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Tar Sands: Canada's Mordor + The End of Growth

Program #NIKA001-HEIR003.

First Program: Andrew Nkiforuk - Tar Sands: Canada's Mordor

Mordor is the realm of the evil Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings.” Tolkien describes it as “a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume." If you look at Canada’s Alberta tar sands you might imagine it’s something like Mordor. The gigantic effort to extract oil has turned the province into a hydrocarbon kingdom. And it may be one of the most environmentally destructive projects on earth. Tar sands burn more carbon than conventional oil; destroy forests; kill wildlife; poison the water supply and communities downstream; drain the Athabasca, the river that feeds Canada’s largest watershed, and contribute to climate change. The Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. has been put on hold because of protests but it is likely to resurface.

Second Program: Richard Heinberg - The End of Growth

There is almost a mystical belief in growth.  Nature’s bounty was there to be exploited by man. There is endless palaver about growth as an economic panacea that will cure all ills. Economists have long postulated that growth is normal and natural and could go on forever. But can it? Conventional views of growth are incompatible with the capacity and well being of the planet. The Earth Policy Institute says, we are “on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic decline and collapse. Environmental scientists have been saying for sometime that the global economy is being slowly undermined by the trends of environmental destruction and disruption, including shrinking forests, expanding deserts, falling water tables, eroding soils, collapsing fisheries, rising temperatures, melting ice, rising seas and increasingly destructive storms."


Speaker(s):

Andrew Nikiforuk

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning Canadian journalist. His articles appear in major newspapers and magazines. He is the author of Saboteurs and Empire of the Beetle. His book Tar Sands was honored with the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.

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