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New Paltz is Green!

Common Definitions

Global Warming
Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases are created and emitted solely through human activities such as carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels.
Recycling is the third R of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product.
Sustainability is the use of ecosystems and their resources in a manner that satisfies current needs without compromising the needs or options of future generations.
Composting is a process whereby biodegradable material (such as garden and kitchen waste) is converted, in the presence of oxygen from the air, into a stable granular material which, applied to land, improves soil structure and enriches nutrient content.
A biodegradable product has the ability to break down, safely and relatively quickly, by biological means, into the raw materials of nature and disappear into the environment.
Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainable agriculture refers to the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely, without causing irreversible damage to ecosystem health.
Organic Agriculture
Organic agriculture is when plants are cultivated without the use of artificial pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers and is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season.
Alternative Transportation
Alternative Transportation includes modes of travel other than private cars, such as walking, bicycling, rollerblading, carpooling and transit.
Green Space
Green space is any piece of land covered with vegetation. Usually refers to parks, golf courses, sports fields and other open land within the built-up area, whether publicly accessible or not.
Green Building
Green or sustainable building is the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance, and demolition.
LEED Certification
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.
Green Seal
Green Seal is an independent certifying organization that identifies and promotes products that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion.
HEPA Filters
High Efficiency Particulate Air filters trap a large amount of very small particles that other vacuum cleaners would simply re circulate back into the air. HEPA filters trap small particles that may cause problems for allergy sufferers and others with health problems.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels
Silicon panels collect sunlight and convert it into solar energy, which is then stored in special batteries, sent to a power inverter, and converted into a usable form; photovoltaic panels are joined together to create a solar array.