Simple Green: Green Definitions

Simple Green: Green Definitions

Abby Stone
Jul 30, 2008

atla-073008-def.jpgThe other day Rebecca demystified green symbology. Today's lesson clarifies those definitions that everyone seems to be batting around with increasing frequency...

  • Carbon footprint The effect of an action, whether driving a car, eating meat or using a plastic bottle, on the climate measured by the amount of greenhouse gas that is produced.
  • Greenhouse gas Gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorocarbons, that directly contribute to global warming.
  • Carbon offsets These are measures (like planting a tree) sold to companies and individuals to balance out the carbon dioxide their actions have produced. Green tit for tat.
  • Carbon tax A proposal to charge a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels like gas for driving and fuel for flying.
  • Energy vampires This term refers to electric appliances such as televisions, chargers, and computers that use energy even when turned off.
  • Phantom LoadThe energy used by energy vampires.
  • Fair trade A certification code used by TransFair USA (a nonprofit certifier) that ensures products such as coffee, tea and sugar have been grown by farmers who are paid a fair price, provided credit, and given assistance in their business with the eventual goal of economic self-sufficiency.
  • Sustainability Living in a way that preserves resources for our children and our children's children. Ideally, looking for non-exhaustible ways to "fuel" our lives like wind and solar power.

[Image by Joshua Davis(, from his Flickr, licensed under a Creative Commons Licensee]

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