United Nations Conference on Environment and Development


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United Nations Conference on Environment and Development

(UNCED) or

Earth Summit,

an 11-day meeting held in June, 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to discuss the global conflict between economic development and environmental protection. Representatives of 172 nations agreed to work toward the sustainable development of the planet, although most of the agreements were not legally binding. Sustainable development is the growth of population, industry, and agriculture in a way that will allow the present generation to meet its own needs without damaging those of future generations. Two binding declarations–to minimize global climate change (see global warmingglobal warming,
the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. Global warming and its effects, such as more intense summer and winter storms, are also referred to as climate
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) and to stem the depletion of the world's inventory of biological diversitybiological diversity
or biodiversity,
the number of species in a given habitat. Scientists have variously estimated that there are from 3 to 30 million extant species, of which 2.
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 were signed by more than 150 countries at the conference, with others expected to sign later. Other documents concerned the financing of environmental and forest protection, technology transfer, and such diverse subjects as desertification and atmospheric pollution; the responsibilities and rights of nations in development-environment issues; and the sustainable management of the earth's forests.

See acid rainacid rain
or acid deposition,
form of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail) containing high levels of sulfuric or nitric acids (pH below 5.5–5.6).
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; air pollutionair pollution,
contamination of the air by noxious gases and minute particles of solid and liquid matter (particulates) in concentrations that endanger health. The major sources of air pollution are transportation engines, power and heat generation, industrial processes, and the
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; conservation of natural resourcesconservation of natural resources,
the wise use of the earth's resources by humanity. The term conservation came into use in the late 19th cent. and referred to the management, mainly for economic reasons, of such valuable natural resources as timber, fish, game, topsoil,
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; ecologyecology,
study of the relationships of organisms to their physical environment and to one another. The study of an individual organism or a single species is termed autecology; the study of groups of organisms is called synecology.
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; environmentalismenvironmentalism,
movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. The philosophical foundations for environmentalism in the United States were established by Thomas Jefferson,
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; pollutionpollution,
contamination of the environment as a result of human activities. The term pollution refers primarily to the fouling of air, water, and land by wastes (see air pollution; water pollution; solid waste).
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; solid wastesolid waste,
discarded materials other than fluids. In the United States in 1996, nearly 210 million tons—about 4.3 lb. (2 kg) per person daily (up from 2.7 lb./1.2 kg in 1960)—were collected and disposed of by municipalities.
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; toxic wastetoxic waste
is waste material, often in chemical form, that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It usually is the product of industry or commerce, but comes also from residential use, agriculture, the military, medical facilities, radioactive sources, and light
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; water pollutionwater pollution,
contamination of water resources by harmful wastes; see also sewerage, water supply, pollution, and environmentalism. Industrial Pollution
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.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Earth Summit -- officially the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) is a call to action.
Strong is internationally recognized for his leadership of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 (the Earth Summit).
Health impacts of environmental degradation figured prominently in several chapters of Agenda 21 (United Nations 1993) adapted in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
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