Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alberta Tar Sands

The Alberta Tar Sands. Have you heard of it? A massive area about the size of Florida, containing more oil than Saudi Arabia, and the largest environmental disaster in progress...In the production of oil, water is used to separate the bitumen from the Tar Sand and for every barrel of oil produced, five barrels of water are used. That water comes from the Athabasca River. The waste water left over from the separation process is too contaminated to return to the Athabasca, in fact, giant tailing "ponds" (which should more appropriately be called "lakes") are created to hold this contaminated water. These tailing "lakes" are filled with toxins such as benzene, naphthenic acid, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, paraffin, naphtha, bitumen, other heavy metals and chemicals. In April of 2008, 500 migrating ducks were found dead in a tailing pond. These tailing lakes are lethal! And in some spots there is only a few meters separating the edge of the tailing lakes from the Athabasca river.

As this environmental time-bomb silently explodes, I would like to point out that there is a group of people who are in the center of these mining operations that are suffering great consequences. These people are the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Fort Chipewyan.

In this community, the rates of cancer have risen to numbers that have given rise to great alarm. The suspected source: the Tar Sands, or rather, the irresponsible mining process of the Tar Sands. The connection between water contamination and the health of these people is no mistake.

Mutant fish - fiction:

Above picture by Matt Groening from the Simpsons

or fact:

The Alberta Tar Sands are a great concern to not only the people of Alberta, but the world. The impact of this mining project has great stakes: financially, environmentally, and health-wise. The money to be made by mining and processing the Tar Sands is phenomenal for many interest groups and there are many power houses that want a piece of the pie, including China. But at what cost? Where is the responsibility to the public? to the Mikisew? to the environment? When all is said and done, the promise to restore the land is broken...they have no viable solution to reclaim the land at this point (only bandage answers); the cancers and illness that take the quality of life from the Mikisew and any others in this path of destruction cannot be reversed, and the environmental impact? Where do you start? CO2 emissions, acid rain, deforestation, contaminated water, mutated animals, not to mention the effects that have yet to be manifested in the world because of the lack of responsible planning and greed.

What I have presented is just the tip of the iceberg. This call to awareness and action is not just the latest trendy environmental issue, the development of the Tar Sands is a burden for the entire world. Please go to the different links for more information and PLEASE MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD - SIGN THE PETITIONS BELOW TO SHOW SOLIDARITY AGAINST THE CONTINUED DEVASTATION OF THE TAR SANDS!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the Simpsons emulates real life. Can you say D'oh. Sure you can.