Dirty Energy Ushers Us Into New, and Disturbing, Territory

How much more damage to our land, water, and climate are we willing to tolerate before we just say no to this economic system of death?

alberta oil spill in dene territory
graphic: 350.org


This week in Alberta:

A toxic waste spill in northern Alberta has killed off roughly 42 hectares of boreal forest, in what could be the biggest environmental disaster in North America in recent history.

The spill was first discovered on June 1st, about 100 kms south of the border with the Northwest Territories, near the small town of Zama City. Texas-based Apache Corporation, the oil company responsible for the spill, just released their estimate of its size on Wednesday. According to their figures, 9.5 million litres of ‘produced water’ was released into the environment, covering the equivalent of over 50 football fields-worth of land.

“Every plant and tree died,” said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha First Nation, according to The Globe and Mail, as he spoke of the effect the spill has had on the land. Read more.

And meanwhile, a little further north:

Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures — as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years,” Miller (NASA) said. “As heat from Earth’s surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic’s carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming.” 

Read more by Joe Romm: NASA Finds ‘Amazing’ Levels Of Arctic Methane And CO2, Asks ‘Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic?’

We are very quickly entering into uncharted territory for humans; the planet will recover, she has proven that over millenia. It’s humans whose existence is in peril. Fear is an appropriate response, but if that’s where we stop, then nothing will change and we will go over the climate chaos cliff. It’s time to step off the “cliff” of fear into action, into the unknown. To signal our willingness to each other and to the universe that this will not happen on our watch without us putting up a fight for our children’s – all of the children’s – future. Their eyes are on us, pleading with us to do something, anything. Here’s some inspiration – for we humans are capable of great beauty and self-sacrifice as well as incredible destruction and horror.