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Ten Years After 9/11 – Canada’s True Cost of Oil

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Christiana Hanaman
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« on: August 20, 2011, 09:25:14 pm »



In an effort to deal with the problem of tailings ponds, Suncor is experimenting with dry tailings technology. This has the potential to limit, or eliminate, the need for vast tailings ponds in the future and lessen this aspect of the Tar Sand's impact.

In terms of global warming, the impacts of the Tar Sands are multiple. The vast forests and wetlands of the boreal forest which they lie under, are considered the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet’s greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space. So, as the expansion of the tar sands consumes more boreal forest and wetlands, it is releasing to the atmosphere all the carbon stored in this ecosystem. At the same time, we also lose the long term future carbon sequestration of these forests and wetlands. In turn, they are replaced by an industrial operation which produces almost twice as much carbon as conventional oil production.

However the global reach of the tar sands is even greater than that. Pipelines to the American Midwest and Texas pump this bitumen for refining there. In the process, these areas are will also be importing many of the toxic impacts of the Tar Sands to their jurisdiction. The building of the proposed Alberta Clipper and Keystone pipelines, will only increase this trend and the impacts.

Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, and originally trained as a classical pianist, Garth Lenz left his music career in 1992 to dedicate his photography towards conservation. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He has photographed environmental, wilderness, and indigenous peoples issues throughout Canada, the U.S., Chile, Ecuador, Borneo, and China.

Garth recently was awarded the First place award for the Social Documentary.net photo compet


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