Ecomedia Letter: f

Fair Trade

A social movement that is trying to give producers a fairer price for their goods. The producers are mostly in developing nations. It also aims for greater equality in trade and workers' rights. There are several organizations that certify fair trade on goods, such as coffee, chocolate, and clothing.

Farming & Agriculture

The basic producers of our food. The way something is grown or raised has a great impact on how much it impacts the environment. Your daily action of buying food supports the way in which it was produced. Trying to buy what is in season and local, thereby cutting down on the miles it takes to reach you, is great way to reduce your impact.

Feed Back Loop

A cycle where an event (event A) puts in motion a series of actions that increases the chances of that same event (event A) happening again. It is often used in explaining natural cycles such as the water cycle and in some phenomena to do with global warming. For example, increased temperatures result in snow melting, revealing black ground which absorbs more heat and reflects less heat than snow which in turn results in an increase in temperature.


How you manage your money can impact the environment. What are you investing in? Your money is backing their practices, so think a little before you hand over your cash.

Fire Management

Using fire to manage a landscape. Fire in many ecosystems is a regular and sometimes essential part of the natural cycle. Having regular and controlled fires reduces the chances of large uncontrollable fires in the future. Fire management has been used by some indigenous people of Australia for upwards of 40,000 years and is termed 'fire-farming'.


A pet, a tasty dish, a colorful bit of life to snap a photo of while snorkeling. Fish all over the world are being massively overfished, sometimes fishing practices themselves are also destructive (see Trawling and Long Line Fishing). International laws of the sea and the fact that the ocean is just so big make it hard to police, so learn what is sustainable to ensure what is on your plate isn't older than you are.


Too much of a good thing is sometimes bad. Water inundating areas that are normally dry land is a flood, whether it be from river or sea. Climate change predictions show that shifting weather patterns and increased major weather events such as typhoons mean we may see more floods in the future.


We need it, we love it and we are contributing to global warming in the process. Food such as meat-based meals generates a lot more greenhouse gases to produce than an average vegetarian meal. Fish stocks in general all over the world are under major threat of over-exploitation. Food preparation and wastage is another area where we could improve our environmental performance.

Food Mile

How long does it take for your food to reach your plate? Locally grown food is generally better for the environment as less transport that usually uses fossil fuels is needed to get it to you. With globalization it is not unheard of to harvest apples in America, fly them to Spain to wash and wax, and fly them back to America to sell them. Crazily it might be cheaper to do it that way, but it is not good for our climate.

Food Safety

How food is grown, produced, transported and prepared affects how safe food is to eat. Food safety is often dealt with by government regulations.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

A non-profit organization that is dedicated to encouraging the practice of sustainable forestry. It also certifies paper products from sustainable forests or recycled sources. Look for its logo on everything from toilet paper to business cards.

Forests & Trees

Forests & Trees provide a range of services to people. They clean the air, store carbon, prevent erosion, keep the water cycle going, and convert sun and water into food. They also provide shade, fuel, habitat for animals, and places of recreation and leisure. Globally, forests are under massive threat of being cleared and logged.

Fossil Fuel

Fuels that were formed from organic materials over many millions of years. Plants or animails that died ended up on the bottom of a lake or sea, then were slowly buried and compressed by the earth's surface. Coal, petroleum and natural gas are common fossil fuels. Since the industrial revolution, our use of fossil fuels has spread over the world and dominated economies. When burned, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that had not been an active part of the earth's carbon cycle for millions of years.

Friends of the Earth

An international organization concerned with environmental issues and a sustainable future. It operates in 77 countries and advocates on a variety of local and international environmental issues.

Fuel Cell

A technology that takes in fuel such as natural gas, biogas or hydrogen in an electrochemical process to produce electricity and water. Unlike batteries, it needs a constant supply of fuel, and unlike combustion, it produces low levels of pollutants. The technology is being developed to become a real alternative to burning fossil fuels for electricity.

Fuel Efficiency & Mileage

How well your vehicle operates in relation to the amount of fuel put in and the amount of work it does, usually measured by distance driven.


Chemical or biological substances used to kill fungi. It is widely used in agriculture and rearing of livestock to increase yields.

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