Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC to protest the building of a pipeline that would traverse the USA, doing it’s own damage along the way, but bringing with it and enabling the production of billions of barrels of synthetic crude oil. NASA scientist, Jim Hansen has described the Keystone XL pipeline as a “fuse to a climate change time bomb.”
As a dual citizen, Canadian and American, this project and all it stands for is both near and dear to my heart, in many, many ways. The pipeline originates in my home province of Alberta, and traverses my adopted country. This pipeline, the Keystone XL has become a symbol and a rallying cry for the path we must NOT follow.
To learn more about the pipeline, the Alberta Tar Sands and the damage they are doing and can potentially do to our planet, take two minutes and watch the film trailer for White Water Black Gold.
WHAT THE FILM IS ABOUT AND WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT:
The movie follows adventurer and mountain guide David Lavallee on a three year journey as he travels from the Canadian Ice Fields; the glaciers and source of the mighty Athabasca river, to the Canadian Tar Sands where the river serves as THE resource that allows the mining of the tar sands to take place, and beyond to communities reliant on the Athabasca river, a river now changed and impacted by the Tar Sands. David also takes us down the North Saskatchewan river from it’s source in the Canadian Rockies through the city of Edmonton. This river and it’s water could become a significant resource for planned but yet to be built “upgraders,” huge plants which would help turn the tar sands into useable synthetic oil.
This movie touched me to the core. I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, where the North Saskatchewan River splits the city in two. I have canoed down the North Saskatchewan, camped and hiked in the Canadian Ice Fields, where glaciers that feed both the Athabasca and Saskatchewan rivers have their origins. I cried as I watched this 57-minute film. It takes us on a journey to some very unique and sacred places; places I have visited, touched and felt – places we are changing forever. The movie follows scientists, adventurers and regular people. It show us how the Canadian Ice Fields and the huge watersheds they feed are changing before our eyes, with their very essence threatened, as the glaciers and ice sheets that are their source are disappearing at unanticipated and accelerated rates.
The irony is that this is a full, crazy and destructive circle that humans have created and connected. We are using these melted waters to mine fossil fuels for us to burn, that in turn create greenhouse gases that are causing our climate to change and these glaciers to melt faster. Most of us can’t fathom the massive scale of these impacts, yet our life, food and planet depending on our careful management of our water resources. By removing water from these mighty rivers, taking it out of the hydrological cycle, as we are also doing to aquifers and rivers in the US, with fracking, we are exacerbating the water crisis that is, like a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off.
White Water Black Gold reminds me of a similar life changing journey of another adventurer, James Balog, as he shows us the dramatic retreat of glaciers around the world in his film, Chasing Ice. Both of these movies allow us to be witnesses to our thoughtlessness and destructiveness. Hopefully they will help many of us to “connect the dots” between our use of fossil fuels and our changing climate and to the planetary urgency that we have created and now must address.
Watch this film with the kids in your life. Get to Washington DC on February 17th if you can, or find out how to support the rally if you can’t. Get informed about the facts about Climate Change and face denial head on.
As we tell our children:
Tell the Truth;
Actions speak louder then words, and
DON’T BE AFRAID.
We have no choice but to face our future, and our future CANNOT be a future reliant on fossil fuels.