Photo Essay on Canada's Filthy Tar Sands - This Is Why Keystone XL Must Be Stopped

Tue, 2011-08-23 06:45Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Photo Essay on Canada's Filthy Tar Sands - This Is Why Keystone XL Must Be Stopped

Robert van Waarden, an excellent photographer and friend of DeSmogBlog, has compiled this great visual essay on Canada’s filthy tar sands to show people just a few of the reasons why the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline must be rejected by the Obama administration. 

Robert’s photos are accompanied by quotes from First Nations’ people whom he interviewed on a recent trip to the Alberta tar sands. First Nations communities living near the industrial tar sands development suffer the worst of the impacts, a fact often overlooked by the mainstream media. 


View the tar sands photo essay below:

Thanks again to Robert for putting this photo essay together for DeSmogBlog. Based in Amsterdam, Robert van Waarden is a climate change photographer and travel photographer whose work has been published in National Geographic Traveler, Canadian Geographic and elsewhere internationally.

Also check out Robert’s previous visual essay on the impacts of tar sands development on indigenous culture in Canada.

Comments

More photos of the tar sands form a different perspective by a very talented photographer, Louis Helbig. Check it out! http://www.beautifuldestruction.ca/

WRT

http://www.beautifuldestruction.ca/

have a look via Google Earth. Co-ordinates on images.

In Google Earth click on Tools and select ‘Enter Flight Simulator…’. I suggest ‘flying’ with the SR-22. You can then pootle around above it all. Not in great detail, some mapping shots done during winter at a guess.

Yuk!

Mordor comes to Alberta.

Its a big mining operation is a mostly uninhabited wilderness. Completely apart from mining, young people in the North are turning to alcohol and glue and government assistance. There is no great culture up there to be saved. It is the modern story of the North where there is bitumen and where there is no bitumen. Lets not pretend there is a grand society up there.

The people starving in Africa today is something to be horrified about. A mining operation in the far north? not so much.

Destroying one of the most important ecosystems on earth, the Boreal Forest of Canada, which is also one of the major carbon sinks of the planet is of no importance to those who embrace willful ignorance.
e.g. - billions of birds from America spend at least part of the year there
The Boreal Forest is already under threat from mining, logging etc.
National Geographic has a extensive article on the Boreal Forest and the problems it’s facing.
American consumers are aiding in the destruction of this forest, when they buy disposable diapers, tissue, paper towels etc. (boycott Brawny)
We should be making paper from hemp, better paper and much more sustainable.

The Athabascan river watershed is one of the most important watersheds in North America, and is also threatened by the tar sands.

But for the ignorant, the ecosystems that our survival is 100 percent dependent on, are of no consequence.

‘Its a big mining operation is [sic] a mostly uninhabited wilderness.’

Uninhabited by man does not mean unimportant to man. Inhabited by many species without which the world and humans would be much the poorer.

‘…young people in the North are turning to alcohol and glue and government assistance.’

Hum! I recommend a mind broadening read of:

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings by Jonathan Raban

to help fill in the gaps in your knowledge about the decline of indigenous peoples.

repeated here:

‘Hum! I recommend a mind broadening read of:

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings by Jonathan Raban

to help fill in the gaps in your knowledge about the decline of indigenous peoples.’

I urge you to follow the link in ‘Also check out Robert’s previous visual essay on the impacts of tar sands development on indigenous culture in Canada’ at the foot of the article, which takes you to ‘Alberta Tar Sands Have Irreversible Impact on Indigenous Culture’

http://www.desmogblog.com/alberta-tar-sands-have-irreversible-impact-indigenous-culture

where the people themselves tell you why they are in despair - Cultural Genocide and another crime against humanity allowed by the sociopaths that head up what you call government.

“Its a big mining operation is a mostly uninhabited wilderness. ”

Rick it always amazes me the way you guys think.

Its not the whole picture but there are elements of truth in what I said. The same can be said for the blog entry above.

Here is an inconvenient truth for you.

Every group that has taken the time to visit the oil sands has come away surprised at how well the operation is run and how well the areas are being reclaimed.

They are always shocked that the BS presented here and by the idiots at green peace is so completely wrong.

These ecofaciests simply count on the ignorance of the masses.

The oil sands operation is a tiny portion of the Alberta land mass and in 50 years it will look pretty much like it did a hundred years ago.
Well except that there won’t be a big messy oil spill there.

‘Every group that has taken the time to visit the oil sands has come away surprised at how well the operation is run and how well the areas are being reclaimed.’

And your sources for that snippet are….?

I guess anybody being carefully steered around specific areas after a well oiling buffet lunch and avoiding the nasty bits will look at things through rose tinted.

‘The oil sands operation is a tiny portion of the Alberta land mass and in 50 years it will look pretty much like it did a hundred years ago.’

And how long will the polluted waterways downstream and the ground (soils are delicate and complex ecosystems all of their own) take to recover? And will any species lost manage to return a hundred years or whatever down the line.

You are clearly clueless about the processes of ecology.

Are you aware that some areas of mining in Cornwall, England are still a total wasteland centuries after the last such activity in these regions?

Besides, it is not just Alberta that will suffer, the energy required to extract and ship the resultant toxic brew, and that is not counting the nasty by-products, will add a huge GHG load to the atmosphere the effects of which will be felt across the world. Ever heard of the Law of Diminishing Returns? Perhaps Texas and Oklahoma should start thanking you now before they are completely fried.

“And your sources for that snippet are….?”

The journal of hearsay & opinion.

“First Nations communities living near the industrial tar sands development suffer the worst of the impacts, a fact often overlooked by the mainstream media.”

Yeah, like “employment” – which, to a left-winger, is the worst possible thing to inflict on the underclasses they are cultivating.

The oil and gas industry is the single largest and best-paying employer of natives in Canada. Lefties can’t stand that.

is to be pitied but not placed on a pedestal unless to be placed in stocks and pelted with the remains of dying vegetation.

He has no useful comments to make, that is clear. I do believe he works from a script, a much impoverished one at that. We see the same ol’, same ol’ time and time again.

As for the tar sands get a load of this:

222 Arrested at White House Sit-ins Against Tar Sands Pipeline

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2011/2011-08-22-02.html

and note:

<–quote–>

Deposits of thick, tarry bitumin underlie about 140,000 square kilometers of northeastern Alberta, an area about the size of the state of Florida.

Producing synthetic crude from tar sands requires natural gas to heat water for steam to separate the oil from the sand. Tar sands operations currently use about .6 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. By 2012, that level is expected to rise to two billion cubic feet a day, more than all the gas available from the Mackenzie Gas Project to the north.

The process water is discharged into growing toxic tailings ponds already the size of the city of Vancouver.
Suncor’s Millenium Oil Sands Mine east of the Athabasca River in Alberta, Canada (Photo by David Dodge courtesy The Pembina Institute)

The whole process generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per finished barrel of oil as the production of conventional crude oil.

As extraction proceeds, about 500 square kilometers of the forest that once covered the tar sands would be destroyed by the mines, roads, pipelines and supporting facilities.

<–endquote–>

How much are your comments worth now RJ or yours PlantFood?

And that isn’t even half of the problem.

Just consider a push for a pipeline to the west coast. Ever heard of the ‘Juan de Fuca plate’ and what that is doing and promises?

“Deposits of thick, tarry bitumin underlie about 140,000 square kilometers of northeastern Alberta, an area about the size of the state of Florida.”

It is Gaia’s equivalent of 675,000 Exxon Valdez oil spills, and we’re trying to Mother Nature’s mistake, and return the “boreal forest” to its “pristine” condition.

THAT’s what you’re whining about.

I have to wonder if these greenie nutbars ever actually read anything but their own silly propaganda.

My statements above were taken from news paper headlines in the last six months.
I would have thought anyone of any intellegence and able to read would have …. Oh wait…
I just answered my own question.

never mind.

“My statements above were taken from news paper headlines in the last six months.”

Then logically, you would post a link/reference/citation indicating to readers that you sourced the information from elsewhere & that it wasn’t just your own opinion…….hello!? I would have thought anyone with intelligence would have thought to do that….oh wait.

‘My statements above were taken from news paper headlines in the last six months.’

So, you form your opinion from headlines in newspapers (more correctly thought of as places for the opinionated to air their nonsense and distortions). That explains your shallow and narrow POV.

‘I would have thought anyone of any intellegence and able to read would have ….’

I would have thought anyone of any intellegence and able to read would have read beyond the headlines and used sources other than newspapers to check the authenticity of any ideas expressed.

But wait …!

We all know where that can lead, to cognitive dissonance.

Well….

Nobody is likely to care in a week or two.

The CERN Cloud experiment results are now published.

It was is and always will be the SUN STUPID….

Now confirmed… CO2 is a very minor bit player.

‘The CERN Cloud experiment results are now published.

It was is and always will be the SUN STUPID….’

I, and another, have answered this here:

http://www.desmogblog.com/giant-xstrata-coal-mine-challenged-over-climate-change-impacts

So quit with your worthless SPAM

“Nobody cares anymore so its just annoying now”

Well you care. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Own goal PF..own goal.

Well, where, Sunshine, would you prefer your oil to come from?

How about Sudan?
http://www.darfurscores.org/darfur

Or Saudi Arabia?

http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2011/saudi-arabia

Maybe Iran?

http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/archive/2005july/2101.htm

Or possibly Venezuela?

http://www.hrw.org/americas/venezuela

But, hey. Anything as long as fat, rich American middle class liberals can feel good about themselves.

Hey, it’s CWM denier Huges again, back for a troll.

[x]
convergence 2014 by zack embree

The Government of Canada approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline Tuesday, six months after the Joint Review Panel recommended the pipeline be built subject to 209 conditions.

Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in a...

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