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Natural Resources in Canada

Natural resources are aspects of the natural environment from which goods and services can be obtained and produced. They include air, sunlight, water, land, vegetation, animal life and geological resources. People can also value natural resources for their own sake or for their aesthetic qualities. Humans must manage natural resources to sustain the benefits they offer.

Canada is among the most resource-rich countries in the world. Its large and varied natural resources are essential to its economies and cultures. But there are ongoing debates about how to use, share and manage natural resources.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Environmental Movement in Canada

The environmental movement seeks to protect the natural world and promote sustainable living. It had its beginnings in the conservation efforts of the early 1900s. During this time, conservationists aimed to slow the rapid depletion of Canadian resources in favour of more regulated management. Many scholars divide the evolution of the environmental movement into “waves.” These waves are periods in time easily characterized by certain themes. While the number of waves and their characterization may differ from scholar to scholar, they’re often defined as follows: The first wave focused on conservation; the second, pollution; the third, the professionalization of environmental groups; and the fourth, climate change.

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Midge

Midges are small, slender-bodied flies with long antennae, belonging to various families. Three families are especially important: non-biting midges (Chironomidae), biting midges (Ceratopogonidae, also called no-see-ums), and gall midges (Cecidomyiidae). In Canada, there are more than 1,300 named species of midges from these groups, and scientists expect at least as many more live here. The larvae of most non-biting and biting midges are aquatic, while most larval gall midges live and feed inside of growths on plant tissues. Midges are found all across Canada and in a variety of habitats.

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Hydroelectricity in Canada

Hydroelectricity is energy produced from flowing water. The amount of energy produced depends on volume and speed: the more water moving at a fast rate, the more energy produced. For this reason, many hydroelectric stations are built near waterfalls. To produce energy, water is directed toward turbines — sometimes with the help of a dam — causing them to spin. In turn, the turbines make electrical generators spin and electricity is produced. It is a renewable, comparatively nonpolluting energy source and Canada’s largest source of electric-power generation.

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Cod Moratorium of 1992

On 2 July 1992, the federal government banned cod fishing along Canada’s east coast. This moratorium ended nearly five centuries of cod fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Cod had played a central role in the province’s economy and culture.

The aim of the policy was to help restore cod stocks that had been depleted due to overfishing. Today, the cod population remains too low to support a full-scale fishery. For this reason, the ban is still largely in place.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Meteors, Meteorites and Impact Craters

The solar system contains many objects smaller than the planets (or their satellites) travelling in individual orbits about the SUN; space between the planets also contains myriad dust grains in the micron size range. Near Earth, dust concentrations are only a few hundred particles per cubic kilometre, but 35 000 to 100 000 t of extraterrestrial material enters the atmosphere annually, swept up by our planet from debris that is in its path or crosses its path.

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Sustainability in Canada

Sustainability is the ability of the biosphere, or of a certain resource or practice, to persist in a state of balance over the long term. The concept of sustainability also includes things humans can do to preserve such a balance. Sustainable development, for instance, pairs such actions with growth. It aims to meet the needs of the present while ensuring that future people will be able to meet their needs.

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Black Fly

Black flies are small, dark-coloured insects belonging to the family Simuliidae. Of the world’s more than 2,300 species, at least 164 are found in Canada. Black flies reproduce in streams and are found all across Canada. They are particularly common in northern temperate and subarctic regions. Because female black flies need to feed on blood to lay eggs, their biting can be a nuisance to humans and other animals. Among the most common and notorious black flies in Canada are Simulium truncatum and Simulium venustum.

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Quill Lakes

The Quill Lakes are three connected saline lakes in southeastern Saskatchewan. They are located 150 km north of Regina and 152 km east of Saskatoon. From west to east the lakes are named Big Quill, Middle Quill (also known as Mud Lake) and Little Quill. Despite its name, at 181 km2 Little Quill is the second largest of the three lakes. Big Quill is the largest at 307 km2. The Quill Lakes’ elevation is 516 m.

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Polar Bear

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is the largest living species of bear. They are found throughout the circumpolar Arctic. In Canada, this means polar bears live in parts of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba,Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Polar bears are both culturally and economically significant to the Inuit. As climate change continues to reduce their sea ice habitat, polar bears are increasingly threatened.

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Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

The Trans Mountain Expansion is a project to build about 980 km of new pipe, most of which will run parallel to the existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The new line will carry diluted bitumen, or “dilbit,” from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia. The expansion will increase the pipeline route’s overall capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

The project’s first owner, Kinder Morgan Canada, sold it to the Government of Canada in 2018. The Trans Mountain Expansion has been a focus of environmental and economic debates, as well as political conflicts. The $12.6 billion project is now under construction.

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James Bay Project

In 1971, Hydro-Québec and the Québec government initiated the James Bay Project, a monumental hydroelectric-power development on the east coast of James Bay. Over the course of two phases they built a total of eight generating stations, allowing for the pollution-free production of a significant portion of Québec's electricity. However, the projects also profoundly disrupted the environment and the Indigenous communities living in the region, the effects of which are still felt today.

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Water

Worldwide, over two-thirds of precipitation falling on land surfaces is evaporated and transpired back into the atmosphere. In Canada less than 40% is evaporated and transpired; the remainder, called the water yield, enters into streamflow.

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Commodities in Canada

In commerce, commodities are interchangeable goods or services. Many natural resources in Canada are viewed as commodities. They are a major source of the country’s wealth. Examples of commodities include a barrel of crude oil, an ounce of gold, or a contract to clear snow during the winter. Commodity products often supply the production of other goods or services. Many are widely traded in futures exchanges (see Commodity Trading).

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Fraser River Lowland

The Fraser River Lowland is a triangular area in southwestern British Columbia. The eastern apex of the triangle is at Hope, about 160 km inland from the Strait of Georgia. From here, the lowland broadens to the west to a width of about 50 km. The international boundary between British Columbia and Washington State crosses the southwestern part of the lowland. The Coast Mountains form the northern boundary of the delta-lowland. The Fraser River Lowland is the largest area of level land with suitable agricultural soils in coastal British Columbia.

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Transportation in the North

Inuit and subarctic Indigenous peoples have traversed the North since time immemorial. Indigenous knowledge and modes of transportation helped early European explorers and traders travel and survive on these expanses. Later settlement depended to an extraordinary degree on the development of transportation systems. Today, the transportation connections of northern communities vary from place to place. While the most remote settlements are often only accessible by air, some have road, rail and marine connections. These are often tied to industrial projects such as mines.