The current issue of National Geographic features a harrowing feature article on the Alberta oilsands which is well worth your time. Don Martin writes in a CanWest news service wire story that privately, many government and energy industry insiders regard the piece as a public-relations disaster. National Geographic is widely read, and any article like this, especially one with some pretty amazing and disheartening photography, will expose millions of readers around the world to the stark devastation being wrought in Northern Alberta. Some are apparently calling this the industry’s “baby seal moment,” in that a few well-chosen images will do more to damage Canada’s environmental reputation than decades’ worth of environmental campaigning thus far.
You’d hope that people wouldn’t have to wait for National Geographic to do an epic photo essay to start giving a damn about the devastated hellscape that is metastasizing around Fort McMurray, but here we are. The oil industry PR forces will be spinning hard to try and contain the message that this is, in Martin’s words, “an emerging dirty-oil holocaust” — so what are we going to do to make sure that message keeps spreading?
[hat tip, Canadian Magazines blog]
Here’s part one of a documentary made by Vice magazine on the same topic. Thanks to AJ in the comments for pointing us to it. The whole series is available here.