Environment

What This Means for Canada

From the huge and unpredictable impacts of climate change to the scientifically well-defined decline of our forests, fisheries, soil, water and endangered species, the Canadian environment is under extreme stress. Canada has been pursuing a short sited policy of over-exploitation and endless growth for which we are all beginning to pay. The price of our negligence will increase dramatically for future generations.

Introduction

The environment is the all-encompassing natural economy in which we live as opposed to the smaller commercial economy in which we work. We really just started appreciating it and have yet to include it in our measurements of progress. Western societies now know the environment is important but perhaps we are afraid to admit just how vital it is and the damage we are doing to it.

 

What Can You Do?

Even before we move towards a general policy of conservation, we must realize that the environment is not a bottomless mine but a delicately balanced mechanism.

Resources can’t be pulled out of it without negative consequences and it’s elements can’t be broken apart and separated like chunks of rock. We must discuss the vital organs of the environment which can form the basis of a sustainable society and recognize the sum is even greater than the parts. We must modify our own actions and the policies of our local and federal governments to look past short term gain for certain interest groups and develop the technology and culture of sustainability.

 

  • Resource Scarcity
  • Oil Sands
  • History
  • Fisheries
  • Forests
  • Land Use
  • Carbon

Carbon

Carbon Emissions - General Canadians have one of the highest per capita rates of carbon emissions in the world. This is because we have: A resource intensive economy, Large vehicles driven long distances Large houses in a cold climate High levels of material consumption Frequent plane travel. Our inability to cut carbon emissions has given us the worst record of carbon emissions growth in the industrialized world. Canadas commitment to the Kyoto Accord took the form of a pledge to ...

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Land Use

Land Use - General Besides climate, soil is agriculture's major limitation. All societies are ultimately built on the productivity of the land as neatly summarized in the saying “No soil, no civilization.” Canada has a large area and a few facts are useful to differentiate the concepts of size and productive area. Only 3.2% of our land area can be used to grow crops 4.2% can be used as pastureland Soil degeneration and urbanization are responsible for much of the ...

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Forests

Forests - General “The result is Athens is now like one of the small islands, the bare skeleton of a sick body with barely any flesh on it. In the early days the land was unspoilt: there was soil upon the high mountains and what we now call scrub had fields of rich earth. The year’s rain did not as now run off the bare earth into the sea but the water coming down from the hills was preserved and ...

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Fisheries

Fisheries - General Like most fisheries around the world, Canada's are in steep decline. As a well-documented example, the east coast cod fishery has collapsed and recovery is proceeding at an extremely slow pace. However, in the past 10 years, there have been tremendous advances in the scientific understanding of environmental and fisheries history. This new knowledge has provided a much more complete picture of the biological potential and the workings of the marine food chain. New research findings paint ...

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History

Environmental History - General A developing science, environmental history has made remarkable strides in the past 2 decades and has illuminated the importance of our most critical resource bases and the rise and fall of the societies based on them.  Declines of essential resource bases directly foretell social declines and migrations. European settlement in Canada was driven by resource disparity.  The declining resource base in Europe coupled with a surging population pushed desperate people to pursue, despite the risks and ...

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Oil Sands

Oil Sands - General The Alberta oil sands constitute one of the largest energy reserves on the planet. Unlike conventional oil deposits which feature liquid oil captured in porous rock, the oil sands are sand formations with a relatively low content of highly viscous oil. Where oil flows quite readily out of a conventional oil field once it has been tapped, oil from the oil sands has to be extracted in an industrial process involving a great deal of heat ...

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Resource Scarcity

Resource Scarcity - General Humans have always exploited the most accessible and richest resources first. The deepest and most fertile soils, the tallest, straightest trees and the most mineral laden ore bodies were the first to be harvested. And the virgin resources were rich. Early agriculture in the golden triangle took place upon meters of rich alluvial soils. Timbers were drawn from towering stands of old growth forests. Metals were melted from outcroppings of ore by lighting fires beneath them. ...

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