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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.

"More about the environment...

Selected article

""Reykjanesvirkjun Geothermal Power Plant in Rekyjanes peninsula
About 81 percent of total "primary energy supply in "Iceland is derived from domestically produced "renewable energy sources. In 2007, "geothermal energy provided about 66 percent of primary energy, the share of "hydropower was 15 percent, and "fossil fuels (mainly oil) 19 percent. The main use of geothermal energy is for "space heating with the heat being distributed to buildings through extensive district-heating systems. About 85% of all houses in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy.

Renewable energy provides 100 percent of "electricity production, with about 70 percent coming from hydropower and 30 percent from geothermal power.[1] Most of the hydropower plants are owned by "Landsvirkjun (the National Power Company) which is the main supplier of electricity in Iceland.

Did you know...

""Chemical structure of carbon dioxide

Current events

Selected biography

""Wangari Maathai.jpg
"Wangari Muta Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a "Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at the "University of Pittsburgh and at the "University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the "Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and "women's rights. In 1986, she was awarded the "Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004 became the first African woman to receive the "Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to "sustainable development, democracy and peace." Maathai was an elected member of the "National Assembly of Kenya and served as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President "Mwai Kibaki, from 2003 through 2005. She was an Honorary Councillor of the "World Future Council.

Selected picture

""C60a.png
Credit: "Mstroeck and "Bryn C

"Nanotechnology refers broadly to a field of "applied science and technology whose unifying theme is the control of matter on the "molecular level in scales smaller than 1 "micrometre, normally 1 to 100 nanometers, and the fabrication of devices within that size range. "Nanopollution is the result of waste generated by nanotechnology and has implications on the wider environment.

Selected organization

""Logo of World Conservation Union
The "International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an "international organization dedicated to "natural resource "conservation. Previous names include World Conservation Union or International Union for the Preservation of Nature (IUPN).

Founded in 1948, its headquarters is located in the Lake Geneva area in "Gland, Switzerland. The IUCN brings together 83 states, 108 government agencies, 766 "NGOs and 81 international organizations and about 10,000 experts and scientists from countries around the world.

IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of "natural resources is equitable and ecologically "sustainable.

The first Director General of "UNESCO, (Sir "Julian Huxley), wishing to give UNESCO a more scientific base, sponsored a congress to establish a new environmental institution to help serve this purpose. At that first congress (held at "Fontainebleau, "France), on 5 October 1948, 18 governments, 7 international organizations, and 107 national nature conservation organizations all agreed to form the institution and signed a "constitutive act" creating an International Union for the Protection of Nature. From this beginning, the overriding strategy and policy of the institution has been to explore and promote mutually beneficial conservation arrangements that suit those promoting development as well as assisting people and nations to better preserve their "flora and "fauna.

At all times, the institution (in all its forms) has heavily emphasised as a key operating principle the strong need to cater for and address the needs of local nations, communities and peoples, so that those nations, communities and peoples can take ownership of future, long term conservation goals and objects in their local areas:

Protected areas and threatened species could most effectively be safeguarded if local people considered it in their own interest to do so. Working with rather than against local people became a major working principle for IUCN.

— Page 61

The IUCN's World Conservation Strategy (1980) was founded upon this kind of principle, and clearly announced the IUCN's ambitions to more effectively enter into dialogue with the promoters of human development. The strategy was internationally applauded by many and served to secure the IUCN funds from several donors who didn't themselves feel they could open up effective dialogue in the world's "developing countries, nor that United Nations organizations and international banks would effectively engage in such dialogue.

The IUCN has now expanded into many of the nations around the world, making available the services of a large pool of mainly voluntary specialists, providing local level advice and conservation services, and expanding its networks of Committees and regional advisory bodies into increasing numbers of countries.

The Union has three components: its member organizations, its 6 scientific commissions and its professional "secretariat.

Selected quote

""Franklin Roosevelt
A nation that destroys its "soils destroys itself. "Forests are the lungs of our land, "purifying the air and giving fresh "strength to our people.

Main topics

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