Canadian Oil Sands and Lesser Prairie Chickens

Northern Alberta Tar Pit #3

It started off a few years ago as a project that would simply cost way too much to pursue. I remember it clearly as they said that it wouldn’t be explored because it was far to bad for the environment, cost way too much money, and there was way to much oil in the middle east… I remember even hearing how they said that with current technologies it takes more oil to actually extract the tar sands oil, than they actually get out of it in the process. But then oil went up to the prices we now see today, and suddenly WE THE CONSUMER started paying for our earth to be devastated. I’m talking about Canada’s oil sands.

Last time I was at the pump, gasoline was $141.9. For my ‘fuel efficient’ Jetta, a full tank costs about $70 to fill. I am paying for this exploration. I am guilty myself.

You know, if I was a believer in conspiracy theories, I might even venture to guess that half of the profits some of these oil companies get are by sneaky accounting. Think of this if you will: Company X buys oil, machinery, and pays employees while getting huge tax cuts and credits for being a developer of raw resources, for employing people, and numerous amounts of other loop holes. Company X just so happens to also extract the same oil they buy, so not only are they buying their own oil at premiums – keeping investors happy – they are also given tax credits to buy their own oil at premiums: essentially free government money. Company X also has huge backers on the board lobbying government, giving Company X basically ZERO risk factor of any sort of policy changes occurring in the near future that would hinder progress; if any policy change along the sorts is proposed that will make it harder for Company X to make large profits, the policy changes will be tied up in courts so long Company X will be allowed to take many years of life from planet earth.  Sounds like smart business, doesn’t it?

Today I signed many petitions to bring change in the world. I realize that it is slightly silly thinking that signing an online petition will bring change, but the positive fact of the matter is that many of these petitions do indeed bring change to the world. These petitions do have success. I’ve signed some petitions that have anywhere from a quarter of a million people signing them to over 2 million peoples signatures.

Today I signed a petition to bring the Lesser Prairie chicken – a rare grouse species threatened by oil and gas exploration, wildfires, and drought – under the wildlife protection act for protection against extinction.

I also signed a petition to bring the company Monsanto, and their super herbicide Roundup, forward to answer questions. Evidently a peer-reviewed report published in the scientific journal Entropy indicates glyphosate, a chief ingredient in herbicides like Roundup, is being found in the foods we all eat, we all buy from the grocer. Glyphosate is proven to have negative impacts on the human body by “manifesting slowly over time as inflammation [and] damages cellular systems throughout the body.” Not only does it effect humans, but animals and plants. In short, all life on the earth is effected by glyphosate and Monsanto’s Roundup.

CANADA ALBERTA FORT MCMURRAY 23JUL09 - View of Suncor Millennium tailings pond and tarsands mining operations north of Fort McMurray, northern Alberta, Canada. jre/Photo by Jiri Rezac / GREENPEACE © Jiri Rezac 2009

CANADA ALBERTA FORT MCMURRAY 23JUL09 – View of Suncor Millennium tailings pond and tarsands mining operations north of Fort McMurray, northern Alberta, Canada.
jre/Photo by Jiri Rezac / GREENPEACE
© Jiri Rezac 2009

Continue Reading →

Plastic: Why Are We Breathing?

I I just watched about 6 short videos on ‘Journey To Midway’, a documentary on the life and death that humans plastic consumption causes. How do we continue to breath? It is really quite shocking what we have done, what we continue to do, and what we continue to ignore. This is not a soft topic, this isn’t a discussion to be had over dinner with the business contacts. This is not about which number of ply you will buy of toilet paper and how much one can save if you buy bulk. Continue Reading →

Exponential Growth and The World We Live In

A massive catastrophe is speedily reaching us. Its not a doomsday forecast, predicted in the year 1801 by a psychic named Rasus. Nor is it propaganda from giant corporation funded newspapers to insight hysteria into the consumer to buy buy buy! What we are faced with is the pure facts of exponential growth rates.

For years we have been headlined with such slogans as “Our oil reserves have been increasing production at 4% per year, which means that we have more oil than every before in the reserves”, or “the world population must increase at a rate of 3% per year or we will not have enough people to fill our factories.” How do we continue to support these same newspapers and TV programs when the fill us with this junk? It boggles my mind.

What we do not understand is how this continued 3% or 5% growth rates effect us in the long run. What this ‘positive’ growth rate fails to inform us about, is how this actually works.

First of all, when you have a 5% growth, it compounds on top of the year before, so we now have a 5% on the 105%. So, lets use numbers.

Year 1, we have 100.

  • 2 = 105
  • 3 = 110.25
  • 4=115.76
  • 5=121.55
  • 6=127.62
  • 7=134.01
  • 8=140.71
  • 9=147.74
  • 10=155.13
  • 11=162.89
  • 12=171.03
  • 13=179.59
  • 14=188.56
  • 15=197.99
  • 16=207.89

So you see, at a growth rate of 5% we will have doubled in ~15years. One might be inclined to think 100/5 = 20, so it should take 20 years to double… But no.

This simple math can be estimated with the function ln(2)/% = 70/rate. So, for our case, 70/5=14. Pretty simple. The magic thing to remember is the 70. Somebody quotes you: “oh yeh, the expected growth of this stock is 7% per year,” or “These equity funds grow at a rate of .002% per year.” Now you’ll be able to say “One second, let me take out my smart phone calculator and add these up.. 70/7 = 10 years to double! Wow great investment! 70/.002=35000 years to double??! I think I’ll stick it under the mattress, thanks all the same.”

The other amazing thing, is that when we reach this double amount, it means that the total amount we are now seeing is more than double the previous double point. So, to show figures,  year 1’s 100, the amount the year 16 (doubling year) has increased by is 107.89. This means that it has more than doubled. And this continues on forever, as long as the exponential growth (or compounded continual growth continues).

To see this in a graph:

This simple graph has year in the x axis, and resultant growth total in the y-axis. You can see that between year 12 and 13, it is very obvious that the value has gone from 4000, to above 8000; more than doubled. It doesn’t just occur in those years though, it occurs in all the years prior as well, so every doubling period sees the same growth. Every time that 70/% year hits, this doubling factor is felt.

Another thing that I would like to point out is that if you notice at any two points, if you take the same two previously mentioned at year 12 and 13, you see that the 4000 it has grown by in year 13 (to 8000 from 4000), is a growth of more than what the entire total of all the years before have accumulated to, which was 4000. This is in itself the definition of a doubling time, which is the time it takes when you do the 70/% growth factor, so you can see how quickly this will grow at?

I hope this has enlightened you a little bit, or made you more aware of what it actually means to be a compounding or exponential growth, and I hope it will make you more aware of the situation that is inferred when somebody on the news says: “We need our population to grow at 3% per year, that would be a good sustainable thing”, or “Our oil consumption has a steady growth of 3.5% per year, which is expected to grow over the next 20 years by 0.3% per year, which should give our company a great stance in the markets.”

I want to leave you with this 8 part series of videos to watch off of youtube, or anywhere else you can find, so that you can learn this from an expert Dr. Albert A Bartlett who is famous for his lectures on exponents and who will explain it in far better terms than I can!


Good luck!

Artist Review: Chris Jordan

Simon Fraser Universities Burnaby campus art gallery is currently showcasing work from the artist Chris Jordan which is titled “Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait” which I felt was an astounding step towards opening the eyes of the consumer, in a way that makes them realize the extent of the damage done by being such.

His work exhibits the scale at which America consumes items such as Barbies, cell phones, plastic bottles, cars, and so on. Each one is labeled with a time frame, like America retires 426000 cell phones per day, and it shows the expanse of the waste that is built up. With a situation like this, our world will slowly be piled higher and higher with plastic and consumed garbage that will overtake us and we will have no choice but to immediately start resistance action.

I will showcase a few of his photographs here, but it really doesn’t do the expanse of his projects. These should be viewed on 20ft x 20ft prints and still you have to go in really close to see the exact detail of the photograph because the extent is simply far to great.

If you go to his website, but you can view interactive photographs that let you zoom in to really see the intricacies of them.

Above is some crazy number of inmate uniforms in the USA per day.

To be honest, I really haven’t detailed what the photos all mean, and hopefully you will find them interesting enough to check out his website to find further information.

If nothing else, I hope you take this as a warning: STOP CONSUMING!