Environmental Stewardship



Thetar sands, also regarded as the oil sands, are technically termed asthe bituminous sands. They are one kind of an unconventionalpetroleum deposit. The oil sand occurs naturally. It is a mixture ofclay, the sand, as well as water. These constituents of oil sands aresaturated with an extremely viscous and dense petroleum from known asbitumen. Canada is the leading country in the quantity of naturalbitumen deposits. Both the mining, as well as the processing of theoil sands, possess a number of environmental impacts. The impactsinclude greenhouse gas emission, the global warming and adverseimpacts water and air quality among others (Chastko, 2004). Thedocument below analyzes oil sands and various parameters attributedit.


Oilsands are necessary due to a number of ways. Oil cannot be termed tobe the devil. As other forms of energy, oil acts as a savior for manyimpoverished individuals in the developing nations. Human cannotdevelop without energy. Most of the federal programs in Alberta, forinstance, are funded by the tax revenue obtained from the oil sands.It is also responsible for offering employment to thousands ofskilled tradespeople and engineers. The survival of the most middleclass Canadians lies on oil. The oil sands have also brought a greatrevolution in the sale of petroleum products. The 1990’s technologyby the oil sands allowed the reduction of oil per barrel. These factsreveal that oil sands possess numerous advantages and therefore theyare necessary (Percy, 2012).

TheAlberta oil sands brought numerous implications in all the lifeaspects of the Alberta residents. The refining and extraction of theoil sands which are hydrocarbons can be termed as the most pollutingprocess in the earth. The extraction and refining the tar sandsbrought about the drainage of the wetlands, rivers’ diversion inAlberta. This happens to be a big blow to the residents of Albertasince their land tends to lack value. The extraction process alsocaused stripping of vegetation and trees from the forests of Alberta.The drainage of all wetlands takes place because the sand oil demandsfor a lot of water so as to be extracted (Nikiforuk &amp David,2009).

Themain stakeholder of the world is running out of the conventional oilis the United States of America. A study that was conducted in USAshowed that the natural gas and world’s oil measurements arerunning out very fast. The study indicated that this world’s fuelin the years between 2010 and 2020 will fall below the requiredlevels so as to meet the international demand. The Americangovernment expressed their awareness of the upcoming disastrousglobal energy shortage. This reveals that America was the mainstakeholder. The fact that USA relied on Canada so much so as toimport energy from them, made the Canadians also the stakeholders aswell (Chastko, 2004).

Canadaand America are currently the leading nations in matters related tothe sand oils. Approximately 98% of the sand oils produced in Canadaare exported the United States. This clearly shows that Canada isthe leading supplier of the energy exports to the global largesteconomy. This business has created a mutual relationship between thetwo states. They have made arrangements of harmonizing their businesstreaties so they can freely transact the sand oils business (Percy,2012).

RiverAthabasca tends to pass via the land rich in numerous minerals. Dueto its use in the extraction sand oil it drains off the watershed.The removed minerals due to the chemicals of sand oil are alsodrained off and eventually end up in Lake Athabasca. From a literalperspective, one can argue that the main objective of the river isdraining of riches of the earth. Due to contaminants in the riverwater brought about by sand oil extraction the entire upstream isfull of toxins (Nikiforuk &amp David, 2009).

Cancer,blood tumors, as well as other health risks, have been confirmed tobe triggered by the sand oils extraction. Dr. John O`Connor indicatedthat incidences of bile duct cancer were reported in the nativeresidents of Alberta. Toxins were reported in the tailing pondstraveling downstream to the lake which was the village’s source ofwater. Report also indicated that the oil sands released excessiveamounts of pollutants to the air. In the year 2010, the CanadianCancer Society revealed that there were approximately 173,800 newcases of cancer. This was higher by 2800 from the previous year. Acertain Albertan also revealed that his uncle by the name Raymonddied of tumor. All these diseases are linked to the petroleumproducts including the hydrocarbons dioxin-like chemicals and VOCs(Percy, 2012).

FortChipewyan’s community had been for long related to feeding on thetraditional foods. However, the extraction of sand oils has greatlyaffected their mode of living. The sands extraction has led to thedestruction of their fishing and hunting lands. The community alsoclaimed that deer, caribou, moose ad elk among other animals arevanishing. Others have become infected with diseases. The waterpollution, on the other hand, has completely damaged the fish stocks.Many plants have been striped. Some of these plants are used astraditional medicine. This clearly indicates how the sand oilsaffected the community’s life. The fish caught revealed extremedeformities. Some of them had tumors and cysts. Others had crookedtails, and some were caught partly consumed by the chemicals. Thisrevealed that the fish were not fit for consumption (Chastko, 2004).

Afterthe existence of numerous signs of great threat to the health ofhuman beings as a result of the sand oil extraction, the Canadianphysicians requested for a baseline health study. However, physicianreport was not regarded as it was supposed to. The Alberta’s healthminister admitted not to have read the report, but he noted that thereport had nothing new. He also said that it didn’t offer him withany reason of being concerned about the safety of the Alberta’sdrinking water. The officials also noted reluctantly that thesedimentary contaminants occurred naturally since the area was richin petroleum (Nikiforuk &amp David, 2010).

Thepress conference on fish deformities caught the attention of verymany people. They also got enlightened on how bad the chemicals arenot only to them but to all the human beings. In a press conferenceat Edmonton AB revealed, fish had gained enormous deformities. Somefish had crooked tails while others had tumors on their bodies.Chemicals had also consumed some parts of the fish presented. Thisrevealed how bad the situation had turned to be (Nikiforuk &ampDavid, 2009).

DavidSchindler, an ecologist in the University of Alberta revealed theexamples of fish with deformities, tumors as well as other signs ofinfections. All these fish were collected from the lower part ofAthabasca River, Lake Athabasca, and Athabasca Delta. They arelocated downstream from where oil sands were extracted. This was inthe efforts of enlightening the public that the water wascontaminated since asking the government they could not accept thatfact. In my opinion, the Alberta government claiming that the waterwas uncontaminated was very misleading. This is because enough proofwas available since fish could be normal, and also there could be noincrease in cancer cases and other diseases (Percy, 2012).

Thetar oil developments possess economic advantages. However, the healthof human beings is more important the economic gains that can beeasily gained as a result of developing the sand oils. Manypoliticians tended to support this development on the account ofeconomic gain. However, some insisted the health of the community andrejected the development of tar oil. In the Canadian constitutionact, 1982 and section 35 gives people the right to fish and hunt.Initially, the act was meant for the aboriginal rights only where theIndians were allowed to hunt and fish for food. However, theprovision has been misused and has turned out to be a way ofdestroying the ecosystem (Chastko, 2004).


Inconclusion, energy is a very essential aspect in the life of a humanbeing. However, it is good to consider all factors before embarkingon the extraction of minerals or other forms of energy. The sand oilhas great economic advantage. However, the effects on human as wellas the environment raise very many questions. The responsiblegovernment should seize from extracting them until they adopt a safemode of their extraction. Human life is more important than economicas well as other physical aspects.


Chastko,P. A. (2004).&nbspDevelopingAlberta`s oil sands: From Karl Clark to Kyoto.Calgary: University of Calgary Press.

Nikiforuk,A., &amp David Suzuki Foundation. (2009).&nbspTarsands: Dirty oil and the future of a continent.Vancouver: Greystone Books.

Nikiforuk,A., &amp David Suzuki Foundation. (2010).&nbspTarsands: Dirty oil and the future of a continent.Vancouver: Greystone Books.

Percy,K. E. (2012).&nbspAlbertaoil sands: Energy, industry and the environment.Edinburgh: Elsevier.