The notion that if Canada were an environmentally responsible country it would stop mining for metals and minerals would with out a doubt benefit the natural ecosystems in which they are found. However, this is not a rational solution to an important issue because as humans we are always inventing new technologies to improve our quality of life, and these technologies will need the raw materials that the mining of minerals and metals provides. A more constructive and achievable solution lies in the hands of environmentally conscious mining engineers who are willing to sacrifice the old industrial practices for a more reasonable rate of return with a minimal negative affect on the environment they operate within.
If all of a sudden Canada decided that it would stop mining permanently this would probably not help the environment at all because then we would have to import all the raw materials into Canada. The most likely of scenarios if this were to take place is that the Canadian mining companies would migrate to a country that has less strict emission regulations than Canada had before mining was banned. The regional negative environmental effects in Canada would be eliminated from the mining sector, but the overall global affect would likely increase.
Overall I think that this proposition is a terrible idea and it would end up having a more negative effect globally than if mining continued in Canada. There are other factors that we would have to take into consideration such as how many fossil fuels would be utilized in the transport of these metals, minerals and materials from wherever they would eventually be transported. As well this would likely cause some emigration due to the lack of jobs and this would likely be to the US, which would result in the same consumption if not more from those who emigrate to find work. Again this has the potential of increasing the negative environmental impact of halting mining in Canada.
Technology is always improving our everyday lives but most of these technologies are taxing to the environment. As the new generation of mining engineers it is our responsibility to try to make our mining operations have minimal emissions meanwhile maintaining a lucrative business.
If this were a primary concern as mining engineers this would affect our everyday life because we would have to work much harder to find ways to make mining ore bodies profitable while incorporating a mining method that did not involve the usage of fossil fuels to function. If all the mining equipment were electrical then the onus would fall on the government to provide these operations with renewable and clean energy. At this point in time this may seem like a far-fetched idea. However, in the future when fossil fuel supply is diminishing this very well could be the likeliest of successful scenarios.
If we generalize this responsibility for allowing technology to progress there is a certain ethical line must be crossed, wherein instead of utilizing fossil fuels to aid research of more efficient use of these fossil fuels it would be more advantageous to channel these resources toward renewable energy. In the case of a mechanical engineer the situation could mean leaving your job at a car manufacturing plant to work for a wind energy company to aid in their design and production. This might come with a reduction of pay grade but is it our responsibility to the environment to do our part even if it means a considerable reduction of our quality of life!