Canada’s Earth Day assessment

A look at our record on energy consumption, pollution – Published on CBCnews, Canada, April 21, 2011.

The world was first introduced to Earth Day on Apr. 22, 1970, when an estimated 20 million Americans attended rallies around the country and helped clean up their local communities … //

  • … The country has also increased the amount of residential garbage that gets recycled, from 18.1 per cent in 1992 to 26.8 per cent in 2006, according to the same report.

Ecosystems: 

  • With a total surface area of just under 10 million square kilometres and a population of 33 million, Canada has an abundance of forests, wetlands and tundras. Much of this is relatively untouched given our population density, which is among the lowest in the world.
  • The country contains more than a third of the world’s boreal forests and one-fifth of all temperate rainforests, according to the group Global Forest Watch.
  • And with 130,000 square kilometres of wetlands, Canada has the largest amount of this crucial ecological resource among OECD members.
  • However, in 2007 only 6.7 per cent of land in Canada was protected, according to the OECD Environment Compendium. That’s about half the average for OECD countries.
  • For example, more than 28 per cent of land in Poland is protected from development while in Germany the proportion is more than half.

Vehicles per capita:

  • According to World Bank statistics for 2007, Canada has 597 vehicles for every 1,000 people.
  • Though this number puts us below Netherlands Antilles, which is in the No. 1 spot in terms of most cars per capita, with a whopping 1,214 per 1,000 people, and the United States (820), it’s still big enough to be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • According to figures released by Environment Canada, the transportation sector accounts for 22 per cent of all GHG emissions. (full text).

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