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Introduction

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.

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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 Friends of the Everglades, an organization which is still at the forefront of Florida conservation.

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Prius is a hybrid electric vehicle.
Credit: Pawel Golsztajn

Toyota Prius is one of the first mass-produced and marketed hybrid electric vehicles. Hybrid technology allows the vehicle to use both gasoline and electricity, thus reducing fuel consumption. It also reduces the amount of hydrocarbon emissions in the form of escaped gasoline vapour.

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body tasked to evaluate the risk of climate change caused by human activity. The panel was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), two organizations of the United Nations. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President of the United States Al Gore.

One of the main activities of the IPCC is to publish special reports on topics where it supports the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is essentially the document behind the Kyoto Protocol. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific literature. The IPCC is only open to member states of the WMO and UNEP.

The stated aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to:

  1. Human-induced climate change,
  2. The impacts of human-induced climate change,
  3. Options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC does not carry out research, nor does it monitor climate or related phenomena. A main activity of the IPCC is publishing special reports on topics relevant to the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty that acknowledges the possibility of harmful climate change; implementation of the UNFCCC led eventually to the Kyoto Protocol. The IPCC bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific literature. The IPCC is only open to member states of the WMO and UNEP.

IPCC reports are widely cited in almost any debate related to climate change. National and international responses to climate change generally regard the UN climate panel as authoritative. The summary reports (i.e. Summary for Policymakers), which draw the most media attention, include review by participating governments in addition to scientific review.

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy
The supreme reality of our time is...the vulnerability of our planet

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