of future, long term conservation goals and objects in their local areas:

Protected areas and threatened species could most effectively be safeguarded if local people considered it in their own interest to do so. Working with rather than against local people became a major working principle for IUCN.

— Page 61

The IUCN's World Conservation Strategy (1980) was founded upon this kind of principle, and clearly announced the IUCN's ambitions to more effectively enter into dialogue with the promoters of human development. The strategy was internationally applauded by many and served to secure the IUCN funds from several donors who didn't themselves feel they could open up effective dialogue in the world's developing countries, nor that United Nations organizations and international banks would effectively engage in such dialogue.

The IUCN has now expanded into many of the nations around the world, making available the services of a large pool of mainly voluntary specialists, providing local level advice and conservation services, and expanding its networks of Committees and regional advisory bodies into increasing numbers of countries.

The Union has three components: its member organizations, its 6 scientific commissions and its professional secretariat.

Selected quote

Mother Teresa
There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.

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Natural environment
Acid rain • Biodiversity • Climate change • Conservation • Deforestation • Desertification • Ecosystem • Environmental economics • Environmental law • Environmental policy • Environmental science • Environmentalism • Environmental technology • Global warming • Greenhouse gas • Green Politics • Lists (Books, Dates, Issues) • Ozone depletion • Recycling • Renewable energy • Soil retrogression and degradation • Sustainable development • Waste management A sunflower.
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Environment

Conservation • Environmentalism • Environmental awareness days • Environmental economics • Environmental media • Environmental history • Environmental humanities • Environmental law • Environmental indices • Environmental issues with population • Environmental science • Environmental social science • Environmental songs • Environmental topics • Environmental technology • Environment by country • Human overpopulation • Pollution • Renewable energy • Sustainability • Waste management

The Earth as seen from Apollo 17.
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