In an oil-scarce world, we know there are sacrifices to be made in the pursuit of energy. But in the Canadian wilderness sits what many think is the biggest deposit of oil on the planet. A sea of sand soaked with bitumen. The tar sands.
For decades, mining the sands was an unprofitable experiment. Now, in a world running out of conventional oil, this is what’s left, and there’s a fortune to be made and every major oil company on earth is in the tar sands – BP, Shell, Total, Statoil, Exxon, Chevron, and China’s Sinopec.
But there’s a catch, making oil from this thick bitumen soaked into Canada’s sands comes at a cost. Scientists are warning of cancer-causing toxins entering rivers, record volumes of greenhouse gases pouring into the atmosphere, and a pristine Boreal ecosystem now dotted with poisonous waste-water lakes.
The small town of Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta is facing the consequences of being the first to witness the impact of the Tar Sands project, which may be the tipping point for oil development in Canada. The local community has experienced a spike in cancer cases and dire studies have revealed the true consequences of “dirty oil”.
Gripped in a Faustian pact with the American energy consumer, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to protect the dirtiest oil project ever known. Filmmaker Tom Radford describes witnessing a David and Goliath struggle.