A bestselling investigative journalist takes a tour of the Alberta oil and gas industry, revealing how Canada’s richest province is squandering our chance for a sustainable future.
In its desperate search for oil and gas riches, Alberta is destroying itself. As the world teeters on the edge of catastrophic climate change, Alberta plunges ahead with uncontrolled development of its fossil fuels, levelling its northern Boreal forest to get at the oil sands, and carpet-bombing its southern half with tens of thousands of gas wells. In so doing, it is running out of water, destroying its range land, wiping out its forests and wildlife and spewing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adding to global warming at a rate that is unrivalled in Canada or almost anywhere else in the world. It’s digging, drilling and blasting its way to oblivion, becoming the ultimate symbol of Canada’s – and the world’s – pathological will to self-destruct.
Nowhere has the world seen such colossal environmental destruction as is being wreaked on Alberta. At one point the province even went so far as to consider a scientist’s idea of nuking its underbelly to get at the tar sands. Stupid to the Last Drop looks at the increasingly violent geopolitical forces that are gathering as the world’s gas and oil dwindle and the Age of Oil begins its inevitable slide towards oblivion. As Canadians deplete their energy reserves, selling them off to Americans at bargain-basement prices, no thought is given to conservation or the long-term needs of the nation.
In this powerful polemic, William Marsden journeys across the heart of a province seized by the destructive forces of greed, power and the energy business, and envisions a very bleak future.
“[Marsden brings] a fresh pair of discerning eyes to an unusual series of nation-changing events. . . . [H]e confidently reports how an entire province is destroying itself, and then asks why no one in Canada ‘seems to care.’ . . . The biggest stupidities that Marsden discovers could and probably should shock any Canadian. . . . Yet Marsden’s unsettling exposé of careless decision-making sheds more needed light on some very dark corners in Alberta (and Canada). He has walked into a provincial boom-town, populated largely by arrogant and greedy males (Hells Angels with suits), and not flinched. Good on you, partner.” —Andrew Nikiforuk, The Globe and Mail
“This is a powerfully eloquent polemic.” —Edmonton Journal (September 14)
“Marsden’s book is an engaging and entertaining read. . . . [A] worthwhile read and it will likely generate a fair bit of discussion about the industry.” —National Post
“[Marsden’s] book is a good primer on many of these urgent problems . . . Marsden has held the environmental mirror up to Albertans and it’s not a pretty sight—as many here have known for some time. . . . Marsden tells his story with a judicious mixture of personal stories and technical details of oil and gas extraction.” —Edmonton Journal
“For the . . . dozen or so Albertans who believe the energy industry and its friends in the Alberta government are neither all good nor all bad and who believe the same of ardent death-to-civilization environmentalists—[you] need to read this book. . . . [T]his book could not have come out at a more opportune time. Marsden takes the worries of ordinary citizens and voices them . . . he pulls together all the disparate concerns into a readable whole. . . . None of us can feel smug. The sensible use of non-renewable resources is all of our duty, regardless of our association with the energy business.” —Calgary Herald