Geography Assignment 1
As stated in the Nature of Things 2015 episode titled, ‘Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands”, it is argued that the Alberta Oil Sands is the largest deposit of oil on the planet. Canada has taken advantage of this resource and is a world leader in Oil Sands production.
Despite the significant profits to be made, there are concerns over the drastic environmental and social impacts of this economic activity. There is evidence that suggests concentrated toxic chemicals from ‘tailing ponds’ have leached into the Athabasca River, which carry these toxins over 100 miles downstream from Fort McMurray. The Dene Nation in Fort Chippewa is downstream from the Oil Sands and is a community effected by these toxins. Given the impacts, the video questions whether the money to be made from the Oil Sands are coming at too great a cost.
What do you think? Have the Alberta Oil Sands reached an absolute ‘tipping point’ in which a decision needs to be made to shut down the operations? Are the social and environmental costs worth the economic benefits? Given the environmental costs and despite the economic impacts, can Canada afford to keep producing oil?
Do you think production of the Oil Sands should continue or should operations be shut down? What evidence supports your position?