When you visit the Alberta tar sands you won't find a relaxing natural environment. Instead, you'll be in the midst of one of the biggest environmental disasters threatening the world today. It's an ongoing disaster, actively promoted by the energy sector and elected leaders who put short-sighted economics ahead of the interests of people and the planet.
Tar sands operations consume vast amounts of natural resources to extract and process over a million barrels of oil per day. In all, over 140,000 sq km is on the chopping block — an area larger than the state of Florida. The tar sands are the dirtiest, most energy intensive source of oil on the planet.
In exchange for oil, Alberta is left with a threatened ecosystem of massive proportions and no signs of improvement. Run-away development severely strains the social infrastructure. Reports document cancer-related deaths downstream of the tar sands operations in communities like Fort Chipewyan.
Pollution of air and water, depletion of resources, destruction of pristine boreal forests, displaced wildlife, health and social effects on local communities and the very real impact on climate change — this is the legacy of the tar sands.
But it's not too late. If enough people speak up against the expansion and destruction, we can stop the tar sands.