Disaster Cards

Glossary of Terms used on Disaster Cards

Climate Terminology | Cooldown Cards | Power Cards | Disaster Cards

Air pollution

Disaster Card | Air pollution is the presence of harmful substances in the air, originating from human activities and natural processes, with detrimental effects on human health, the environment, and climate at high concentrations.

Bottom trawling

Disaster Card | Bottom trawling is a fishing method that involves dragging large nets along the seabed to catch fish and other marine species that live near or on the ocean floor. While it can be an efficient way to harvest certain fish species, it poses significant sustainability issues and has detrimental impacts on marine ecosystems.


Disaster Card | By-catch refers to the unintentional capture of non-target species, such as marine mammals (particularly of cetaceans like dolphins, porpoises, and whales), sea turtles, seabirds, and other fish species, in fishing gear intended for specific target species.

Cement manufacturing

Disaster Card | Cement manufacturing releases various air pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). These pollutants can contribute to smog formation, respiratory problems, and other negative health effects in nearby communities.

Cow burps

Disaster Card | Cow burps contribute to global warming through the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. However, it is not the cows themselves but the livestock industry which needs to be addressed as a contributor to these global emissions.


Disaster Card | A cyclone is a weather phenomenon characterized by a large-scale circulation of winds around a low-pressure center. Cyclones are fueled by warm ocean waters and typically form over tropical or subtropical regions.


Disaster Card | Deforestation, or the clear cutting of forests is often driven by agricultural expansion, illegal logging, mining and urbanization. Forests are essential habitats for life to exist on Earth and so their loss causes a severe impact on the planet.


Disaster Card | During a drought, the lack of water can have significant effects on the environment, agriculture, water supplies, and ecosystems.


Disaster Card | Improperly managed garbage and chemical waste may pollute and contaminate soil on land as well as bodies of water damaging both land and aquatic ecosystems.


Disaster Card | An earthquake is a natural geological phenomenon characterized by the sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. This release of energy is often caused by the movement of tectonic plates, which are large sections of the Earth's crust that float on the semi-fluid asthenosphere beneath them.


Disaster Card | A famine is an extreme and widespread scarcity of food that leads to a significant number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Famine is often caused by a combination of factors, including severe weather conditions, crop failures, conflict, economic instability, and inadequate distribution of food resources.


Disaster Card | Global warming intensifies the water cycle, causing more evaporation, increased water vapor in the atmosphere, and more frequent intense rainfall, leading to increased flooding.

Fossil Fuel Vehicles

Disaster Card | Burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Consequently, this process contributes to the warming of the Earth's atmosphere, leading to a range of environmental issues.


Disaster Card | Fracking is a method used to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. It involves injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into the rock to create fractures, which allows the trapped oil and gas to flow more freely to the wellbore and be extracted to the surface.

Glacial melt

Disaster Card | Glacial melt happens when ice from glaciers and ice sheets starts to melt due to rising temperatures or other factors. This can lead to rising sea levels, floods, landslides, water scarcity, disruptions to ecosystems, changes in temperature and climate, and disturbances in ocean circulation patterns.

Hazardous Algae Blooms

Disaster Card | Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), often referred to as "hazardous algae blooms," are excessive and rapid growths of certain types of algae in aquatic ecosystems, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.


Disaster Card | A hurricane is a powerful and large-scale tropical cyclone characterized by a rotating system of thunderstorms, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. It forms over warm ocean waters, typically in the Atlantic Ocean or the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Material Extraction

Disaster Card | The metal mining process of materials extraction has causes of environmental concerns. It's also the human and environmental price we’re willing to pay for a future of wind turbines, solar panels, energy-efficient buildings, and electric vehicles.

Nuclear Fallout

Disaster Card | Nuclear fallout refers to the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere after a nuclear accident, such as a nuclear power plant meltdown. Exposure to nuclear fallout can pose significant health risks due to the ionizing radiation emitted by the radioactive materials.

Ocean Transport

Disaster Card | Ocean transport poses several sustainability challenges due to its carbon emissions, air pollution, ballast water, oil spills, marine pollution, noise pollution, waste disposal, overfishing, inefficient shipping routes, labor issues, and light disturbances.

Plastic Pollution

Disaster Card | The increasing production of disposable plastic products has created a critical environmental concern: plastic pollution. As the world grapples with the growing volume of plastic waste, its exposure to the elements also leads to greenhouse gas emissions.

Radioactive Leakage

Disaster Card | Radioactive high-level waste (HLW) from leftover nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons productions of the past are held in tank farms that are still at risk of leaking into the environment.

Routine Flaring

Disaster Card | Routine flaring is a widely employed global practice during crude oil extraction where significant amounts of unused or unwanted "associated petroleum gas" (APG) are disposed of.


Disaster Card | A typhoon is a type of tropical cyclone, commonly referred to as a hurricane or cyclone in other parts of the world. It is a powerful and intense storm system that forms over warm ocean waters in tropical and subtropical regions.

Virus outbreak

Disaster Card | A virus outbreak refers to the sudden increase in the number of cases of a particular viral disease in a specific geographic area, community, or population. It indicates a higher-than-normal incidence of the disease and may be localized or spread over a larger region.

Volcanic eruption

Disaster Card | A "volcanic eruption" is a natural phenomenon where molten rock, ash, and gasses are expelled from a volcano's vent onto the Earth's surface or into the atmosphere. During a volcanic eruption, various greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere.

Water pollution

Disaster Card | Water pollution poses significant risks to the environment, human health, and economic activities. It disrupts the balance of marine and freshwater ecosystems, leading to declines in fish and plant populations, loss of biodiversity, and the destruction of critical habitats.


Disaster Card | A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire that burns in natural areas such as forests or fields. Although wildfires are naturally occurring and essential to some plant species, the rise in global temperature can cause more frequent and expansive fires which can endanger ecosystems.