Excerpts from Esquire Magazine’s excellent article by John H. Richardson on the Oil Sands of Alberta, Canada. Addiction is everyone’s problem, both the supplier and the user. Canada is currently the United States’ largest foreign supplier of oil, but they have a national tax on carbon which encourages conservation. Not only does the US not tax carbon, but low oil prices seem to be considered a God given right… or at least that’s what some politicians want us to believe.
“. . . discovery of rapidly increasing levels of thirteen toxic chemicals in the river — arsenic and lead up fourfold near oil-sands development, mercury up eightfold downstream of tailings ponds, etc. At first, the government said those chemicals must be naturally occurring, since the Athabasca River flows right through the tar sands. Then doctors from the University of Alberta found leukemia and lymphoma at rates four times the average and bile-duct cancer six times higher.”
When I think of western Canada, this isn’t what I expect it to look like
Photograph by Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Nicholas Metivier, Toronto, and Howard Greenberg and Bryce Wolkowitz, New York.