Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Glossary of Eco-Babble : a garden of new-age varieties

While the 'go green' catchword of the 90s gets hotter by the day, DOING the eco-stuff is considered cool ....... whether you are the community honcho or an informed nit-picking homemaker . So in keeping with the cool-cool junta, you have to be conspicuously present in the green brigades rallying the trendiest eco-war whoops ...... AND you've GOT TO BE 'eco-chic' too, as my daughter says (who considers me demode!)

Hey, I tell her, what about the diligent following of the eco mantra in my private life ? And the pride in hogging the neighbourhood hate-list pushing for a sustainable cosmo biome????????? Doesn't all of this hold good? Well, it seems, it is zilch, unless you flow with the tide.

So, from being a low-key player in green-o-sphere and a closet autarchist ..... I have opted for the ultimate 'green-shift' ..... being au fait with the latest in cutting-edge ecology.

But then, I find myself mired in these new generation eco-centric buzzwords that have invaded the cyberspace, cocktail circuits, et al.

Its crazy going. Reminds me of the Ripley's Mirror Maze as I keep getting lost in the labyrinth of 'zero carbon's and 'zero neutral's. And Heaven help me if perchance I commit the ultimate faux pas ...... confusing 'zero emissions' with 'clean burning'! As for Googling the keywords, its worse than separating pith.

Finally, the compulsive researcher in me got cracking ..... to arm myself with the hottest and latest lexicon to be found in ecosphere. [An awesome task, given the whole new set of amazing jargons birthed by political manouvers, green makeovers and venture capitalists].

There's an awesome range of new-fangled words out there in eco-world ..... almost a micronation by itself! Some of these are mind-bogglingly inventive ...... while some could hold their own as tongue-twisters. They make me feel like I am creating this dream garden ...... what with the latest 'hybrids' and 'dark greens' ...... and 'corn-porns' thrown in for that luscious appeal!

I have attempted to rake in as many of the green jargon as I could get hold of ...... more of an eco-babble pruned to be eco-trendy and dressed up in eco-humor! Shall keep adding compost and grafting along the way. And would love to have you pitch in this fashionably green project. [BTW, THAT is not coined by ME !]

Have a pleasant stroll ...... I dont mind, as long as you watch your 'carbon footprint' !

basic browns also labelled 'apathetics' , they are the green stoics and the anti-L.O.H.A.S. breed.

Bali roadmap cliched jargon favoured by journos and bloggers; the forecasting tool to show action needed by all countries to tackle climate change, named after the landmark deal struck in December 2007 at Bali island to produce an international convention by the end of 2009

biomimicry taking lessons from the biome to simulate efficiency

bright greens the eco warriors who want to overhaul or retrofit everything

bring site place where you can take and recycle your own waste

carbon capture new technology to capture carbon emissions and store them in isolated areas, a process or product that removes carbon from the atmosphere

carbon credits a 'carrot' scheme of awarding efficient performers with grades-like 'credits' (quota of carbon allowed to emit)

carbon footprint individual contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions; a meaurement of negative impact on environment; equals direct + indirect emissions of a given consumer

carbon negative So grow trees for a carbon negative venture!

carbon neutral a highly debated jargon that more or less agrees on one thing - cutting down carbon emissions to the maximum extent possible, even if it means cutting down foreign holidays

carbon offset the process of counter-balancing carbon emissions

carbon tax charge imposed on the use of fossil fuels, based on amount of carbon emitted by the fuel

carbon trading a new-fangled tool designed to control overall pollution by allowing corporates to trade in 'carbon credits'; the ultimate in eco-protocol that restricts quota of individual carbon emissions while paving way for elitist defaulters to buy the surplus 'carbon credits' of eco-moralists, and continue to emit carbons!

clean-burning fuel that has little or no emissions while consumption

close the loop buying a recycled product which is already re-manufactured / re-processed / re-used more than once

conspicuous conservation conservation of water, energy and natural resources in an elitist blatant mode; the antithesis as well as antidote of conspicuous consumption

corn-porn journo lingo referring to the Super Bowl 'Veggie-Love' ad of PETA banned by NBC, featuring a bevy of beautiful women tempted by veggies

cradle-to-cradle products designed for recycling; services or products where materials are perpetually circulated within the 'closed loop'

cradle-to-grave products that end in landfills at the end of their life; typically products and services that have an environmental impact through its lifecycle and thereafter; non-recyclable products

cragger member of the Carbon Rationing Action Group (C.R.A.G.) working towards stopping climate change - taking individual and collective accountability to reduce personal carbon footprint

dark greens the eco reformers who believe in radical macro-policy shifts for solutions to a sustainable environment

Design for Environment (DfE), also Design for Sustainability (DfS) design using resources that have minimum negative impact on the natural, economic and social environment

dinosaur wine petroleum or its derivatives

eco-anarchism broadly a techno-negative theory that places emphasis on the environment and its preservation through social justice and advocacy of the 'eco-village'

eco-chic, also green chic

eco-consumerism, also green consumerism


a natural-resource shortage caused by overconsumption

coined by the skeptic to rebuff forceful imposition of environmental views by devleoped countries

small sustainable communities that incorporate traditional lifestyle with community participation, and are ecologically-driven to minimise 'carbon footprint'

ecological footprint
area of land required to produce the total food and water as well as to absorb the waste produced by a consumer, whether individual or an organisation

ecological recession
downspin in natural resources, caused by humans devouring a third more than the planet can replenish; a looming environmental crisis

ecological rucksack
total amount of waste created during a product's life cycle; total quantity of natural resources used for generation of a product, its usage and final disposal.

eats organic, non-animal foods that are low on the food chain / use minumum food mileage, even taking the ethics of food production into count!

Energy Return On Investment (E.R.O.I.)
Ratio of energy harvested to the energy used in the process

Energy Efficiency Ratio (E.E.R.)
measure of relative efficiency of a heating or cooling appliance; an important rating to calculate the energy efficiency of your machine

ethical consumerism consumer habits of buying and consuming products or services that are ethically derived without damage to humans, animals and environment

ethical goods and services services and supplies where ethical standards are upheld vis-a-vis people and environment

feebate surcharge slapped on energy-guzzlers; an incentive to yield energy-efficient products

First World environmentalism the urban elitist attitude of First World countries, that holds a purist view at the expense of Third World development

food miles the total miles travelled by a given food from the place where it originates or is grown, to the place where it is finally consumed

fossil fuels perhaps the most hyped word in the recent times, refers to the traditional fuel like coal, burning of which releases maximum CO2

freedom lawn where indigenious lawns and grasses rule

the Greeks gave 'geo' and man applied politics to economic geography to justify a nation's foreign policies

geothermal energy natural and renewable energy source found within the earth; hot steam and water tapped for heating systems and energy

go green a conscious and active decision to reduce the negative effect on the environment, through personal lifestyle choices

green building design, also sustainable building design building and construction design which uses methods, systems and materials with a lower negative impact on the environment than the conventional building design. record of the amount of energy used and waste created, in the life-cycle of a product or service

green-collar jobs traditionally 'blue-collar' jobs that contribute to a sustainable economy and improved environment

green muting
hiding the head in sand attitude of corporates on environmental issues and efforts, or their refusal to talk

change in attitude or policy to an eco-friendly path

green wash
marketing tool for promotion of eco-friendliness of a company or service, verging on the brainwash

grey water
waste water from domestic use

the hipper and edgier version of 'grassroots', complete with connotations of the underground and extralegal.

guerilla gardening
a politically correct defintion would be proactive gardening practiced by environmentalists. More than often, a guerilla take-over of a patch of land for the express purpose of a green resurrection.

an eco-colloqialism, for "the embodiment of everything wrong with the American automotive industry and culture surrounding it."; jargon originated in the 'Hummer' brand of off-the-road vehicles sold by General Motors, criticised for its poor fuel economy and ecological irresponsibility amongst other things


hybrid cars
Cars that use two or more energy sources, like electricity, gasoline, solar; commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles with electric motor/s and internal combustion engines

indirect emissions
'carbon emissions' the indirect or roundabout way (using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, or eating meals with high food miles)

Life-Cycle Analysis (L.C.A.)
process to assess the environmental impact during the entire life of a product or service

Life Cycle Inventory (L.C.I) record of the amount of energy used and waste created, in the life-cycle of a product or service generating own energy using solar panels or domestic wind turbines

Lifestyles Of Health and Sustainability (L.O.H.A.S.)
a hip marketing and advertising lingo, devised to draw eco-conscious consumers

light greens
the eco-aware crowds who advocate the eco-path through lifestyle choices

mainstream environmentalism
well-financed, highly structured movements campaigning for environmental justice, operating on a national or wider scale the continuing melting of polar ice, causing an ongoing shrinking of the ice caps

no-impact man
tag given to the person who is focused on creating a zero impact on the environment, after the superhero title given to Colin Beaven who opted to spend an entire year with his family generating absolutely no net impact (it scored him a New York Times article, a book deal, and an appearance on The Colbert Report!)

living without public utility amenities; a life of self-suffciiency

Polar melt
product or material which has already been recycled or reused AFTER its original purpose was served

post-consumer material
discarded-as-garbage consumer stuff, churned into a new product

product or material which has been recycled or reused BEFORE it has become a consumer product

corporate lingo that factors in social and environmental costs, prioritising the three Ps, people, planet and profit

the practice of growing own food to save money; the striving green-fingers for a sustainable living

product take-back
the far-sightedness of a manufacturer that provides for the take-back of the product after use for its disposal, reuse, recycling and sustainability

an ethical yuppie who believes being eco-friendly doesn't mean having to give up on the modern lifestyle

eco-colloqialism for anything that maybe green tech but NOT necessarily chic; jargon originating from the two-wheeled self-balancing electric vehicle called 'Segway'

slow design
yet to be fully explored jargon derived from the 'slow food movement' begun to combat fast food revolution, aimed at using local resources, incorporating natural time-cycles and sustainability

sustainable sources
materials that minimise environmental impact by using minimum non-renewable resources

technocratic environmentalism
where use of the analytical sciences and technology is advocated to conserve environment

triple bottom line,
also TBL, 3BL product that does not contain recycled content; product manufactured with 100% new materials

creating useful products from waste materials; an eco-stunt by green crusaders and design junkies to describe new products from wastes like the cliched old T shirt revamps (also includes lazy, unethical ventures like the reported Chinese application of used condoms in hair scrunchies!)

process of using worms to decompose vegetable and biodegrable household scraps and produce nutrient-rich soil

virgin product
a loosely used jargon to tag nil carbon emissions

areas within walking distance; places reached on foot while shedding those extra kilos the energy-efficient way

water bankruptcy
total depletion of water as demand outpaces population and economic growth

zero carbon

zero carbon home house that produces no net C02 emissions from the energy used by people living in it, NOT taking into account the initial construction materials

zero-energy design building design with zero annual net energy consumption or carbon emission; wherein on-site renewable energy source equals energy consumed; building design where 100 % of energy consumed is renewable even if generated off-site

1 comment:

  1. Yo!
    'Cool-Cool, eco-style ka yeh usool'.....very humourous too!
    I guess, the only latest eco-diki on www... good going Alchemist!