Would you allow this to happen to the land you love, just so a few oil CEOs and their political puppets could laugh all the way to the bank? Would a true patriot commit such an atrocious crime against his own country? Has anyone cast a passing thought for the animals who used to call this place home?
Anthony Marr flew over the vast Alberta tar sands mining area surrounding Fort McMurray in a Cessna 172 for 3 hours to see the environmental devastation for himself and share what he saw with the rest of the world.
At one point, they were forced by a thunderstorm to land at the private airfield of the Albion Mine, with a 30 mph cross-wind, which the pilot confessed to be a hair-raising experience, but only after they had seated themselves in the state-of-the-art and very private Albion air terminal. There, they were astonished to see a jetliner land and take off with incoming and outgoing loads of workers. This alone attests to the immense wealth at the oil companies' command and disposal.
Strap yourself in and experience the mind-blowingest flight of your life, 49 eye-opening minutes condensed from about 3 hours of actual mine-hopping flying time. This is not something you can experience in a commercial flight. There is no commercial flight overflying the tar sands mines. No tar sands mine wants its dirty laundry aired out in public, live. So please, be our personal guest.
The general impression is one of vast expanse of poisoned landscape and, wanton and reckless destruction, with zero regard nor respect for anything sacred and priceless - forests, animals, aboriginals, global heating, economic collapse, ecological destruction, mass extinction... - except the almighty $$$.
Canada is a bullish bull in the china shop of her own very delicate environmental integrity, whose "Environment Ministry" is a sham whose function is to justify the Crime against Nature, against Humanity, and against Canada, rather than fight it as by definition it bloody well should.
It is to be noted that only 20% of tar sands extraction is by open-pit-mining, meaning that visible from the air is only 20% of the damage.
Other than the obvious, such as the wholesale "removal" of "overburden" (boreal forests) by the thousands of square kilometers, of special note are the "tailing ponds" dotting the landscape by the hundreds, which are essentially man-made toxic-waste storage LAKES, some so enormous to be visible to the naked eye from space, and one boasting of the third largest dam in the world. None of them is lined, so all of them leak, either down to the aquifer and/or directly into the over-used Athabasca River which drains into Lake Athabasca stridling the Alberta/Saskatchewan border farther north.
These tailing ponds happen to underlie the paths of migratory birds. Their contents are so oily and toxic that no water fowl landing into one can be expected to take off again - consider them having enjoyed their final flight.
The entire Athabascan watershed downstream from the mines has been poisoned - not just for now, but for centuries to come. The poisoned Lake Athabaska produces deformed fish upon which the local Chipewyan people feed, or used to feed, resulting in sky-high cancer rates. Who knows what evils would befall the animals drinking from Lake Athabasca, much less the toxic-cocktail directly from the tailings ponds?
Do the oil companies and the oiled governments care? Sure, one company claims to have "reclaimed" 22% of the land devastated by its gigantic Earth-raping machinery, but critics contend that it is in fact only 0.2%. Of course they have their little PR show-pieces. By the way, though they penalized the doctor who blew the whistle on the cancer epidemic, they did magnanimously provided the Chipewyan people with a cancer ward.
To learn more about these tailing "ponds", just google "tar sands tailings ponds".
If you haven't yet read the blog on this Vancouver-to-tar-sands trip, or viewed the preceding video episodes (#1 through #13), please also check them out: http://homosapienssaveyourearth.blogspot.ca/2012/03/aliens-eye-view-of-hellhole-on-earth.html
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)