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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 or natural world 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 changed 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. (Full article...)

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. (Full article...)

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Diagrammatic cross-section of an oceanic basin, showing the relationship of the abyssal plain to a continental rise and an oceanic trench

An abyssal plain is an underwater plain on the deep ocean floor, usually found at depths between 3,000 meters(9,842 feet) and 6,000 meters(19,685 feet). Lying generally between the foot of a continental rise and a mid-ocean ridge, abyssal plains cover more than 60% of the Earth's surface. They are among the flattest, smoothest, and least explored regions on Earth. Abyssal plains are key geologic elements of oceanic basins (the other elements being an elevated mid-ocean ridge and flanking abyssal hills).

The creation of the abyssal plain is the result of the spreading of the seafloor (plate tectonics) and the melting of the lower oceanic crust. Magma rises from above the asthenosphere (a layer of the upper mantle), and as this basaltic material reaches the surface at mid-ocean ridges, it forms new oceanic crust, which is constantly pulled sideways by spreading of the seafloor. Abyssal plains result from the blanketing of an originally uneven surface of oceanic crust by fine-grained sediments, mainly clay and silt. Much of this sediment is deposited by turbidity currents that have been channelled from the continental margins along submarine canyons into deeper water. The rest is composed chiefly of pelagic sediments. Metallic nodules are common in some areas of the plains, with varying concentrations of metals, including manganese, iron, nickel, cobalt, and copper. There are also amounts of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon, due to material that comes down and decomposes. (Full article...)
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Did you know - show different entries

  • ... 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 Summer Rayne Oakes has been called "the world's first eco-model" because she only models clothes made from organic or recycled materials?

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Credit: Mstroeck and Bryn C

Nanotechnology refers broadly to a field of applied science and technology whose unifying theme is the control of matter on the molecular level in scales smaller than 1 micrometre, normally 1 to 100 nanometers, and the fabrication of devices within that size range. Nanopollution is the result of waste generated by nanotechnology and has implications on the wider environment.

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Porritt receiving an honorary degree from the University of Exeter in 2008

Sir Jonathon Espie Porritt, 2nd Baronet, CBE (born 6 July 1950) is a British environmentalist and writer. He is known for his advocacy of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Porritt frequently contributes to magazines, newspapers and books, and appears on radio and television. (Full article...)

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IUCN logo.svg

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".

Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to sustainable development in its projects. IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation. It tries to influence the actions of governments, business and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, and through building partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide. (Full article...)

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

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Theodore Roosevelt
To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we thought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.

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