Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It Is What It Is
Don Martin column today which describes the National Geographic story as the "baby seal moment" for the oil sands. There's no doubt that the story undercuts the public relations campaign of the Stelmach government. Martin is correct that this high profile attention will harm the tar sands "reputation", but apart from some vivid language, the piece is hardly unfair.
There is nothing presented by National Geographic that is factually untrue, and they do a good job highlighting the issues beyond a simple discussion on global warming. A propaganda piece is an attempt to "slant" the narrative- but really does anyone dispute how disgusting the tailing ponds are, their threat to waterways, the health risks, the damage to the ecosystem, the energy intensive methods needed, the social problems that accompany rapid expansion? In terms of historic oil production, the methods used, the quality of, really do represent "scraping bottom", so the description isn't in error or outlandish.
People can try to put lipstick on a pig all they want, but the tar sands are what they are, the National Geographic piece simply tells a story. Apologists would argue it's a sensational story, but nobody needs to photoshop the sludge, the moonscape speaks for itself and the health of the ecosystem isn't based on fiction. It's important to consider consequence, rather than a simple economic argument. If that constitutes a "baby seal moment", it should surprise no one, because it's part of a real reality that is conveniently ignored by proponents.
Posted by Steve V at 10:30 AM