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Here we have built up a comprehensive list of environment words, complete with illustrations and definitions to help you learn all about the geography topic of Our Environment. With so many issues affecting our environment, this is a fairly long list of words but by reading these words with their definitions, you will gain a great head start in the study of our environment. 
environmental geography

Solar Power

What solutions can you think of that will help solve environmental problems?

Definition of environment

The environment is a place or area where a person, plant or animal live. 
It can refer to the natural world in general and often refers to the natural world as it is affected by human activity.

Definition of environment studies

Environmental studies is a close look at the links between people and the natural world and the social world. It involves many different disciplines, for example, science, geography and social studies. It focuses on the complex interactions that lead from one action and its consequences for other parts of the same environment. It concentrates on the impact people have on the world and how the impact can be reduced.
Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy
acid rain
The burning of coal
and fossil fuels creates
sulphur and nitrogen
oxides which, when
released into the air,
mix with rain to form
acid rain. It is harmful
to the environment
and damages lakes
and trees.
The layer of gases that surround the earth.
Products that are biodegradable can be broken down by bacteria and other living organisms when buried under ground. Most plastics do not biodegrade.
The variety of plant and animal life in the world. A high level of biodiversity is considered to be important and desirable.
Carbon is a chemical substance contained in all plants and animals.
carbon dioxide
carbon monoxide
catalytic converter
Climate change
A colourless odourless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds any by respiration. It is naturally present in air and it is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis.
A colourless, odourless gas that is released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels and timber. Natural sources of carbon monoxide include forest fires and volcanoes.
A device that is built in to the exhaust system of cars containing a catalyst that converts harmful pollutants into less harmful ones.
An event that causes great and usually sudden damage or suffering.
The weather conditions prevailing in an area in general over a long period of time.
A change in the normal regional climate patterns, in particular a change that is apparent in the last 60 years and attributed to the increased use of fossil fuels.
Make something impure by exposure to or addition of a poisonous or polluting substance.
The process by which trees are chopped down or burned down to make way for farm land and settlements.
The process by which normal, fertile land becomes desert.
To end the existence of something by damaging it or attacking it.
The action or process of causing so much damage that it can no longer be repaired.
To become less common and finally stop existing.
To cease to exist.
die out
A sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life.
The action of getting rid of something.
A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.
In terms of rivers, to decrease to the point where it stops flowing.
To dispose of rubbish or waste, typically in a careless or hurried way.
dry up
dumping ground
energy conservation
A site for depositing rubbish.
Fine, dry powder made up from tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground / surfaces or carried in the air.
A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
The production and discharge or something, especially gas or radiation.
To be seriously at risk of extinction.
Reducing energy consumption through using less energy.
energy source
exhaust fumes
factory farming
Where our energy comes from. It might be renewable, like solar power, or non-renewable, like coal.
Energy efficient means using less energy to provide the same service as before.
The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives.
A person who is concerned about protecting the environment.
Gases that are ejected from an engine as waste products.
Having no living members left.
A system of rearing animals using highly intensive methods, by which large numbers of poultry, pigs or cattle are confined indoors under strictly controlled conditions.
environmental geography

coal is an energy source

environmental geography


Geothermal energy
Extreme scarcity of food.
Fertile land is land where things grow easily.
Fertilizers are chemicals given to plants with the intention of promoting growth.
An overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land.
Energy derived from the heat of the earth.
global warming
greenhouse effect
heat wave
A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere attributed to an increase in carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
The trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planet’s lower atmosphere by the increase in the levels of greenhouse gases.
Pollution can harm animals and the environment.
Air pollution is harmful to everyone.
A prolonged period of abnormally hot weather.
A compound of hydrogen and carbon, such as those found in petroleum and natural gas.
industrial waste
natural gas
Natural resources
Industrial waste is the waste produced by the activities of factories.
Material used in insulate something to prevent heat from passing through.
Accidentally lose contents, especially liquids or gases, through a hole or a crack.
A flammable gas occurring naturally underground and used as a fuel to heat homes and offices.
The materials occurring naturally in our environment from which we can make things for economic gain.
environmental geography

global warming

A film of oil floating on an expanse of water, after an accidental leak of oil.
The overuse of fertilizers to the point where the additional use of fertilizers fails to have an effect on plant growth. Can lead to poisoning in food sources.
A colourless and odourless gas that is life-supporting.
A layer in the earth’s atmosphere that screens out the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation.
oil slick
Over fertilization
ozone layer
A substance that is capable of causing illness or death.
A region near the south or north pole that is covered in ice. If the polar ice caps melt, the ocean levels rise.
To contaminate with harmful or poisonous substances.
The presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects.
Where electrical power is generated.
polar ice caps



power station
The action of saving or preserving something.
The action of stopping something from happening.
To keep safe from harm.
To remove contaminants from
A dense forest, rich in plant life and animal life, with consistent heavy rainfall.
To return a material to a previous state so that it can be used again.
When talking about energy sources, one that is not depleted when used.
sea level
sewage plant
Capable of being used again or repeatedly.
The average level of the sea’s surface as
measured over a period of time.
Waste water and excrement from homes and
A place where sewage is treated to the point
where the water can be placed back into the
water cycle.
The thick, soft wet mud that is left after
sewage has been cleaned through a sewage plant.
fog or haze made worse by pollutants in the atmosphere
Solar power
Sustainable development
Soil is the top layer of the earth in which trees, plant etc. grow.
Power obtained by harnessing the power of the sun.
The ozone layer is within the stratosphere, one of the higher levels of the earth’s atmosphere.
Economic development that is conducted without leading the resources to run out.
To cause something to be at risk.
toxic waste
toxic waste dump
waste heat
waste paper
waste separation
wind energy
Waste material that can be hazardous to people, plants and animals.
A place where toxic waste is stored.
Petrol where lead has not been added. Leaded petrol is harmful to the environment.
Referring to sewage waste, untreated sewage has not been cleaned before being returned to the water cycle.
The increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities.
Heat that is created as a by product of another process, often unneeded. For example, power stations generate a lot of waste heat.
Paper that has been used and discarded.
The process by which waste is sorted into its separate components.
Electrical energy obtained by making use of wind turbines.
An area of land with a group of wind power generating windmills.


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