Thursday, November 01, 2007

Syncrude and the Alberta Government hate grannies.

You know, despite all of the denials and pshaws from our good pals on the right, you just can't put bullshit under a granny's nose and expert her to declare it pudding. When 85 year old Liz Moore visited Canada, she took a tour of the tar sands mine run by Syncrude in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Little surprise that she reacted with disgust at the scale of devastation necessary to plunder the resource. She gave an interview to E-Magazine in which she had this to say, “I was appalled at what I saw—the devastation of the land,” so she took action. “I came home and decided people in the U.S. needed to hear about this, because we’ll be buying more and more oil from Canada.”

So, being one hip and savvy gran, she created a website that detailed the scars she saw being carved into the earth, oilsandsofcanada.com. And as we know, no good deed goes unpunished. The Government of Alberta and Syncrude sicced their lawyers on her. Her site is basically a Power Point presentation with slides showing the state of the land that she saw and photographed, with some facts, figures and information. However, at the outset of the tour, she had signed a waiver giving the Petro-piggies the right to limit use of images she had taken. She was ordered to remove certain images or face legal action. After all, when a little old lady tries to speak her mind, massive corporations and arms of government just have to crush them.

The small print on the waiver gave them the right to make the demand and she has complied to the letter of the law. Each slide she removed has been replaced with a large "Censored" accompanied by a link to a description of the picture that was removed and who ordered the removal. In some instances, private citizens and organizations have come forward with similar pictures to replace those that were pulled. A Syncrude spokesknob told the Globular Mail that, "We see this as an issue of copyright, accuracy and quality”. While I'm not sure how they can justify claims of copyright over images created by another person, they can certainly exercise the terms of the signed waiver. Perhaps they are simply referring to the vulgar devastation of the land as a copyrighted creation. As for issues of accuracy, well, I don't know about you but when there's billions upon billions of dollars to be reaped, I'll trust the little old lady instead of the rapacious corporation, thanks.

The fabulous Dave over at the Galloping Beaver has posted an excellent summary highlighting a major piece published in the Guardian. Nothing says accuracy and quality quite like an open pit of destroyed land the size of Florida and visible from space. The long term price we'll pay for refusing to rein in our gluttony will be a massive shock to the small minded, short sighted twats that think this will all last forever. Mr. Harper and his cadre of money hungry accomplices will gladly roll back environmental standards to keep the oil flowing and the rest of us are just going to stand aside. The easy life is just too easy. Besides, most of us don't have the balls of a little old lady and changing our habits would be an enormous burden in this big box world of ours.

10 comments:

darksofa said...

changing our habits would be an enormous burden in this big box world of ours.

Greed is a human constant, and corporations and governments can be counted upon to focus on it. On the other hand, there are exceptions.

Amazon.com, for instance, is a very green company, and they're huge. I think the longer that the global warming debate persists, whether the talking points are correct or not, people gradually improve their habits. As more people get on board, corporations will enact greener policies to please their employees--a trickle up affect. I was already starting to see it at my last employer, and they're the largest producer of agricultural fertilizers in Canada.

I know you're supposed to be cynical, but I'd argue things are improving rather than degrading.

Paladiea said...

I don't think things are improving. Alberta's tar sands take up as much as a 40% of the province. They've already dedicated 25% of it to wasteland, what makes you think they won't go higher?

pretty shaved ape said...

darksofa it isn't all bad all the time and yes there are bright spots on the horizon. however when it comes to the petroleum sector and our seemingly endless gluttony for the sweet crude, things just look ugly. the tar sands are going to increase four or fivefold in the next few years and a huge area will become a toxic wasteland. my cynicism in the piece includes me and mine. i live fat and happy largely due to the easy availability of energy and petroleum related products. i do try to limit the amount of unwarranted consumption that i engage in but i'm surrounded by plastics, everything i eat is shipped in and if i want consumer goods i have to travel to the outskirts of the city. due to changes in my business life, i may actually have to get a drivers licence and a vehicle for the first time. i'm in my mid-40s and that grieves me.

bottom line is we need to readjust our cultural habits, desires and expectations. the economic notion that the only positive state is one of permanent expansion is sheer foolishness. in biology that would be called cancer. it is high time that we considered working toward a sustainable economy.

Sheena said...

I have no car. Got rid of it in Spring 2006. No TV either.

Anyone else care to share their stories of green-up-manship?

eh? EH?

CC?

C.J. said...

Maybe a good deal of this sort of devastation could be avoided if a law was passed that required 'true cost' (http://www.adbusters.org/metas/eco/truecosteconomics/) payments for large corporations to operate.

Ti-Guy said...

Anyone else care to share their stories of green-up-manship?

eh? EH?


Got rid of the car. Best decision I've ever made in my entire life. Take transit/cabs in the city and rent when I need to (and rental cars are heaven compared to ownership).

Saskboy said...

I'm part of a group starting a car-share cooperative :-) And I lead the Teleban, an organization devoted to Banning TV ;-)

pretty shaved ape said...

so you're a telebangelist? ouch. sorry.

Sean S. said...

It should be noted that a good portion of the newly developed oilsands are being exploited using SAGD (steam assisted gravity development). This basically involves pumping steam below ground to get the oil flowing, and pumping it through a well....no strip mining is involved.

Jay said...

Don't forget that the Oil sands will be the world's number 1 single source of carbon emissions around 2010.

Not something that should instil Canadian pride.