The True Cost of Oil: Garth Lenz @ TEDxVictoria

by Mark Lovett on March 3, 2012

Much as been said about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, designed to transport synthetic crude oil from the Athabasca Tar Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada into the United States.  While many folks tout this project as a way to support the American economy by providing energy resources and creating jobs, in this dynamic and impassioned TEDxVictoria session Garth Lenz presents the ecological nightmare currently unfolding in Alberta as a result of our insatiable thirst for oil.

The world’s largest and most devastating environmental and industrial project is situated in the heart of the largest and most intact forest in the world, Canada’s boreal forest. – Garth Lenz

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The Alberta Tar Sands, situated in the Canadian boreal forest, represents one of the earth’s largest reserves of fossil fuels, second only to Saudia Arabia, but the nature of these tar sands, and the method of extraction, is quite different from the oil that is pumped from the ground; requiring far more energy & water while producing more toxic pollution.

The Boreal Forest ecosystem supports nearly 50% of the world’s remaining intact forests and is the world’s largest and most important carbon storehouse – holding 22 percent of the total carbon stored on the earth’s land surface, and almost twice as much carbon per unit area as tropical forests.
International Boreal Conservation Campaign

These stunning photographs by Garth Lenz tell the big story, and beg the question: Which vision of the future resonates most with you?

An industrial landscape created by oil companies?

The True Cost of Oil #1 by Garth Lenz

The True Cost of Oil #2 by Garth Lenz

The True Cost of Oil #3 by Garth Lenz

The True Cost of Oil #4 by Garth LenzOr the pristine landscape created by nature?

The True Cost of Oil #5 by Garth Lenz

The True Cost of Oil #6 by Garth Lenz

The True Cost of Oil #7 by Garth Lenz

The True Cost of Oil #8 by Garth LenzWe have a choice of ecological destruction, or development of clean energy.

The question is, what does your future look like?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Cutler March 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

Excellent piece! I’ve been working here in BOston with those fighting the Keystone XL pipeline. We’ve at least delayed it. But this piece shows that as just one part in the overall desperate attempt to squeeze the last bit of “juice” out of the Earth, and the irreversible damage that touching those tar sands will cause.
Educating people will work much better than fighting over it HOpefully we can scuttle the Republican/Big Oil efforts here in the US by making everyone aware of the future consequences. Let’s hope Canada can return to the way it used to appear… concerned about things other than short term profits!!!


Ray Sherwood March 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

stop subisdizing big oil


Global Patriot March 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm

That would be a start, as the true cost of fossil fuels is masked by subsidies and tax breaks, but the other side of the equation lies in the hidden health costs that societies pay as a result of increased pollution. These secondary costs are simply passed on to other parts of the financial system, and they are costs that don’t exist with clean energy solutions like wind and solar.


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