Canada: natural heritage at the heart of national identity
Shaggy polar bears hunting seals amid the ice floes of the Arctic; antlered moose moving silently through the boreal forest fringing the Great Lakes of North America; the lush temperate rainforests along the Pacific coastline of British Columbia.
This rich and spectacular natural heritage is a source of pride and identity for Canada, the host country of World Environment Day 2017. Abundant natural resources also support Canadian economy prosperity – through tourism as well as sustainable use – and the health and well-being of its 36 million inhabitants.
Successive Canadian governments have moved to protect the environment. For instance, since the designation of an area around a hot mineral spring in Alberta in 1885 that later became Banff National Park, authorities have added more than 40 new national parks.
Internationally, Canada has been a leader in efforts to protect biodiversity and combat climate change. It is also a frontrunner in the development of clean energy.
World Environment Day will be an important part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. As part of the festivities, Canada is offering free passes for its national parks throughout 2017.
“In the spirit of this year's theme, ‘Connecting People to Nature,' I encourage all Canadians to explore our country's beautiful natural areas, including our national parks, national wildlife areas, and migratory bird sanctuaries, said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.