Monday, July 8, 2013

Alien's-eye-view of hellhole on Earth - Alberta Tar Sands

Imagine the starship Enterprise going into orbit around a planet "where no one has gone before", sending down a shuttle for a two-hour observation of the seeping open sore on the otherwise gorgeous face of that blue jewel, and Kirk, Spock et al watching the life-feed of the video uplink as we speak.

The following is better than Star Trek because, instead of watching them watching it on their screen, you can join them by watching it yourself on your own screen:

Sit down in your captain's chair and watch Anthony Marr's 45 minute video of his two-hour flight in rough weather over some of the tar sands mines - on this your own planet: (engine/wind noise retained) (engine/wind noise removed)

If this video is banned on youtube in your country, please watch it in Vimeo: (with or without engine/wind noise)

Alien's-eye-view of hellhole on Earth - Alberta Tar Sands from Anthony Marr on Vimeo.

A disclaimer: Anthony Marr is not a professional videographer, does not own state-of-the-art high-end equipment, and it was a stormy day and turbulent flight, so you won't see any Oscars in the stars for this one. What you will experience is what Anthony Marr himself experienced, and perhaps what Kirk and Spock et al would experience. It is a spiritual experience first and foremost.

Anthony Marr himself feels that the video does not do the tar sands justice for the planet-destroying atrocity that it is; for one thing it covers only two of the six mines. To emphasize a few points for maxing the benefit:

1. It is to be noted that only 20% of tar sands extraction is by open-pit-mining, meaning that only 20% of the damage visible from the air is .

2. About as much energy, mostly natural gas piped in from as far as Russia, has to be put into the tar sands operations to extract an equal amount of energy in the form of oil, so in the ecological context it makes no sense; economically, it does but only to those who financially benefit from it.

3. Other than the obvious, such as the wholesale "removal" of "overburden" (boreal forests) by the thousands of square kilometers, of special note are the highly toxic "Tailing PONDS" sitting poisonously throughout the landscape by the hundreds, which are essentially man-made toxic-waste dumps in the form of storage LAKES, some so large to be visible to the naked eye from space, and one boasting of having the world's third largest dam in the world. None of them is lined, so all of them LEAK, either down into the aquifer and/or directly into the over-used Athabasca River which drains into Lake Athabasca farther north. These tailing "ponds" happen to underlie the paths of migratory birds. Their contents are so oily and toxic that no water fowl landing into one can be expected to take off again.

4. Do the oil companies and the oiled governments care? Sure, one company claims to have "reclaimed" 22% of the land devastated by its gigantic Earth-raping machinery, but critics contend that it is in fact only 0.2%. Of course they have their little PR show-pieces.

5. The entire Athabascan watershed downstream of the mines has been poisoned - not just for now, but for centuries to come - and of course this is none of the oil companies' concern. The poisoned Lake Athabaska produces deformed fish upon which the local Chipewyan people feed, or used to feed, resulting in sky-high cancer rates. Who knows what evils would befall the animals drinking from the entire watershed, much less the toxic-cocktail directly from the tailings ponds? By the way, though they did suspend the doctor who blew the whistle on the cancer epidemic, they did magnanimously provided the Chipewyan people with a cancer ward.

To learn more about these tailing "ponds", just google "tar sands tailing ponds".

If you haven't yet read the blog on Anthony Marr's Vancouver-to-tar-sands trip, or viewed the preceding video episodes (#1 through #13), please also check them out:

So, what do you think Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock et al would do after watching their video feed? Since they have to abide by the interstellar non-interference principle, what can they do? They'd just enter the video into their database under "Lost Cause". Which means, it is all up to us, folks.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

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