Thursday, March 26, 2009

Downstream from Alberta Oil Sands

The Oil Sands in Alberta, which are the source of a large portion of the oil we use in this country, are polluting streams that lead to the Great Lakes, and killing off large numbers of birds who are loosing their northern habitat to oil, according to an article Bird Alert in the NRDC's magazine OnEarth.

In the vast boreal forests of Alberta, Canada, as many as 166 million birds - including the Canada warbler (Wilsonian canadensis) - could die within the next 50 years, predicts a December 2008 NRDC report. The cause: the extraction and production of oil from the province's huge tar sands reserves.

A new documentary Downstream about the Oil Sands in Alberta shows how they are also causing drastic health problems for the native Americans living downstream. The video clip above is the trailer, so you can get an idea about the film, and the devastation going on to provide us with oil. Here is part of the PR I received about it:

Controversial environmental documentary Downstream by filmmaker Leslie Iwerks {Academy Award® nominated for "Recycled Life") is a world-wide exclusive feature on independent Web TV service Babelgum which enters the U.S. market this week with a tailored version of its mobile video application and a redesigned Flash-based website. The 2008 Oscar shortlisted film ... relates how one courageous doctor fights for the lives of the aboriginal people residing downstream from the oil sands of Alberta, one of the most polluting and burgeoning oil operations in the world.

"Downstream" has already exposed the 'downstream' health issues of the oil production to a wider audience, and also vexed Alberta's government when they realized their Alberta Film Development Fund had subsidized $67,000 of the film. Intense national discourse and debate over future arts funding and freedom of artistic expression ensued. Due to overwhelming positive feedback from the Canadian premieres earlier this month, the MP leader of the democratic party in Ottawa, Olivia Chow, is hosting a public screening of the film in Toronto on April 14th. The film also screens tonight at the Burbank International Film Festival.
You can read the full press release here. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has this to say about Downstream.

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