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A biophysical environment is a biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environment can vary in scale from microscopic to global in extent. It can also be subdivided according to its attributes. Examples include the marine environment, the atmospheric environment and the terrestrial environment. The number of biophysical environments is countless, given that each living organism has its own environment.

The term environment can refer to a singular global environment in relation to humanity, or a local biophysical environment, e.g. the UK's Environment Agency.

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Slow lorises, such as this Bengal slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) were once considered common, but are now recognized as threatened species
Slow lorises are nocturnal strepsirrhine primates in the genus Nycticebus and live in the rainforests of South AsiaSouth and Southeast Asia. They are threatened by deforestation and the wildlife trade, including the exotic pet trade, traditional medicine, and use as bushmeat. Threats such as habitat fragmentation, selective logging, and slash and burn agriculture drastically reduced the population size of the slow lorises. the five species of slow loris are listed as either "Vulnerable" or "Endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Because of their rapidly declining populations and local extinctions, their status was updated and in 2007 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) elevated them to Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade. Local laws also protect slow lorises from hunting and trade, but enforcement is lacking in most areas.

A large number of slow lorises are traded as pets, both locally and internationally. Although it is illegal to import slow lorises for commercial sale, they are popular exotic pets in Japan, the United States, and Europe, largely due to their "cute" appearance. Hundreds of slow lorises have been confiscated at airports, but because they are easy to hide, these numbers are likely to be only a small fraction of the total number being trafficked.

Connected protected areas are important for the conservation of slow lorises because these primates are not suited for traveling long distances on the ground. Training for enforcement officials helps improve identification and the awareness of their legal protection. Sanctuaries and rescue facilities are available to provide both temporary and lifelong care for confiscated slow lorises. Zoos' captive breeding programs saw some successes.

Did you know...

London Smog
  • ... that the concept of reduce, re-use, and recycle as three equal options, but they are instead meant to be a hierarchy, in order of importance?
  • ... that each year in 22,500 cemeteries across the United States approximately 30 million board feet (70,000 m³) of hardwoods are buried as caskets?

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Selected biography

Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 - May 14, 1998) was an eminent American conservationist and writer.

She was most associated with battles to save the Florida Everglades from draining and over development, during which times she organized benefits and various marches. Her book The Everglades: River of Grass, written in 1947, has gone through numerous editions. It galvanized people to protect the Everglades. At the age of 78, she founded Friends of the Everglades, an organization which is still at the forefront of Florida conservation.

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World population density map.PNG
Credit: Roke
Map of countries by population density.

Overpopulation is one of the reasons given for environmental impact as given by Paul R. Ehrlich's formula I = P x A x T where I is the impact, P is population A is affluence and T is technology. (See also:List of countries by population density.)

Selected organization

The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983. The commission was created to address growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development.

The Report of the Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, was published in 1987. It was welcomed by the General Assembly in its resolution 42/187. The report deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed for achieving that. The definition of this term in the report is quite well known and often cited:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
  • the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

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Bill Clinton
The science is clear and compelling. We humans are changing the global climate.

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