Un­der­stand­ing our na­tion

Canadian Geographic - - EDITORS' NOTEBOOK -

FOR AL­MOST 90 YEARS, Cana­dian Geo­graphic has shone a light on the won­der of Canada’s na­ture and his­tory. The mag­a­zine launched long be­fore Cana­di­ans watched tele­vi­sion, surfed the web or held a smart­phone in the palm of their hands. And yet, while the tech­nolo­gies we use have changed, the pub­li­ca­tion’s core man­date hasn’t: in­for­ma­tive, com­pelling, fact-based jour­nal­ism about the peo­ple and places that make our coun­try so re­mark­able. I love Cana­dian Geo­graphic and it’s an hon­our to be guest ed­i­tor for this is­sue. As Canada’s Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change, I’m fo­cus­ing my ed­i­tor­ship on many of the top­ics that our gov­ern­ment and the mag­a­zine care deeply about: cli­mate ac­tion, pro­tect­ing Canada’s na­ture and wildlife, and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with In­dige­nous Peo­ples. In past is­sues, Cana­dian Geo­graphic has done ground­break­ing work. They’ve high­lighted so­lu­tions to the cri­sis of our rapidly warm­ing world, pro­filed in­cred­i­ble fe­male ex­plor­ers and sur­veyed the rich ta­pes­try of In­dige­nous lan­guages in Canada. These are the sto­ries I know Cana­di­ans are in­ter­ested in, and sto­ries I am proud to help tell in an en­gag­ing way. In the fol­low­ing pages, you’ll read about amaz­ing peo­ple and places from coast to coast to coast. You’ll learn about an ex­cel­lent ini­tia­tive called the In­dige­nous Guardians pro­gram (page 38), see star­tling im­ages of the im­pacts of cli­mate change on Canada’s land­scape (page 56) and learn from sci­en­tists across our land who are re­search­ing en­dan­gered species such as cari­bou and the bel­uga whale (page 44). You will also read our in­ter­view with jour­nal­ist and au­thor Tanya Talaga, whose pow­er­ful story of the dark legacy of res­i­den­tial schools in north­ern On­tario, Seven Fallen Feath­ers, won the 2018 RBC Tay­lor Prize for lit­er­ary nonfiction (it’s a must-read). And fi­nally, you can read our con­ver­sa­tion with au­thor and artist Dou­glas Cou­p­land, who some call the voice of Gen­er­a­tion X (my gen­er­a­tion!), the ti­tle of his first book. Right now, through his Vor­tex ex­hibit at the Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium, he is the voice of our oceans, scream­ing out for wa­ters un­spoiled by plas­tic pol­lu­tion. We live in a spe­cial coun­try. Clear blue lakes dot the Cana­dian Shield, thick swaths of for­est cover the bo­real re­gion, and in the West, the snow-capped Rocky Moun­tains jut sky­ward along the Con­ti­nen­tal Di­vide. Along all three coasts we are sur­rounded by an end­less ex­panse of deep oceans. These are spa­ces that In­dige­nous Peo­ples have called home for mil­len­nia, and spa­ces that con­tinue to sup­port us to­day. They have sus­tained hunt­ing and agri­cul­ture, nur­tured towns and cities, and pro­vided a back­drop for the story of our coun­try. Cather­ine Mckenna re­views lay­outs of this is­sue with (right to left) COO and pub­lisher Gilles Gag­nier, ed­i­tor-in-chief Aaron Kylie and cre­ative di­rec­tor Javier Fru­tos.

To­day, the story of this na­tion con­tin­ues, yet with new re­al­i­ties. Cli­mate change is trans­form­ing our so­ci­ety. Glaciers are re­ced­ing, storms and fires are be­com­ing more pow­er­ful, and in the Arc­tic, ris­ing tem­per­a­tures are trans­form­ing the way Inuit have lived for gen­er­a­tions. It’s be­cause of the beauty of our land and the ur­gency of this prob­lem that Cana­di­ans must act, in big and small ways, to im­prove the sus­tain­abil­ity of our com­mu­ni­ties. And it’s why, as an ad­vo­cate for Canada’s nat­u­ral and his­tor­i­cal her­itage, I be­lieve the more ap­pre­ci­a­tion we have of our coun­try, the bet­ter. Cana­dian Geo­graphic gives us sto­ries that help us bet­ter un­der­stand our na­tion. Through bal­anced and rig­or­ous re­port­ing, and with a team of some of Canada’s most ta­lented jour­nal­ists, the mag­a­zine is an in­dis­pens­able in­sti­tu­tion with an abil­ity to il­lu­mi­nate, ed­u­cate and in­spire. I couldn’t be more ex­cited to share with you the ideas and hard work that went into this is­sue. So, take a mo­ment and en­joy! — Cather­ine Mckenna

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