Playing the Indian Card

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fort McMurray's Ugly Tar Sands

Neil Young has recently complained about the Athabasca Tar Sands, saying that the mining operations there make Fort McMurray look like "Hiroshima."

As I have noted before, musicians like Young are really political innocents. They are the classic "low information voters." So there is no reason to get upset about such comments. Moreover, as an artist, Young is going to be more sensitive than most of us to purely aesthetic considerations, as opposed to the hard realities of getting and keeping a job.

Interesting terrace effects, though.

That said, how bad are the aesthetics of Fort McMurray's oil sands? Granted, they are not lovely as they stand; and strip mining companies are normally required to refill once they have finished mining, to address any possible concerns. But what would happen if the mines were just left as they are? Would they continue to be an eyesore forever?

I think we can answer that question. Here is a panoramic view of an old strip coal mine in Russia, where, under Communism, such aesthetic considerations were never addressed.

What you get is, in short, a lake.

My advice: buy an abandoned strip mine now. Subdivide for cottages later.

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