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Macleans

Natural Environment

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on June 2, 2003. Partner content is not updated.

THIS IS MY medicine cabinet," says Karl Schibli, his ice-blue eyes widening with the excitement of someone about to let a neophyte in on what he already knows. The object of Schibli's focused attention is a red Coleman picnic cooler on a shelf in his barn near Waterford, Ont.

Macleans

Saguenay Floods Kill 10

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on August 5, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

One soggy day late last April, Art Poirier found himself among thousands of people stacking sandbags against rising floodwaters from southern Manitoba's ancient and implacable nemesis, the Red River. Poirier flicked a cigarette butt into the brand new lake around his home.

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Boreal Zone

The boreal zone is Canada’s largest vegetation zone, making up 55 per cent of the country’s land mass. It extends from Yukon and northern British Columbia in the west to Newfoundland and Labrador in the east. While much of the region is covered by forest, it also includes lakes, rivers, wetlands and naturally treeless areas. The boreal zone is home to diverse wildlife, and is crucial to maintaining biological diversity, storing carbon, purifying air and water, and regulating the climate. With more than 2.5 million Canadians living in the boreal zone, the forest also provides these rural communities with jobs and economic stability.

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Wetlands

Wetlands cover about 14 per cent of the land area of Canada, and are the natural habitat of over 600 species of plants, animals and insects. In addition to providing a home for these plants and animals, wetlands are an essential part of the environment because they prevent flooding, filter toxins, store groundwater and limit erosion. The most common wetland habitats are swamps, marshes, and bogs.

Macleans

Red River Flood

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on May 12, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

The flood of the century, they have been calling it in Manitoba, an awesome demonstration of nature’s raw might.

Macleans

Avalanche in Quebec

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on January 11, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

It was just past 1:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, and most of the residents of the isolated northern Quebec community of Kangiqsualujjuaq were celebrating in a school gym. People exchanged hugs and warm wishes as they listened to the draw for a $1,000 door prize. Then disaster struck.

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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.