When is Enough, Enough? was made for the CBC series The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. The Mikisew Cree First Nation live in Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca downstream from the mammoth Alberta oil sands. Worried about their dwindling environment the Mikisew opposed two big new oil sands developments with a team of renowned scientists led by Dr. David Schindler and traditional knowledge experts.
The Mikisew want a moratorium on any further oil sands development until science can answer when is enough, enough?
When is enough, enough?
In the early 21st century, the United States declared Alberta’s oil sands to be ‘proven oil reserves’ and upgraded its oil estimates for Canada from 5 billion to 175 billion barrels, placing this country second in supply, just behind Saudi Arabia. The US ambassador to Canada said the US needs this oil and wants to see a more streamlined regulatory process to speed development to supply the US market.
Already, $60 billion was already invested in oil sands projects along the Athabasca River just north of Fort MacMurray, Alberta. Now, all the big oil companies are clambering to expand their existing projects and begin new ones sparking an oil boom. One of these companies, Shell Oil, applied to build a new $3 billion project called Jack Pine. Most oil sands projects have been quickly approved by the regulators. But for the first time, the Mikisew Cree First Nations mounted a significant challenge to Shell’s application by using a team of world renowned scientists led by Dr. David Schindler to review the companies’ Environmental Impact Statements.
For a very long time, the Mikisew, have lived on the Peace-Athabasca Delta downstream from the oil sands region. They are worried about the overwhelmingly rapid rate of development. The effects on their water are particularly serious because the oil sands use as much as 3 barrels of water for every barrel of oil and it all comes from the Athabasca River. And the delta is drying up.
We also ‘go out on the land’ with long term trapper, hunter, and guide Willie Courtoreille, who will also appear at the oil sands hearings. Willie will show us the beautiful Peace-Athabasca Delta and the damage he will be talking about at the hearings.
“When is Enough, Enough?” examines the clashing values and inevitabilities between industrial society and First Nations on the battlefield of our natural environment.