As we strive to find sustainable solutions to various problems such as climate change, both people and companies across Canada are finding new ways to become as environmentally friendly as possible.
Here’s a handful of environmentally friendly practices happening right now in Canada that are having a positive influence on our planet:
#1 - Community Gardens
Community Gardens have become increasingly popular among neighborhoods across the country. Creating shared spaces to grow food and reconnect with those in your community has a multiplicity of benefits for both your health and the planet, such as:
- A lower carbon, ecological and water footprint
- Increased eco-literacy and education of the land
- Community closeness; socializing with neighbours, forging new relationships
- Self-sufficiency; learning how to live sustainably off the land
- People having the right to land to grow and harvest their own food
Montreal, for example, has an extensive and well-organized community gardening program supported by the municipality. In the early 2000s, the island itself had more than 100 community gardens while at least 15 of 26 total metropolitan Montreal municipalities had community gardens in some measure (cityfarmer.org). Since then, those figures have undoubtedly grown.
Hundreds of community gardens also exist across southern and central Ontario. Several organizations like Housing Services Corporation (HSC), for example, support such gardens across the province. But it’s not just in Ontario and Quebec. This environmentally friendly practice happening in Canada is found throughout the country.
#2 - Carbon Sequestration
Carbon sequestration, also known as “carbon capture,” is the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with the hope of making a positive impact on the planet’s climate. There are various approaches / technologies used to make this environmentally friendly practice in Canada possible, including:
Afforestation and Reforestation
Afforestation is the act of planting trees in new areas, while reforestation refers to re-planting trees in areas that used to have trees but were harvested, cleared or otherwise removed.
Trees account for a huge portion of the carbon that is sequestered from the atmosphere, keeping it within their root systems, bark, wood and leaves. Increasing the amount of tree cover can significantly improve the rate and capacity of carbon sequestration depending on location, climate, tree species and other factors.
Carbon farming focuses on planting crops to increase the soil’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide through various farming methods like zero-till agriculture, using organic materials for fertilizer, and planting crops with longer root systems.
Approaches like these allow the soil to have a greater capability to sequester carbon dioxide and ensure it stays trapped within the ground.
Storage in Vegetation
Various types of vegetation, especially coastal types like mangroves and seagrasses, naturally sequester significantly larger amounts of carbon dioxide than terrestrial forests.
Restoring and extending these types of habitats increases the potential to hold a lot more carbon, rather than adding it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the gases responsible for climate change.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) is part of a sequestering system that captures CO2 emitted by a bitumen refinery and fertilizer plant outside of Edmonton, Alberta, then carries it to a field where it is pumped into the ground. Much of this CO2 forever buried, however some is used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in attempt to produce more oil and gas.
At its current operational level, the pipeline is projected to capture 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year —the equivalent of taking an estimated 300,000 cars off the road annually — and at full capacity has the ability capture an additional 13 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
#3 - Zero-Till Agriculture
Zero-Till Agriculture is a practice in regenerative gardening and design, which allows the soil to develop naturally without any mechanical disturbance. Build-up of natural material from past years of farming is left on top, then holes are punctured in the soil for seeds to be planted.
This environmentally friendly practice happening in Canada is good for our country and the global atmosphere in various ways:
- It decreases the risk of soil erosion which can lead to increased pollution and sedimentation in rivers and streams and negatively affect wildlife such as fish
- Water can be better retained by the soil, which improves infiltration while decreasing runoff and water waste
- Reduces fuel usage significantly and, therefore decreases greenhouse gas emissions as well
Canadian farmers across the country have adopted conservation farming practices like zero tillage, contributing to Canada’s goal to become “net-zero” by 2050. Dated research found that Canadian farmland can store or sequester as much as 22 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
Canada is a Global Leader...
These aforementioned environmentally friendly practices happening in Canada right now are just the tip of the iceberg. Globally, our country is a leader in:
- renewable electricity production and capacity – hydro, wind, solar, biofuels (NRC)
- exporting responsibly-produced energy that sometimes displaces more emission-intensive generation elsewhere (NRC)
- reducing water use / emission intensities in industrial processes and electricity generation
- regulation and legislation concerning greenhouse gas emissions
- standing up for freedom, democracy, and workers’ rights, for example – a leader on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria through and through
Stay tuned for even more great ways individuals, companies and governments are all doing their part to be as environmentally friendly as possible across the country!
We invite you to join us online at Canada Action on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter today! Be a part of our fact-based, positive, and non-partisan movement that supports the sustainable development of natural resources for a more prosperous Canada!
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