Ecomedia Letter: r


The physical process of heat travelling through something. Some types of radiation are harmful to human health, including UV radiation from the sun and gamma radiation from nuclear activity.


Forests usually situated in the tropics and sub tropics that receive a large amount of rain annually. Rainforests contribute heavily to the water cycle and regulate weather patterns. They also act as a major carbon sink, trapping vast amounts of Carbon Dioxide. Rainforests are also hotspots of biodiversity and sustain a great volume of species.

Rainwater Collection

Colleting rainwater that falls on a building means this rainwater can be used onsite for gardens, plants, washing cars and is not sent into the drainage systems. In areas where water is scarce, installing a system of gutters and collectors such as rain barrels is a great way to be more environmentally friendly.


Many cool design ideas come from taking 'product A' and turning it into another 'product B', for example, a shopping cart into a chair. Re-purposing doesn't have the same eco legitimacy as recycling though, as 'product A' could still be used for its original intention and waste is not prevented.

Reclaimed Product

Materials that would normally be waste and are instead reclaimed and used again. It is common in buildings that are to be demolished to have many fittings of the building reclaimed first, such as windows, door frames and light fixtures.


The ability and ease at which a product can be recycled.

Recycle Symbol

Three arrows forming a closed loop show that a product you're finished with needn't be thrown out! Recycle it for the materials to get a new lease in life.

Recycled Product

Products that have been wholly or partly made of recycled materials.


The process of using a material that is waste from one use and changing the product into something different and new to be used again. Recycling is a fantastic way we can reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill or incinerated, reduce the need for new materials and use materials again. Metal, plastic, paper and glass are some of the most common recycled materials in the world.


The concept of finding ways to require less materials, energy and water in processes and life in general. By needing less, we use less, and should waste less which means we have less of an impact on the environment.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The 3 R's! A good way to remember how you can learn to lessen your impact on the environment. Remember they are also in order, so reducing is best, if you can't reduce your use of something-reuse it! Lastly if you can't think of another use then see if you can recycle it.

Religion & Spirituality

Religion and Spirituality often provide a framework for how we live and how we view the world. Trying to connect religion and spirituality to how we impact the environment and the sustainability of our lives is a great way to approach thinking about why we want to do all these things to reduce our impact on the environment in the first place.


Taking apart an existing product to clean, repair and replace any parts, then putting it back together again. This extends the life of that product and delays the need to buy new. It is used by some companies together with a strategy to rent products such as photocopiers rather than buying, and therefore encourages good quality, less waste and customer loyalty.

Renewable Energy

Energy from a source that is not finite. It includes solar from solar cells converting sunlight to electricity. Also, energy from natural cycles such as hydro electricity, wind and the newly developing tidal. Geothermal energy is also renewable. Renewables are good for the environment as they don't emit as much pollution, although they do face their own environmental impacts such as damming streams.

Renewable Material

Materials that can be renewed through time. Cotton, bamboo and hemp are all examples of materails that can regrow given time. It usually refers to only materials that can be renewed in a time span relative to human lifetimes, for example strictly speaking, coal, oil and natural gas are renewable over millions of years.


See Retrofitting


New eco savvy buildings and homes are great, but the vast majority of buildings we use and will use in the coming 50 years have already been built, so looking for ways to retrofit or redo existing buildings to make them lower impact on the environment is very important.

Reusable Water Bottle

A basic way you can help reduce waste & save money! Bring your own water bottle and there's no need to buy new.


Using a product again for the same or different purpose as it was originally designed for, without altering the product.


From small streams at the source to a powerful river mouth, rivers provide habitat, nutrients to flood plains and fuel the existence of many human activities along their banks. Rivers need to be looked at from a whole catchment level to maintain their health, and sometimes, this means international agreements on what people are allowed to put in, take out, build beside, dam and use at different points along the river.


The water that flows over land and off the site where it fell as rain. When altering the environment and becoming more built up, runoff is able to reach the waterways faster after a big storm through concreted channels, rather than flowing through land or small streams. Increased runoff can cause flash floods when not planned for in the drainage system.

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