To the Last Drop
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To the Last Drop

2011, Environment  -   54 Comments
Ratings: 8.26/10 from 80 users.

Canadian wilderness sits atop what many think is the biggest deposit of oil on the planet. A sea of sand soaked with bitumen - the Tar Sands. The Tar Sands now supply more oil to the United States than any other foreign source. A century of secure energy. Since 9/11, Canada has become the most important supplier of foreign oil to America. It's a market Canada can't afford to lose. Even in the heart of the recession, the oil sands were sending in the order of $20 billion a year into the Canadian economy.

At that level, you will have employment in Canada dependent on oil sands of about 450,000 people. The oil sands are a key to the Canadian economy. Canadian authorities think that there is no greater partnership than the one they have between Alberta and the United States. The base of oil sands expansion is positioning Alberta to become one of the world's top oil producers. They've barely scratched the surface of the oil sands development. With dirty oil under fire, Premier Ed Stelmach shifted into gear and flied to Washington, launching a $25 million PR campaign with a speech in the U.S. Congress. Washington insider, Paul Michael Wihbey, cleared the path to the American decision makers.

The largest proven reserves in the world are in Alberta; eight times the reserve number that exists in Saudi Arabia. As OPEC declines, Alberta, Western Canada rises. There's an ascendency in western Canada that's extraordinary and American politicians are beginning to recognize that. Americans are either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dependent on dirty oil from Canada. Of course the U.S. is equally complicit in the whole thing. They're the junkies that are buying the drugs that Canada is peddling.

The Tar Sands are impossible to ignore. Pressure is mounting to build a huge new pipeline from Alberta to refineries in Texas. It will cement the hold of Canada's dirty oil on the U.S. market for a generation. The Alberta Tar Sands lie under Boreal Forests drained by the Athabasca River as it flows northward. Where the river empties into the lake, it forms one of the world's great freshwater delta ecosystems.

Under Canadian law and British Imperial law, the Cree people own that part of Alberta. The most important promise in the treaty is that the Cree Indians would have the right to hunt and fish. Except now, if you look at northern Alberta, particularly northeastern Alberta where the Tar Sands developments are, the developments are so vast, the destruction of the landscape is so extensive, that it's now fair to say that treaty rights themselves can no longer be meaningfully exercised because the habitat of the animals is being destroyed right before our eyes.

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Jessie Bradley
7 years ago

This is a very unsustainable way of energy production People are dying and nature is getting destroyed because of the tar sands. Furthermore, the loss of so much biodiversity will probably end up costing the world more in the future than the economic benefits of tar sands at present.

Jim Davenion
9 years ago

Love how all these environmentalists fly around in planes and helicopters - try horse and buggy - hypocrates

10 years ago

Roughly half of the oil used in the U.S. is for cars, and there is an amazing effort to keep it this way. Blaming people for their personal choices is hardly enough. You must address the systemic problems.

Become an advocate for mass transit. Form groups and pressure your elected officials. Demand investments in rail and bus service. Condemn the propagandists who call such investments "wasteful". Impose taxes on gas and penalize wasteful behavior. As this film points out, big-businesses and the politicians who represent them clearly don't respond to concerns about public health, environmental destruction, and finite resources. If there is to be any hope, you must focus on the one thing they understand and squelch systemic demand.

10 years ago

I dare say, this is a new form of dictatorship. Far away from USA I'll stay.

Bad Conduct
10 years ago

It's so obviously bad for the environment... People in the city don't see or understand the consequences, they don't really know or care where the tap water or food comes from.
This is really going to bite us in the a*s, either environmentally, or more concerning, socially.

10 years ago

No amount of $$$ is worth the destruction of our planet. People need to understand the economy was created by us and we need to change it because it obviously isnt working. The underground reserves are billions of years of history and we've exhausted it in a century. No matter who you are or where your from, if you love life fight to stop the tar sands. The future can be brighter than ever before

10 years ago

would you sell your soul for 100k/per year?

10 years ago

So far the only thing the Cree nation has gotten is a Quid Pro Quo.

10 years ago

I work in the Oil Sands and almost the whole of the Cree nation is employed there. First hand info tells me they're happy with the deal they got.

10 years ago

Hard to face that in this day & age (especially in a country such as Canada) that colonialism is still just as active & destructive as it has ever been. To colonize a nation is to say: "You must be like us". If the indigenous people desire to continue living as they have for generations prior to the colonial "conquest" then they just don't matter.

It is very sad, frustrating & angering to accept that Canada (a nation internationally known for it's tolerance,acceptance & progressive views) is still up to it's ass in the muck of colonial ideas. These native inhabitants never once considered mineral or oil rights to the land they possessed but did anticipate the right to live freely & continue to hunt, fish & forage on these lands they have lived for millennia. Even these basic rights & signed agreements have been ignored.

A financial boon for modern civilization is always at the cost of those who have lived & managed the land on which these discoveries take place. What cost is too much? As long as it doesn't directly effect or at best, benefits those of us who are not brown?

As a Canadian, this entire enterprise is beyond shameful to me.

john Palermo
10 years ago

Ignorance labels advance of demise as "progress" and "necessity". Study the false ego and existing history. Not a single positive human advance will be made after every drop of energy has been squeezed from every source possible leaving only death and dessert in it's wake. Further ignorance is displayed by those who make the Straw Man argument, this point being the most common among the backwards masses.
After every drop is squeezed and every living system destroyed what will be the excuse then for not siding with a change in direction when there was still a chance for humanity. It's a cliff and every action that stays on the forward path leads higher up the same hill.

Alv V
10 years ago

This makes me so angry, it's burning inside of me. Those greedy old politicians grabbing the money from the oil companies to tell lies should have their tongues torn out before boiling them alive in their filthy oil, together with all those that make this happen willingly, knowing what they do, but still rather enjoy the life and fortune they gain by the death and suffering of those that actually own the land, and the land itself that all future generations there have to rely on after the oil is gone. It's about time people stop talking and saying this is not right, this is not good - everyone already know that for sure - and instead fight against it.

matt van den ham
10 years ago

I hate to be the guy to point this out, but the natives in that area were all using oil based products. I lived in Alberta for a little while and it really is a horrible thing the oil companies are doing to the land, but at the same time it's bringing huge prosperity to the country so I'm not sure how to deal with this one. I'm just hoping that all the prosperity brings about new fuel technologies. We need better vehicles that allow us to drive long distances that do not require any fuel sources at all.

John Krisfalusci
10 years ago

And guess what? We Americans over time will corrupt and try to invade that spot like we did with the Middle East. And again, over time, non-Americans will wonder why We are putting ourselves in places where we just have no business in, and again, We will leech and greed upon the innocent and pristine until the ground is sucked dry and/or too destroyed and polluted to work on and they will loathe us even more for ruining their lands.. Keep up the bad work America!

We just love hoarding and controlling oil no matter where it's located and at any cost! Beautiful, isn't it? ^_^