A Glossary of Sustainability

We decode green lingo, from “upcycling” to “LOHAS.”

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


triple bottom line (a.k.a. people, planet, profit): accounting that goes beyond revenue to factor in social and environmental costs

feebate: surcharge on wasteful products, plus incentive for alternatives. Example: Starting in 2011, California’s Clean Car Discount program will slap up to $2,500 onto the price of gas-guzzlers, and fund cash rewards for fuel-efficient vehicles.

dinosaur wine: petroleum

energy return on investment: the ratio of energy provided to the energy used to produce the fuel. Corn ethanol has an eroi of 1.5:1; sugarcane ethanol’s is 8:1.

lohas: Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability; marketing jargon for ecoconscious consumers, an estimated 1 in 5 adult Americans

basic browns: the anti-lohas crowd, now dubbed “apathetics”

light/dark/bright green: Light greens focus on lifestyle changes; dark greens focus on macro policy shifts; bright greens want to overhaul everything.

conspicuous conservation: $109K electric Tesla Roadster; Whole Foods’ $50 organic cotton T-shirt. Related: checkbook environmentalism.

practicavore: grows own food to save money

food desert: area devoid of fresh food, flush with liquor stores

walkshed: area conveniently reached on foot from your house

slow design: think slow food

freedom lawn: native plants and grasses

cradle-to-cradle: reuse or recycling of everything used to make a product

upcycling: sewing old T-shirts into area rugs

biomimicry: imitating natural designs to improve efficiency, e.g. finding way to store vaccines without refrigeration by studying how plants hibernate

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate