Most experts agree that human activities are responsible for climate change. When we burn coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel factories, communities, and automobiles, we add carbon dioxide (CO2) — the main greenhouse gas — to the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect. Canadians release 18,000 kilograms of CO2 per person each year. Other greenhouse gases produced by people include nitrous oxide (discharged from sewage treatment plants and fertilizers used to grow crops); methane (emitted when vegetation rots, burns, or is digested by animals); and chlorofluorocarbons (used in foam products, refrigerants, and aerosols). Likewise, when we chop down forests, pave over wetlands, and pollute our lakes and seas, we deprive terrestrial and aquatic plants of their power to absorb greenhouse gases and keep the planet's climatic system in balance.
How Can You Help Turn Down the Heat?
Stay informed about climate change and its impacts on aquatic wildlife and habitat. Deepen your knowledge of challenge facing marine plants and animals and learn how you can help them weather the storm.
Once you've learned all about these important issues, undertake ocean action projects that conserve food, water, shelter, and space for species threatened by climate change. Choose projects that protect the natural ability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to absorb greenhouse gases and maintain a healthy climate; that help isolated species meet their survival needs by improving connectivity between fragmented habitats; and that buffer the impacts of climate change on marine habitats.
Do everything you can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging energy efficiency and promoting nonpolluting energy sources at home, at school, and in your community. Contact public officials and urge them to develop and strengthen programs to encourage energy efficient and renewable energy; raise fuel economy standards for cars and trucks; set strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants; improve efficiency standards for electronics and home appliances; and ensure the sound management of marine ecosystems.
What Is Being Done?
Climate change is a global problem. All the world's nations must work together to find solutions, especially heavily industrialized countries whose populations and greenhouse gas emissions are increasing rapidly. Canada supports international efforts to meet this challenge through agreements aimed at minimizing quantities of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
Across this country, governments, industries, schools, communities, and individuals are taking action to curb climate change and address its impacts. Their efforts include improving the management of aquatic and terrestrial habitats; supporting climate change and atmospheric research; increasing energy efficiency in buildings and automobiles; and developing renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines and solar power, as well as fuel cell technology.
Marine Protected Areas
To safeguard sensitive marine ecosystems from such threats as climate change, pollution, and development, Canada's Oceans Act authorizes the establishment of a national network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Activities that impact on marine life and habitat can be regulated in MPAs. To find the MPA nearest to you explore the Fisheries and Ocean’s Canada website.
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