Attack of the Sticky Menace

[The following is a creative perspective on the recent verdict finding Syncrude guilty in the death of 1,600 ducks that landed in one of their tar sands tailing ponds.]

Sixteen hundred ducks flew over the Canadian sky in the annual migration to their mating grounds, guided by genetic compasses, as they had for millennia.  Instead of cool, dark forest as far as the bird’s eye view could see, smokestacks pumping out heavy black fumes and tangles of pipelines carrying modern day alchemy stretch for miles.  You see, the earthmovers had discovered a way to turn tar into gold.

Where once had grown the one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, now refineries and boom towns and pit mines have taken hold like any other invasive species.  That’s right, the tar sands are the Asian carp of Canada.  And despite our best efforts, they show now signs of going away.  Fifteen years of reckless and drunken expansion have led to the most destructive project on the face of the planet.  And, you know what the word for unrestricted growth is?  Cancer.

But to the ducks winging their way home, they only saw a choice between landing on pit mines and machinery or those large, still lakes that stretch for miles.  Kind of a no-brainer for these birdbrains.  But as they settled to rest and feed, the water began to burn their bodies, the thick oily scum on the surface gummed up their wings and eventually dragged them under.  Those sixteen hundred birds never flew again.

Two years later, a judge declared that Syncrude was the culprit and the toxic tailings the instrument of this avian annihilation.  The cause for celebration was that the corrupting influence of tar sands finally failed to evade environmental responsibility.  But what restitution came from the case?  Not to clean up the sludge lakes.  Not to find a way to eliminate the waste.  No, Syncrude must simply erect scarecrows and airhorns to scare ducks away.

The tragedy is that there is no one to scare the greedy little earthmovers from their addiction to black gold.

[Please take action to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring tar sands into the United States for refining. Click here for more information]

1 Response to “Attack of the Sticky Menace”


  1. 1 Erich Pica: Opposition Builds to Canadian Pipeline for the World’s Dirtiest Oil Trackback on Jul 9th, 2010 at 7:00 pm
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About Juliana


Juliana Williams grew up in Washington state and began organizing at Whitman College in 2004, working to get her campus to purchase renewable energy. She volunteered with the Sierra Student Coalition and help found the Cascade Climate Network. Following that, she lived in Iowa for two years, working as the SSC's Great Plains Organizer with amazing students in MN, IA, MO, NE and SD. After working with the Breakthrough Institute she is now pursuing her Master of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. She is an avid ultimate player, plays string bass and spends way too much time on wikipedia.

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