Rising oil prices have spurred companies to turn to unconventional sources of crude oil previously viewed as too costly or destructive to consider. A case in point: the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. Located beneath the boreal forests that Cree, Dené and Metis First Nations call home, tar sands (also called ‘oil sands’) development has been dubbed the most destructive energy project in the world. To get a single barrel of tar sands crude from surface mining, the forest is chopped down, about four tons of earth is removed, several barrels of water are used and giant tailings ponds are left behind. Another method, in-situ-leach mining, requires burning large amounts of natural gas to heat subsurface deposits and allow them to be sucked to the surface, where further upgrading is required before the crude can be sent via pipeline to refineries where it is made into fuels like gasoline.
The land, water, animals and people in Alberta are already feeling the brunt of this epic proportioned energy project. The downstream Indigenous community of Ft. Chipewyan has unheard of rates of rare cancers. The fish are not safe to eat, and the land is littered with toxic ponds and craters. Honor the Earth will continue supporting Native communities that are working to fight off expansion of the most destructive energy project in the world.