Below is a brief glossary of terms linked to climate literacy and the B&H conceptual development framework


The process in which a living thing changes slightly over time to be able to continue to exist in a particular environment. Climate change adaptation means altering our behavior, systems and sometimes ways of life to protect our families, economies and the environment from the impacts of climate change. The more we reduce emissions right now, the easier it will be to adapt to the changes we can no longer avoid

The current geological age, where human activity has been the domi-nant influence on climate and the environment

The mixture of gases around the earth

The number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally

The part of the earth’s atmosphere where life exists

Blue Carbon
Carbon stored via ocean ecosystems eg mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses

The chemical element that exists in its pure form as diamond or graphite and is an important part of other substances such as coal and oil as well as being contained in all plants and animals

Carbon Cycle
The continuous movement of carbon between different living organ-isms on earth, and between living organisms and the environment, through natural processes like photosynthesis, respiration and de-composition in the soil, and the burning of fossil fuels

Carbon Dioxide
The gas formed when carbon is burned or when people and animals breathe out

Carbon Drawdown
Aka carbon removal (CDR) is the process of capturing CO2 from the atmsosphere and locking it away for decades or centuries in plants, soils, oceans, rocks, saline aquifers, depleted oil wells or long-lived produces like cement

Carbon Emissions
Carbon dioxide that planes, cars, factories etc produce, thought to be harmful to the environment

Carbon Footprint
A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide a person’s activities pro-duce

Carbon Offsetting
A way of paying for others to reduce emissions or absorb CO2 to com-pensate for your own emissions eg planting trees, delivering energy efficient stoves to developing countries. There is plenty debate around the issues surrounding offsetting which doesn’t cancel out emissions to which it’s linked

Carbon Sink
Anything natural, or otherwise, that accumulates and stores some carbon-containing compounds for an indefinite time, removing car-bon from the atmosphere. Examples include soil, trees, peat, salt marsh, kelp, mangroves

The general weather conditions usually found in a particular place

Climate Change
Changes in the world’s weather (heat and rain) as a result of human activity increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, re-sulting in more frequent extreme weather events , eg heatwaves, storms, droughts, fires

Climate Debt / Reparation
The debt said to be owed to developing countries by developing countries for the damage caused by their disproportionately large contributions to climate change

Climate Denial
Rejection of the proposition that climate change caused by human activity is occurring or that it constitutes a significant threat to human welfare and civilization

Climate Emergency
Serious and urgent problems that are being caused or likely to be caused by changes in the world’s weather, in particular the world getting warmer as a result of human activity increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Climate Justice
The idea that the rich countries of the world must take responsibility for climate change and the damage it causes, and help poorer coun-tries and people because they have not caused most of the problem but are more affected

Computer Model
A computer stimulation of the Earth’s climate system, including the atmosphere, ocean, land and ice. They can be used to recreate the past climate or predict the future climate

Confirmation Bias
The tendency to search for, interpret, favour and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values

Protection, preservation or restoration of the natural environment and wildlife

An amount of something that is used, or the process of using some-thing so there is less of it.

Conference of Parties. COP26 was in Glasgow. COP27 in Egypt. World leaders gather together to review progress towards the goal of limiting climate change

Sequence of events that repeat themselves

The cutting down of trees in a large area, or the destruction of forests by people

All the plants, animals and people living in an area considered togeth-er with their environment as a system of relationships

The power from something such as electricity or oil that can do work such as providing light and heat

The air, water and land in or on which people, animals and plants live

Exponential Growth
Growth whose rate becomes ever more rapid in proportion to the growing total number or size

A situation in which something no longer exists

Fossil fuels
Fuels such as gas, coal and oil that were formed underground from plant and animal remains, millions of years ago

Deliberate large scale manipulation of an environmental process that affects the earth’s climate, in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming eg cloud farming

Global warming
A gradual increase in world temperatures caused by gases such as carbon dioxide that are collecting in the air around the earth and stopping heat escaping into space

Greenhouse effect
An increase in the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere that is believed to be the cause of gradual warming of the surface of the world

Greenhouse gas emissions
GHG are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. Main GHG are carbon dioxide (79%), methane (11%), nitrous oxide (7%), fluori-nated gases (3%)

Behaviour or activities including advertising and promotions which make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for ad-vancing knowledge on human-induce climate change and providing an objective review of scientific information and research

Interconnected nature of social categories eg race, class and gender, applied to an individual or group, creating overlapping and interde-pendent systems of disadvantage or discrimination

Just Transition
Seeking to ensure that the substantial benefits of a green economy transition are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically – be they countries, regions, industries, commu-nities, workers or consumers

Net Zero
The amount of greenhouse gases the UK adds to the atmosphere is no longer more than what they take out. Brighton & Hove City Coun-cil have pledged to be Net Zero by 2030. Other councils by 2050. Businesses and companies across every part of the economy need to start taking steps now to get close to zero emissions, including getting rid of fossil fuels and switching to clear technologies

Kyoto Agreement
A legally binding, international agreement (1997) setting targets for industrialised countries to cut their GHG emissions

Mass extinction
Extinction is a natural process and 98% of all organisms that have ever existed on our planet are now extinct. When a species goes extinct it’s place is usually filled by another species. Mass extinctions are when species vanish much faster than they are replaced. The Creta-ceous mass extinction event occurred 65 million years ago, killing 78% of all species.

Efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Can be using new technologies and renewable energies, making equipment more energy efficient or changing management practices or consum-er behaviour

the practice of growing only one crop or keeping only one type of animal on an area of farm land

Natural Solutions
Conservation, restoration and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands

Paris Agreement
COP21 in Paris in 2015 was the first time countries agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees. Countries committed to bring forward national plans setting out how much they would reduce their emissions, and this would be updated every 5 years

Peer Review
Evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies and the producers of the work, functioning as a form of self-regulation within a field

A system for growing crops, plants etc that cause little damage to the environment and so can continue for a long time

12 Principles of Permaculture:

  • Observe and interact
  • Catch and store energy
  • Obtain a yield
  • Apply self regulation and feedback
  • Use and value renewables
  • Produce no waste
  • Design from patterns to details
  • Integrate don’t segregate

Damage caused to water, air etc by harmful substances or waste

Positive Feedback Loops
Eg the Ice-Albedo positive feedback loop is where melting snow ex-poses more dark ground, which in turn absorbs heat and causes more snow to melt

Renewable Energy
Energy that is produced using the sun, wind, waves, tides or from crops, rather than using fuels such as oil and coal

the process of protecting an environment by returning it to its natural state, eg by bringing back wild animals that used to live there

South Downs National Park
The SDNP is England’s newest national park, designated in 2010. It covers an area of 1627 square km and stretches for 140 km from Win-chester to Eastbourne. The NP covers the chalk hills with rare chalk grassland and the Western Weald with it’s heavily wooded sandstone and clay hills and vales. The South Downs Way spans the entire length of the park.

The idea that goods and services should be produce in ways that do not use resources that cannot be replaced and that do not damage the environment

A set of connected things or devices that operate together

Systems thinking
Process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole.

The Living Coast (TLC)
The name of the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It is a place of bustling towns, rolling Downs and rich coast, where local people and organisations live and work alongside nature, to support a strong and resilient natural environment that enables sustainable social prosperity. The Living Coast is a spatial designation, recognising our important natural habitats and heritage, but also how people live, work and learn sustainably in the area. The Living Coast is based upon the chalk block of the South Downs in the UK, between the River Adur in the west and the River Ouse in the east with the city of Brighton & Hove at its centre. It covers approximately 390 km2, stretching North over the South Downs to the village of Ditchling and also extending 2 miles offshore.

Tipping Points
The time at which a change or an effect cannot be stopped

Trophic Cascading
Powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. They occur when predators limit the density and / or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level

UNESCO Urban Biosphere
An urban biosphere is expected to support sustainable development and conservation, demonstrating how people and nature can thrive together. The Brighton & Lewes Downs was designated a UNSECO urban biosphere region in 2014, now known as ‘The Living Coast’. It is one of 7 Biospheres in the UK, and the only urban one.

An unnecessary or wrong use of money, substance, time, energy, abil-ities

the conditions in the air above the earth such as wind, rain or temper-ature, especially at a particular time over a particular area

Wood Wide Web
Complex underground web of roots, fungi and bacteria in a forest helping to connect trees and plants to one another