Do You Speak Green? - Black Enterprise

Do You Speak Green?

moneygreen31As children, Kermit the Frog sang to us all that “it’s not easy being green.” Well, it’s easier if you can speak the lingo. Here are a few terms worth knowing:

Carbon footprint: A measure of the impact human ­activities have on the environment, as calculated by the amount of greenhouse gases ­produced. Your personal footprint is likely to be dominated by transportation.

Carbon offset: Credits purchased by individuals and companies to offset their ­contributions to global warming. The market for carbon offsets is estimated to be $100 million annually and growing fast.

Fair trade: Signifies that goods meet certain standards related to social and environmental considerations, such as fair payment for producers.

Gray water: Accounting for 50% to 80% of ­residential waste water, it is produced by washing dishes, laundry, and ­showering. Gray water can be used for landscape ­irrigation and other uses, although regulations vary by jurisdiction.

Green-collar job: A popular term in this presidential election cycle, it describes a position that involves products or services relating to clean energy or environmental concerns more broadly.

Greenhouse gases: A combination of water vapor, ­carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone that all ­contribute to global warming. These gases come from both human activity and natural sources.

LEED standards: An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design?a set of national standards for green building and construction created by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED Certification ensures that a building is environmentally safe and responsible.

LOHAS: An acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability that refers to a segment of consumers focused on healthy lifestyles, the environment, and sustainable ­living. It’s a market segment estimated to be worth ­approximately $209 billion in annual sales.

Organic: This term refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. This includes how they are ­produced, distributed, and sold e.g., without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Sustainability: Describes the ability to meet present needs without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A sustainable process can be ­carried out repeatedly without negative environmental ­effects.