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TED Talk. The True Cost of Oil


The video below is a TED Talk filmed in November 2011 (that’s a link to the actual website where I got the video.  Other great TED Talks can be found there if you are interested).  Garth Lenz is the speaker and the title of the presentation is “The True Cost of Oil”.  It is a detailed look at the size and scope of the Alberta Tar Sands project, its impacts on the northern Alberta wilderness (and the First Nations people that live downstream) and the risks that the expansion of the Tar Sands poses.

I truly hope that you will take the time to watch it – it’s just over 17 minutes long.  And when you are done, if you feel so inclined, I would appreciate that you share this video with some of the folks you know.

Certain people work very hard and spend a lot of money to keep the rest of us in the dark about the Tar Sands.  Shedding some light on the subject is the best thing we can do.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Plourde permalink
    2012/03/08 10:51 pm


    Thank you for sharing this with us. I was surprised and shocked by the size of the destruction these projects are causing to our land. This is simply criminally irresponsible. And I need a city permit to cut a sick three. What will happen when the tar is all removed from the ground beside moving somewhere else to dig? This will take nature thousands of years before the land can be restored, unless the oil companies have a plan in place to restore the land before moving away to another region.

    By chance, we will have a government that is responsible enough to ensure that the economic value is balanced with responsible environmental action, without bending to the industry’s lobbyists, to preserve our land for the future generations…

    • 2012/03/09 5:32 am

      You are quite welcome. By the way, I am 100% in agreement with your final sentence: there has to be a balance between the economy and the environment. It is irresponsible to address one without considering the other.

      Concerning the restoration of land, supporters of the Tar Sands say that the industry is reclaiming the land, but how do you restore an ecosystem that took thousands of years to evolve? And on what will the foundation of that ecosystem (the plants) grow? They’ve removed all the soil. But, my guess is that the greatest challenge is the giant taillings ponds. The industry has no means of “reclaiming” the millions of tons of toxic waste. And they have no way of stopping those taillings from leaking into the ecosystem.

  2. Florian permalink
    2012/03/11 4:28 am

    I had always thought about Canada as a nature paradise, its people (and government) being stewards to the environment others could look up to. Not much of this green and responsible reputation is left, unfortunately. The thing with country brands is that once they’ve moved to the unfavourable corner it’s hard to restore favourable reputation. New Zealand is at the crossroads in terms of losing brand credibility – let’s see which road it takes…

    • 2012/03/11 8:25 am

      Thank you for your comment.

      I have faith that we (Canada) can restore “our brand” of environmental stewards. However, it will take a lot of public outcry and political courage. It will also require economic alternatives to drilling and mining. A renewable energy industry would do that, but we have yet to go down that path…

      As for New Zealand, could you briefly describe (or give a link that does the same) what you are referring to? I am not very familiar with that part of the world. Thanks.

      • Florian permalink
        2012/03/11 5:04 pm

        Have a look here: – I’m currently doing a PhD on this very topic, so make sure to check back once in a while for more 🙂

      • 2012/03/11 9:38 pm

        I’ve got you bookmarked 🙂

        I’m curious to know: what exactly is the focus of your PhD? (If you don’t mind my asking.)

      • Florian permalink
        2012/03/11 10:27 pm

        Hi again, I’m looking at the potential vulnerability of New Zealand’s clean, green global positioning with regard to news media reporting on sustainability issues, such as water quality and carbon emissions (arguable the most threatening issues to its brand credibility). My discourse analysis focuses on broadsheet newspapers in the US, UK and Australia, New Zealand’s key trading partners.

      • 2012/03/12 4:58 am

        Very interesting. Good luck with your research.

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