America’s largest source of foreign oil is not Saudi Arabia, or anywhere in the Middle East. Alberta Canada, with its enormous reserve of bituminous oil – tar sands – is fast becoming the largest supplier of oil for US markets. The oil is located largely beneath pristine boreal forests, and the process of extraction uses as much as 4 barrels of fresh water for every barrel of oil produced. Water and oil don’t mix, and issues of water depletion, contamination, exploitation, and privatization are becoming one of the most important issues facing human civilization this century.
If the exploitation and extraction of the Alberta tar sands continues, the environmental, social, and human impacts on Alberta will soon reach a crisis point. North America will be covered with pipelines criss-crossing the land from the Arctic to the southern United States, leaving in their wake toxic water basins the size of Lake Ontario and surface mines equal to the land area of Florida.
The documentary H2Oil tells the story of Alberta and the tar sands, a story of “heartbreak and politicization” for those working to defend Alberta’s water against tar sands expansion. The struggle has forged unlikely alliances and changed the lives of everyday people trying to make a future for their families as they “come up against the largest industrial project in human history.” It is a story that many entrenched forces would prefer not be told. But unless there is awareness now of what is happening with the Alberta tar sands, it will soon be too late to avert the devastation it will cause.
We are creating an environmental catastrophe that will take centuries to recover from…if we recover at all” – David Suzuki
“There are a number of us who feel this is the biggest unsustainable development on the planet right now.” – Dr. David Schindler