The book that put the tar sands -- and their devastating
environmental impact -- on the map, for better or worse.
Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands is a
critical expose of the world's largest energy project -- the
Alberta oil sands -- that has made Canada one of the worst
environmental offenders on earth. With all eyes on the potential
development of the Enbridge Pipeline that would run bitumen from
the tar sands through to Kitimat, BC, and then via tankers along a
pristine marine route, this book is more salient than ever.
Tar Sands exposes the disastrous
environmental, social, and political costs of the tar sands and
argues forcefully for change. Combining extensive scientific
research and compelling writing, 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.
The book does provide hope, however, and ends with an
exploration of possible solutions to the problem. And this update
edition Nikiforuk adds a new afterword, a new appendix on the
hidden costs of steam extraction, and a response to the criticism
he received for the first edition.
Nikiforuk's follow-up to Tar Sands,
The Energy of Slaves, discusses our
current addiction to oil and calls for a new emancipation from our
dependence on this neo-slavery.