Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

by Andrew Nikiforuk

Greystone Books Ltd. | March 15, 2010 | Trade Paperback

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.

Winner of the prestigious Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.

"Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands... is, in essence, a revolting, blush-making case for Canada to develop integrated energy and environmental regulation suitable for the post-carbon age."-Globe & Mail

Newly updated, Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands is a critical exposé of the world's largest energy project-the Alberta oil sands-that has made Canada one of the worst environmental offenders on earth.

The United States imports the majority of its oil, not from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, but from its neighbour to the north. Canada has one third of the world's oil source; it comes from the bitumen in the Athabasca oil sands of Alberta. Advancements in technology and frenzied development have created the world's largest energy project in Fort McMurray. Much of this dirty oil is being processed in refineries in the Midwest where the proposed Keystone pipeline would run. This out-of-control megaproject is polluting the air, poisoning the water, and destroying boreal forest at a rate almost too rapid to be imagined.

In Tar Sands, journalist Andrew Nikiforuk exposes the disastrous social, political, and environmental impact 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 high cost of housing to its more serious social ills, 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 oil sands:

  • burn more carbon than conventional oil
  • destroy forests and displace woodland caribou
  • spill and poison the water supply and communities downstream
  • drain the Athabasca, the river that feeds Canada's largest watershed
  • contribute to climate change

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

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 280 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.88 in

Published: March 15, 2010

Publisher: Greystone Books Ltd.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553655559

ISBN - 13: 9781553655558

Found in: Science and Nature

save 21%

  • In stock online
$20.00 list price

$15.76 ea online

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Check store inventory (prices may vary)

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from This is good info for those thinking about taking advantage of the boom.
Date published: 2014-04-11

– More About This Product –

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: 280 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.88 in

Published: March 15, 2010

Publisher: Greystone Books Ltd.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553655559

ISBN - 13: 9781553655558

About the Book

Co-published by the David Suzuki Foundation.

From the Publisher

Winner of the prestigious Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.

"Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands... is, in essence, a revolting, blush-making case for Canada to develop integrated energy and environmental regulation suitable for the post-carbon age."-Globe & Mail

Newly updated, Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands is a critical exposé of the world's largest energy project-the Alberta oil sands-that has made Canada one of the worst environmental offenders on earth.

The United States imports the majority of its oil, not from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, but from its neighbour to the north. Canada has one third of the world's oil source; it comes from the bitumen in the Athabasca oil sands of Alberta. Advancements in technology and frenzied development have created the world's largest energy project in Fort McMurray. Much of this dirty oil is being processed in refineries in the Midwest where the proposed Keystone pipeline would run. This out-of-control megaproject is polluting the air, poisoning the water, and destroying boreal forest at a rate almost too rapid to be imagined.

In Tar Sands, journalist Andrew Nikiforuk exposes the disastrous social, political, and environmental impact 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 high cost of housing to its more serious social ills, 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 oil sands:

  • burn more carbon than conventional oil
  • destroy forests and displace woodland caribou
  • spill and poison the water supply and communities downstream
  • drain the Athabasca, the river that feeds Canada's largest watershed
  • contribute to climate change

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

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

About the Author

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning Canadian journalist. His books include Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War against Big Oil, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. 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 would recom
read more read less