Search for "Environment"

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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.

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Gulf

A gulf is a body of water partly surrounded by land and connected to an ocean or sea. This connection sometimes takes the form of a narrow passage called a strait. The nomenclature of water inlets can be inconsistent between sources. Sometimes, the terms gulf,  bay and sea are used interchangeably. For example, the Arabian Sea and Hudson Bay can both be classified as gulfs. However, in most cases a gulf is deeper and larger than a bay and is also more enclosed from the ocean or sea to which it is connected. Because gulfs are partially surrounded by land, their waters are typically calmer than those of oceans. This makes them suitable for activities such as transportation, fishing and leisure.

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Jack Miner

John (“Jack”) Thomas Miner, also known as “Wild Goose Jack,” conservationist, lecturer (born 10 April 1865 in Dover Center, Ohio; died 3 November 1944 in Kingsville, ON). In 1904, Jack Miner created one of North America’s first bird sanctuaries. He was also one of the earliest to attach bands to the legs of migratory birds for the scientific study of their habits. Over the course of his lifetime he banded over 90,000 ducks and Canada geese, often inscribing bits of biblical scripture on each band. His records of these birds and their migratory patterns helped persuade the Canadian government to ratify the Migratory Birds Convention Act in 1917.

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Moose

Moose are the largest living member of the deer family (Cervidae). Four subspecies are found in Canada: the Alaska/Yukon moose (Alces alces gigas), the shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi), the western Canada moose (Alces alces andersoni) and the eastern Canada moose (Alces alces americana). They live in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island. Often considered a symbol of Canada, the moose is featured on Ontario’s provincial coat of arms.

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Maude Barlow

Maude Victoria Barlow (McGrath), advocate, activist, author (born 24 May 1947 in Toronto, ON). Maude Barlow is a co-founder and Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, one of Canada’s leading independent advocacy groups. She is an outspoken advocate and author on issues including democratic and social rights, trade sovereignty, and environmental justice. Barlow has served as a Senior Advisor on Water to the United Nations. She also serves on the World Future Council and on the board of Food and Water Watch.

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Wild Mushrooms in Canada

Mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruit of various fungi. They are classed within the major groups of Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes. Hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms grow wild in Canada, from the US border to the Arctic, and from sea level to alpine environments. Some of these are well known edible species, such as chanterelles (Cantharellus species) and pine mushrooms (Tricholoma species); others have medicinal properties or can cause hallucinations, such as “magic mushrooms” (Psilocybe species) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). Some others, like emetic russula (Russula emetica), are poisonous to varying degrees, and a few mushroom species, like deadly galerina (Galerina marginata), death cap (Amanita phalloides) and panther mushroom (Amanita pantherinoides), can be deadly. This article includes descriptions of some of the most widely-used wild, edible mushrooms found in Canada.

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Weasel

The weasel is a small, long-bodied, carnivorous mammal of the family Mustelidae. Three species of weasels are found in Canada: the short-tailed weasel, also known as the ermine or stoat (Mustela erminea), the long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata), and the least weasel (Mustela nivalis). The least weasel is the smallest species in the order carnivora. The genus Mustela also includes mink, black-footed ferret, and the introduced European ferret.

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Svend Robinson

Svend Robinson, politician, activist (born 4 March 1952 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States). Robinson was NDP Member of Parliament for Burnaby, British Columbia from 1979 to 2004. In 1988, he became the first member of Parliament to openly identify as gay. Robinson resigned from politics in 2004 after pleading guilty to the theft of a ring; he was subsequently diagnosed with cyclothymia, a type of bipolar disorder. Both within and outside Parliament, he has advocated for environmental protection, the right to physician-assisted death, LGBTQ2 rights and mental health. In January 2019, Robinson announced that he was running for election to Parliament as the NDP candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour. However, he was defeated by Liberal incumbent Terry Beech in the October 2019 federal election.

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Botany

Botany is the study of plants and plant life. The Canadian Encyclopedia includes a variety of articles about various plant species found in Canada, gathered by topic in this collection.

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Idle No More

With roots in the Indigenous community, Idle No More began in November 2012 as a protest against the introduction of Bill C-45 by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. Formally known as the Jobs and Growth Act, this omnibus legislation affected over 60 acts, including the Indian Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act and Environmental Assessment Act. Idle No More activists argued that the Act’s changes diminished the rights and authority of Indigenous communities while making it easier for governments and businesses to push through projects without strict environmental assessment. The movement quickly gained supporters from across Canada (and abroad), and grew to encompass environmental concerns and Indigenous rights more generally.

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Charles Gordon Hewitt

Charles Gordon Hewitt, administrator, economic entomologist, conservationist (born 23 February 1885 in Macclesfield, England; died 29 February 1920 in Ottawa, ON). Charles Gordon Hewitt was an expert on houseflies who served as Canada’s Dominion entomologist from 1909 until his death. He played an important role in expanding the government’s entomology branch, as well as in passing the Destructive Insect and Pest Act (1910).

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Hornet

Hornet is the common name for wasps in the genus Vespa. They are members of the insect family Vespidae in the order Hymenoptera, which also includes other social wasps like yellowjackets and paper wasps. There are 22 species of hornets worldwide, none of which are native to Canada. However, three introduced species have been found here: the European hornet (Vespa crabro) in southern Ontario and  Quebec, and the Japanese yellow hornet (Vespa simillima) and Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) in coastal British Columbia. The bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) is native to Canada, but is actually a species of yellowjacket.

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Gregor Robertson

Gregor Robertson, politician, entrepreneur, MLA, mayor of Vancouver (2008–18) (born 18 September 1964 in North Vancouver, BC). Robertson served as the 39th mayor of Vancouver for ten years, the longest consecutive term in Vancouver’s history. He won three consecutive terms in 2008, 2011 and 2014. During his time as mayor, he helped to create and implement the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan while facing many challenges, including rising housing costs, homelessness and Vancouver’s opioid crisis.

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Crawford Stanley Holling

Crawford Stanley Holling, “Buzz,” OC, FRSC, ecologist (born 6 Dec 1930 in Theresa, New York; died 16 August 2019 in  Nanaimo, BC). One of the best-known Canadian forest entomologists, Holling gained international recognition for his work in the management of natural resources.

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Dam

A dam is a structure built across a waterway to control or stop the flow of water. This is called impounding the flow of water. Dams can be built by animals, such as beavers, or constructed by humans. In some cases, they are even formed by natural geological forces.

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Bay

A bay is a body of water partly surrounded by land and connected to a larger body of water. It is typically bigger than a cove and smaller than a gulf. However, this is not always the case. For example, Hudson Bay is much larger than the Persian Gulf. Strictly speaking and by international agreement, to be defined as a bay, a water body’s mouth (the boundary between itself and the larger body of water to which it is connected) must not exceed 24 nautical miles. In addition, its area must exceed that of a semicircle drawn with the mouth as its diameter.

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Dike

In geography and civil engineering, a dike is a barrier or ditch limiting or preventing the flow of water. Such barriers are also called levees. While a dam stretches across a waterway, a dike usually runs along its side. Dikes can form as a result of natural forces, but most are constructed by humans. The purpose of building a dike is usually to prevent flooding. New land can also be reclaimed by using dikes to drain wetlands or to push back the boundaries of a body of water.

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Environmental Stewardship in Canada

Environmental stewardship is the responsible use and protection of the environment. Examples of responsible use include limiting the harvest of natural resources. Examples of protection include conservation the creation of national and provincial parks. For some, “environmental stewardship” may invoke religious connotations. However, many prefer this phrase to “environmental management,” as the word management suggests humans dominating over nature. (See also Environmental Movement in Canada; Sustainability in Canada.)