27 July 2009


25 July 2009

Like all industrial extraction processes, the culpable actors don’t want publicity. I'm driving along next to the Albian sands project, a joint venture of Shell and Chevron/Texaco, which happened to be one of the most interesting excavation projects from the air, and the “Access Interdit” signs abound, as if one could actually do damage to this ravaged landscape. Of course the only damage is to reputation: no one is more dangerous than the photographer. Meanwhile, as I drive, I listen to the local radio station, which is full of the news of a recent study commissioned by the Alberta provincial government (which is very supportive of tar sands development) asserting (for the benefit of dubious USA lawmakers (who are always on the side of the environment)) that oil from tar sands has only ten percent more global warming footprint than traditional crude. Driving through Fort MacKay, a First Nation community which, unlike many others, has embraced tar sand development, I’m impressed with the new roads and community center and school, all in a village of 450 people. Of course, given the rate of cancers and other mysterious diseases I’ve read about, one wonders who will be around to enjoy it all. Must jobs always come at the cost of environmental devastation? A resounding NO.

Meanwhile, I’m in northern Canada and the weather feels like Florida. Can we realize the problem before it’s too late?

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