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Macleans

Sperm Scare

During the mid-1970s, a Canadian Wildlife Service researcher discovered that birds in Lake Ontario were behaving in a bizarre way: unable to find mates, pairs of female herring gulls were nesting together and devotedly tending clutches of eggs that usually turned out to be infertile.

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Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the largest land conservation charity in Canada. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect more than 160,000 km2 of land and water across the country. Its mission is to partner with individual donors, corporations, non-profits and governments to purchase and protect areas rich in species diversity (see Biodiversity). The charity and its partners achieve this goal by working with local communities to identify habitat and species in need of protection, and by implementing the best evidence-based conservation science available. As of June 2019, the NCC has conserved habitat across Canada for 34 per cent of Canada’s species at risk. (See also Endangered Animals in Canada.)

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Sustainable Development

Sustainable development has been defined by the United Nations (UN) as development that “meets the needs of the present” while ensuring the future sustainability of the planet, its people and its resources. Meeting these needs often requires balancing three key features of sustainable development: environmental protection, economic growth and social inclusion. The goals of sustainable development are interconnected. The most successful sustainable development projects will include environmental, economic and social considerations in their final plan. These considerations must include the free, prior and informed consent of any Indigenous groups impacted by a sustainable development project.

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.

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Ecosystem

    A limited space within which living beings interact with nonliving matter at a high level of interdependence to form an environmental unit is called an ecosystem.

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Fertilizer

Fertilizers are natural or synthetic materials that are used to supply essential nutrients for PLANT growth. Plants require 16 nutrients for growth. Carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) are taken up from the atmosphere and as water.

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Soil Science

Soil science is the science that deals with soils as a natural resource. Studies focus on soil formation, classification and mapping, and the physical, chemical and biological properties and fertility of soils as such and in relation to their management for crop production.

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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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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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Natural Regions

Natural regions are intended to describe areas of the Earth's surface which possess similar qualities or attributes. They may refer to either land or water, and can vary in size. The term “natural region” is often used interchangeably with the word “ecozone.”

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Energy in Society

Energy plays a unique and critical role in the world; no activity of any kind (no "work") can take place without the movement or conversion of energy.

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Solar Energy

The energy contained in sunlight is the source of life on Earth. Humans can harness it to generate power for our activities without producing harmful pollutants. There are many methods of converting solar energy into more readily usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity. The technologies we use to convert solar energy have a relatively small impact on the environment. However, they each have disadvantages that have kept them from being widely adopted.

In Canada, the use of solar energy to generate electricity and heat is growing quickly and is helping reduce pollution related to energy production. Despite Canada’s cold climate and high latitudes (which get less direct sunlight than mid-latitudes), solar power technologies are used in many places, from household rooftops to large power plants. The Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) expects solar power to make up 3 per cent of Canada’s total electricity generation capacity by 2040.

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Soil Classification

Classification involves arranging individual units with similar characteristics into groups. Soils do not occur as discrete entities; thus the unit of measurement for soil is not obvious.