Student Denounces Dirty Energy, Tar Sands

by Natalie Waddle

Up in the quiet region of Alberta, Canada, an environmental disaster is producing the dirtiest oil on Earth. The Boreal Forest, one of the largest wooded areas in the world, is rapidly being clear-cut acre by acre in order to make room for the last desperate attempt to find oil. As the world reached peak oil, Canada began to realize that beneath their feet was a great amount of black gold and they could quickly harness its power and worth. Thus, the tar sands epidemic began.

Over the past four years, an area the size of Florida has been clear-cut, dug up, and doused in a toxic mixture of mercury, benzene and arsenic, creating bitumen, an essential component of oil. Much like mountaintop removal, this procedure carves a hole in the earth to expose the carbon sources deep beneath the ground. When the bitumen concoction is finished, the companies boil it with 500 million gallons of water daily, using three million barrels of drinking water each day. After this process, the oil separates from the sludge excess, and the “tar sands” (also known as oil sands) are dumped into unlined, uncovered tailing ponds so large, they can be seen from space.
This is not a lone Canadian problem; over 75 percent of this oil is shipped and used in the United States, making it our number one oil import. Companies such as Whole Foods, 7-11, Kroger and Shell use this oil to ship their products and also to sell at their pumps. As a campus, we must say no to this form of oil extraction, to stop the tailing ponds from leaking into drinking water and causing soaring cancer rates. Say no to the Tar Sands. To get involved, contact


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