Abandoned uranium mine (AUM) – A site where uranium has been disrupted from its natural geologic state, and then abandoned without the uranium deposit and waste materials being contained and restored to a stable, geologically sealed state. In the U.S., conventional hard-rock mining for uranium is still governed by the 1872 General Mining Law, which does not require cleanup of mines when they cease production, leading to over 15,000 AUMs in the U.S. Uranium mining operations are similar globally. AUMs can be the product of exploratory drilling or full-scale extraction. In either case, AUMs allow for uranium and its radioactive decay products (e.g., radon gas and radium) to be continuously liberated into the environment, leaking with rain and groundwater infiltration, spreading downwind as dust or gas (radon), and/or being carried by people or animals that come into contact with them.
Abolition – The elimination or permanent eradication of any and all institutions of systemic oppression and discrimination.
Biochar – Biochar is charcoal produced by pyrolysis of biomass. This biochar, which largely consists of carbon, is then buried in soils. Proponents claim this sequesters carbon emissions, but the practice does not address the impacts of deforestation and harvesting wood to produce biomass, nor the toxic emissions from the pyrolysis process.
Biodiesel – A combustible fuel created from land-based crops such as soya and the fruit of oil palms.
Bioenergy – A term for energy produced from burning plant and animal-based materials (see biomass and biofuel).
Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – BECCS involves burning biomass (organic matter, such as trees or agricultural products) for energy. Then capturing the carbon emissions and injecting the carbon dioxide into geologic reservoirs. The biomass needed for a scaled-up BECCS would require a lot of land.
Biofuel – These fuels produced from biomass, including corn and sugarcane ethanol, soya and palm oil biodiesel, and a host of others have come into widespread use, causing increased land-grabbing and creating a disastrous link between markets for commodity food crops and markets for fuel.
Biomass – A term for materials that can be combusted for energy that includes everything from trash to trees, construction and demolition wood waste, black liquor (toxic paper mill goo), grasses, crop wastes, poultry waste and more – but usually involves burning trees in power plants or burning lumber, and paper mill and sawmill wastes to heat these mills.
Bridge fuel – A term often used to describe fossil (natural) gas (methane) to argue that it can be a clean “alternative” to coal and petroleum and should continue to be used during the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
California Cap-and-Trade Program – California has its own cap and trade program that functions in the state and with international carbon offsets.
Carbon capture and storage/sequestration (CCS) – Carbon dioxide is collected from industrial smokestacks, compressed into a liquid and transported by pipeline to a site where it can be pumped underground into oil or gas reservoirs, into saline aquifers or beneath the ocean. The majority of CCS is used to extract oil and gas in a technology called enhanced oil recovery (see enhanced oil recovery). There is no guarantee the carbon dioxide will remain underground. Huge amounts of public funds are being invested in pipelines throughout North America for CCS and enhanced oil recovery.
Carbon capture, utilization (use) and storage (CCUS) – CCUS is a term used for various types of carbon capture. One way the term CCUS is used is for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) at coal fired power plants and steel production sites and injecting the CO2 into the ground. CCUS is also used when referring to capturing carbon for a wide-range of products including plastics, food and beverages, fuel, hydrogen and so on. CCUS in this way is for feedstock for manufacturing. The idea is that the carbon dioxide would be stored in the manufactured goods. While the emissions could be temporarily isolated, they would likely get released back to the environment and atmosphere when these products are used, are burned or decompose.
Carbon offsets – Polluters, individuals and states can purchase offsets to supposedly compensate for emissions they produce. Offset credits are generated from projects that dubiously claim to reduce emissions and have been documented to often bring harm to local communities.
Carbon pricing – An umbrella term including a myriad of programs that put a monetary value on units of pollution. These programs include cap and trade, carbon offsets, REDD+, nature-based solutions, carbon capture, carbon fee and dividend, baseline and credit, baseline and offset and so on.
Carbon Reductionism – The practice of examining, explaining and simplifying a complex issue such as climate change by focusing solely on global greenhouse gas (or carbon dioxide) emissions, to the point of minimizing, obscuring and distorting the ability to understand and effectively tackle this ecological crisis and its systemic drivers.
Carbon tax – A fee imposed on polluters for emissions they produce. Importantly, carbon taxes do not keep fossil fuels in the ground. Carbon fee and dividend is the same as a carbon tax, but proponents promise that the revenue will be paid to the local communities either directly or through government “benefits.”
Cap and trade – Legislation that sets a jurisdiction-wide limit or “cap” on emissions while allowing corporations to save money by trading emissions cuts (using allowances/permits) among themselves to wherever they can be made most cheaply. All cap and trade programs also include carbon offsets.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – The largest carbon offsetting program in the world, set up for the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM allows industrialized countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to evade it by buying offset credits from projects sited in the global South. Under the Paris Agreement the CDM is slated to be converted into the Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM), where offsets would again count towards countries’ greenhouse gas reduction commitments.
Climate chaos – The erratic nature, scale and intensity of the storms, floods, fires, droughts, vector-borne pandemics and blights caused by global warming.
Climate justice – Climate justice focuses on the root causes of climate crisis through an intersectional lens of racism, classism, misogyny, and environmental harm. Climate justice organizers serve communities on the frontlines of climate change, working to create holistic solutions and strategies to tackle such root causes to ensure the right of all people to live, learn, work, play and pray in safe, healthy and clean environments.
Commodification – The process of turning any and all matter, both living and inanimate, into a commodity – for sale, purchase or trading purposes.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) – CAFOs are large-scale feedlots containing potentially thousands of animals confined in a small space and often indoors. CAFOs create inhumane conditions for living beings causing increased disease that requires increased antibiotic use and consequently human health problems from the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In addition, manure waste pollutes waterways and is often held in leaking lagoons. Farmers are often colluded into contract debt. Workers in CAFOs are often exploited. Methane captured from manure waste at dairy farms can be used as offsets in carbon markets, but the validity of emissions reductions is highly contested.
Decarbonization – The process of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from any industry or economic sector.
Decolonization – The process of dismantling colonialism with the goals of “self-governance” and “self-determination,” usually involving the undoing of Eurocentric culture, worldview and economic practices, while uplifting practices based on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.
Decommissioning – The process of dismantling and decontaminating a nuclear reactor site after it has been permanently shut down. Most of the structures and components on the reactor site become contaminated, and must be treated as radioactive waste. Because of the danger to workers and the environment, the whole process can take 10-20 years, even when done rapidly and without adequate concern for health, safety and environmental justice.
Defund the police – A demand of the Movement for Black Lives to shift billions of public funds away from militarized police forces, and towards essential needs of communities such as food, housing and healthcare. This demand includes the long-term goal of abolishing the police and prison state that protects interests of the colonial extractive economy causing climate change.
Demilitarization – The process of dismantling any military organization; prohibiting the use of any lands, labor or public resources for military purposes; and removing any military characteristics from any organization or institution.
Depleted uranium (DU) – The byproduct of uranium enrichment, containing a lower concentration of U-235 and a higher concentration of U-238. It is called “depleted” because of the lower amount of U-235, but it is still radioactive. Enrichment for nuclear power reactor fuel produces 6-8 times more DU than enriched uranium. It has generally been stored in gaseous uranium-hexafluoride (UF6) form at enrichment plants, in most cases for several decades. UF6 becomes chemically unstable over time, and significant capacity for deconversion to a stable uranium-oxide form has been delayed.
Detoxify – Reducing the toxic co-pollutants that often accompany greenhouse gas emissions from various polluting industries, such as mercury, lead, dioxins, acid gases and fine particulate matter responsible for millions of deaths around the world each year.
Direct air capture (DAC) – DAC is a largely theoretical technique to directly remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, using chemical and mechanical means.
Disaster capitalism – A form of extreme capitalism that opportunistically lobbies for neoliberal policies, privatization and deregulation in the wake of crises such as war, pandemic, natural catastrophe and climate change.
Doctrine of Discovery – The Doctrine of Discovery is a principle of international law dating to the 15th century that established a spiritual, political and legal justification for European colonization, seizure of land and violence to Indigenous Peoples by European Christians. The doctrine is still used to invalidate Indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights in favor of modern colonial/imperial governments.
Ecocide – As defined in 2021 by a panel of international lawyers from around the world convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation, ecocide refers to “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.” Several individual countries have passed laws criminalizing ecocide, but it has yet to be made a crime by international law.
Energy democracy – An approach to building energy sustainability that seeks to transfer ownership and governance of energy resources from the energy establishment to the public and communities, empowering working people, low-income communities and communities of color to control and benefit from their energy systems.
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) – Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was developed over 40 years ago for use in EOR, a practice in which oil companies pump carbon dioxide into old, nearly depleted oil wells to keep them producing. In the U.S., companies get hefty tax breaks and subsidies for developing EOR infrastructure and using carbon dioxide for EOR extraction.
Environmental justice (EJ) – EJ embraces the stance that all people and communities have a right to equal protection from environmental crises, and that the voices and self-determination of communities first and most harmed need to be centered in finding solutions to such crises. The global EJ movement recognizes that Black, Brown, Indigenous, migrant and poor communities around the world have historically been most harmed by (and are least likely to benefit from) the global extractive economy. The first multinational EJ summit in 1991 produced 17 Principles of Environmental Justice that have guided EJ and climate justice movement platforms and practices ever since.
Extractive economy – A global system of greed, hoarding, theft and exploitation that values corporate power, colonial rule and money over people and planet. The extractive economy perpetuates inequalities and concentrates power for a few through predatory financing, land theft and exploitation of human labor.
False solutions – This term is used to bring attention to climate change policies that do not keep fossil fuels underground and that support corporate industry profit over communities. Some examples include: carbon pricing, carbon offsets, carbon capture and storage/sequestration (CCS) and many more examples discussed throughout this toolkit.
Feedstock – Raw material to supply or fuel a machine or industrial process.
Financialization of nature – Includes all efforts by capital markets to exploit nature for profit maximization (as they have historically always done), including the commodification of both species and natural processes to serve financial gain. It goes beyond just commodification by placing nature and/or nature’s processes in a financialized market.
Food sovereignty – Food sovereignty is the right of all peoples to share healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the knowledge, aspirations and needs of those who hunt, fish, gather, produce and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.
Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) – Enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), FPIC aims to establish bottom-up participation, transparency and consent of an Indigenous population prior to the beginning of development or using resources within the Indigenous population’s territory.
Frontline communities – Communities first and most impacted by ecological crises and their root causes including colonial extractive economies and the dig, burn, drive, dump industries that concentrate wealth and power in these economies. While these communities have some of the lightest ecological footprints, they are disproportionately impacted by both the storms, floods, fires, droughts and disease caused by climate chaos, as well as the systemic violence such as pollution, poverty and police violence associated with colonial extractivism.
Fuel cell – A device used to make electricity from hydrogen that utilizes a catalyst to speed up a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity, heat and water.
Geoengineering – A set of proposed technologies to deliberately intervene in and alter Earth systems on a mega-scale. It is a potentially catastrophic attempt to manipulate the climate in an effort to roll back some of the effects of climate change.
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) – Atmospheric gases responsible for causing global warming and climate change. Of the six GHGs recognized as the most dangerous by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the major ones are considered to be carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The other three GHGs, recognized as less prevalent but very powerful are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Climate models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as models from other scientific bodies, indicate that global concentrations of GHGs have been rising steadily over the past 100 years due to human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels. As atmospheric concentrations of GHGs increase, the greenhouse blanket gets thicker. This causes heat to be trapped in the lower layers of the atmosphere and causes global average temperatures to rise.
Greenwashing – Includes all attempts by polluting corporations or other entities to use cosmetic changes or public relations to cover up the harm caused by their operations and appear environmentally responsible.
Half-life – The amount of time that it takes for a radioactive isotope to decay to half of its original amount. For instance, with a half-live of 24,000 years, that is the amount of time it will take for a kilogram of plutonium-239 to decay to 0.5 kilograms. The half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, roughly the same as the age of Earth. So there is roughly half of the uranium-238 on Earth today that was present when this planet formed. For public health standards, radioisotopes in the environment are considered to have decayed away after 10 half-lives – that is, when the amount remaining is about 1,000 times less.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – A technique where a toxic mix of water, sand and chemicals is pumped under pressure into the ground for the purpose of extracting oil and gas.
Hydroelectricity – Electricity generated using the flow of water. Mechanisms for generating hydroelectricity involve building dams and other means of altering bodies of water. Such methods disrupt ecological systems, harm and displace communities from their lands and result in major greenhouse gas emissions.
Hydrogen – Hydrogen is increasingly being promoted as a clean energy source. However, most hydrogen is produced using natural gas or other dirty energy sources. It can only be used for energy storage and takes large amounts of energy to produce.
Indigenous Food Sovereignty – A holistic framework that looks beyond the harm caused by industrial, productionist and commodified agriculture, as well as the limitations of settler, colonial farming, to support regenerative practices of fishing, hunting, harvesting and farming rooted in Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, to meet essential food, medicine and cultural needs while protecting and restoring the ecosystems that provide these.
Indigenous Traditional Knowledge – A cumulative body of knowledge, beliefs, traditions and practices maintained by Indigenous Peoples and developed through histories of learning how to live in harmony, balance and reciprocity with the Earth and local environments.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – The scientific body that advises the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcome (ITMO) – A unit representing climate change mitigation activities traded between countries in a scheme for exchange that links carbon pricing plans between nation-states under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
Just transition – Just transition is a framework of principles, strategies and practices that shift society away from polluting, extractive economies to local, healthy, caring and sharing economies. Just transition centers the leadership of frontline communities and workers – working together to envision, organize and build these new economies, aligned with local ecosystems and the needs of those most harmed.
Kyoto Protocol – The Kyoto Protocol resulted from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Kyoto, Japan in December of 1997. It originally contained negotiated commitments by 38 developed countries and countries in transition to reduce emissions 5.2% below 1990 baseline levels for the period 2008-2012. The principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) stated that only industrialized countries responsible for historic emissions would be required to reduce pollution levels. The Protocol paved the way for carbon trading, offset and REDD+ programs. The Paris Agreement in 2015 forced all countries to commit themselves to some form of emissions reductions – undermining the principle of CBDR – based on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Land grabbing – A process by which large tracts of lands are used for export-oriented commodities exacerbating land rights contention, inequality and food scarcity, especially in the global South.
Landfill Gas-To-Energy (LFGTE) – Landfills produce methane and carbon dioxide and a host of other toxic emissions that are burned to make heat or electricity.
Legal rights for rivers – Legal protections given to rivers as part of a global Rights of Nature movement recognizing rivers as living entities worthy of rights. Such efforts aim to protect rivers and the biological and human communities that depend on them from threats such as hydropower development.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) – For ease of transport, natural gas is compressed into this highly volatile liquid form.
Man camps – The fossil fuel industry mostly hires men who move from site to site and live near work sites in man camps, many of which are located near Indigenous lands where high rates of trafficking, violence and murder of Indigenous women continues unchecked by local and federal law enforcement.
Meltdown – A nuclear disaster involving a loss of coolant to the fuel in the reactor (the core). When cooling to the core is lost, the fuel heats up rapidly, even if the fission chain reaction has stopped. Extremely radioactive contents in the fuel continue generating large amounts of heat. In a meltdown, the fuel rods heat past their melting point and form a molten, liquid mass, which can fall to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, and melt through the 6+ inches of steel. In the process of melting, the core can generate enormous amounts of hydrogen gas, which can easily explode, as occurred at Fukushima Dai-Ichi units 1, 3, and 4 (hydrogen was also produced in the unit 2 meltdown, but did not explode). If the molten core burns through the concrete floor of the reactor building and encounters ground water, it can cause the water to flash to steam – a steam explosion – which can also rupture the containment and release radiation into the air.
Methylmercury – A fat-soluble form of mercury that bioaccumulates (climbs up the food chain, concentrating in meat and dairy that people eat, and in human breast milk). It is formed when mercury is in wet environments where microbes can convert it to this form, such as in landfills and land inundated by water from hydropower dams.
Mill tailings – Liquid and solid byproducts of milling uranium ore to produce purified uranium, called “yellowcake” due to its bright yellow color. Mill tailings are produced in large quantities, after uranium is chemically leached out of the mined ore. It is almost as radioactive as the ore, and contains radium, heavy metals, acids and toxic chemicals. Tailings are normally stored in enormous piles or ponds at the milling site, which leak into groundwater, release radon gas and blow downwind. Mill tailings storage is poorly regulated. One of the worst disasters in the nuclear industry is the 1979 Church Rock uranium tailings spill, in which a tailings dam collapsed on the Navajo Nation and released 1,000 tons of tailings into the Rio Puerco, contaminating communities for 80 miles or more downstream.
Mother Earth – Climate justice movements around the world have come to support the Indigenous Peoples’ worldview of the Earth as a common Mother to all living beings. This support was ratified by global movements and allied non-governmental organizations in signing the Cochabamba Protocol: Peoples’ Agreement on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, at the 2010 World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change in Bolivia.
Nature-based solutions – A newish buzz word for land-based carbon offsets including – agriculture, soils, factory farm gas and trees among others.
Neoliberalism – Liberalism is both a theory and political policy dating back to the 18th century based on the belief that market-based capitalism functions best without government interference, and that public services such as health and education should be left to the private sector for profit. Neoliberalism upholds these beliefs and since the 1970s has extended into a wide array of market-led reform policies such as eliminating price controls, deregulating markets, lowering trade barriers, promoting trade-related intellectual property rights and reducing – especially through privatization and austerity – state influence in the economy. It has also led to financialization, marketization, globalization and development policies resulting in hyper-powerful transnational corporations, unfair trade laws, pseudo-monopolies violating antitrust laws and accumulated wealth for just a few white, cis-male CEOs, while producing increased inequalities, biodiversity loss, land grabbing and climate change.
Net-zero emissions targets – Net-zero is a misleading term that uses offsets programs to allow a business, government or other entity to subtract its total emissions to equal “zero.” In other words:
Total Emissions – Offset = Net-Zero Emissions. Corporations can claim net-zero emissions while continuing to pollute.
Nuclear/uranium fuel chain – The sequence of steps involved in the production of nuclear fuel and the storage, management, and disposal of irradiated fuel and other radioactive wastes. The front end of the chain consists of uranium mining and milling, conversion of uranium ore to uranium-hexafluoride gas, uranium enrichment, deconversion to uranium oxide and fabrication of fuel rods. The “central” segment of the fuel chain is the use of nuclear fuel to make electricity, which produces irradiated nuclear fuel and generates many forms of so-called “low-level” radioactive waste. The back of the fuel chain consists of storage and management of irradiated fuel, high-level radioactive waste from reprocessing and weapons production, and huge volumes of “low-level” radioactive waste from decommissioning and decontaminating reactor sites.
Ocean iron fertilization – Dumping iron particles into large areas of the ocean to increase plankton blooms, which is supposed to increase the amount of carbon dioxide the oceans can absorb.
Paris Agreement – An international treaty on climate change mitigation and adaptation introduced in 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The treaty requires all countries to establish their own contributions to achieving the goals of the agreement, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), though these are non-binding. The rules of the Paris Agreement enable the advancement of a host of false solutions for countries to meet their mitigation commitments including market-based mechanisms, “nature-based solutions” and various carbon capture techniques. This includes Article 6 of the treaty, which outlines a slate of carbon pricing mechanisms for countries to achieve their commitments, and replaces the carbon trading and offset mechanisms established by the Kyoto Protocol.
Participatory Action Research (PAR) – An approach to research involving the participation of local communities in designing and conducting investigation in order to solve social problems affecting the communities.
Participatory budgeting/policy-making – Processes of direct democracy where ordinary people decide how to allocate and prioritize public spending and policy direction, centering local residents in all decisions about how money is spent and policy is designed to serve community needs.
Philanthro-capitalist funds – In addition to being philanthropic resources generated from the profits of an extractive economy, these funds are aimed at perpetuating and expanding extractive economic practices, market share and corporate control for private capital around the world.
Precautionary principle – An approach that states that if any new innovation, technology or practice has potential for serious harm to the public or the environment, protective action should be taken to prevent the harm before social and scientific certainty of the risk is reached.
Pyrolysis, gasification and plasma arc – Experimental forms of waste incineration technology that use various forms of pressure combined with high heat to turn waste into a gas, which is then burned, emitting hazardous pollutants.
Radioactive waste – A type of waste that is generated along the nuclear fuel chain
and by nuclear weapons production. This waste can consist of dozens of different radioisotopes, with a variety of biological impacts, targeting different organs, tissues and biological functions. Radioactive wastes can be in liquid, solid or gaseous form. Some radioisotopes have very short half-lives (on the order of a few seconds), and some very long half-lives (like plutonium-239, at 24,000 years).
REDD+ – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, including through conservation, “sustainable management” of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Most REDD+ schemes are sited in the global South. They are carbon offset programs that claim to maintain forests (or tree plantations) in one area in order to produce greenhouse gas pollution rights for industries elsewhere. Communities risk not being able to use their forests after the offset agreements are made.
Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) – A variation on waste incineration that involves pulling out the glass and metals that do not burn and turning the combustible materials (mostly paper and plastics) into pellets that are either burned in a normal incinerator or marketed as fuel to cement kilns or coal-fired power plants.
Regenerative economy – An economic system based on ecological restoration, community resilience, social equity and participatory processes aimed at universal liberation. A regenerative economy values the dignity of work and humanity and prioritizes local community governance and stewardship of resources. It requires a re-localization and democratization of how we produce, consume and share, and ensures all have access to healthy food, clean energy, clean air and water, good jobs and healthy living environments. A regenerative economy helps dismantle structural oppression such as institutions of white supremacy, patriarchy, fascism and capitalism.
Relocalization – A strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture. The goals of this process are to increase and strengthen local economies, deepen democracy and improve environmental conditions.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) – A Renewable Energy Credit is a tradable certificate corresponding to the environmental attributes of energy produced from renewable sources. Meant to cover the premium (extra cost) of generating renewable energy (when renewable energy was more expensive), RECs can be purchased by individuals and institutions wanting to claim that they use clean energy, but most are bought and sold by electric utilities to meet the requirements of state renewable energy mandates, often known as Renewable Portfolio Standards.
Reparations – Reparations is about repairing our relations to the Earth and each other. It not only means making amends for past harms and injustices, but requires a fundamental transformation of our relationships with all living beings and peoples, so that such harm can never happen again.
Reprocessing – The chemical process of extracting plutonium and uranium-235 from irradiated fuel, for use in nuclear weapons or new nuclear fuel. It is sometimes referred to as “recycling” nuclear fuel, but that is misleading. Irradiated fuel pellets are broken down and dissolved in acid, then run through a series of chemical processes to separate the desired elements. Reprocessing releases very radioactive gases that build up in the fuel rods, and it generates large volumes of extremely radioactive, liquid wastes. Every reprocessing plant in the world is highly contaminated and pollutes the environment. Two of the largest nuclear disasters occurred at reprocessing plants: Kyshtym in Russia and Windscale in England, both in 1957. Reprocessing plants at Hanford in Washington, Savannah River Site in South Carolina and West Valley in New York are all leaking radioactive waste and undergoing cleanup that will take several decades and many billions of dollars.
Solar radiation management (SRM) – Techniques that attempt to reflect sunlight back into space in order to temporarily mask the effects of climate change. Proposals include installing mirrors in Earth’s orbit; injecting sulfates into the stratosphere; and modifying clouds, plants or ice to reflect more sunlight.
Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) – Shooting particles into the stratosphere to mimic the effects of a volcanic eruption, thereby blocking some of the Sun’s radiation from reaching Earth, with the goal of temporarily masking the effects of climate change by attempting to lower the temperature.
Transformative justice – A political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse, without the help of police, prisons or punitive criminal justice systems towards healing the root causes of the violence, harm and abuse.
Translocal organizing – A model of collective struggle that fosters the consolidation and diffusion of experiences, resources and wisdom across a defined, geographic space. Translocalism advances a paradigm of interdependence that fosters alignment of various local communities and movements, through mutual aid and solidarity. Translocal organizing models respect place-based leadership and the rights of all communities to self-determination.
Uranium enrichment – The process used to increase the concentration of uranium-235 (U-235) to be used in nuclear fuel or weapons. U-235 makes up only 0.7% of uranium in most ore deposits. U-238 makes up nearly all of the rest, over 99.2%. For fuel in most reactors, the concentration of U-235 must be 3.5-4.5% (low-enriched uranium, LEU). High-enriched uranium (HEU) contains 20% or more U-235, but, for use in nuclear weapons, it must be enriched to 90% U-235 (weapons-grade). Most enrichment technologies require converting the yellowcake to a gaseous form, uranium hexafluoride. The uranium gas is then filtered or spun in centrifuges to increase the amount of U-235 to the desired level. The enrichment process is very energy-intensive.
Voluntary offsets – Offset credits not subject to government regulation that any polluter or individual can purchase to supposedly offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste-to-Energy – A public relations term created by the Incinerator industry lobby groups to promote trash incinerators that produce electricity.
Zero waste – The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials, without burning, and with no discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health.