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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.

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Participation in the Kyoto Protocol: dark green indicates countries that have signed and ratified the treaty, yellow indicates those that have signed and hope to ratify it, and red indicates those that have signed but not ratified it.
Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change international treaty on climate change, assigning mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the signatory nations. The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) produced by "Annex I" (industrialized) nations, as well as general commitments for all member countries. It works on an emission allowance scheme.

Kyoto includes defined "flexible mechanisms" such as Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation to allow Annex I economies to meet their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limitations by purchasing GHG emission reductions credits from elsewhere, through financial exchanges, projects that reduce emissions in non-Annex I economies, from other Annex I countries, or from Annex I countries with excess allowances. In practice this means that Non-Annex I economies have no GHG emission restrictions, but have financial incentives to develop GHG emission reduction projects to receive "carbon credits" that can then be sold to Annex I buyers, encouraging sustainable development. In addition, the flexible mechanisms allow Annex I nations with efficient, low GHG-emitting industries, and high prevailing environmental standards to purchase carbon credits on the world market instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions domestically. Annex I entities typically will want to acquire carbon credits as cheaply as possible, while Non-Annex I entities want to maximize the value of carbon credits generated from their domestic Greenhouse Gas Projects.

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Current events

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David Attenborough
Sir David Frederick Attenborough is one of the world's best known broadcasters and naturalists. His career as the respected face and voice of British natural history programmes has endured more than 50 years and is widely considered one of the pioneers of the nature documentary. He is best known for writing and presenting the eight "Life" series. In 2007, Attenborough presented "Sharing Planet Earth", the first programme in a series of documentaries entitled Saving Planet Earth.

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Irrigation in the Heart of the Sahara.jpg
Credit: NASA
Irrigation in the Sahara Desert.

Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil usually for assisting in growing crops. In crop production it is mainly used to replace missing rainfall in periods of drought, but also to protect plants against frost. Additionally irrigation helps to suppress weed growing in rice fields. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is sometimes referred to as dryland farming or as rain fed farming. Environmental problems such depletion of underground aquifers, ground subsidence, buildup of toxic salts on soil surface in areas of high evaporation, overirrigation and the possibility of water pollution.

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Logo for Green Peace
Greenpeace, originally known as the Greenpeace Foundation, is an international environmental organization founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1971. It is best known for its campaigns against nuclear weapons and campaigning against whaling. In later years, the focus of the organization turned to other environmental issues, including bottom trawling, global warming, ancient forest destruction, nuclear power, and genetic engineering. Greenpeace uses direct action, lobbying and research to achieve its goals. Greenpeace has national and regional offices in 46 countries worldwide, all of which are affiliated to the Amsterdam-based Greenpeace International.

The global organization receives its income through the individual contributions of an estimated 3 million financial supporters, as well as from grants from charitable foundations, but does not accept funding from governments or corporations. It is often the subject of criticism and ridicule for supposedly over-the-top protesting.

On its official website, Greenpeace defines its mission as the following:

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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.

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