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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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Pollution

Pollution can be defined as the release of any material, energy or organism that may cause immediate or long-term harmful effects to the natural ENVIRONMENT. Pollution was viewed initially as the unsightly mess or visible environmental damage resulting from careless disposal of various materials.

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Permafrost

Permafrost is ground remaining at or below 0°C continuously for at least two years. About 50 per cent of Canada is underlain by permafrost, mainly in the Arctic Archipelago, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

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Pesticide

Substances used to control pests include insecticides (for control of insects), fungicides (for disease-causing fungi), herbicides (for weeds), rodenticides (for rodents), avicides (for birds), piscicides (for fish) and nematicides (for nematodes).

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Tidal Energy

Tidal energy is a largely untapped, renewable energy source based largely on lunar gravitation. While the potential of tidal hydroelectricity has long been recognized, compared to river dams, tidal power projects are expensive because massive structures must be built in difficult saltwater environments.

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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.

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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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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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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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Forest Harvesting

Forest harvesting involves cutting trees and delivering them to sawmills, pulp mills and other wood-processing plants. Its practical components include road construction, logging and log transportation.

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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Wildlife Preserve

A wildlife preserve is an area of land or water set aside from at least some forms of development or recreational use, particularly from industrial use, hunting and motorized recreation, to protect wildlife and their habitats.

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Endangered Plants in Canada

A species is endangered if there are threats to its survival. Plants are put at risk for several reasons, including: climate change and the loss of natural habitat to cities, agriculture and industry. In Canada, these activities threaten entire natural ecosystems, such as older forests and Prairie grasslands. As of 2019, a total of 810 species were considered at risk in Canada, including 253 plants. (Other species at risk include animals; see also Endangered Animals in Canada).

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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Climate Change

Climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns begin to shift. These periods of change have occurred throughout the Earth’s history over extended periods of time. However, since the Industrial Revolution the world has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, the current period of climate change is often referred to as “global warming.” Human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are largely responsible for this increased rate of change. The implications of this global increase in temperature are potentially disastrous and include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and loss of habitat for plants, animals and humans. In Canada, efforts to mitigate climate change include phasing-out coal-fired power plants in Ontario and instituting a carbon tax in British Columbia.