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.