All of us have heard about the Alberta oilsands. This rich deposit north of Fort McMurray is the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world, covering an area greater than 140,000 square kilometers, with 100 active projects producing upwards of 1.5 billion barrels of oil per day. Tens of thousands of people across the country are employed directly or indirectly in oil sands-related positions. The contribution oil sands development makes to the Canadian oil supply and the economy is considerable.
But recently Alberta oilsands exploitation has been making other headlines, with the European Union and the United States debate affixing the label “dirty oil” to Canada’s black gold, citing environmental degradation, health impacts, intensive energy inputs relative to outputs, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change contribution.
Approximately four per cent of the oilsands full potential is currently under production, but 60 per cent of the total land area has been leased to companies for extraction. A doubling of present industry size has already been approved. Operating design capacity is now at 1.9 million barrels per day, with 4.11 million barrels per day already approved by the provincial and federal governments. Concerns over devastating environmental effects are mounting.
The Creston and District Public Library invites you to explore the balance between economic development and environmental sustainability in its presentation of the documentary film, Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands. This CBC The Nature of Things production examines the campaign led by the residents of Fort Chipewyan, downstream of Fort McMurray, who believe oil sands toxins are destroying their territory and their culture. And they’ve attracted some powerful voices to their cause, chief among them Canadian filmmaker James Cameron, creator of the blockbuster Avatar.
We need the oil. We need the jobs. We also need clean air and water. In the face of the undeniable necessity of all of these things, just how much can we sacrifice? What should the relationship be between economics and the environment? Is Canada’s dependence on a resource economy sustainable into the distant future?
There will be three showings of the Tipping Point at the Creston library (531 16th Ave. S.), on April 14 at 1:30 p.m., April 20 at 5 p.m. and April 21 at 1:30 p.m. Due to the expense of bringing this film to the library, admission is by donation. Running time is 90 minutes.
For more information, contact the library at 250-428-4141.
— CRESTON AND DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY