Eco Friendly Tips: What Does Eco Friendly Mean?
We encounter eco-friendly terminology everywhere nowadays: at the stores you visit, on the products you purchase, in the news you read, in eco friendly blogs and in casual conversation. Over the past few years, environmental sustainability has become a hot topic, due partly to the buzz surrounding global warming. People have become increasingly aware of the environmental impact that their actions make, and are striving to find resources to instruct them how to be environmentally friendly in order to erase their carbon footprint. Companies, too, are aware of this, and more often than not attempt to greenwash their products or services to appeal to this demographic of customers.
But what does eco friendly mean, really? Being eco friendly means following a set of guidelines or principles that either minimizes the environmental impact of any given action, or is beneficial to environmental sustainability. An example of the former definition would be driving a hybrid vehicle, such as a Toyota Prius, to and from work, thus minimizing the environmental impact of driving to work in a non-efficient vehicle. An example of the latter aforementioned definition would be taking bicycling to work instead of driving, thus eliminating any environmental impact. But why stop there? Here are some more eco friendly terms:
- Alternative Energy – A term used to describe any source of energy intended to replace current energy resources, such as coal, fossil fuel, and nuclear energy. This differs from the term renewable energy (see below for that description).
- Carbon Footprint – The measurement of the environmental impact of a person or an action over time, associated with the quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere. It is generally measured in tonnes.
- Carbon Neutral – Offsetting your carbon footprint by an equal or greater amount, by following eco friendly practices or guidelines that reduce or eliminate CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions.
- Eco Fashion – Clothing created using organic or sustainable materials, manufactured following earth-conscious or socially responsible practices, or created using repurposed or recycled apparel or accessories.
- Fair Trade – An organized social movement whereby international producers of agricultural commodities are financially compensated for their goods in a manner that is socially and economically moral. These commodities are generally, but not limited to coffee, chocolate, tea, and sugar.
- Free Range – Livestock or domestic poultry that is raised outside of confinement and / or permitted to roam freely and graze, as opposed to being born and raised in a cage or pen.
- Global Warming – An increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere leading to a change in weather patterns, which in turn creates various environmental and agricultural impacts, including but not limited to rising sea levels and drought. Global warming is argued to have been the direct impact of rising pollution levels since the industrial revolution.
- Greenhouse Gases – Gases in the earth’s atmosphere that absorb thermal-infrared radiation from the earth’s surface, thus increasing the overall temperature. These gases are typically water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.
- Greenwashing – A practice of companies falsely promoting or exaggerating their products or services as being environmentally friendly, in order to capitalize on the earth-conscious consumer demographic.
- Renewable Energy – Energy that comes from renewable resources that can be replenished naturally at a rate comparable or faster than it’s consumption; typically these are energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, hydroelectric and biofuel (ie. bagasse is produced as a byproduct of the sugarcane processing, and is used to fuel the boilers for this process).
Thought of the day
Hopefully the above list provides some insight into the jargon of environmental activists. If you have some terms that you think would be suitable, or eco friendly tips on how to be environmentally friendly, please let us know in the comments section. We’d love to add them to the list!