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Portal:Environment

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Welcome to the Environment Portal
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Introduction

A biophysical environment is a biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environment can vary in scale from microscopic to global in extent. It can also be subdivided according to its attributes. Examples include the marine environment, the atmospheric environment and the terrestrial environment. The number of biophysical environments is countless, given that each living organism has its own environment.

The term environment can refer to a singular global environment in relation to humanity, or a local biophysical environment, e.g. the UK's Environment Agency.

Selected article

Pied Currawong, an invasive species in Australia
Invasive species are widespread non-indigenous species. The introduction of these non-indigenous species can be accidental or intentional. It can be damaging to the local ecosystem as invasive species compete resources with local species. Most of the time the non-native species cannot survive in the new environment and died out. However, there is a chance that they managed to survive and no natural predator in the new environment. This can wipe out local species as the population of the invasive species increases, thus negatively affecting biodiversity.

Scientists propose several mechanisms to explain invasive species, including species-based mechanisms and ecosystem-based mechanisms. It is most likely a combination of several mechanisms that cause an invasive situation to occur, since most introduced plants, biotic and animals do not become invasive.

Did you know...

Chemical structure of carbon dioxide

Current events

News
    • November 24: US National Climate Assessment warns of climate-related damages to economy, ecosystems, human health
    • October 8: UN Report on Global Warming calls for rapid 'unprecedented' changes globally to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degree C
    • August 29: Brisbane, Australia Magistrates Court charges two cotton farmers with $20m fraud
    • August 9: New South Wales, Australia government says entire state in winter 2018 drought
...Environmental news at Wikinews

Selected biography

Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born May 29, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is currently the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in 1957 from the University of Kansas. He is a renowned entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies). He is also well known as a researcher and author on the subject of human overpopulation notably for his 1968 book The Population Bomb. In the years since many of Ehrlich's predictions have proven incorrect, but he stands by his general thesis that the human population is too large and is a direct threat to human survival and the environment of the planet.

Selected image

Mai Po Marshes serves as a stop for migrating birds.
Credit: Baycrest

Mai Po Marshes is a nature reserve in Hong Kong. It is managed by World Wide Fund for Nature. The marshes have an area of about 1800 acres and is listed as a Ramsar site under Ramsar Convention in 1995. It provides a conservation area for mammals, reptiles, insects, and over 350 kinds of birds (including Saunders's Gull and a quarter of world's Black-faced Spoonbill population). It also has inter-tidal mangroves along with 24 traditionally operated shrimp ponds (called Gei Wai locally) to provide food for the birds. It receives 40,000 visitors annually.

Selected organization

The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983. The commission was created to address growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development.

The Report of the Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, was published in 1987. It was welcomed by the General Assembly in its resolution 42/187. The report deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed for achieving that. The definition of this term in the report is quite well known and often cited:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
  • the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

Selected quote

Margaret Thatcher
When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands.
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