We left Fort McMurray in the morning and headed back to Edmonton. I had a lot of time to think in the five-hour drive and I thought about truth. In this journey to the tar sands I wanted to find the truth behind Canada’s big oil project. What I came to find surprised me.
I came into Alberta starting with a bias, I thought it was a simple black and white issue — bad vs. good — the tar sands being the bad. But what I have come to realize is the truth is far more complex than I had ever imagined. If anything, the reality of the tar sands is colorful, not black and white.
There are good people that genuinely believe they are doing the right thing that work with the oil companies and in government. They believe oil is here to stay and want to do they best they can with it. On the other hand, there are good people that fight for a world without oil because they want a different future than the one shown to us now.
There are also many people that work in the tar sands that have been helped greatly in life with jobs and money. Yet, there are people downstream of the tar sands who are losing their lives from the toxins of this destructive project.
So I’ve come to realize that when it comes to truth, there are multiple truths and they all have merit. Who am I to say which is the right one? When I saw the tar sands for my own eyes from the plane on day six, after all was said by so many people about it, what I saw told me a simple truth. The tar sands is wrong and cannot continue in the 21st century if we want to survive.
It is wrong to turn the earth into a moonscape for dirtier oil in a time when we are supposed to be battling climate change. Increasing green house gases doesn’t make any sense in 2009.
It is wrong to pollute clean drinking water in a time when water is becoming scarcer and and communities downstream are dying from rare cancers. Pouring toxins into clean water doesn’t make any sense in 2009, or ever.
Let’s wake up to the times. The tar sands has no place in the 21st century when we are facing massive global issues and our own survival is teetering on the edge. The earth, climate, water and people’s survival is non-negotiable. Not for a few to make a quick buck or for the U.S. to have energy security.
Now that I have found my truth, the next question I have is: what can we can do about it?
Emily Hunter’s Journey to the Tar Sands airs this fall on MTV News Canada.
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