Thursday, October 8, 2009

Behold! Canada's most disgusting export

Nothing like Alberta's's revolting oilsands to destroy your optimism

Are you having one of those days? One of those moments where you feel like you've endured a simply relentless onslaught of negative news and economic hardship coupled to endless rounds of cretinous politicians -- all of whom enjoy fully paid health care on your tab -- debating whether or not you'll be able to afford to see a doctor ever again, all to the point where you say, you know what? I need just one more.

Just one more really good, depressing story to put me over the top, ruin not just my day but maybe taint my entire month, a tale so vicious and disheartening I immediately start yelling at my girlfriend for no real reason and slam the cupboard because I realized I'm out of peanut butter, and I absolutely refuse to smile at anyone because they're all clearly complicit in making this world a bleak and miserable hellpit of oh my God you suck.

Why, sweetheart, step on over here for a moment. I have just what you need. You need to read a bit more about Alberta's infamous oilsands.

Have you heard? Have you taken even a cursory peek lately into the oversized eco nightmare that is Canada's monstrous, pollutive, disgusting hellholes of rapacious greed and pollution and destruction and sheer capitalistic joy? I bet you have.

They are, you might say, the finest example we currently have of a massive, soulless industry and a major first-world government shoving a giant middle finger in the face of all notions of progress and environmental integrity. They're not the only ones, to be sure -- the coal industry's middle finger is downright callused from flipping everyone off so aggressively -- but for sheer gall, for shamelessly stomping a greasy black boot heel into the face of environmental progress right now, the oilsands simply can't be beat.

They are true wonders, testaments to mankind's remarkable power to continue -- against every hunk of knowledge and common sense -- to rape, maul and utterly devastate everything we supposedly hold dear, all in the name of filthy profit.

Despite whatever good vibes you might've been feeling from all those rumors of a healthy global push toward sustainability and alternative energy, the oilsands remind you: no one really gives a flying f--k. Not when hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake. You cannot help but be perversely impressed.

Some argue the oilsands are the future of synthetic petroleum. Experts say there's enough black gold stuck deep in that greasy bitumen -- spread across a region the size of Florida -- that it could last us until we lose what's left of our souls and/or entirely block out the goddamn sun, whichever comes first. The problem, of course, is getting the toxic gunk out of the ground.

The numbers are simply astonishing: The amount of land, water, natural gas, and CO2 emissions required to produce a single barrel of synthetic oil from the oilsands is staggering enough, but when you add in all the contaminated rivers, the toxic tailing ponds (2.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools' worth, and counting), the decimated landscape, the dead animals, the increased cancer rates among anyone living within a 100-mile radius, well, you've got more than enough charming data to effortlessly destroy any glimmer of positivism you might've enjoyed from composting your pizza boxes.

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