My 1,700-mile hike across the XL Pipeline – Salon.com
Well worth reading. peace, mjh
I wanted to learn everything about the environmental battle. I saw a country marked by apathy, and flickers of hope
By Ken Ilgunas
On a cool morning in September 2012, I strapped on my backpack, stuck out my thumb north of Denver, Colo., and hitchhiked 1,500 miles to the Alberta Tar Sands. After viewing the Tar Sands — a horizon-to-horizon Ayn Rand wasteland of bulldozed Boreal Forest, eerie yellow sulfur pyramids, and Armageddon-black tailing ponds — I hitchhiked south to Hardisty, Alberta, the northern terminus of the pipeline-to-be, where I’d begin my hike. My ultimate destination would be Port Arthur — an oil refinery city on the Gulf Coast of Texas, which would be the southern terminus of the XL. …
More than just another pipeline, the XL, to me, is a historic battleground: the first-ever fight — led by Bill McKibben and his organization 350.org — over a project because of climate change. Even if its path would lead me through the “middle of nowhere,” with the fate of a warming world at stake, I thought of the XL as the center of the universe. And I wanted to be there and learn everything I could about it.
If President Obama approves the XL — which he may or may not do in the next few months — the Tar Sands of northern Alberta will continue to be developed (perhaps to the size of Florida), a prospect that one climate scientist has called “game over” for climate change.