The Environment domain covers different aspects of the environment that matter to Canadians’ wellbeing including: clean air, clean water, available energy and raw materials, the amount of wilderness, diversity of species, and the resources that play a huge underlying role in our economy. These environmental aspects are explored through a “stock and flow” framework. This can be best understood by thinking about your bank account – the amount of money you have in the account is the stock, and any money added or removed is the flow. For the environment, this means that current amounts of a resource (stock) are measured alongside the quantity added or removed (flow).
Air component indicators provide information about air quality in Canada since good air quality is critical to the health of all Canadians. Smog is one of the most recognizable air quality problems in Canada and is a major contributor to respiratory diseases. Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming and climate change.
The energy component looks at the availability of energy sources. Compared to many other countries, Canadians use considerable amounts of energy to travel from place to place, to transport goods, to heat our homes and workplaces and to power our communities and industries.
Water quality for both surface water (e.g., rivers, lakes and streams) and groundwater in Canada is under pressure from human activities like agriculture, industry, and household needs. Indicators in this component look at freshwater resources in Canada.
The earth provides many resources that support modern living in Canada but cannot be replaced. Some resources that are important for both the economy and our standard of living come from non-renewable reserves. Indicators in this component look at various non-renewable resources that Canadians use every day, such as metals used in cars, technology, and buildings.
Biotic resources refer to the number and distribution of species that make up all living things on the planet. Indicators in this component look at population levels of specific species, as well as the sustainability of marine and forest ecosystems.