Confused by Eco Lingo?

Who am I?

Are you confused by all the different environmental terms?  Relax, the bottom line is they all pretty much have the same goal in mind — we all need to live lightly on this earth.

“Conservation” is the granddaddy of all terms — it’s been around for centuries and it has always served as a reminder that we cannot exceed the carrying capacity of our environment — whether it was the fertile lands of ancient Mesopotamia, or the entire climate.  Over the last fifty years or so, we’ve come up with a whole bunch of different ways to say the same thing.  They are all fine. Use whichever term you like, just make sure you follow through!

So, whether you are drafting a government strategy, a corporate commitment, or just doing your best at home, feel free to call your actions by whatever name feels the best.  At Canada Conserves, we are focused on the bottom line and not the jargon.  It’s all about shifting our society onto a sustainable path, and about protecting the planet and our quality of life at the same time.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the different terms…


Definition / Scope


Protecting the environment from human activity



Reducing our consumption of nature and natural resources



Living in balance with the natural environment



Actions or products that do not harm the environment



Actions or development that will not harm ecosystems or deplete resources over time



Actions or products that do not contribute to an increase in carbon emissions or greenhouse gases


In the end, it doesn’t really matter which term you use – so use the one that sounds right.

And to end with a plug for “conservation” – it’s actually the only one you can conjugate:  “I conserve, you conserve, he/she conserves, we conserve, you all conserve, they conserve!”  Just try that with “sustainable development”.