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  • Writer's picturePatrizia Brasch

Natural Resources Canada

Updated: Jun 23

Canada is one of the world’s major suppliers of natural resources including precious metals, minerals, oil, coal, natural gas, and lumber, and throughout its history, our natural resources have been essential to Canada's economy. However, it is known that the harvesting of and mining, excavation, and drilling for these resources has a devastating impact on the environment, on wildlife, and our own health.

Natural Resources Canada is a portrayal of these resources, to remind people of what we largely take for granted in the hope that we think about what we can do to lessen the damage we knowingly and unknowingly do to our planet.

FORESTRY – The Earth’s surface - on which deciduous trees are grown and harvested for hardwood lumber, and evergreen trees or conifers are grown and harvested for softwood lumber. Trees grown for the forestry industry are considered a renewable resource. However, “it can increase the harmful impact of wind and rain on local ecosystems; destroy the valuable wildlife habitat used by pine martins, caribou, and other animals; and cause soil to become dry and overheated, which may in turn increase the risk of fire or interfere with seedling growth. Logging operations can also alter the chemical and physical makeup of nearby bodies of water and affect the health of fish and other aquatic species.” (Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador)

Materials – stained glass, fused glass, tree bark, softwood twigs, and oak hardwood.

MINING – Below the Earth’s surface - from which we excavate precious metals - gold, silver, and platinum, diamonds, and minerals such iron, copper, lead, zinc, and nickel. “Environmental impacts of mining can occur at local, regional, and global scales through direct and indirect mining practices. Impacts can result in erosion, sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, or the contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water by the chemicals emitted from mining processes.” (Wikipedia)

Materials - smalti, gold smalti, stained glass, crystal beads, stones, coins, upcycled corroded nails, screws, hex nuts, and lead pipe, various tesserae in nickel, copper, silver, brass, and zinc.

FOSSIL FUELS – Deep beneath the Earth’s surface - drilling wells and mines deep into the ground to extract fossil fuels: coal; oil; and natural gas. These fossil fuels, which we are quickly using up, are a non-renewable resource. Oil spills, leaking natural gas pipelines, and coal emissions are also a major threat to our environment, wildlife, as well as our own health. “Canada is the sixth largest energy producer, the fourth largest net exporter, and the eighth largest consumer.” (Government of Canada)

Materials – opalescent stained glass, wispy glass, glass beads and rods, glass tiles and rounds, upcycled corroded drill bit.

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