Dean Bavington recently posted a link to a broadcast on Al Jazeera that focused on Canada’s tar sands industry in northern Alberta. Broken into two parts, the documentary, “To the Last Drop”, succinctly surveys the numerous adverse environmental effects of tar sands development, especially the infusion of carcinogenic toxins into the Athabasca River watershed. It covers in some detail, the findings of the former Fort Chipewyan community doctor, John O’Connor, and the ground-breaking research of University of Alberta professor of ecology, David Schindler and his team on the contamination of water for downstream communities.
This is a fantastic resource for environmental history educators looking for a good, clear documentary film to show students to illustrate the interconnections between the consumption of oil resources, mainly in urban centers, and its distributed effects on rural hinterlands and beyond. It also provides an excellent, up-to-date discussion of tar sands development in general.
Curiously, this film was not aired on our public broadcaster or any of our private broadcasters in Canada. This omission speaks to some of the concerns recently expressed in Kai Nagata’s blog post on leaving the field of television journalism in Canada.