Monday, September 27, 2010

Fort McMurray

If you don't live in Alberta you might not have heard but 'Superstar' Director James Cameron is in Alberta to tour Fort McMurray and the Oilsands. When Avatar came out there was lots of talk that it was an analogy for the Oilsands, er... I mean Tarsands. Basically, he is here to tell us that mining is bad and it harms the aboriginal way of life.

Although, I do have some general problems with the Oil/Tar Sands (damage to the watershed) I think it's completely asinine that a director known for ridiculous budgets and massive explosions would champion this cause. Maybe he should instead advocate for less consumption and conservation of energy rather than exorcising his white guilt.

What is the carbon footprint of his personal lifestyle?
  • His house is a 8,272 sq ft property with six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The home boasts a tennis court, swimming pool, gourmet kitchen, interior garden and courtyard, guest house and an indoor cinema
  • On living in the Malibu Hills“We have a big fire problem here- we take the pool water, mix it with Class A foam, and pump it out over the whole property. Everybody else just runs for the hills." He even has his own customized red Humvee platform fire truck parked in the driveway just in case!Link
  • Then there is the Life magazine article "Jet Setting with the Cast of Avatar" that follows the main stars as they travel to Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and London on a promotional tour. I wonder how his magical ecoplane floats to each destination. He is such a noble eco-warrior as you can see in the glamorization of celebrity and excess that these pictures represent. Link
James Cameron can bugger off. Go make your lame sequels with recycled plots.
Alright, I'll get off my soapbox now...

I actually traveled to Fort MacMurray two weeks ago for a trade show:

An Oilsands tradeshow.
And I flew there.
Apparently, I shouldn't cast too many stones.
I'm so evil!!!

I had never been to that part of Alberta before and as we began the descent into the city the first thing that struck me was how beautiful it is up there. There is literally nothing but trees and marsh around the city. It looks fantastic from the sky.

I checked into the Hotel and marveled at the great treeline visible from the room.
Lots of people in Edmonton like to badmouth Ft. Mac as dirty and full of ignorant roughnecks. My experience there was actually really positive. I found it to be a lot like the places I've lived in Saskatchewan.

Like rural Saskatchewan there is generally a ridiculous male to female ratio.
 Everyone drives a truck.
The folks love their sports, in this case even the RoughRiders.
I can't vouch for the claims of rampant drug abuse but let me tell you after living in rural SK and downtown Edmonton I don't think I would consider the problem to be any more pronounced. I could definitely live up there.

As for the show - it was ok. Lots of industry people to talk to and cool new things to see.
I never got to see the the actual Oil/Tar Sands sites. I would love to be able to do a fly over and see it though. Instead I had to go back to my 600sq.ft condo and work at the non-profit who employs me the next morning. What a novel concept.
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