Environmental justice is a good benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness of a democracy. In Canada, dramatic changes to navigation, environmental assessment, fisheries and energy legislation are emerging as national and provincial issues. Some people are now asking if these changes point towards a period of transformation in Canada’s democratic processes. Andrew Nikiforuk's book on Canada's role in promoting the tar sands and ignoring threats to our water makes a compelling case that in the process of losing our environmental rights, we are losing our democratic rights as well.
Tar Sands is a critical examination of the Alberta oil sands project and the environmental costs required to drive our need for oil. Through his compelling writing style and analysis of the scientific facts, Andrew Nikiforuk exposes the truth behind the world’s largest energy project underway in Fort McMurray.
Andrew reveals startling facts about the oil sands projects that have not been common knowledge to most Canadians. Sacrificing environmental protections for short term profit, the Alberta oil sands:
- burn more carbon than conventional oil;
- destroy forests and displace woodland caribou;
- poison the water supply and communities downstream;
- drain the Athabasca, the river that feeds Canada’s largest watershed; and
- contribute to climate change.
For over 20 years, Andrew Nikiforuk has written on energy and economic issues for Canadian publications including Maclean’s, Canadian Business and The Walrus. Andrew’s work on the public and private abuse of national resources has garnered him seven National Magazine Awards.
Canada’s misuse of our water and the passing off of our rights to corporate interests has been the theme behind many of Andrew’s publications, including The Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwigs War Against Big Oil (2002), Political Diversions: Annex 2001 and the Future of the Great Lakes (2004), and On the Table: Water Energy and North American Integration (2007).
“We always seem to betray water,” explains Nikiforuk. “We’re always looking for ways to cut costs and abuse it. [Water] is always the neglected spouse in any economic marriage”.
Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent is co-published by Douglas & McIntyre Publishers and The David Suzuki Foundation.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper welcomes Andrew Nikiforuk as our guest on this week’s episode of Living at the Barricades. Andrew joins us to talk about the massive water, capital, and energy costs of the Alberta oil sands and his involvement with Great Lakes issues.
Listen to Living at the Barricades.
Oil and Water (Mar. 17, 2009)
This week on the show, we'll speak with author Andrew Nikiforuk on the Alberta Tar Sands, the driving forces behind energy production, and the roll-backs to environmental protections in Canada.
Music on this week's show:
The Kid's Don't Get it - The Tragically Hip
Hurtin' Albertan - Corb Lund Band
Do I Miss My Friends - Cadence Weapon
Water - Screamin' Jimmies
Carry Me - The Stampeders