A critical exposé of the open-pit mines that have made Canada
one of the worst environmental offenders on earth.
While the world goes green, Canada has elected to go black into
the tar. The frenzied development ($100 billion and counting) of
the tar sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, in the last six years has
made Canada the world's fifth greatest global exporter of oil and
turned the country into "an emerging energy superpower."
Combining extensive scientific research and compelling
Andrew Nikiforuk takes the reader to Fort McMurray, home to some
of the world's largest open-pit mines, and explores this
twenty-first-century pioneer town from the exorbitant cost of
housing to its more serious social ills. He uncovers a global
Deadwood, complete with rapturous engineers, cut-throat cocaine
dealers, aimless bush workers, American evangelicals, and the
largest population of homeless people in northern Canada. He also
explains that this micro-economy supplies gasoline for 50 percent
of Canadian vehicles and 16 percent of U.S. demand. Readers will
learn that tar 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
- contribute to climate change.
The book does provide hope, however, and ends with an
exploration of possible solutions to the problem.