Petropolis and Greenpeace in the Tar Sands

Greenpeace has finished their blockade demonstration at Shell’s Muskeg River oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray in the Tar Sands (Oil Sands) of Alberta, but not without raising international concern for the activities undertaken far out of the eye of the general public.

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Tar Sands

Several years ago, I wrote a couple of pieces on the Athabasca Oil Sands, and I still get hits from people searching Google looking for images of this industrial monstrosity in Northern Alberta. Since then, media attention of the area has focused on mainly the wealth and growth of industry, property values and the seemly unstoppable flow of oil. Occasionally though, the dark side of the boom is portrayed, but typically not often enough for the average person to think twice about filling up their truck, or even to consider where the magical fuel is coming from.

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Canada’s Dirty not-so-little Secret

Much of the world views Western Canada as a picturesque wilderness with magnificent cities nestled in harmony with nature. Unfortunately the reality is sprawling suburbs, crumbling infrastructure, decimated forests and tucked away up in northern Alberta is the geological formation known as the Athabasca Oil Sands, and the industry that has developed around this massive, but difficult to extract, reserve of oil.

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