Alberta’s tar sands are one of the biggest social and ecological challenges in North America, fueling climate change, destroying the northern boreal forest, and drying up our mighty rivers.
With proven reserves of 175 billion barrels, the tar sands are second only to Saudi Arabia in available oil supply. As development continues at an alarming rate, concerns are growing over the impacts on communities and the environment.
Boreal forest destruction
When all the tar sands are developed, they will destroy an area of northern Alberta the size of Florida. In over 40 years of production, not a single piece of land has been reclaimed or restored to government standards by tar sands companies.
Global warming acceleration
As one of the dirtiest oil projects in the world, the tar sands are the single largest contributor to Canada's growing global warming pollution and are one of the main reasons the Canadian government refuses to meet its international obligations to fight the climate crisis.
Indigenous and Northern communities downstream are being poisoned by toxic water and fumes.
Mining of the tar sands takes valuable water resources permanently out of the hydrological cycle and creates toxic wastewater, which is stored in massive tailings ponds. If combined, the volume of water in these "ponds" would be the third-largest dammed body of water in the world.
Surrounding communities are being hit by social issues like escalating housing costs, increased rates of drug and alcohol abuse, highest rates of suicide in young man in Canada, and labour shortages in critical employment areas like health care, and education.
Seventy percent of the crude oil being extracted from the tar sands is sent straight south to the USA.