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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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Attribution of recent climate change
Climate change refers to the change of Earth's global climate or in regional climates over time. These changes can be caused by processes internal to the Earth, external forces (e.g. variations in sunlight intensity) or, more recently, human activities.

In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, the term "climate change" often refers only to changes in modern climate, including the rise in average surface temperature known as global warming. In some cases, the term is also used with a presumption of human causation, as in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC uses "climate variability" for non-human caused variations.

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London Smog

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Selected biography

Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born May 29, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is currently the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in 1957 from the University of Kansas. He is a renowned entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies). He is also well known as a researcher and author on the subject of human overpopulation notably for his 1968 book The Population Bomb. In the years since many of Ehrlich's predictions have proven incorrect, but he stands by his general thesis that the human population is too large and is a direct threat to human survival and the environment of the planet.

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Ectopistes migratoriusMCN2P28CA.jpg
Credit: Orthogenetic Evolution in the Pigeons

The passenger pigeon was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. It is estimated that there were as many as five billion passenger pigeons in the United States at the time Europeans colonized North America. They lived in enormous flocks, and during migration, one could see flocks of them a mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long, taking several days to pass and probably containing two billion birds. The species had not been common in the Pre-Columbian period, until the devastation of the American Indian population by European diseases.

Over the 19th century, the species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction. At the time, passenger pigeons had one of the largest groups or flocks of any animal, second to only the desert locust.

Some decimation in numbers occurred as a result of loss of habitat, when the Europeans started settling further inland. However, the primary factor emerged when pigeon meat was commercialized as a cheap food for slaves and the poor in the 19th century, resulting in hunting on a massive scale. There was a slow decline in their numbers between about 1800 and 1870, followed by a catastrophic decline between 1870 and 1890, at the end of which they were rare and beyond the point of recovery. 'Martha', thought to be the world's last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914 in Cincinnati.

Selected organization

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

Mother Teresa
There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.

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