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ENDEMIC SPECIES: A species that is specific in its occurrence in a particular geographical area. Like the Kangaroo of Australia. (JA)

ENDANGERED SPECIES: A species which is at very high risk of becoming extinct in the wild in the near future. This may be indicated by any of the following measures: a) a previous or projected population reduction of at least 50% over whichever is longer of a period of 10 years or three generations, b) extent of occurrence less than 5000 km2 or area of occupancy less than 500 km2, along with population decline, fragmentation or extreme fluctuations, c) population less than 2500 mature individuals with continuing decline, d) population less than 250 mature individuals, or e) probability of extinction in the wild estimated at 20% over the longer of 20 years or five generations (IUCN Red List Categories 1994). (See CRITICALLY ENDANGERED, EXTINCTION, GHOST SPECIES, THREATENED SPECIES, VULNERABLE SPECIES) (MP)


ENDOCRINE SYSTEM: Refers to the body’s hormone system - a complex internal chemical messenger system which regulates all physiological functions. Hormones are produced by a variety of endocrine glands in different parts of the body and released into the blood stream. Hormones then bind to special receptors in organs or tissues and cause these to respond in a specific way. Since hormones are extremely powerful, having effects at levels of only parts per trillion, our bodies strictly control their blood concentrations [Greek endon within + krinein to separate]. (IP)

ENDOCRINOLOGY the study of hormones and their actions (See ENDOCRINE SYSTEM).

ENDOGENOUS: Developing or originating within the organism, or arising from causes within the organism. (DM)

ENDOGENOUS DEPRESSION: Depression arising from within the mind of the individual rather than as a result of external (exogenous) factors or life circumstances. This reflects a genetic predisposition to the disorder, usually involving a physiological imbalance in brain neurotransmitters. Often this results in recurring depressive episodes or chronic major depression, however a predisposition to its expression is not a foregone conclusion with the right lifestyle and environment. Endogenous depression may be managed, with preferably minimal pharmacological treatment, strong social support and a positive, resilient attitude. (See DEPRESSION) (MP)

ENDOMORPH: A person with an extreme body type typified by rounded frame, soft body and plump features such as abdomen larger than thorax. People with a high degree of endomorphy may suffer from difficulty shedding weight, perhaps poor self-image, and increased risk of conditions related to obesity such as heart disease. (See ECTOMORPH, MESOMORPH, OBESITY) (MP)

ENDOTOXIN: Poison produced by some gram-negative bacteria, present in the cellular membrane, and released only upon cell rupture; composed of complex lipopolysaccharide (fat-like molecule and sugar molecule) and more heat-stable than protein exotoxins. (DM)


ENDRIN: A dangerous chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticide, among the 'dirty dozen' persistent organic pollutants. (See PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS) (MP)

ENERGY: 1. A fundamental constituent of matter (e=mc2). 2. The capacity to do work 3. Kinetic energy (mechanical), potential energy (gravitational), electrical energy, chemical energy (molecular, nuclear), radiant energy (light, electromagnetic radiation) and heat energy. 4. The capacity to cause change in a system; origin of processes, system dynamics. 5. Energy sources: oil, coal, natural gas, ethanol, wind, water, biomass, chemistry, geothermal, nuclear, and the primary energy source for living systems on Earth, the sun. 6. Energy utilization and technologies: e.g. nuclear fission/fusion, renewable energy technologies, alternative/soft energy, energy efficiency. (See ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION, ENTROPY, HEATING, MATTER, MOMENTUM, PROCESS, RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES, SOFT ENERGY, WORK) (MP)



ENGINEER: (Old French: engignier "to contrive", from Latin: ingenium "talent") The engineer uses materials and processes in the invention, design, planning and construction of systems, products and infrastructure. To engineer is also to originate or cleverly plan an outcome. For the engineer, difficult technical problems must be identified and choices made for the deployment of applied solutions in the face of social and ecological risk and uncertainty. (See ENGINEERING, ENGINEERING ETHICS) (MP)

ENGINEERING: Engineering is the vehicle for the realization of technology. Using information generated from science, engineering oversees the transformation of raw materials into technology. The engineering profession is commonly divided into mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical, aeronautical and military engineering. Such purview indicates the ethical responsibility implicit in this sector and its control over the course of development and change. (See ENGINEER, ENGINEERING ETHICS) (MP)

ENGINEERING ETHICS: Engineers solve problems and build infrastructure within a set of physical, environmental, economic and design constraints. Among those constraints is an ethical duty of care to social and environmental needs. Human and environmental wellbeing are the driving forces rather than individual or commercial desire. Social and ecological requirements are introduced into engineering through regulatory methods like the precautionary principle and environmental impact assessment, and through ethical codes of conduct. Examples of engineering codes of ethics include those of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (US) and the Institution of Engineers (Australia). These may include references to fairness, accountability, environmental principles, public protection, and not allowing client interests to compromise community goals. (See ENGINEER, ENGINEERING) (MP)


ENLIGHTENMENT 1. an intellectual movement in Europe from the 16th to the 18th Centuries that believed in the power of human reason to understand the world and to guide human conduct 2. for Buddhists the state of enlightenment or 'nirvana' as the goal of human existence. (IP)




ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Investment by health professionals or researchers in a profit-making business or enterprise related to their work (See CONFLICT OF INTEREST). (DM)

ENTROPY: A measure of the disorder or randomness in a system. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy of a closed system always increases over time. This means that energy is being transformed by the mechanics of the universe into uniformly-distributed heat energy. However, this is true only for large closed systems, and order can be maintained in an open system containing life. (See ENERGY) (MP)

ENVIRONMENT: The sum total of all that surrounds an organism, both biological environment and physio-chemical environment. (JA)


ENVIRONMENTAL CODE OF CONDUCT: The integration of an ethical dimension into considerations affecting the environment. This may involve the formulation of new rights, responsibilities and obligations, such as rights of access to environmental information, consultation in environmental decision making, environmental impact assessment, and environmental policy-making which ensures a sustainable quality of life on Earth. (See ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT) (MP+IP)

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION: Environmental compensation is a trade-off of beneficial environmental outcomes to compensate for the damage or adverse impacts of development, thus maintaining the aggregate natural ‘stock’. Destructive practices must be accompanied by proportionate pollution bioremediation, restoration ecology, habitat creation and wilderness protection. The theory implies that overall sustainability goals can be maintained whilst allowing compensation for environmental damage by substituting compatible forms of natural capital. For example, compensation for different forms of greenhouse-gas emitting industries by establishing programs of tree-planting or trading of ‘carbon credits’. (See BIOREMEDIATION, CARBON CREDITS, ENVIRONMENTAL SUBSTITUTION, RESTORATION ECOLOGY, TREE-PLANTING) (MP)


ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND: A commendable US coalition of environmental lawyers who forego lucrative careers to rely on public donations in the fight against destructive corporate practices and the support of environmental values in the legal system. (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Environmental education is to teach the facts about the environment. It can teach people our relationship to other parts of nature. Environmental ethics education is more. It is to teach how to incorporate the facts and values of different organisms into ethical decision-making. Environmental ethics education teaches how we should live, whereas environmental education is linguistically descriptive, how we do live. However, much of environmental education is actually also teaching some values. But without teaching how to balance all interests, and facts and values, it can be propaganda. (DM)

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS: The ethical issues relating to the environment. May take anthropocentric, biocentric or ecocentric approaches. Can refer to both living and non-living parts of the environment. Part of Bioethics. Bioethics is a term including both environmental ethics and medical ethics issues. (See BIOETHICS, ENVIRONMENT). (DM)

ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS: Movements through compartments of the environment, a model or process. Environmental flows include abiotic solids (e.g. minerals, topsoil), biotic flows (e.g. harvest biomass), ecological flows (e.g. migration), genetic exchange (e.g. crop genetics), water (surface water, ocean currents), air (atmospheric gases), biogeochemical cycles (e.g. carbon, nitrogen cycles), product cycles (extraction, production, transport) and pollution (waste, heat, radioactive materials etc). (See ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES, ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS, LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT, MATERIAL FLOWS) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENT: A gradual change in certain environmental conditions. Examples include geographical gradients of climate, soil or vegetation, or abundance/productivity gradients graphed against climate or soil type. Environmental gradients determine the optimal range and distribution of species with different requirements. (See EURYTYPIC SPECIES, GRADUALISM, STENOTYPIC SPECIES) (MP)

Environmental Health: Describes circumstances that ensure that living organisms (plants, animals and microorganisms) are provided with the best chance to reach and maintain their full genetic potential.  For example, it is well known that children exposed to harmful agents; such as lead or alcohol, during critical periods in their development, are deprived from reaching their full genetic potential.  Obviously the maintenance of overall environmental health is a balancing act between conflicting needs; however, since humans are now 'in charge' of planetary health, we have an ethical duty to do our best in maintaining as fully as possible the genetic potential of all living things. (See ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS, HEALTH, WELLBEING). (SG2+IP)

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: An environmental impact may be adverse, beneficial or a combination of these, although use of the term often connotes a negative impact. It may be sudden (e.g. land clearing), gradual (e.g. water utilization) or have delayed action (e.g. climate change). Impacts may create secondary or flow-on impacts, and may add or multiply in combination with other impacts. It may be an environmental impact on humans (e.g. natural hazards) or a human impact on the environment (mining, dams, pollution etc). Usually refers to adverse impacts of human activities and developments on natural systems and ecology (e.g. environmental impact assessment), or also on the broader environment including human society (e.g. social impact assessment). Attempts have been made to estimate the total environmental impact of human activity on the Earth; for example,

a) Total impact = PF (Population x impact per capita)

b) Ecological impact = PCT (Population x Consumption/affluence x Technological efficiency)

c) Impact damage = population x economic intensity x resource intensity x environmental pressure on the resource x susceptibility of the environment

d) Impact = PLOT (Population x Lifestyle x Organization x Technology).

Risk evaluation and prevention of environmental impacts is essential to avoid further breakdown of the Earth’s ecosystem support processes, critical natural capital and quality of life. (See ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, IMPACT, PRESSURE/STATE/RESPONSE MODEL, SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT REPORT) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Commonly abbreviated EIA for short, a structured management study tool and a methology to assess and predict ecological and environmental and social consequences of a proposed major human developmental; project like building a high rise dam/a fertilizer chemical plant, it provides useful information for helps decision. Components include: Project concept, pre-feasibility studies, fessibility, design and engineering, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Principles include a focus on the main ecological and environmental issues, involving the appropriate experts and groups, linking of information obtained with decisions about the proposed projects, presentation of clear options for the mitigation of possible impacts and for a sound environmental management. And provision of information in a executive statement for the decision makers.Participants include the developer who proposed the project, investor, trained scientific staff, competent and government authority, local community and politicians. Scope: 1. What will happen as a result of implementing the proposed project? What will be the extent of the environmental and social changes Do the changes matter much? What can be done about them in terms of remedy? How can the decision-makers be informed of what changes to be done? An executive statement is prepared after completing the EIA study. (JA)

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIS): The final document prepared for the Environmental Impact Assessment, outlining the environmental consequences and recommended alternatives or mitigation measures. (See ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION DIRECTORIES: The proliferation of data collected in recent decades has necessitated information networks and metadata directories to simplify the storage and distribution of environmental information. A few examples include online scientific journals and State of the Environment Reports, national Bureaus of Statistics, United Nations Statistical Division (UNSTAT), Sustainability Web Ring, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), American Library Association Task Force on the Environment, Environmental Resources Information Network (Australia), National Directory of Australian Resources (National Resource Information Centre), World Resources Institute, World Meteorological Organization, Global Change Research Program (US Govt.) and Global Change Master Directory (NASA). (See BIOETHICS INFORMATION DIRECTORIES, MEDICAL INFORMATION DIRECTORIES) (MP) (feel free to add any other major examples)

ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS: Physical, chemical, biological, social and economic characteristics of the environment which are monitored as indicators of broader environmental health and integrity. They provide comparisons with standard references, between regions, and of course across time. Environmental indicators create meaning, simplify data and streamline management by reducing the number of measures needed for exact representation of the environmental situation. They represent key states or processes within a well-developed interpretive framework such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Pressure/State/Response models and State of the Environment reporting. As examples, indicators of pressures may include vegetation clearance/fragmentation, indicators of environmental state may include distributions/abundances of species, and indicators of response might include the proportions of protected area by ecosystem type. Environmental indicators may include pre-existing managerial, commercial or census data. Implicit in the choice of a key set of indicators are simplifications, assumptions and value judgments. Care must be taken that they cover all fundamental issues and are appropriately scaled, broadly representative, robust, comparable, credible, and easily monitored. (See ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITING, ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING, INDICATOR SPECIES, PRESSURE/STATE/RESPONSE MODEL) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING: A process of repeated collection of data from a number of environmental indicators according to schedules across time and space. These are essential for awareness of environmental change and the impacts of policy and development. Choice of measurement parameters is determined by broader frameworks investigating different postulates and processes. Measurement is the authority of science, and neither adaptive management nor credible sustainable development can occur without monitoring. One criticism of the Environmental Impact Statement is its inability to illustrate change, without monitoring we only have static baseline observation. Regularly-used environmental indicators include water quality, species abundance and habitat distribution, but standardized data is also collected by remote sensing and collated by census and State of the Environment reporting. (See ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT, BASELINE MONITORING, ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITING, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, REMOTE SENSING, STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT REPORT) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES: Environmental processes are the functions, forces and dynamics which drive change in environmental systems. Although systems may be diverse and complex, fundamental processes acting upon them are more limited in number and therefore easier to model and manage. Examples of micro-scale environmental processes (with examples of broader application) include the following: chemical transformation and precipitation (e.g. pollution chemistry), biochemical transformation (e.g. metabolic pathways), ion exchange (cellular transfer), genetic exchange (modified crops/ecosystems), adsorption, absorption (biochemical oxygen demand), acid/base reactions (acid rain), sterilization (disinfection), filtration (water quality), coagulation, membrane separations, oxidization/reduction, volatilization (air quality), thermal transformations, phase transfer and mass transfer processes among other transport and transformation processes. The ‘environmental processes’ category is only one such affecting our lives: other categories include ecological, socio-cultural, eco-political and psychological processes. (See ECOLOGICAL PROCESSES, ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS, ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS, PRESSURE/STATE/RESPONSE MODEL, PROCESS) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE ECONOMICS: Refers to economic management which goes beyond the conventional supply/demand relationships and monetary values by including other economic aspects of resource usage. Some of these additional aspects include pollution, general environmental degradation, effects on existing life-support systems, and other broadly-based environmentally connected economic concerns. Many aspects of resource utilization consist of intangibles such as culture, knowledge, beauty, ethical insights and general satisfaction with life. These intangibles need to be considered when allocating value to resource development. (IP)

ENVIRONMENTAL SUBSTITUTION: The exchange of one type of resource for another, the usual example being the transition from ecological resources to technological substitutes, usually not until the resource is damaged or depleted. A better proposition is substitution which replaces human economic capital with enhanced natural capital and a stronger environment. Strong sustainability does not allow environmental substitution, and even weak sustainability does not allow substitution of critical natural capital. (See CONSTANT CAPITAL, CRITICAL NATURAL CAPITAL, ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION, STRONG SUSTAINABILITY) (MP)

ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS: Environmental systems may be biological, ecological, chemical, physical, socio-economic or managerial. Systems may be natural (e.g. ecosystems), engineered (e.g. urban environment) or artificial (e.g. cyberspace). (See COMPLEXITY THEORY, SYSTEM, ECOSYSTEM, ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS, ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES, PRESSURE/STATE/RESPONSE MODEL, SYSTEMS THEORY,) (MP)


ENVIRONMENTALISM: The movement concerned with slowing or reversing environmental degradation caused by human activities. (RW)

ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Sustainable Development with an emphasis on the integrative inclusion of the whole environment, (not over-emphasizing ecological or economic aspects). (See ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT) (MP)

ENZYME: A protein that acts as a catalyst, speeding the rate at which a biochemical reaction proceeds by not altering its direction or nature. Also some RNA can act as an enzyme, a ribozyme. Enzymes regulate chemical reactions in cell of an organisms - Most names of enzymes usually end with "ase" eg. Protease. Amylase Exceptions - like Trypsin. (DM, JA)

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency of the USA.


EPIDEMIOLOGY: The science of disease incidence and patterns of disease spread and distribution, including disease control and prevention. The study ("ology") of diseases or other phenomena over ("epi") a population ("demos"). The word derives from a book of that name by Hippocrates. Modern epidemiology makes .extensive use of advanced computerized statistical methods. Epidemiology is a powerful tool in evidence-based medicine. But there are always exceptions to every rule. Some few people are sedentary, heavy smokers, and eat all the worst foods, but live long, happy lives. So the value of epidemiology remains incomplete. But today researchers are beginning to pay detailed attention to genetic factors which may explain individual differences and exceptions to rules. This may help epidemiology to become an even more powerful tool.

Bioethical restrictions on study of patients' files and tissue samples, for reasons of privacy, hamper the progress of epidemiological research. While ethical restrictions on interventional and prospective research might be made stricter, more attention might be given to liberalizing restrictions on non-interventional, retrospective research, aided by computerized, anonymized, hospital and health ministry files, opening the way for epidemiology to serve public health even more beneficially. (FL) (See GENETIC EPIDEMIOLOGY)

EPIGENETIC: Different factors can alter the phenotype without modifying the genotype. Imprinting is considered a form of epigenetic modification of the expression of a given genomic region, since the same DNA rearrangement can lead to different phenotypes, depending of the parental origin of the aberrant chromosome. Methylation of suppressor genes in some forms of tumors can also explain modified phenotypes, where no alteration of the genotype is observed. Sibs sharing a same mutated genotype in autosomal dominant or recessive diseases with complete penetrance, but showing a different phenotype, can also result from epigenetic factors acting on the genotype. (See also EPISTATIC). (GK)

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