Tar sands, probably among the dirtiest and environmentally damaging fuels man produces. It is not pumped out of a hole in the ground, you have to remove all the topsoil and vegetation growth, and in so doing destroy all the wildlife in the area. What you leave behind is a wasteland, a barren desert, in the case of Alberta tar sands, the largest in the world, the effect on wildlife is devastating.
Not a new video, but still very relevant today.
This not being done because there is a shortage of oil, there is actually a glut of oil on the market. It is simply done to make money for already rich corporations. However, there are people who are prepared to make a stand and do what they can to impede this filthy destruction of the natural environment by rich greedy corporations.In Northern Alberta, oil development activities bring an enormous number of people into a fragile ecosystem. Historically, population figures have been very low for this region. Water is easily polluted because the water table reaches the surface in most areas of muskeg. With the ever-increasing development and extraction of resources, wildlife are recipient to both direct and indirect effects of pollution. Woodland Caribou are particularly sensitive to human activities, and as such are pushed away from their preferred habitat during the time of year when their caloric needs are greatest and food is the most scarce. Humans' effect on the Caribou is compounded by road construction and habitat fragmentation that open the area up to deer and wolves.
Wildlife living near the Athabasca River have been greatly impacted due to pollutants entering the water system. An unknown number of birds die each year. Particularly visible and hard hit are migrating birds that stop to rest at tailing ponds. There have been numerous reports of large flocks of ducks landing in tailing ponds and perishing soon after. Data has been recorded since the 1970s on the number of birds found on tailing ponds.
There has also been a large impact on the fish that live and spawn in the area. As toxins accumulate in the river due to the oil sands, bizarre mutations, tumors, and deformed fish species have begun to appear. A study commissioned by the region's health authority found that several known toxins and carcinogens were elevated. Aboriginal communities that live around the river are becoming increasingly worried about how the animals they eat and their drinking water are being affected.
While there has been no link yet made between the oil sands and health issues, Matt Price of Environmental Defense says the connection makes common sense. Deformities in fish and high concentrations of toxic substances in animals have also been identified.