Portal:Environment
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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.

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Diagrammatic cross-section of an oceanic basin, showing the relationship of the abyssal plain to a continental rise and an oceanic trench
An abyssal plain is an underwater plain on the deep ocean floor, usually found at depths between 3000 and 6000 meters. Lying generally between the foot of a continental rise and a mid-ocean ridge, abyssal plains cover more than 50% of the Earth's surface. Abyssal plains were not recognized as distinct physiographic features of the sea floor until the late 1940s and until very recently, few have been systematically studied. They are poorly preserved in the sedimentary record because they tend to be consumed by the subduction process. The abyssal plain is formed when the lower oceanic crust is melted and forced upwards by the asthenosphere layer of the upper mantle. As this basaltic material reaches the surface at mid-ocean ridges, it forms new oceanic crust. Abyssal plains result from the blanketing of an originally uneven surface of oceanic crust by fine-grained sediments, mainly clay and silt. Much of this sediment is deposited from turbidity currents that have been channeled from the continental margins along submarine canyons down into deeper water. The remainder of the sediment is composed chiefly of pelagic sediments.

Due in part to their vast size, abyssal plains are currently believed to be a major reservoir of biodiversity. The abyss also exerts significant influence upon ocean carbon cycling, dissolution of calcium carbonate and atmospheric CO2 concentrations over timescales of 100-1000 years. The structure and function of abyssal ecosystems are strongly influenced by the rate and composition of food flux to the seafloor. Factors such as climate change, fishing practices, and ocean fertilization are expected to substantially alter primary production patterns in the euphotic zone.

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London Smog
Incandescent light bulb

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 - May 14, 1998) was an eminent American conservationist and writer.

She was most associated with battles to save the Florida Everglades from draining and over development, during which times she organized benefits and various marches. Her book The Everglades: River of Grass, written in 1947, has gone through numerous editions. It galvanized people to protect the Everglades. At the age of 78, she founded Friends of the Everglades, an organization which is still at the forefront of Florida conservation.

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Carbon cycle-cute diagram.jpeg
Credit: NASA

The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Burning fossil fuels leads to the addition of extra carbon into the cycle over what naturally occurs and is a major cause of climate change.

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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:

Selected quote

Theodore Roosevelt
To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we thought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.

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