Oil has an immense significance in modern civilization. Humanity depends on oil for many things. Oil is used to create electricity, plastic, aspirin, and to fuel our cars. This resource provides many products people normally take for granted and greatly influences modern society. Oil can be found in many countries around the world, and Canada has its own oil deposit situated in central and northern Alberta, the biggest being the Athabasca oil sands. The Alberta oil sands are the third largest deposit of oil in the world, after the deposits in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Because of the importance of oil to the world’s population and the large amount of oil Canada sells to the US, Canada’s black gold has brought the country fortune since 1913, when the oil was first discovered. But of course, nothing can have only positive outcomes, and the oil sands come with its own share of negative effects. Health is declining, especially in small Albertan towns scattered across central Alberta near the oil sands. Many of Alberta’s other industries are being reduced to nearly nothing. The environment in Alberta, along with the entire world’s, is being completely destroyed with every barrel of oil extracted from Alberta’s oil sands. These negative effects of the oil sands rule out the positive, and make it clear that the fortune is not worth it.
Good health generally leads to living a long and fulfilling life, enabling people to enjoy productive and rewarding years of working, recreation, spirituality, relationships with family and friends, and an overall achievement attitude. Unfortunately, not everyone has good health. The health of people, especially in the central and northern Alberta region, is declining, day by day because of the oil sands. Most people in Canada take advantage of their access to clean drinking water, but in Alberta, the province’s drinking water supply has diminished dramatically due to the fact that the oil sands have contaminated their drinking water. To separate the oil from the soil from tar sands, water has to be used. This water then gets contaminated and dumped into lakes, rivers, and other water supplies, particularly the Athabasca River, which flows through Alberta’s largest oil sands. Because of the contaminated drinking water, Albertans in this area are at a very high risk of waterborne diseases. Destroying the water systems is not the only effect that decreases public health, the air is getting more and more dangerous to breathe. The oil sands daily release hazardous toxins into the air we breathe. This puts not only Albertans, but millions of others, in danger of airborne diseases. The health of the people in small First Nations communities in the area is the worst of all. There have been unusually high levels of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases have been reported. This threatens their traditional way of life, and substance abuse, suicide, gambling, and family violence has increased. The oil sands have done cruel things to these people. Any decent human being should be able to tell that the importance of the Albertan public’s health is of far greater importance than the government’s greed for excessive wealth.
Oil is a non-renewable resource. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. There would be a catastrophic result on Alberta’s economy when the province runs out of its most precious and influential resource. The province needs more renewable industries it can rely on once the oil sands can no longer bring the province any fortune. At this rate, the Alberta oil sands will completely destroy all of Alberta’s other industries, devastating the province and its economy. Three of Alberta’s most important industries before the discovery of oil were the fisheries, forestry, and farming. These industries are still going strong, but bit by bit, they are slowly disappearing from Alberta because of the oil sands. Like stated before, the oil sands contaminate the water. This has an immense