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What does carbon neutral mean? | Eco-Friendly Terminology | Green Glossary

October 11, 2021

It seems at the moment that there is a new ‘eco’ word sprouting up every day, and unfortunately a lot of these terms get lost in the greenwashing of large corporations, or are excluded from general use by intimidation. Today we’re sitting down to bring you the definitions of some of these terms and we hope they can inspire you on your own journey to improving your sustainability credentials!

Rewilding

Re-wilding stands for restoring nature, creating biodiversity in areas that have lost their natural ecology, and building climate resilience into our natural spaces.

Rewilding Britain is an organisation that is helping individuals to get involved, and calling on governmental figures to take action on a larger scale. You can visit their website to see how you can do your bit today: https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/

Un-Gardening

This could appeal to the low maintenance gardener among us, a bit like re-wilding, un-gardening is when you simply let your garden go to nature. By stopping the use of pesticides and other chemicals, and planting with ecological growth in mind, you can encourage natural biodiversity right there on your private land.

@Petekanaris on tiktok shows us how ecological landscaping can transform an ineffective grass lawn into a green garden producing its own food, herbs and medicine, whilst at the same time giving back to the wildlife and natural environment around it! https://www.tiktok.com/@petekanaris/video/6991874910775692549

Permaculture

An approach to land management that focuses on developing an agricultural ecosystem, intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. By looking at examples of natural, thriving ecosystems, synthetic farming systems are developed based on crop diversity and natural productivity.

To see an example of how successful this idea can be, watch The Biggest Little Farm on how one couple turned a barren land in the middle of San Franciscan farming country into a lush haven producing its own economy: https://www.biggestlittlefarmmovie.com/

Biodegradable

Something that is capable of breaking down into its natural components, decomposing naturally via bacteria or living organisms. This often means it can be composted, and compared to synthetic counterparts that take several hundred years to decay, biodegradable materials take only three to six months to decompose fully.

Net Zero

Achieving a balance between carbon emissions produced and carbon emissions removed from the atmosphere, by making changes to reduce carbon emissions across the supply chain to the lowest amount — and offsetting as a last resort. Also often described as carbon neutral, although these words have subtle differences.

Carbon Offsetting

A service that an increasing number of companies offer, Carbon offsetting is one of Yayzy’s core principles. Individuals and businesses alike can offset their carbon emissions through offset schemes. The most common method to offset excess carbon emissions is through tree planting schemes, others include renewable energy programs and efficient cookstoves projects.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutrality refers to the policy of not increasing carbon emissions and of achieving carbon reduction through offsets. Although this is positive, ideally there should be more focus on reaching net-zero through active reduction of carbon emissions (or carbon footprint) followed by an effort to offset any remaining carbon emission imbalance.

Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint describes the amount of carbon emitted as a result of human activity. A carbon footprint can be assigned to a person, a product or even a country. Factors that increase a carbon footprint include transport, material and production energy usage.

Ecological Footprint

A measurement based on the amount of nature it takes to support something, or biocapacity, in the amount of biologically productive land and sea area required to sustain our use of natural resources. When the ecological footprint is larger than biocapacity, an imbalance is present and we are running at an ecological deficit.

Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Overshoot occurs when humanity’s ecological footprint is larger than earth’s biocapacity. In 2021, Earth Overshoot Day occurred on the 29th of July.

Ecocide

An action that will cause temporary or permanent damage to the ecology of the natural planet, Ecocide is a term to describe the destruction of the natural environment, particularly when the destruction is deliberate. The unnecessary destruction of any natural environment or failure to protect our planet could both be described as ecocide.

Nurdles

Lentil shaped plastic pellets that are used in most new plastic production, nurdles can easily enter our natural environment and are a well-known and hard to clean-up polluter in our water systems. They often invade beaches and a survey of 279 UK beaches has found that almost three quarters are littered with nurdles.

Circular Economy

A system dedicated to eliminating waste by reusing, sharing, repairing, and recycling resources. The word comes from the visualisation of an economy that survives in a constant, efficient loop! Similar to this, a closed-loop system is one that produces no waste. Everything is reused or recycled and there is no need for the input of new resources, or the disposal of old ones!

Wish-cycling

We may all be guilty of this one, Wish-cycling describes an ‘aspirational approach’ to recycling items without knowing if they’re recyclable but expecting them to be properly dealt with. We should all keep on top of our local authorities’ rules when it comes to recycling, in order to make sure our recycling gets to where it needs to be, and can be properly recycled.

Localvore

If you’re still an omnivore, herbivore or carnivore, seriously.. catch up! The newest term for someone who consumes only food that has been cultivated locally is a localvore! We have a suspicion this doesn’t include a pack of crisps from your local corner shop, but either way, support small!

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