Sunday, 20 September 2009

Petropolis







[A tailings pond is a toxic lake so dangerous that air cannon and scarecrows are used to deter wildlife. ?? Greenpeace / Eamon Mac Mahon]
[A tailings pond is a toxic lake so dangerous that air cannon and scarecrows are used to deter wildlife. ?? Greenpeace / Eamon Mac Mahon]

One of my favorite films from this year???s TIFF has to be Peter Mettler???s Petrolis.  Mettler, who was the cinematographer for Edward Burtynsky???s Manufactured Landscapes, takes on a directorial role on Petropolis, which visually documents the Alberta Tar Sands.  Given the massive scale of the project, the infrastructures, and the process, Mettler had few choices but to document the project from an aerial perspective.


[A giant earth mover transports earth mined at an open pit for processing to separate the bitumen. ?? Greenpeace / Eamon Mac Mahon]
[A giant earth mover transports earth mined at an open pit for processing to separate the bitumen. ?? Greenpeace / Eamon Mac Mahon]
The Canadian Tar Sands are the largest supplier of oil to the United States and the largest GHG emitters in Canada.  Located in northern Alberta, the Tar Sands consume over 140,000 square kilometers (or an area the size of England).  While the scale and sheer devastation to the landscape is incomprehensible, currently only three percent of the project (or 420 sq. km) has been carried out.  Increasing oil prices is attracting more investors to the Tar Sands.  Currently there are close to 100 projects planned, which total approximately $100 billion.

simultaneously beautiful and horrifying

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