Winner of the National Business Book Award
Longlisted for the 2018 BC National Nonfiction Award
Bestselling author Chris Turner brings readers onto the streets of Fort McMurray, showing the myriad ways the oil sands impact our lives and demanding that we ask the question: To both fuel the world and to save it, what do we do about the Patch?
The Patch is the story of Fort McMurray and the oil sands in northern Alberta, the world’s second largest proven reserve of oil. But this is no conventional story about the oil business. Rather, it is a portrait of the lifecycle of the Patch, showing just how deeply it continues to impact the lives of everyone around the world.
In its heyday, the oil sands represented an industrial triumph and the culmination of a century of innovation, experiment, engineering, policy, and finance. Fort McMurray was a boomtown, the centre of a new gold rush, and the oilsands were reshaping the global energy, political, and financial landscapes. But in 2008, a new narrative emerged. As financial markets collapsed and the cold, hard, scientific reality of the Patch’s effect on the environment became clear, the region turned into a boogeyman and a lightning rod for the global movement combatting climate change. Suddenly, the streets of Fort McMurray were the front line of a high-stakes collision between two conflicting worldviews–one of industrial triumph and another of environmental stewardship–each backed by major players on the world stage.
The Patch is a narrative-driven account of this ongoing conflict. It follows a select group of key characters whose experiences in and with the oil sands overlap in concentric narrative arcs. Through this insightful combination of global perspective and on-the-ground action, The Patch will show how the reach of the oil sands extends to all of us. From Fort Mac to the Bakken shale country of North Dakota, from Houston to London, from Saudi Arabia to the shores of Brazil, the whole world is connected in this enterprise. And it demands that we ask the question: In order to both fuel the world and to save it, what do we do about the Patch?
About the author
Chris Turner is one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on sustainability and the global cleantech industry. He is also the author of the bestseller The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need (Random House), a Globe & Mail Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction, the Alberta Literary Award for Nonfiction, and the National Business Book Award. Turner’s first book was the international bestseller Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. His feature writing has earned seven National Magazine Awards. He lives in Calgary with his wife, the photographer Ashley Bristowe, and their two children. Connect with him on Twitter @TheTurner.
"Turner deftly weaves together the personal and the political, the local and the global. In the process, he gives readers a top-to-bottom, broadly contextual perspective on the past, present, and potential future of an important, if problematic, Canadian resource."
Quill & Quire
“Chris Turner is a voice of sanity in an increasingly shrill and polarized world. He looks at matters critically, cleanly, and honestly, without ideological blinkers. Anyone who wants to understand the complex nature of the oil sands should start with this book.”
Will Ferguson, bestselling author of The Shoe on the Roof
"A lucid and fair presentation of history, context and science surrounding the tar sands controversy, and, as such a valuable book to think with...The future of humanity may well be determined by our decisions about fossil fuels, including our contentious tar sands, over the next few decades. We have to get this one right, and thoughtful books like The Patch may well help us do so. This is required reading for all engaged citizens."
“The Patch breaks from the scrum of industry boosters and celebrity-flashing environmentalists to provide an accessible, balanced perspective on what Turner describes as 'one of the most colossally scaled engineering projects in human history.'"
"A personal touch and colourful anecdotes are the book’s core strengths...Turner has provided a holistic account of one of the largest industrial developments in human history."
The Georgia Straight
“This book is a lucid and fair presentation of history, context and science surrounding the tar sands controversy, and, as such a valuable book to think with.”
Other titles by Chris Turner
How to Be a Climate Optimist
Blueprints for a Better World
The Look Book
Fall 2017 Sampler
How to Breathe Underwater
Field Reports from an Age of Radical Change
The War On Science
Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada
How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy
Tales of Other Worlds
How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation
The Geography of Hope
A Tour of the World We Need