Monday, January 27, 2014

In the Sand

Several months ago I decided to head out to Fort McMurray, Alberta to explore the tar sands oil development.  I set out without much of an agenda, but on more of an exploratory mission to take in the area, its issues surrounding the oil developments, and to see.  I had heard a lot about the environmental issues suffered by the First Nations communities along the Athabasca River, but not much about the actual town of Fort McMurray.

On first glance, "Fort Mac" is the quintessential boomtown, with oversized lifted trucks lining the streets, young men with too much money roaming the streets late at night, and young women playing along.  On second look, "Fort Mac" is trying desperately to become a community, with all the same values as any other community throughout America.  The main difference is that most of the town wouldn't be there if it weren't for the industrial behemoth that is the Tar Sands, or Oil Sands developments, that dot the landscape along the Athabasca River, one of the largest and most environmentally destructive oil projects in the world.

Despite the negative environmental environmental impacts associated with the Tar Sands, many residents of Fort McMurray see the oil development as a way of life and a necessary part of our oil dependent culture and see the community as a nice place to raise a family with ample job opportunities.  I'm working on a written essay that will be up on my portfolio site in the coming weeks.  Thanks for looking!