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Portal:Environment

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Welcome to the Environment Portal
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Environment

Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall, New Zealand.
The natural environment comprises all naturally occurring surroundings and conditions in which living things grow and interact on Earth. These include complete landscape units that function as natural systems without major human intervention, as well as plants, animals, rocks, and natural phenomena occurring within their boundaries. They also include non-local or universal natural resources that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water and climate.

The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished by components:

As human population numbers increase and as humans continue to evolve, human activity modifies the natural environment at a rapidly increasing rate, producing what is referred to as the built environment. The potential of the natural environment to sustain these anthropogenic changes while continuing to function as an ecosystem is an issue of major worldwide concern. Key environmental areas of interest include climate change, water supply and waste water, air pollution, waste management and hazardous waste, and land use issues such as deforestation, desertification, and urban sprawl.

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Thick particles in the atmosphere can reflect back the sunlight. Photo taken by NASA's Aqua satellite
Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface that was observed for several decades after the start of systematic measurements in the 1950s. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it has been estimated to be of the order of a 4% reduction over the three decades from 1960–1990. However, after discounting an anomaly caused by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, a very slight reversal in the overall trend has been observed.

It is thought to have been caused by an increase in particulates such as sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere due to human action. The switch from a "global dimming" trend to a "brightening" trend in 1990 happened just as global aerosol levels started to decline.

Global dimming has interfered with the hydrological cycle by reducing evaporation and may have reduced rainfall in some areas. Global dimming also creates a cooling effect that may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming. Deliberate manipulation of this dimming effect is now being considered as a geoengineering technique to reduce the impact of climate change.

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Current events

News
    • April 9: Woolworths, Australia moves single-use plastic bags ban date to June 20
    • March 21: Kenyan conservancy euthanises last male northern white rhino; only two females remain
    • March 3: French fashion brand Lacoste announces limited-edition logo change from crocodile to endangered animals
    • January 15: British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria
...Environmental news at Wikinews

Selected biography

Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 - May 14, 1998) was an eminent American conservationist and writer.

She was most associated with battles to save the Florida Everglades from draining and over development, during which times she organized benefits and various marches. Her book The Everglades: River of Grass, written in 1947, has gone through numerous editions. It galvanized people to protect the Everglades. At the age of 78, she founded Friends of the Everglades, an organization which is still at the forefront of Florida conservation.

Selected picture

Moofushi bleached corals.JPG
Credit: Bruno de Giusti

Coral bleaching refers to the loss of color of corals due to stress-induced expulsion of symbiotic unicellular algae. It can be caused by sedimentation, change in pH, change in water temperature, or pathogen infections. When coral bleaching occurs, the productivity of the coral reefs are lost.

Selected organization

The Wildlife Trusts partnership, or simply The Wildlife Trusts, is a partnership of 47 local wildlife trusts in the United Kingdom plus the Isle of Man and Alderney.

Wildlife Trusts are local organisations of differing size, history and origins, and can vary greatly in their constitution, activities and membership. However, all wildlife trusts share a common interest in wildlife and biodiversity, rooted in a practical tradition of land management and conservation. Almost all county wildlife trusts are significant landowners, with many nature reserves. Collectively they are the third largest voluntary sector landowners in the UK. The partnership's member trusts, between them, look after 2,200 nature reserves covering 80,000 square hectares.

Wildlife Trusts are local organisations of differing size, history and origins, and can vary greatly in their constitution, activities and membership. However, all wildlife trusts share a common interest in wildlife and biodiversity, rooted in a practical tradition of land management and conservation. Almost all county wildlife trusts are significant landowners, with many nature reserves. Collectively they are the third largest voluntary sector landowners in the UK. They often have extensive educational activities, and programmes of public events and education. The Wildlife Trusts centrally and locally also lobby for better protection of the UK's natural heritage, by becoming involved in planning matters and by national campaigning through the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. The trusts rely heavily upon volunteer labour for many of their activities, but nevertheless employ significant numbers of staff in countryside management and education. Thanks to their work promoting the personal and social development of young people, the Wildlife Trusts is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).

Selected quote

Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.
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