Terra Environment Dictionary — I

Terra Environment Dictionary is a resource of words, terms and phrases related to environmentalism, as defined by society.

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ice cap

A mass of ice covering less than 50,000km2 of land area (usually highlands).

ice sheet

A mass of ice covering more than 50,000km2 of land area. The only current ice sheets are in Antarctica and Greenland.

ice shelf

A large floating platform of ice that forms when glacial ice or parts of an ice sheet flows down the coastline and onto the ocean surface. Ice shelves are currently only found in Antarctica, Greenland, Canada, and the Russian Arctic.

Impossible Foods

A food company that develops and manufactures plant-based (mainly soy protein) substitutes for meat products. Ironically, Impossible Foods’ partners often serve its plant-based meat substitutes with animal-based food products like cheese.

independent farm

Smaller-scale, non-industrialised, rural farms. They are usually relatively more socially and ethically responsible (e.g. animals are not treated like production machines), but face intense pressure and competition from industrial farms. For someone looking to improve the environmental and ethical cost of their eating, look to source your meat and produce from independent farms and farmers’ markets.

industrial farm

see: factory farm


1. A natural or innate impulse, inclination, tendency or intuitive power.
2. Often inaccurately used by humans to label—and downplay—animal intelligence and emotions, in an attempt to justify or excuse themselves for treating animals as a lowly life form, often in an inhumane manner.


1. The capacity for learning, understanding and applying context, concepts, relationships, meanings and similar forms of mental activity. Intelligence has been shown to be present in animals, most evidently in the great apes (e.g. chimpanzee, orangutan), whales, elephants, dolphins, pigs, crows, parrots and cephalopods (e.g. cuttlefish, octopus).
2. While humans are generally far superior over other animals in intelligence, some of its population exhibit an immense lack of it.


The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, an intergovernmental body of the United Nations dedicated to providing the world with objective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options.
In 2018, IPCC released the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SP15), in which the world’s leading climate scientists warned that we have only until 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To achieve this, we would require “deep emissions reductions”, by “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. Carbon emissions need to fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050.
IPCC is expecting to complete its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) in 2022. Since 1990, It has published five comprehensive assessment reports reviewing the latest climate science, as well as a number of special reports (such as SP15) on particular topics.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature, an international organisation for nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It publishes the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of biological species worldwide.

IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. As of January 2020, 112,432 species have been surveyed, with over 30,000 (27%) considered at risk of human-induced extinction.
The Red List is divided into nine categories:
1. Not Evaluated (NE)
2. Data Deficient (DD): evaluated, but inadequate information available for assessment.
3. Least Concern (LC): unlikely to become extinct in the near future.
4. Near Threatened (NT): close to being high risk of extinction in the near future.
5. Vulnerable (VU): high risk of extinction in the wild.
6. Endangered (EN): very high risk of extinction in the wild.
7. Critically Endangered (CR): extremely risk of extinction in the wild.
8. Extinct in the Wild (EW): surviving only in captivity, cultivation or outside its natural range.
9. Extinct (EX): beyond reasonable doubt that the last individual of the species has died.

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