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Political Science Environmental Policy

Journey to the Tar Sands

foreword by Elizabeth May & Maude Barlow

edited by Tim Murphy

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2008
Environmental Policy, Environmental Science
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2008
    List Price

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In August 2007, a group of nineteen young environmentalists set out by bike from Alberta's southern boundary to learn the truth about the tar sands and what they mean for people and the environment. As members of the Sierra Youth Coalition, coming from all across Canada, they were passionate about the chance to see things for themselves. They knew that the tar sands are the biggest obstacle to Canada meeting the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. They wanted to better understand why developing this resource is so important and appealing not just to oil companies but to ordinary Canadians as well.

This book is the story of their trip, told by the riders and illustrated by their photos. It describes the people and places they visited, what they learned on that journey, and the friendships and adventures they shared in the three weeks it took them to travel the hundreds of kilometres from the pristine beauty of Waterton Glacier Park, at the US-Canada border in the south, to the vast industrial pits near Fort McMurray in the north. Through the eyes and the experiences of these young environmentalists, Canadians can learn first-hand about the real meaning and the impact of tar sands development on the people and environment.


About the authors

Elizabeth May is the Green Party Member of Parliament for the southern Vancouver Island riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands and served as leader of the Green Party of Canada from 2006-2019. In the 2011 federal election, Elizabeth made history by being the first Green Party candidate to win a seat in the House of Commons and was re-elected in 2015 and 2019. By a vote of her peers, she was named Parliamentarian of the Year in 2012. In 2015, Newsweek magazine named her one of the world's most influential women. She has a long record as a committed and dedicated advocate – for social justice, the environment, human rights, and pragmatic economic solutions. She is the author of eight books, most recently Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development; vice-chair of the National Round Table on Environment and Economy; executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada; and as a commissioner of the Earth Charter International Council. Elizabeth May lives in Sidney, British Columbia.

Elizabeth May's profile page

Maude Barlow is the author of sixteen books, including the international bestsellers Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Threat of the World’s Water (co-written with Tony Clarke) and Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. She is currently the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. She served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Maude Barlow's profile page

TIM MURPHY is active in promoting awareness of ecology and energy conservation issues. A former coordinator of Sierra Youth Coalition's Community Youth Action Project, Tim is a member of the organization's executive committee. Born and raised in Moncton, Tim now lives in Montreal.

Tim Murphy's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The journal-style entries that comprise this short book are a fine blend of the personal and the political, giving both a nuanced view of the issues involved and a close-up look at what being part of the solution means to an individual. Combined with the short section of tar sands facts at the back of the book, they make [this book a useful engaging primer on the environmental, economic and social issues associated with tar sands exploration. We could do with more books like this one, and more people like the ones who contributed to it."

Alberta Views

Other titles by Elizabeth May

Other titles by Maude Barlow