Change The World Wednesday, Environmental Concerns

This week’s challenge at Reduce Footprints is an easy one and would only take a few minutes of my time, I thought this would be one week that the challenge wouldn’t need an actual blog post.  Boy was I wrong.  If I am going to do something, I will research for all the facts, which I did today.   So what is this week’s challenge?


Have you heard about the Tar Sands Pipeline?  It not only threatens wildlife and natural habitat, it threatens drinking water.  While it directly affects Canada and the United States, it sets a dangerous precedent worldwide…..that the use of fossil fuels is acceptable.  Let’s raise our voices and let the world know that we not only want to stop the Tar Sands Oil Pipeline but we want sustainable, environmentally safe energy.  Please sign this petition (appropriate worldwide). 

Please visit Reduce Footprints for the Petition link.


There is more to this challenge such as finding another issue important to you and signing a petition on that cause or contacting your local officials about your environmental concerns.  But it’s the pipeline I want to talk about today.  The Tar Sands Oil Pipeline is better known as the Keystone XL Pipeline. For anyone not familiar with this subject, the Keystone XL pipeline would be built from Canada to the United States.  Right through the middle of the country to the gulf region where this crude oil would be refined.


If you aren’t concerned about this I have found some facts you might want to consider.

From National Geographic

From National Geographic


Tar Sands Action lists its concerns in the following areas:

  • The tar sands will not reduce dependency on foreign oil.  This oil would be converted to diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America.  Wait I thought this was to be used in the US?
  • Gas Prices will increase for Americans, especially farmers by 20 cents per gallon in the Midwest.
  • The job projections are vastly overstated.
  • Safety concerns:  A rupture in the pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland affecting fresh drinking water for 2 million people.
  • Nasa’s top climate scientist says that fully developing the tar sands in Canada would mean “essentially game over” for the climate.
  • TransCanada predicted the Keystone 1 Pipeline would see 1 spill in 7 years. Yet in fact there were 12 spills in 1 year.  Isn’t any spill too much.

Read the entire article here.


From the Huffington post

The Huffington post did a series of articles interviewing people living around the Tar Sands area in Canada.  I took this information from just one person’s account who lives along the Athabasca River, you can read the entire article here.

  • Fish are being spotted that are deformed, two tails and other deformities
  • Muskrats are dying off
  • Even living 100 miles  from an extraction site when the wind blows the right direction he is exposed to a tar-like stench and can see the pollution hanging in the air.
  • The air and water are being polluted with arsenic, lead, mercury, multiple hydrocarbons and other toxic chemicals.  These chemicals are being investigated to see if they are the reason for increased cancer rates.
  • A doctor came to the Athabasca River area and found higher rates of respiratory ailments, skin rashes and rare bile duct cancers (as much as 30%) higher than other areas of the state.
  • In March,  2000 barrels of contaminated water leaked into the Athabasca River.

Eco watch is also concerned about the effects on the climate

  • As a result of high carbon by-products from the refining process ( better known as petroleum coke) the Keystone XL Pipeline will damage the climate much worse than previously thought.  This will result  in “millions more tons of carbon pollution each year for decades to come,” is the consensus of Henry Waxman, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member.
  • Keystone XL would cause an additional 22.4 Mt of greenhouse gases to be emitted in Canada, equivalent to building 6.3 new coal-fired power plants or putting 4.6 million cars on the road.  These numbers are even higher when adding in the refining process that will take place.  (and let’s not forget the environmental cost associated with then shipping this to Europe and Latin America)

Read more here.


What would happen if there were a spill?

  • On June 1st, 9.5 million liters of industrial waste water spilled from oil and gas operations.  This waste water covered 1,000 acres, yet the damage done was not reported for more than 2 weeks after the fact.  The findings are horrific, every plant and tree that was in the path of this toxic product was killed.  Yep, every thing in the path was dead.  Click here for more on this story.


If the above information doesn’t worry you, what about beauty?  What do you want to see where you live?  The above pictures or this?




Since we know the Keystone 1 Pipeline had 12 spills of oil in 1 year; since we see this year that the result of water used in the extraction will kill any living thing (at least plant life) in its path when spilled;  since we know the health of marine life and humans is suffering in the areas where tar sands are being extracted..Can we really believe this is a good idea?   Will you take action, like I did today, to put a stop to the Keystone XL Pipeline?



4 thoughts on “Change The World Wednesday, Environmental Concerns

  1. This is such an important Issue it concerns us all around the world…. Yes I knew and have heard of the tar sands and to get the size of it in perspective for those who live in Britain, its area covers the approximate size of our country of Scotland… Can you imagine all that beauty in Scotland being destroyed to become a sea of tar?. Its disgraceful…
    You also have within the USA and Canada Fracking, where by they drill deep into the earths crust through all the water tables and inject a high pressure a mixture of gas and water and create explosions to rip back from the earth trapped deposits of Gas which they bring back to the surface.. Here in the UK our Government recently gave the go ahead to start Fracking,,, but they want it Up North not near London, why? well the last time they did a trial run it created a mini earth quake… USA is experiencing these all the time due to Fracking…. here within my own area Up North, is where we had mining communities for coal… My grandfather on my mothers side spent his whole life underground from the age of 14 to when he retired in old age..
    If they started Fracking here goodness knows the damage and subsidence it would cause let alone set off mini earthquakes of which we experienced on at point 5 on the scale some years back, My sons home developed cracks in his walls after it..

    The amount they get out of it is minuscule, and we as you say do not benefit … Plus we know there are alternative Bio fuels available that could be cleanly and cheaply produced, but again we have to ask ourselves who those Big Oil boys are… and why are we still raping the earth as we do..

    Great post Lois that brings us to ask a whole lot of questions and its up to us as readers to explore and find out our FACTs for ourselves and SEE what is happening right under our noses… and its time that we stood up to be counted to say enough is ENOUGH…. and to Clean up the World not keep destroying it..

    Wonderful post full of information
    Sue xox


    • Oh, Sue, I am so upset to hear fracking has been approved in your country. There is plenty of backlash over it here. Some areas are now refusing to allow any more to take place in their state, I am hoping this will put an end to it very soon. When I think about the damage of an oil spill with the Keystone XL all I can think is that we have so polluted our waters, now we are going to cover the land in spills. All to live a particular way when, like you said, there are alternatives. I have to give credit to Small Footprints for challenging us this week to think about this cause.


  2. Excellent research … thank you so much! In my opinion, there’s nothing positive about this pipeline. I’m also concerned about the fact that focusing on it allows the “big guys” to ignore sustainable, safe energy. Rather than continuing to pursue fossil fuels and all the problems the extraction of them causes, they could be spending their time developing energy models that are truly Eco-friendly. Thank you for raising your voice and taking a stand!


    • Exactly, Small Footprints! If we reduce our oil use, if we look for solar and wind and other ways of producing our power then these “guys” will begin to invest in solar panels, wind turbines, or some other business that will provide them with the profits, and those million dollar bonuses, they so badly want. When I hear someone say they expect a pipeline break at some point in the first 7 years, boy were they off, I wonder why they wouldn’t have stopped to build it better. What happens as that pipeline ages, like our infrastructure (bridges) that are literally falling apart, so too will that pipeline. I want nothing to do with this pipeline!!! I have my home set up so it takes no oil/gas to live. The entire building is run on electric, which in this area is supplied by nuclear. No I don’t like that either but it was my desire to eliminate my dependence on oil. And, you are welcome. It is amazing how much information is out there on both the pipeline and TransCanada.


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