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APES Vocabulary


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toxic colonialism
- the practice of targeting Third or Fourth World countries for waste disposal and/or experimentation with risky technologies and manufacturing.
Rayleigh scattering
dominant form of light scattering in the upper atmosphere, which produces the blue color of the sky. It is caused by atmospheric particulates that have very small diameters relative to the wavelength of the light, such as dust particles or atmospheric gases like nitrogen and oxygen.
perfluorocarbon (PFC)
compounds consisting of carbon and fluorine
PFCs have extremely high global warming potentials (GWPs) and very long lifetimes. They do not deplete stratospheric ozone.
also known as 'salgaso' or 'aqua enferma'. A condition observed annually in the coastal waters off Peru in which the water is discolored red or yellow and there is a significant loss of marine life. It typically occurs from April through June and is probably caused by an increase in water temperatures via the importation of warmer waters by ocean currents. This causes the death of temperature sensitive marine organisms such as dinoflagellates, which may in turn kill other organisms via the release of toxins.
absolute lethal concentration (LC100)
the lowest concentration of a substance that kills 100 % of test organisms
cceptable daily intake (ADI)
the daily dose of a chemical (pesticide, food additive, etc.) that is generally considered to be safe for the public and generally expressed as mg/kg body weight.
allocated federal money to 1) be used for immediate hazards, 2) clean up old hazardous sites based on a priority list (National Priority List).
resource productivity
also known as material efficiency. The total amount of material that eventually ends up in a finished product as compared to the original amount
life cycle assessment (LCA)
a process to evaluate the environmental impact associated with a product. LCAs identify and quantify the energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment of the product. The assessment includes the entire life cycle of the product starting with the extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution, use/reuse/maintenance, recycling, and final disposal.
green design
Carnegie Mellon University coined the term 'green design' in 1992 to promote environmentally conscious engineering, product and process design, manufacturing, and architecture. The concept involves forming partnerships with industrial corporations, foundations, and government agencies to develop joint research and education programs that improve environmental quality while encouraging sustainable economic development.
the use of biological agents, such as bacteria or plants, to remove or neutralize contaminants, as in polluted soil or water
trickling filters
an attached culture wastewater treatment system that consists of a large tank generally filled with rock. Wastewater is sprayed over the top of the media, providing the opportunity for the formation of slimes or biomass to remove wastes from the wastewater, through revolving arms that have spray nozzles. Water is pumped from the bottom of a trickle filter to a secondary clarifier
temperature inversion
- stable layer of warmer air overlays cooler air, reversing the normal temperature decline with increasing height and preventing convection currents from dispersing pollutants. Temperature inversions are caused by (1) cold fronts sliding under an adjacent warmer air mass; (2) cool air subsides down a mountain slope to disperse warmer air in the valley' or (3) rapid nighttime cooling in a valley or basin where air movement is restricted. Cooler air slides under the contaminated air, pushing it up against the warmer air above and concentrating the pollutants
national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS)
there are two types of national air quality standards. (1) primary standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of "sensitive" populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly; and (2) secondary standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility, damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.
first-generation pesticides
generally used before 1940. Some were nonpersistant organic compounds, made or extracted from natural plants- such as caffeine that can be used to control tobacco horn worms, meal worms, milkweed bugs, and mosquito larvae; sulfur- used to control mold and chiggers; nicotine sulfate made from tobacco; pyrethrum- made from chrysanthemums; rotenone- made from derris roots. A second type consisted of inorganic compounds made from toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury. They were highly toxic to people and to animals, they contaminated the soil for 100 years or more, and they tended to accumulate in soil to the point of inhibiting plant growth.
polyvarietal cultivation
different varieties of crops are planted at the same time. Since harvest times vary, soil erosion is reduced.
optimum sustainable yield
the maximum yield of a renewable resource that does not affect future supply.
mixed perennial polyculture
the growing together of a mixture of perennial plant species. This diversity is similar to what is found in nature. Many of the problems encountered in growing only one species of plant in an area, pestilence, weed infestation, exhausting soil resources, etc. are reduced or eliminated.
Man and Biosphere (MAB) program
a concept in which nature preserves are shared with humans with minimal impact. The concept involves a center core in which no human activity is allowed. This area is left pristine. The next layer out is a buffer zone in which minimal human activity and modest ecotourism is allowed, and finally, the outer perimeter is defined as allowing managed human habitation and where sustainable resource removal is allowed.
heap leaching
a process, whereby valuable metals (usually gold and silver) are leached from a heap of crushed ore by solutions percolating down through the heap. The process is popular in the southwestern U.S.
also known as a 'greenbelt'. An area of green open space that surrounds and stretches into cities. It often contains trees and shrubs, and serves as a visual break between areas of urban buildup.
mining activity that consists of removing the rock from an underground or open-pit mine.
deferred-rotation grazing
to delay grazing until a critical growth stage of the plant is passed. Such deferral is intended to permit seed production, seedling establishment, flowering, and restoration of plant vigor
conventional-tillage farming
weeds and crop residues are buried by plowing. This is followed by a number of secondary tillage operations, leaving a bare seedbed for conventional crop planting
car-sharing networks
a system in which members of a network or group, co-own a car. Members call in to find the nearest available car to 'share'. The program in Germany has reduced car ownership 75% and commuting by 90%.
background extinction
the normal rate of extinction that is not influenced by man
riparian usufructury rights
- people who live along river banks have right to as much water as they can use as long as it does not interfere with quality or availability of water to people downstream.
an area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns
infiltration capacity
the maximum rate at which water can enter the soil at a particular point under a given set of conditions.
a water-carved channel or gully in arid country, usually rather small with steep banks, dry most of the time, due to infrequent rainfall and the shallowness of the cut which does not penetrate below the level of permanent groundwater

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