Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

10 November 2009

Leave Congo's tar sand in the land

The Wall Street Journal has written about environmentalists criticising a proposed African oil sands project. For those of you who haven't heard of oil sands or tar sands and their impact on the environment, have a look here:

This photo by David Dodge of The Pembina Institute gives an idea of how arboreal forests in Alberta, Canada have been converted into oil sands tailings:

More amazing pics here:
Google map of the tailings ponds:

So as planet Earth, our Mother, has the last of the oil sucked from her veins, psychopaths in the mining and oil industry are turning to the world's tar sands to keep our 5 litre, V12 SUVs spewing along. Unfortunately Africa has her share of tar sands and the psychopaths have them in their sights/crosshairs.

Photo by David Dodge of The Pembina Institute

Even more unfortunately for us Africans, these tar sands are located in or near biodiversity hotspots and ancient tropical rain forests ie our lungs.

This photo by Dan Woynillowicz of The Pembina Institute shows how
oil sands extraction has fragmented the forests of northern Alberta.

Italian energy behemoth Eni SpA plans to wreak this destruction upon Congo Brazzaville in order to squeeze oil from the tar sands of this country. Environmentalists are warning that this project could endanger one of the world's largest remaining tropical rain forests.

Even the west's Heinrich Boll Foundation, in a study by Congolese human-rights organisations and western researchers, has pointed out the many risks involved.

But there are many guilty parties in the tar sands business, Eni is just one of them Have a look at this article: BP Set To Commit 'The Biggest Environmental Crime in History and this one about KBR: A Halliburton Subsidiary.

Oh and then there's the targeting of environmental activists opposing the oil sands and labeling them - GULP - terrorists: Govt Threatens Tar Sands Activists with Anti-Terror Laws.

David Dodge, The Pembina Institute

Tar sands = the dirtiest oil on earth

The issue is the polluting and high carbon emission technology used in this form of oil production. It goes against all pretence of global efforts to tackle climate change. Eni's project would be the first time the process of producing synthetic crude from oil sands - a mixture of sand, clay and bitumen - is applied on a large scale outside of Canada.

Tar sands tailings ponds, Canada. Photo by David Dodge,
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Sadly arboreal rain forests are often also home to indigenous people living in tune with Nature. In the case of the Athabasca tar sands in Canada, the indigenous Athabasca Chipewyan people have been laying their lives on the line trying to fight off the oil and mining giants to save the land but with limited success. Read about their brave efforts here:

We all need to start fighting like indigenous people to save wilderness areas.

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