Fur trade and tar sands

Here is Joseph Boyden talking with the Globe and Mail last fall about his novel Orenda:

“You look at this novel and you think immigration, who you allow in and who you don’t. The Hurons allow in the ones who ulimately destroy them, because the Huron aren’t perfect either. They need the trade, and how much greed was involved in that? Look environmentally – you wipe out all the furs and your economy is gone. It’s like the oil sands.”

The fur trade destroyed the Huron economy and the Huron. Bitumen destroys the Canadian economy, and through carbon emissions destroys species unnumbered including humankind.


  • Really! Bitumen is destroying the Canadian economy? The entire energy sector is only about 6-8% of that economy.

    Carbon is an issue for all of us – especially consumers. I am an Albertan and an owner of the oil sands. Please use this product responsibly.

    Habitat is a serious issue but the boreal forest is big enough to enable adaptation for pit mines. In situ operations need to be more sensitive to fragmentation impact. It could be worse than pit mines for habitat issues.

  • Owners do indeed have an obligation. But a good many “experts” are convinced that climate change is such a serious threat to life on the planet that all mining and refining of bitumen should cease. Are you as an “owner” prepared to contemplate that?

  • “Really! Bitumen is destroying the Canadian economy?”

    I triggered a run-up in the Canadian dollar which has caused significant damage to the manufacturing industry.

  • Mr. Watkins,
    I am not a scientist, a scholar or a politician. I am a Canadian citizen who is alarmed about climate change. I am losing sleep over the fact that none of the 3 major federal political parties are willing to put the atmosphere before votes. I believe that it is crucial to stop further development of the tar sands and begin to transition to clean energy now. I believe that if Canadians really understood what a small window of opportunity the world has that they would be able to demand that politicians do everything in their power to really address reducing carbon emissions. I am searching for a group or organisation to join that has the best hope of getting this message out to the electorate. So far what I see are dedicated environmentalists who are focussed on the many small issues such as the decline of monarch butterflies, or the need to support local farmers etc. I believe that we are out of time to put our energy into anything but getting the big message of how urgent addressing climate change itself is. Where do I start?

  • I don`t know where you live, but try to find out what groups there are in your area that are working against climate change. I personally think that non-violent protest against pipelines is the best thing one can do – usually with aboriginal people

  • Pipelines are a trivial issue for climate change. Fighting for a carbon tax would be far more effective. If you succeed at that, the pipeline problems would solve themselves.

  • Interfere with the building of pipelines to bring tar sands oil to market has the prospect of lessening its consumption and thereby limiting is effect on climate change. Would be a good complement to a carbon tax.

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