Sunday, October 6, 2013

Better Late Than Never - Synoptic Survey Photos

Posted by Katy

Back in late July, we conducted a synoptic survey of bog sites near the Ft. McMurray oil sands region. How does one do such a thing? With HELICOPTERS! Really. We hired a helicopter for the day and were flown from site to site so we could rapidly collect vegetation samples from a total of twenty sites over the course of two days. Not too shabby.

The survey also granted us the incredible opportunity to see the oil sands region from the sky; both the beauty of Alberta's natural peatlands and the widespread destruction of oil sands mining became apparent from our vantage point.

Our helicopter!
 A selection of some of the intact (and gorgeous) natural areas we spotted from above:

And the devastation of the oil sands operation...

It is hard for me to not feel upset and disturbed by the whole mining operation after seeing it up so close. Oil is energy, but at what cost? Oil from tar sands mining is the most energy-intensive to extract, and requires the destruction of some of the world's most valuable ecosystems. No thanks.


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