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Glossary

G

“Garbage Patch,” informal name for the (10-million-square-mile) area of circular currents in the Pacific Ocean called the North Pacific Gyre. Nicknamed the “Garbage Patch” because this area has accumulated and concentrated vast masses of plastic waste.

gene bank: a facility that stores genetic material. For example, the US Department of Agriculture's gene banks store seeds and other plant parts for future use.

gene: a segment of DNA that includes the coded information in an organism's cells that makes each species and individual unique. Genes contain the hereditary characteristics that are transmitted from one generation to the next and determine how organisms look and behave.

genetic diversity: the genetic variation present in a population or species. For example, the genetic diversity in the hundreds of varieties of potatoes can be seen by their differences in size, shape, color, taste and rate of growth.

geneticist: a biologist who specializes in the study of genetics.

ghost nets: a discarded fishing net that drifts through the ocean, catches fish and other marine organisms, then sink, under the weight of these dead creatures and rises again once their catch has decomposed to trap more unlucky creatures.

gill nets: a type of fishing net that catches fish by their gills or gill covers.

ginkgo: a type of Chinese tree with fan-shaped leaves and fleshy yellow seeds; exists almost exclusively in cultivation especially as an ornamental street tree.

global change: a transformation that occurs on a worldwide scale (e.g., an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) or exhibits sufficient cumulative effects to have worldwide impact (e.g., local species extinction resulting in global loss of biodiversity).

global positioning satellite system (GPS): a satellite-based radio-navigation system which allows users to determine their location anywhere in the world at any time of the day. A GPS unit receives data transmitted from GPS satellites then interprets the data to provide information on longitude, latitude and altitude.

global warming: the hypothesis that Earth's atmosphere is warming because of the release of "greenhouse gases," such as carbon dioxide. These gases are released into the air from burning gas, oil, coal, wood and other resources which then holds heat in an action similar to the walls of a greenhouse.

globalization: the increasing economic integration and interdependence of countries involving trade liberalization (the increased circulation of goods) and financial liberalization (the expanded circulation of capital).

green travel: travel with minimal impact on the environment e.g. reduced water usage, carbon emissions and overall waste generation.

greenhouse effect: the holding of heat in Earth's atmosphere by certain gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Some scientists predict that the temperature and sea level rise associated with global warming could adversely affect biodiversity.

greenhouse gases: several gases that allow Earth's atmosphere to hold solar radiation by absorbing heat radiated back from Earth's surface. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide.

ground cache: a place to store something like food more or less temporarily in the ground.

groundwater: water beneath the surface that can be collected with wells, tunnels or drainage galleries, or that flows naturally to Earth's surface via seeps or springs.

Gwich'n First Nation: Vuntut Gwich'n First Nation is located at the community of Old Crow within the Arctic Circle along the Porcupine River in the northernmost Yukon Territory community. The Vuntut Gwich'n or 'people of the lakes' are members of the larger group of Gwich'n people whose traditional land base extends well into the Northwest Territories and Alaska. The people of Old Crow have the longest known residence in the Yukon according to archaeological findings. (Can also be spelled Gwitch'n.)


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