Canada’s biggest industries involve the extraction of natural resources, including oil, gas and uranium.
With the Arctic warming faster than any other biome recently due to increased greenhouse gas emissions, Canadians are particularly concerned about the impacts of climate change.
The country generates enormous wealth from its oil and gas operations. However, the oil and gas industries account for a quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, with the oilsands being the most carbon intensive.
The oil extracted in Alberta’s oilsands reserves is shipped in pipelines in its raw form. The debate about whether Canada should build new pipelines is still ongoing due to worries about their environmental impact, pipeline leaks, oil tanker spills and First Nations rights.
A large amount of the Canadian population lives in urban areas and cities which are notorious for their poor air quality. Environment Canada has singled out air pollution as a major concern as it affects wildlife, vegetation, soil and water. Air pollution from urban areas also causes acid rain and contributes to climate change.
Canada is home to an abundance of freshwater, but the World Wildlife Fund has raised concerns about water usage and the damming of Canadian rivers. The WWF noted that Canada uses large amounts of water for agriculture, industry and consumption. The conservation organization said Canada moves more water from one watershed to another than any other country in the world and this activity is devastating to ecosystems.
Although Canada is known for its wide range of ecosystems and natural resources, it is clear that we as Canadians need to do more in protecting these ecosystems and using our resources sustainably.
Written by: Nazim Medjahed