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Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification refers to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which are being absorbed by the world’s oceans and making them more acidic.  This increased acidity is affecting the ability of shellfish, corals and fish to form shells, contributing to coral bleaching and is thought to be causing a range of direct health problems in a number of marine species. 

Ocean Energy

Ocean energy refers to all forms of renewable energy that are derived from the ocean and is classified into three main categories: wave energy, tidal energy and ocean thermal energy.  Wave energy is produced by converting the energy from ocean waves into other forms of energy, such as electricity, while tidal energy is produced from tidal movements.  Ocean thermal energy is produced by converting the temperature difference between water at depth and surface water into valuable energy. 

Off the grid - Sustainability Credential

Off the grid is a sustainability credential that an trader might claim. Traders who operate off the grid are sustained completely from their own sources of power and water. This generally means that they live autonomously from the utilities and government supplied water, sewer, gas and electricity. They generate their own electricity and collect, recycle and reuse their own water and waste. In the most complete cases, off the grid extends to own food supply as well.


Offsets refers to carbon offsets or carbon credits, which are produced by actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or by financially supporting activities that reduce emissions such alternative power/ renewable energy activities.  Common forms of carbon offsetting include investing in renewable energy generation, planting trees, or reducing plane travel.

Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling refers to the process of locating, tapping and extraction of oil and gas resources from rock formations beneath the seabed or other bodies of water such as lakes, inshore waters and inland seas.  Offshore drilling presents risks to the environment including oil spills from oil tankers or pipelines. 

Offshore Fish Farms

Offshore fish farms or offshore aquaculture is an approach to farming fish in areas located away from the coastline, where the ocean currents are stronger than inshore.  The fish are generally submerged in net cages anchored to the seafloor, which provides more space for fish than other forms of aquaculture. 

Oil Seep

Oil seep refers to the process of crude oil and natural gas seeping naturally out of fissures in the ocean seabed and eroding sedimentary rock, normally under low pressure or flow. 

Oil Spill

An oil spill refers to the harmful and accidental release of oil into the environment, which usually occurs as spillages in the ocean or coastal waters.  This discharge of oil is very difficult to clean up and can cause devastating impacts on the environment, including the loss of flora and fauna.


The term organic refers to food or plant crops that are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides, or genetic modification.  Organic foods must be free of artificial food additives, genetically modified ingredients, and artificial methods, materials and conditions in order to be labelled organic.

Organic Self Cerfied - Sustainability Standard

Organic Self Certified is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

Often traders grow or make products that are organic, but aren’t officially certified.

The cost of official certification is often too great or simply over engineered for small or local traders and they choose to simply declare products or produce to be organic.

The difference between a certified and non-certified product is only that you are relying entirely on the honesty of the trader rather than the oversight of the organic certification body and associated legal & audit requirements. 

Organic Certified - Sustainability Standard

Organic (certified) is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

A certified organic product is one that ingredients are certified by the accredited certifying agent. Certified organic products are allowed to wear the accrediting bodies label on their packaging. Certified organic products are the most expedient method of knowing that what you are purchasing has no harmful chemicals.

Common (organic) certifying bodies in Australia:
   NASAA Certified Organic (NCO)
   Organic Food Chain (OFC)
   Australian Certified Organic (ACO)
   Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI)
   The Tasmanian Organic Producers (TOP)

Organic Farming

Organic farming refers to a type of agriculture that relies on natural farming techniques such as crop rotation to reduce pests, green manure, compost, biological pest control and mechanical cultivation. This form of farming makes the food more expensive to produce, meaning the consumer needs to pay more for the end product.

Organic Fertiliser

Organic fertiliser refers to naturally-occurring nutrients to improve quality without the use of synthetic chemicals.  Manure, slurry, peat moss, worm castings, and seaweed are all examples of naturally-occurring organic fertilisers.

Organic Mulch

Organic mulch refers to natural materials such as compost, manure, fallen twigs, bark, flowers, leaf litter, grass clippings, peat moss, woodchips, hay and straw that are placed on top of the soil and around plant stems to improve the soil quality.  As these organic materials slowly rot, they release valuable plant nutrients.


The term organics refers to organic matter, which is composed of natural materials that used to be alive, such as fruit and vegetable waste, and vegetation.  Organics decompose readily, and once in this state they can be used to replenish the soil with natural materials.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides a forum for governments to develop and promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people globally.


The term organism refers to all living things or any form of plant life, including people, animals, bacteria, fungi and vegetation.


Over-fishing is a global environmental problem that refers to the practice of commercial and non-commercial fishing, which occurs beyond the capacity of a fish population to replace itself through natural reproduction.


Over-grazing refers to the practice of livestock grazing on an area of land for extended periods of time, to the point that the land is left damaged with less productivity and biodiversity.


Overpopulation refers to the environmental concern that the human population is increasing at a rate which is greater than the earth can support sustainably.

Ozone (O3)

Ozone (O3) is a colourless, odourless gas this is made up of three oxygen atoms.  This highly reactive gas occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere, where it forms a protective layer which shields the earth and its life forms from excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation.  Ozone is also found near the earth’s surface due to a build-up of smog pollution in the lower atmosphere.  Above concentrations of about 100 ppb (parts per billion) ozone can cause serious mucus and respiratory damage in animals, and damage to plant tissues.

Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion refers to the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer which protects the earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Ozone Layer

The ozone layer is an atmospheric layer that protects the earth’s surface from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.  The thinning break in the stratospheric ozone layer is referred to as the ozone hole.  This hole is commonly believed to be caused by chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds which break down and in the earth's atmosphere.