Monday, 16 May 2016

The tar sands' toxic legacy

To understand what is Fort McMurray and the role Alberta and the tar sands plays in the climate crisis this VICE documetary,made in 2011, is a good place to start.

It makes clear the intimate relationship between Peak Oil, the Infinite Growth paradigm and the destruction of the planet.

Toxic Alberta - VICE
Once pristine wilderness, Alberta is now a world of poisoned water, polluted air, and rare cancer. VICE travels to the oil sands of Canada to investigate the impact of digging for this previously unobtainable oil.

Part one

Part two

Part three

And Sarnia, Ontario

Canada's Toxic Chemical Valley

The first thing you notice about Sarnia, Ontario, is the smell: a potent mix of gasoline, melting asphalt, and the occasional trace of rotten egg. Shortly after my arrival I already felt unpleasantly high and dizzy, like I wasn't getting enough air. Maybe this had something to do with the bouquet of smokestacks in the southern part of town that, all day every day, belch fumes and orange flares like something out of a Blade Runner-esque dystopia.

Sarnia is home to more than 60 refineries and chemical plants that produce gasoline, synthetic rubbers, and other materials that the world's industries require to create the commercial products we know and love. The city's most prominent and profitable attraction is an area about the size of 100 city blocks known as the Chemical Valley, where 40 percent of Canada's chemical industry can be found packed together like a noxious megalopolis. According to a 2011 report by the World Health Organization, Sarnia's air is the most polluted air in Canada. There are more toxic air pollutants billowing out of smokestacks here than in all of the provinces of New Brunswick or Manitoba

Listen to Paul Beckwith on the tar sands

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