This hour-length documentary, commissioned by the CBC, tracks the growth of the world's largest reserve of 'unconventional' oil. This Florida-sized "environmental sacrifice zone" has become Canada's contribution to U.S. energy security in the post-9/11 world. Yet, for many, the tar sands are a global warming disaster.Gord and I are sitting down to watch this tonight, probably with a bowl of popcorn and some of Chile's cocoa. The tar sands are a strange topic for me. Growing up in Alberta, I've heard about the the "oil patch" all my life. Until relatively recently, it was always a far away, distant thing for me. Just some grubby guys squeezing oil out of some tarry sand way up in the north somewhere.
But the tar sands now encroach on every aspect of life, from the pervasive environmental degradation, to the ridiculous amounts of traffic everywhere, to the ongoing glorification of the relentless pursuit of oil/money/power at all costs. I hate it and all it stands for now, yet I'm sure the economic benefits from it during the '70's were part of why my parents could make a good life in Alberta and give me and my siblings a carefree childhood. I guess it's an example of why moderation is good and excess is not.
I hope we Albertans can wake up and smell the excess, and soon.
Picture courtesy the Boreal Songbird Initiative, who know that a boreal forest should look boreal, not surreal.