With the rise in environmental consciousness, there are lots of new buzzwords popping up and it can be easy to feel like you’re getting left behind. I have created this post to help you cut through the jargon and get you up to speed with the latest eco-terms!
Might as well start off with the basics. Sustainability is thought of as the ability of a system to maintain an activity at a certain level or rate. Due to environmental changes and issues that we are facing, sustainability has adopted further meaning. It is now being used to describe the ways in which we, as a species, try to avoid depleting natural resources.
2. Carbon Footprint
Not to be confused with ecological footprint, carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere due to the specific actions of an individual or organisation over a given time period. This is usually measured in terms of equivalent tons of CO2. Understanding the extent of our own carbon footprint can be a great way in reducing our own impact on the planet.
3. Circular Economy
In contrast to the “make, use, dispose” processes of a traditional linear economy, a circular economic model aims to minimise ‘make and dispose’ whilst maximising ‘use’. The principles are based upon the reduction of waste and ensuring that items that are made are kept within the economy and restored, creating further value.
This is a frequently used term in recent times. It is used when a brand or company make environmental claims about themselves that are unsubstantiated and largely false. This tactic is often used as part of their marketing campaigns to appeal to the growing number of eco-conscious consumers as well as to portray a responsible brand image. This has become problematic in many industries as it deceives the consumer and also discredits brands that are not greenwashing.
This is a philosophy that focuses on the reduction of waste with the goal that nothing gets sent to landfill, incinerators or our environment. In line with the circular economic model, zero-waste living shares the idea that resources shouldn’t be discarded, they should be resumed fully back into the system. This is done to reduce our impact on the planet.
So there we have it, a little whistle-stop tour round some sustainability terms that should be in all of our vocabularies! Whilst we have just scratched the surface of sustainability, these words are a great starting point to base further research upon.