Ecopedia

Ecomedia Letter: o

Ocean

People may mainly live on land, but most of the life of the earth exists in our oceans, with two-thirds of the surface of this blue planet being water. Oceans are greatly affected by human activity. People can now hunt the fisheries of the world with more skill and intensity than ever before and almost all major world fisheries are at risk of collapse. Water pollution and air pollution have huge impacts on the ocean. Climate change also poses huge risk to the chemistry, flow of nutrients and thermal patterns of the oceans and therefore, us.

Ocean Acidification

The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that the ocean is absorbing more carbon dioxide too. This is changing the pH of the ocean, meaning the chemistry of the ocean is getting more acidic. This affects all life in the ocean and animals that make shells and other calcifying organisms such as corals may be particularly hard hit by ocean acidification.

Off Gasing

Slow release of gases from materials. These gases may be volatile chemicals and harmful to health. Daily household materials such as paint, carpet, insulation and materials used in furniture may give off these gases.

Off the Grid

Being self sufficient and being fully operational without the help of public utilities or services.

Oil Dependence

Our current world reliance on crude oil for energy. Shifting away from oil has major consequences to the economy, social, infrastructure and transport sectors.

Oil Sands

Areas of clay and sand that are rich in petroleum known as bitumen. It is much more difficult to extract the useable oil from it than other forms of oil reserves and only in the past few years has it begun to be mined. Oil sands are usually spread across the surface of the earth and mining them is particularly distructive to those areas.

Old-Growth Forest

Forests that have been undisturbed for hundreds of years. Some species of trees that live in old growth forests have individual trees that are themselves hundred of years old.

Online Campaigner

Care about the environment, but can't quit your day job? Many environmental organizations have successfully used the power of the international online community to pressure governments and developers into actions that are better for the earth. Check out what's online...a few clicks and a bit of typing and you could make a difference!

Organic Certification

Organic Certification is done by various organizations around the world. Many have strict polices to ensure the soil has no left over chemicals by requiring the operation of the farm to be organic for a few years before certification is allowed.

Organic Cotton

Cotton grown without the aid of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers. A major shift considering that globally, 25% of all pesticides are estimated to be used on cotton. That cotton must be very tasty to insects!

Organic Farming

Farming that uses no chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers. Instead, this farming method uses natural products and methods such as animal manure for fertilizers. Different organic farming certifiers have different standards such as soil testing or operating organic for a few year before they can label there products as such. Organic farmers face the challenges of maintaining soil nutrient levels and sometimes lower production rates than conventional farming.

Organic Food

Food that is made from organically grown and raised ingredients. Labeling law or lack of them mean that consumers should carefully read what they're buying as some products may have only some ingredients as organic, but still claim to be organic. Organic food producers claim that organic products are healthier and better tasting, although scientific research has yet to solidly confirm this and debate continues.

Organic Makeup

Using makeup that uses all organic materials to produce.

Organic Market

Markets set up to showcase organic produce and products are a great one-stop shop for the needs of a healthy daily life. Many organic markets, as they begin, only operate one or a few days a week so check out what is going on in your local area.

Organic Product

Products made from organic ingredients or parts. Be eco-savvy and check out any claims or certifications to see what they really mean.

Ozone

Three oxygen atoms together in a molecule. It is a pollutant in the lower reaches of the atmosphere where it can affect human lungs, and is produced by some household products such as types of ink products. In the upper atmosphere, it forms a layer of gas that acts to protect the surface from Ultra Violate (UV) light wavelengths. Also see Ozone Hole.

Ozone Hole

The ozone layer is a layer of gas in the upper atmosphere with many ozone molecules. A hole over the Antarctic started to develop in the 1970's as a result of increased use of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) as propellants (in many spray cans), solvents and in refrigeration. They were controlled by the international Montreal Protocol that began in 1987.

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