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Portal:Environment

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PleuroziumPiceaBorealForest.JPG


Welcome to the Environment Portal
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Introduction

Land management has preserved the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls, Australia while allowing ample access for visitors.

The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components:

In contrast to the natural environment is the built environment. In such areas where humans have fundamentally transformed landscapes such as urban settings and agricultural land conversion, the natural environment is greatly modified into a simplified human environment. Even acts which seem less extreme, such as building a mud hut or a photovoltaic system in the desert, the modified environment becomes an artificial one. Though many animals build things to provide a better environment for themselves, they are not human, hence beaver dams, and the works of mound-building termites, are thought of as natural.

People seldom find absolutely natural environments on Earth, and naturalness usually varies in a continuum, from 100% natural in one extreme to 0% natural in the other. More precisely, we can consider the different aspects or components of an environment, and see that their degree of naturalness is not uniform. If, for instance, in an agricultural field, the mineralogic composition and the structure of its soil are similar to those of an undisturbed forest soil, but the structure is quite different.

Natural environment is often used as a synonym for habitat, for instance, when we say that the natural environment of giraffes is the savanna. Read more...

A biophysical environment is a biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environment can vary in scale from microscopic to global in extent. It can also be subdivided according to its attributes. Examples include the marine environment, the atmospheric environment and the terrestrial environment. The number of biophysical environments is countless, given that each living organism has its own environment.

The term environment can refer to a singular global environment in relation to humanity, or a local biophysical environment, e.g. the UK's Environment Agency. Read more...

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A cat-sized primate with a dark stripe down its back is held in a gloved hand against the chest
Slow lorises, such as this Bengal slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) were once considered common, but are now recognized as threatened species.

Slow lorises are nocturnal strepsirrhine primates in the genus Nycticebus that live in the rainforests of South and Southeast Asia. They are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation from deforestation, selective logging, and slash-and-burn agriculture, as well as by collection and hunting for the wildlife trade, including the exotic pet trade, and for use in traditional medicine and as bushmeat. Because of these and other threats, all five species of slow loris are listed as either "Vulnerable" or "Endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their conservation status was originally listed as "Least Concern" in 2000 because of imprecise population surveys and the frequency in which these primates were found in animal markets. Because of their rapidly declining populations and local extinctions, their status was updated and in 2007 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) elevated them to Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade. Local laws also protect slow lorises from hunting and trade, but enforcement is lacking in most areas.

Traditional beliefs regarding slow lorises have been part of the folklore of Southeast Asia for at least several hundred years. Their remains are buried under houses and roads to bring good luck, and every part of their body is used in traditional medicine to make products ranging from love potions to unproven cures for cancer, leprosy, epilepsy, and sexually transmitted diseases. The primary users of this traditional medicine are urban, middle-aged women who are reluctant to consider alternatives. Read more...
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Did you know - show different entries

  • ...that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) can cause ozone depletion, and the ozone hole needs to take more than a decade to recover?
  • ... that the concept of reduce, re-use, and recycle as three equal options, but they are instead meant to be a hierarchy, in order of importance?
  • ... that each year in 22,500 cemeteries across the United States approximately 30 million board feet (70,000 m³) of hardwoods are buried as caskets?

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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.

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Gary Edward Varner (born March 10, 1957) is an American philosopher specializing in environmental ethics, philosophical questions related to animal rights and animal welfare, and R. M. Hare's two-level utilitarianism. He is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, and has been based at the university since 1990. He was educated at Arizona State University, the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin–Madison; at Madison, where he was supervised by Jon Morline, he wrote one of the first doctoral theses on environmental ethics. Varner's first monograph was In Nature's Interests?, which was published by Oxford University Press in 1998. In the book, Varner defended a form of biocentric individualism, according to which all living entities have morally considerable interests.

From 2001, Varner embarked on a research project exploring animals in Hare's two-level utilitarianism. Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition, published by Oxford University Press in 2012, was the first monograph arising from this project. In the book, Varner moved away from his biocentrism, instead endorsing a developed version of Hare's ethics. Varner draws a distinction between persons, near-persons and merely sentient beings; although all are morally considerable, the lives of persons are of the most significance, and the lives of merely sentient beings are of the least. The practical consequences of this view, though initial comments were offered in Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition, will be explored in Sustaining Animals, forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Read more...

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The Green Party of Canada (French: Parti vert du Canada) is a federal political party in Canada that was founded in 1983 focused on green politics. Since 4 November 2019, the party has been led on an interim basis by Jo-Ann Roberts. The party's parliamentary leader is Elizabeth May, who previously served as overall leader from 2006 to 2019.

The Green Party has gradually increased its support over the decades and is currently the fifth party in the House of Commons. The party elected its first Member of Parliament (MP), then-leader Elizabeth May, in the 2011 election. In the 2019 election, the party expanded its caucus to three. Read more...

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The following are images from various environment-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Margaret Thatcher
When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands.

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