Terra Environment Dictionary — O

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

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ocean acidification

The process by which the oceans’ acidity increases as it absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide, including approximately a quarter of human-induced emissions.
While the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere helps to reduce global warming and the effect of climate change, the carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, forming carbonic acid. Ocean acidification makes it more difficult for marine calcifying organisms to moult and build their shells and skeletal structures, and makes them more vulnerable to dissolution, as well as contributing to coral bleaching. The oceans today are about 28 percent more acidic than it was before.


A fossil fuel formed when layers of the decomposing remains of organisms are subjected to intense heat and pressure under the Earth’s surface for million of years. It is also known as crude oil or petroleum.
Through distillation, crude oil can be processed into a wide variety of different products, from petrol and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.
The use of oil as fuel contributes to global warming and ocean acidification, and it also damages marine environments and life through oil pollution and spills.


1. Relating to or derived from organisms.
2. Pertaining to chemical compounds containing carbon.
3. (of food or farming) Grown or produced without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other artificial chemicals.


The unsustainable removal of marine species at a rate faster than it can replenish itself.
According to a 2006 Science study, if fishing rates continue unchanged, all of the world’s fisheries will collapse by 2048. It is estimated that over one-third of world fish stocks are overfished.
Overfishing is also closely tied to bycatch.

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