Climate change glossary

This glossary has been created as a helpful resource to consult when completing NEMO's survey on museums and climate change. The survey was launched on Earth Day 2022 and is open until 3 June 2022.

The survey results will feed into the development of recommendations for policy makers to help steer the museum sector towards a sustainable future in a time of climate emergency. Click here to access the survey.

  1. Sustainable Development Goals
    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity by 2030. Learn about the SDGs here.
  2. Carbon footprint
    The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community. If you are interested in estimating your museum’s carbon footprint, there are a few tools listed here. You can still answer the survey without this.
  3. Digital carbon footprint
    A digital carbon footprint is the CO2 emissions resulting from the production, use and data transfer of digital devices and infrastructure. Our websites, emails, and data storage contribute to our digital carbon footprint. If you are interested in estimating your museum’s digital carbon footprint, here is a resource. You can still answer the survey without this.
  4. Sustainability
    The most often quoted definition comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
  5. Nature-based solutions
    Nature-based solutions involve working with nature to address societal challenges, providing benefits for people and biodiversity. They are actions that involve the protection, restoration or management of natural and semi-natural ecosystems and rely on nature for inspiration. An example would be a ‘living’ roof. 
  6. Net-zero emissions
    A target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced. This is achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. No more greenhouse gas can be added to the atmosphere in any given year than is taken out.
  7. Biodiversity
    The term biodiversity (from “biological diversity”) refers to the variety of life on Earth within every ecosystem. Ecosystems provide crucial services such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests. This diversity is a necessary foundation for life on the planet as we know it. 
  8. 3D modelling
    A technique in computer graphics for producing a 3D digital representation of any object or surface.
  9. Off-setting emissions
    A Carbon offset is a way to compensate for your emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere. Examples of projects that produce carbon offsets include: renewable energy projects, soil regeneration, and reforesting initiatives.
  10. Mitigation
    According to the World Wildlife Foundation, climate change mitigation means avoiding and reducing emissions to prevent the planet from warming to more extreme temperatures, while climate change adaptation means altering our behaviours and systems to protect our families, economies, and the environment from the impacts of climate change.