Canada’s Wilderness and Earth’s Atmosphere Victim to Oil Sands
Development of oil sands in northern Alberta is just beginning to ramp up with predictable dire consequences for Canada's forest landscapes and the Earth's atmosphere. Oil sands are one of several possible unconventional oil and gas sources (others include tar sands, shale oil, coal bed methane and coal gasification) that are abundant and highly polluting. The growing oil sands industry will destroy massive areas of Canada's boreal forest, require huge volumes of water, and result in increased emissions that cause acid rain. And if as conventional oil and natural gas fade we turn increasingly to oil sands and further use of coal, there is no way that climate change can ever be addressed. The atmosphere can not absorb all the carbon dioxide and pollutants found in these fuels and the further expansion of oil sands and coal really is the death knell for a functional and stable atmospheric system. As more traditional sources of oil and natural gas grow scarce, it is unconscionable that the fossil fuel industries are turning towards coal and oil sands rather than renewable energy. The biggest and cheapest source of energy is conservation and greater efficiency. Humanity can and must choose to not develop these highly polluting energy sources.