With Spike Jonez at the helm of VICE's internet TV station VBS.TV, you're bound to get an eclectic and irreverent look at the world. Toxic Alberta, a look at the foreboding landscape of oil extraction in an area of Canada larger than Florida (approx 140,000 square kilometers/54,000 square miles), is airing in installments over the next month.
You can see the first part here.
The piece begins with a shaky closeup on what could be a post-apocolyptic city scape burning orange in the night, but of course we're witness to a giant oil field in Fort McMurray, Canada, (pop. 70,000), the small town “epicenter” of the country's oil industry, responsible for two-thirds of Canadian contributions to greenhouse emissions. The process of removing oil from Canadian sands, “the very worst in our desire to extract oil,” says one environmental policy analyst, is costly and inefficient, and comes largely to the world having reached peak oil (that means more than half gone in any given field) most everywhere else. The installment notes that there are an estimated 1.7-2/5 trillion barrels of oil stuck in Canadian sand, that is, 1,000 times more oil than in Saudia Arabia. The series will investigate the social and environmental effects of the ongoing stampede to deplete.