Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

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Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

by Andrew Nikiforuk

Greystone Books | September 29, 2008 | Trade Paperback |

3.6667 out of 5 rating. 6 Reviews
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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 writing,

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 watershed, and
  • contribute to climate change.

The book does provide hope, however, and ends with an exploration of possible solutions to the problem.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 208 Pages, 5.12 × 8.27 × 0.39 in

Published: September 29, 2008

Publisher: Greystone Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553654072

ISBN - 13: 9781553654070

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Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

by Andrew Nikiforuk

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 208 Pages, 5.12 × 8.27 × 0.39 in

Published: September 29, 2008

Publisher: Greystone Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553654072

ISBN - 13: 9781553654070

About the Book

In this hard-hitting book, journalist Nikiforuk exposes the disastrous environmental, social, and political costs of the Canadian tar sands and argues forcefully for change. b&w photos.

From the Publisher

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 writing,

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 watershed, and
  • contribute to climate change.

The book does provide hope, however, and ends with an exploration of possible solutions to the problem.

About the Author

Andrew Nikiforuk is a well-known Canadian journalist whose work has appeared in Saturday Night, Maclean's, Canadian Business, Report on Business, Chatelaine, Equinox, and Canadian Family and in both national newspapers. His books include Pandemonium, Saboteurs, which won a Governor-General's Award, and Fourth Horseman. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Editorial Reviews

"The environmental problems addressed in [Tar Sands] raise the broader issue of redefining man's relationship to Earth, and underscore the connectedness of life whether tortoise, Texan, or tree."" ForeWord Magazine ""Environmentally-minded readers will find a lot to like here, and Canadian and American citizens would do well to keep themselves informed of this problem with continent-wide implications.” ForeWord Magazine “[Nikiforuk] argues convincingly in Tar Sands that neither Alberta nor Canada has come to terms with the true extent of the environmental devastation.” Alternatives Journal “Tar Sands exposes the disastrous environmental, social and political costs of the Alberta oil sands and argues forcefully for a change.” Prairie Books NOW “The Calgary author contends that Canada is starting to resemble the petro-states of South America and the Middle East -- rich in oil but short on democracy and freedom of speech--and that Alberta's tar-sands development is mismanaged, environmentally toxic, bad for Canada's autonomy and short on long-term benefits for Albertans. Nikiforuk has a point, and he has guts. He also explains the tar sands in a straightforward way, something government and industry have been slow to do, apparently with reason.” National Post “Although I am not so naive as to suggest that these companies halt their operations, the comment that ""environmental concerns are paramount"" is simply unbelievable. After considering those comments about restoration, I w
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