Canada’s Natural Resources
Imagine walking along a forest path with a stream beside the path and trees all around you. Think about how calm and peaceful that would be. Now imagine the same place with the trees cut down and the stream dried up. For many people, the loss of natural resources like forests and streams would make the world a much less pleasant place. However, Canada’s natural resources don’t only look nice. They help us by providing the water, air, and food we need to live. If we enjoy these resources, we need to show our appreciation by taking care of them.
If you live in a city, you might not realize how important natural resources are in Canada. Almost half (over 42%) of Canada’s land is covered by forests, including about a quarter of the world’s northern boreal forests of evergreen trees like spruce and fir. Almost 12% of the country’s total area consists of streams, rivers, lakes, and other sources of water. Canada also has about 25% of the world’s wetlands, such as marshes and swamps, where animals like moose and birds live. Water helps preserve many plants and animals that might otherwise disappear.
Without water, life would be impossible. We use it for drinking, cooking, washing, watering the plants we grow, and many other everyday things. Fish and other animals that live in the water also provide resources to help keep the earth’s inhabitants alive and healthy. Can you imagine a life without water? Even the simplest activities would be difficult or impossible.
Trees are just as important as water. They provide shade for hot weather and give a place for birds and squirrels to live. However, trees also help to clean the air and make it possible for people and animals to breathe. Our bodies take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Trees do the opposite. By taking in the carbon dioxide animals breathe and changing it to oxygen, trees help to clean the air and to make the world more livable.
Canada has many resources besides water and forests. Fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas help heat or cool houses and other buildings. Minerals like copper and nickel are useful for making all kinds of metal objects. Resources like these help make life easier and provide many of the things we enjoy. Can you imagine a life without metal? There would be no cars or televisions or many of the other things we enjoy.
Even though natural resources are essential to life, it can be easy to misuse them. Many fuels cause pollution, which destroys the land, air, and water. Overuse of resources decreases the supplies available for the future. For example, the numbers of fish have declined greatly in many parts of the ocean. In other areas of the world, forests and other resources are disappearing quickly.
Enjoying a walk through the woods or a drink of water is good, but really appreciating our natural resources takes work. How will you help preserve the natural resources we have?
Environment Canada. “Habitat and Wildlife.” http://www.ec.gc.ca/education/default.asp?lang=En&n=9AD97E2E-1.
The Free Dictionary.com. “Wetland.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com/wetland.
MacEachern, Alan, Maini, J. S., Carlisle, J. A. The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Conservation.” http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/conservation,