Smell the sulphur, taste the toxins

Posted by bex — 9 July 2008 at 12:00am - Comments

Canada's Tar Sands project has been suffering from a bit of a PR problem, what with it being one of the most ludicrous and environmentally catastrophic schemes ever to have occurred to humankind and all.

(If you haven't heard of it yet, the plan is to extract crude oil from bituminous sand and clay in Northern Alberta. To produce one barrel of oil, up to four tonnes of rock and soil - plus the pristine boreal forest on top of it - need to be removed and four barrels of surface and ground water need to be used. The process is so energy intensive that tar sands produce up to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil.)

But instead of sitting back and asking, "Do we really need to dig up an area bigger than Florida including pristine boreal forest, create lakes so toxic that they recently killed a flock of 500 ducks, pollute the air with nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates, and threaten entire ecosystems to exploit the dirtiest, most energy intensive source of oil on the planet that will only contribute further to climate change?", Canada's premier and The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) have instead decided to spend $25 million (Canadian) of tax payers' money on persuading the world that the Tar Sands project is a good idea. Something like this.

So our colleagues over at Greenpeace Canada have decided to help them in their rebranding efforts. Enter - a new website inviting people to come and visit the toxic lakes and clearcut forests of Northern Alberta:

Holiday activities include surfing the 92 billion gallons of fresh water that are diverted from Alberta's rivers each year to service tar sands, sailing on the leftover and highly toxic water left in the man made lakes, fun on the black sandy 'beach' (formerly thick forest where caribou roamed) and animal sightings - before they're all gone.

While the tone of the website is tongue in cheek, its aim of course is deadly serious: to put a stop to Tar Sands. It might be happening on Canadian soil but climate change affects us all, so feel free to write to the Alberta and Canadian governments and let them know what you think.

Follow Greenpeace UK