oil sands

Producing all this oil that’s producing all this carbon dioxide, that’s not good from a global stand point.

And from an environmental point of view locally, it’s astonishing and overwhelming.

Furthermore consider all the toxins that are being used to move the fluid around and then they put in these enormous ponds, or lakes, or encampments. It’s very much out of nature’s natural state.

I think anybody would say that First Nations have rights that have been abridged or catastrophically curtailed.

Everybody says they feel like the tipping point’s been reached. Everyone we speak with, where enough is enough kind of thing. But then you have people that are in denial of climate change, who justify all of this extraordinary exploitation to the environment. It’s amazing the scale of it, is just very hard to believe and very troubling.
Bill Nye the Science Guy Visited the Alberta Tar Sands and Was Depressed | VICE | Canada
Nye suggested a new government is the answer to Canada's climate change woes.

Everyone’s childhood science hero, Bill Nye The Science Guy, is currently in Alberta working on a climate change documentary. And not surprisingly, when Nye went to the tar sands, he thought it was a “depressive” sight.

“From an environmental point of view locally, it’s astonishing and overwhelming,” he toldAPTN National News.

The Alberta tar sands is one of the largest deposits of crude oil in the world, and has been the focus of plenty of controversy in Canada—especially among First Nation communities—for its damaging environmental effects.

On Monday, Nye visited the community of Fort McKay First Nation, where the land and the community has been severely impacted by decades of tar sands production.

“I think anybody would say that First Nations have rights that have been abridged or catastrophically curtailed,” Nye told APTN. […]

anonymous asked:

I'm really torn on the whole oil sands thing because my father works in the car industry and my whole life has always revolved around cars. I know oil sands are horrible but I'm also worried about my dad's career..

Your father will be fine. Even if we run out of oil, cars will still exist.


Native Women: Leading the Fight Against the Tar Sands 

Faith Spotted Eagle, Ihanktonwan Dakota Signatory to the Treaty to Protect the Sacred. Testified at public hearing in Nebraska against Keystone XL. 

Crystal Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree Grassroots activist, organizing in Alberta against tar sands devastation on her nation’s territory. In 2012, she was a delegate to the UN Rio+20 Summit. 

Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota Organizer with Moccasins on the Ground, which trains Native people an allies in direct action tactics in anticipation of the approval of Keystone XL North 

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabeg One of the founders of the Indigenous Women’s Network, founder of Honor the Earth. Longtime indigenous activist, LaDuke is (at the time of writing) riding across the length of Enbridge’s pipelines in Minnesota to raise awareness.

Casey Camp-Horineck, Ponca Actress and activist, Camp-Horineck provided important support and guidance to Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance in their work stopping construction of KXL south

Tantoo Cardinal, Metis/Cree Born in Ft McMurray, Cardinal was arrested outside the White House at the massive 2011 sit-in against the Keystone XL pipeline. She has continued to organize against Keystone XL. 

**This in no way encompasses all the accomplishments of these women.**


covering an area the size of england, the tar sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world, with an estimated potential of 173 billion barrels. situated in alberta’s northern boreal forest, and holding almost twice as much carbon as all tropical rainforests, the area is also the most carbon rich terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. 

but to obtain a single barrel of crude oil, two tons of peat and soil must be extracted from the forrest to access the tar sand bellow, and three barrels of water are needed to then separate out the tar from the sand and refine the bitumen. (the trucks in the sixth photo are the size of a house.)

the extraction processes uses more water in one day than a city of two million people, with 90 percent of it then stored in contaminated tailings ponds (large enough to be seen from space) which pollute key waterways like the athabasca river (first and last photos) with 11 million litres of toxic runoff every day.

the process also consumes enough natural gas a day to heat six million canadian homes, and daily generates more carbon dioxide emissions than all the cars in canada combined. it also laces the air with dangerous toxins, poison communities with rare cancers and autoimmune diseases, and destroy critical animal habitats. 

photos by peter mettle, todd korolgarth lenz and yann arthus bertrand. for more information, see “tipping point” on the nature of things, and petropolis 


Over the past four years, the Unist'ot'en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation have literally built a strategy to keep three proposed oil and gas pipelines from crossing their land. Concerned about the environmental damage a leak could cause on land they’ve never given up, they’ve constructed a protection camp to block pipeline companies. As opposition to the development of Alberta’s tar sands and to fracking projects grows across Canada, with First Nations communities on the front lines, the Unist'ot'en camp is an example of resistance that everyone is watching. 


- The Average greenhouse gas emissions for oilsands extraction and upgrading are estimated to be 3.2 to 4.5 times as intensive per barrel as for conventional crude oil produced.

- Even on a full life cycle (well-to-wheels) basis, oilsands greenhouse gas emissions intensities are between 8% and 37% higher than conventional crude, due to the greater amount of oilsands production emissions.

- About 7% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions came from oilsands plants and upgraders in 2010

- Oilsands are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

- If the Canadian province of Alberta, the heartland of Conservatism and the oil sands, were a country, its per capita greenhouse gas emissions and destruction of the earth would be higher than any other country in the world.

Oh yes, but of course, we should consult an economist on this issue because who better to comment on environmental issues, cancer rates, and the destruction of people’s livelihood than an economist!

Bill Nye 'the Science Guy' visits tar sands, calls it 'extraordinary exploitation' of environment

American science educator Bill Nye “the Science Guy” is in northern Alberta filming a climate change documentary.

Nye visited the tar sands and after taking an aerial tour of the mining areas told APTN National News it was a “depressive” sight to see.

“Producing all this oil that’s producing all this carbon dioxide, that’s not good from a global stand point,” said Nye.

“And from an environmental point of view locally, it’s astonishing and overwhelming.”

He went on to say that it’s difficult to describe witnessing the scale of industrial activity that is taking place and that he was “amazed” at the size of production happening in the tar sands, and the damage it is causing.

“Furthermore consider all the toxins that are being used to move the fluid around and then they put in these enormous ponds, or lakes, or encampments,” he said. “It’s very much out of nature’s natural state.”

Nye visited the community of Fort McKay First Nation Monday. Fort McKay is encamped by tar sands activity and has suffered the consequences of environmental damages over the many decades since the tar sands were discovered in their traditional territories.

He said after learning of the community’s history and relationship with industry he thinks Fort McKay still has a battle ahead of them.

“I think anybody would say that First Nations have rights that have been abridged or catastrophically curtailed,” said Nye.

However, he added that Indigenous people can have an impact on climate change if their treaties are held up to law.

While in Fort McMurray, Nye noticed the local news headlines regarding the province’s grim financial situation and rising unemployment. The new Alberta NDP government provided its first fiscal update today revealing a deficit of almost $6 billion and growing.

He called it the “boom and bust of oil.”

Nye said hope for the environment may lie in the upcoming Canadian federal election and said “everybody is talking about the very strong possibility” that the Harper government will be voted out.

If that were to happen, new leaders with different views and values regarding the environment would be helpful to address the climate change issue, he said.

“Everybody says they feel like the tipping point’s been reached. Everyone we speak with, where enough is enough kind of thing. But then you have people that are in denial of climate change, who justify all of this extraordinary exploitation to the environment,” he said. “It’s amazing the scale of it, is just very hard to believe and very troubling.”

Nye is one of a growing number of celebrity big names that have visited the Alberta oil sands in recent years others have included actor Leonardo DiCaprio, singer/songwriter Neil Young and South African social rights activist Desmond Tutu.

Nye is working on his freelance film titled Bill Nye’s Global Meltdown. He was joined by National Geographic filming a separate feature.

Daryl Hannah arrested for protesting proposed Canadian oilsands pipeline
Actress Daryl Hannah, famous for her movie roles in Splash and Wall Street, was among dozens of anti-oilsands activists arrested Tuesday at the White House in ongoing “sit in” protests against TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

“Stop the Keystone pipeline,” Hannah shouted as she was being handcuffed by SWAT team officers. “No to the Keystone pipeline.” (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)


To uncover the truth, it’s often best to land “on the ground.” But sometimes obstacles—physical or bureaucratic or even mental—obscure our view. Then, it’s sometimes better to take to the sky and get perspective.

Photographer Alex MacLean has been doing just that—snapping photos from the air—for nearly 40 years. His photos reveal the overlooked scale of American car culture. They peek over the fences of military bases. They connect the dots between digging coal and generating electricity.

Alex will ride the skies above Alberta’s oil sands for a week beginning April 4th. We know the ground beneath Alberta’s boreal forest—saturated with an estimated 150 billion barrels of oil—rivals all other troves of oil apart from those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. We know Alberta’s rich deposits underlie a territory of 54,000 square miles, as large as Iowa. But we can barely comprehend numbers this big.

Alex will help us. He’ll show us waste ponds nearly the size of Manhattan and dump trucks that could swallow a McMansion whole.  

We’ll report from the ground as well. We’ll talk to regulators, mining companies, the miners themselves and many others. Stay tuned.

Images by Alex MacLean with text by Dan Grossman.

Follow Dan and Alex reporting from Alberta @GrossmanMedia.

Alberta’s sands are the world’s third largest oil reserve and one of Earth’s largest industrial projects. The Big Picture: Alberta’s Oil Sands shows the preliminary photos and writing. 

To learn more and help support the work, visit Tar Sands Truth Indiegogo Campaign.

Grossman's TED Book Deep Water is available to download.

Alberta pipeline leak spills 5 million litres
Nexen Energy spill south of Fort McMurray covers about 16,000 square metres

One of the largest leaks in Alberta history has spilled about five million litres of emulsion from a Nexen Energy pipeline at the company’s Long Lake oilsands facility south of Fort McMurray.

The leak was discovered Wednesday afternoon.

Nexen said in a statement its emergency response plan has been activated and personnel were onsite. The leak has been stabilized, the company said.

The spill covered an area of about 16,000 square metres, mostly within the pipeline corridor, the company said. Emulsion is a mixture of bitumen, water and sand.

“All necessary steps and precautions have been taken, and Nexen will continue to utilize all its resources to protect the health and safety of our employees, contractors, the public and the environment, and to contain and clean up the spill,” the company said in the statement issued Thursday.

Nexen said it had informed the Alberta Energy Regulator and will continue to work with them throughout our response.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said it was notified late Wednesday and had representatives on the road to the spill area by Thursday morning.

The pipeline is called a “feeder” and runs from a wellhead to the processing plant.

A Plains Midstream Canada ULC pipeline leaked 4.5 million litres of crude oil near a First Nations community in northwest Alberta in April 2011.

That leak was the largest in the province in 35 years. It contaminated more than three hectares of beaver ponds and muskeg in a densely forested area.

why people in the united states should care about the upcoming canadian election

 america’s election isn’t until november 2016, but tumblr is already blowing up about it. i agree that it’s absolutely important, but no one seems to care that canada’s federal election is this october. tumblr is extremely united states-centric, but canadian politics affect americans too. 

issues not directly related to the united states, but still extremely important:

please feel free to add relevant sourced topics.  

Dear Fellow Canadians,

I feel like it is not brought up enough, especially by our government, that the Native Americans in our country are being treated extremely poorly. 

Firstly, “Indigenous women are going missing and being murdered at a much higher rate than other women in Canada—a rate so high it constitutes nothing less than a national human rights crisis” This is a quote from the Amnesty International site, there have over 1,500 Aboriginal women missing in Canada, the number is estimated because a lot of cases have gone undocumented, so this number could be higher, these women are going missing purely because of their race.

This site can keep you updated on this subject 

Secondly, there is a economic crisis in Iqaluit, the people who inhabit this area are dealing with starvation due to the food cost crisis. They have to pay nearly 11 dollars for a bag of milk and 27 dollars for a jug of orange juice. 

Multiple news networks have covered this but I have yet to see our government speak out.

Thirdly, The oil sands in Alberta have been causing a 30% growth in cancer in aboriginal people, due to the pollution to their fish.

Again, I haven’t seen Stephan Harper talk about the cancer rate increase 

The Native Americans in our country face a great deal of racism, we as a country need to start treating the original founders of Canada with respect. WE stole THEIR land and now we make it unsafe for them to live on it. 

Alberta Health Board Fires Doctor Who Raised Cancer Alarms
'I am stunned,' says Dr. John O'Connor, a veteran presence in First Nations community.

An Alberta health board has fired Dr. John O'Connor, the physician who came to national prominence after raising questions about rare cancers in the tarsands region.

The Nunee Health Board Society send O'Connor a letter last Friday saying it no longer required his professional services.

The letter gives no reason why. “I am stunned. It is indescribable. This severing of links, with no reason,” O'Connor told the Tyee.

Since 2000, O'Connor has served as the on-call physician for the remote community of Fort Chipewyan, as well as physician back-up for the community’s nursing station.

Continue Reading.

Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true. The most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.
—  President Obama, in an interview with The New York Times • Dismissing the argument, by proponents of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline project, that the construction of such would generate a meaningful number of American jobs. This is just one of the arguments against the pipeline that Obama seemed to voice sympathy for in his comments with the paper — he also argued the pipeline would not impact American gasoline prices, as oil shipped to the gulf coast would largely be exported to foreign markets. source

Violet Clarke is a First Nations woman who lives on a reservation (known as a reserve in Canada) in the town of Anzac, about a half-hour drive from the mining boom town Fort McMurray.

Though 86 years old, she recalls her childhood in this region vividly. Sitting in the eat-in kitchen of a mobile home that, from the outside, looks ramshackle, she recounted hunting for moose and collecting blueberries in birch bark baskets. They fished in Willow Lake. Her father made only two visits a year to the nearest town, Fort McMurray, where he bartered for supplies like cloth and baking soda.

By some measures, life is better now. She has a cell phone, running water, electricity and a heated home. But she says she was better off then. She says today the moose are gone, scared away by nearby tar sands (also called called oil sands) prospecting, extraction, processing and transport. She says the berries are not safe to eat. Mercury contamination has made Willow lake’s fish inedible. Even her water has to be trucked in now.

Listen to an unedited audio interview with Violet. 

Video and text by Dan Grossman. Alberta, 2014.

Alberta’s sands are the world’s third largest oil reserve and one of Earth’s largest industrial projects. The Big Picture: Alberta’s Oil Sands shows the preliminary photos and writing.

To learn more and help support the work, visit Tar Sands Truth Indiegogo Campaign.