â€œIf anything characterizes the 21st century, itâ€™s our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of other people.â€
This quotation from James Katz comes from an article on the annoying use of cellular phones in public or at inappropriate times. It applies just as well to an issue currently being protested in Alberta as a new legislative session begins: the oil sands.
If oil companies had to bear all the direct and indirect costs associated with production in the oil sands, it seems doubtful that the industry would exist. Those costs include air and water pollution, the large-scale use of fresh water supplies, deforestation, soil contamination, the wholesale destruction and of large tracts of land, and heavy greenhouse gas emissions.. The Pembina Institute – probably Canada’s best environmental NGO – has a website devoted to oil sands issues.
With oil likely to hit $100 a barrel this week, it seems probable that ever more of Alberta’s northern boreal forest will be carved up for petroleum.