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## "In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword"

Do the following tasks, using your own words as far as appropriate.
1.
Describe the benefits and possible dangers of the oil sands boom mentioned in the article.
2.
Analyze the means used to convince the reader of the author's position. Refer to the article and the photo published with it.
3.
As a host student at a Canadian school you are asked to deliver a speech to your fellow students in which you reflect on the environmental situation in Germany. Include efforts that are being made by various groups of society to protect the environment.
Write a speech. Write a text of about 350 words and count your words.
#environmentalproblems#zentraleraufgabenpool#speech#creativewriting
Material 1
In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword
Abb. 1: A worker gets ready to replace the teeth of a giant electric shovel used to dig up tar sands at a mine in Canada's Alberta province. Oil sands production, already booming in northeastern Alberta, could grow far larger if the Keystone XL pipeline is built to link the province to Texas.
Abb. 1: A worker gets ready to replace the teeth of a giant electric shovel used to dig up tar sands at a mine in Canada's Alberta province. Oil sands production, already booming in northeastern Alberta, could grow far larger if the Keystone XL pipeline is built to link the province to Texas.
$\;$
The oil sands industry has brought good jobs to villages such as Fort Chipewyan. But there is fear about cancer and the environment.
Fort Chipewyan, Canada - In the Cree[1] language, the word "athabasca" means "a place where grass is everywhere." Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce
5
and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca.
But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines[2], where massive shovels pick up 100 tons of earth at a time and dump it into yellow trucks as big as houses.
The tarry bitumen that is extracted is eventually shipped to refineries, many in the United States,
10
to be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels. But the leftover polluted slurry remains in miles-long impoundments, some high above the banks of the river. Air cannons sound periodically to keep migratory birds from landing on the toxic ponds.
Oil sands production, as the procedure is called, is booming in northeastern Alberta. […]
Debate in the U.S. over the pipeline has largely focused on whether the oil sands would
15
contribute to climate change, or spill along the route. But in northeastern Alberta, the effect of the oil sands industry plays out in more complicated ways.
Oil sands are exploited by injecting high-pressure steam into the earth or by strip mining to extract the sticky bitumen, which is then washed away from clay and sand, swiftly heated and diluted with the chemicals before being shipped to refineries.
20
The petroleum industry has funneled billions of dollars into Canada's national, provincial and local economies and employs thousands of people in places with few other jobs. But the oil sands boom may also be polluting the air and water, and is stoking fear that it is damaging the health of those in its arc.
"From everything I hear from the indigenous people, their thinking seem to be 'It's a choice
25
between whether we starve to death or are poisoned to death,'" said Dr. John O'Connor, a general practitioner who has worked here since 1993.
In Fort Chipewyan, a village of 1,100 people on the north shore of Lake Athabasca, cancer and autoimmune diseases such as lupus have taken a heavy toll on its mostly indigenous Cree, Dene[3] and Metis[4] population during the last 20 years. In 2009, the provincial government
30
found that cancer rates here over a 12-year period were 30% higher than normal for such a small community (51 cancers in 47 individuals versus an expected 39 cancers).
Three weeks ago, government scientists told villagers that they had found high levels of mercury, a hazardous substance, in the eggs of migratory birds that nest downstream from oil sands production. Fishermen say pickerel[5] and northern pike in the lake show bulging eyes
35
and other deformities.
Three studies by independent scientists have shown rising concentrations of pollutants, including carcinogens, in waterways near Alberta's oil sands production.
Industry officials and the Alberta government have long insisted that the chemicals detected in area waterways are naturally occurring, not the result of pollution.
40
They also say they are taking full safety precautions to protect communities tucked into a vast wilderness. Some of the indigenous people, known as the First Nations, have hunted and fished here for thousands of years.
The oil industry is funding a government-run system to monitor possible pollution. Reclamation efforts, meanwhile, can take years, if not decades. Of the thousands of acres mined during 40
45
years of oil sands extraction in Alberta, only 247 acres have been restored to land resembling unmined areas.
"We will be here another 50 to 60 years," said Greg Stringham, vice president for oil sands for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "We're very supportive of looking at the cumulative effect of what we do."
50
Canada already is the largest exporter of crude to the United States, mostly from oil sands. Officials hope to increase production by 2030 to about 5 million barrels a day from the current 1.9 million barrels. Many of the world's biggest oil companies hold leases to develop oil sands along the Athabasca River and other parts of eastern Alberta. Syncrude[6], Suncor[6] and Shell[6] already operate upstream from Fort Chipewyan.
55
The Keystone XL pipeline, the most efficient way to ship oil, is crucial to the effort. Some local residents fear the pipeline would accelerate development of the oil sands and create additional pollution.
Beginning in the 1990s, says 71-year-old commercial fisherman "Big Ray" Ladouceur, he began catching fish with deformities from Lake Athabasca. The cause is unknown, but three peer-
60
reviewed studies by university researches since 2009 have sounded warnings about water pollution linked to oil sands development in Alberta.
Banerjee, Neela: In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword. http://articles.latimes.com (25.11.2015)

[1] Cree: a Native American people, many of whom live in central Canada
[2] strip mines: mines in which the process of digging happens on the surface
[3] Dene: tribes that occupy the western subarctic region of Canada includes such groups as the Chipewyan and Tutchone
[4] Metis: a person with one Aboriginal parent and one European parent
[5] pickerel: a type of fish commonly found in North America
[6] Syncrude, Suncor, Shell: large international oil companies
#environmentalproblems#zentraleraufgabenpool#article
Bildnachweise [nach oben]
[1]
https://goo.gl/LGeqtG – Oil sands production, (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times).
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Lösungen

## "In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword"

$\blacktriangleright$  Describe benefits and dangers
Zuerst sollst du die Vorteile und möglichen Bedrohungen des Ölsandbooms herausarbeiten.
The text "In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword" focuses on the various benefits, but also on the possible dangers of the oil sands boom in the Canadian province Alberta. The title already refers to the oil sands production as a double-edged sword - that metaphor means that a benefit carries some significant but not-so-obvious costs or risks.
introduction
When concentrating on the benefits of the oil sands boom, the article makes it pretty clear that this industry brings some advantages on economic levels. First of all, growing exports of bitumen to the U.S. strengthens the economic relationship to the U.S. and generates higher financial resources for Canada's industry. Furthermore, the bitumen will be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels - raw material that humanity will always be in need of. That the growth of oil sands seems infite contributes to that fact and is another advantage. Additionally, many of the top players in the oil sands industry have settled in eastern Alberta, for example Syncrude, Suncor or Shell. This supports the fact that the industry has brought billions of dollars into Canada's economy and meanwhile creates jobs for thousands of people in areas whith few other jobs.
benefits
Despite all these benefits, there is always the other side of the coin. Extracting the bitumen results in leftover polluted mud that is found in large pools of water. These poisonous water basins are lethal for the environment. People are also afraid that possible pipelines connecting Canada with the U.S. might be leaking and hence transferring the pollution to the U.S. as well. Moreover, pollutants like carcinogen have been found in various waterways - those might spread the pollutants all over the American continent. In addition, oil sands production is said to contribute negatively to climate change. It causes not only dangerous effects for humankind but for animals as well. During the last 20 years, autoimmune diseases and cancer have affected the habitants of a small village close to the oil sands production site. Fish in closeby lakes have shown deformities and eggs of migratory birds contain high levels of mercury.
dangers
In conclusion, the dangers of oil sands boom outweigh its benefits. Of course, exploiting fossil fuels is a rather cheap way to produce raw material like diesel and it is definitely beneficial for strenthening economical relationship between countries. However, it causes tremendous economical pollution and creates diseases like cancer on the long run.
conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  Analyze means used to convince reader of author's position
In diesem Aufgabenteil sollst du die Mittel analysieren, mit denen die Autorin versucht, den Leser von ihrem Standpunkt zu überzeugen. Zuerst musst du dafür herausfinden, welchen Standpunkt die Autorin vertritt.
Both the article "In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword" and the picture published with it serve the author Neela Banerjee to broadcast her view on the oil sands boom in Canada. Her standpoint might not seem obvious at first but looking closer at the text and the picture, it is made clear that she stands not in favor of the oil sands production.
introduction
The very beginning of the article shows a stark contrast. The author starts by how the oil sands industry has brought a lot of jobs to the area and at the same time, she explains that the industry causes "fear about cancer and the environment" (l. 2). Then again, she states that the word "athabasca" - which is also the name of the river that flows through Alberta - means "a place where grass is everywhere" (l. 3-4). One sentence later, she juxtaposes that picture of lush meadows and crystal clear rivers with the image of a wasteland where strip mines and trucks rule. Banerjee wants to show the reader how the province Alberta could look like with its rivers and atmospheric landscapes were it not for the oil sands industry. In order to emphasize this, she uses words with positive connotations for the environment like "vast freshwater delta" (l. 5) or "forests of spruce and birch" (l. 4).
contrasts
Throughout the article, various eye witness statements, scientific reports and quotations can be found which support her seemingly objective position. Yet, she is not really objective - all of the benefits she mentions have a negative side aspect. Hence, the petroleum industry creates jobs but "pollutes the air [and] is damaging the health of those in its arc" (l. 22-23). Furthermore, the government tries to "monitor possible pollution" (l. 43) but it would take decades to reverse the effects of oil sands production according to Banerjee. Basically, she starts with presenting the reader with poor economic benefits whereas she ends the article with rather strong arguments against oil sands production - in fact she is talking about environmental destruction. Therefore, her choice and the sequence of of aspects and quotations have influence on the reader.
Her argumentation is supported by direct quotations and examples of average people that bring her closer to the reader. The fisherman who caught fish with deformities ever since the 1990s is just one example of many for that (l. 58). That the oil sands industry can be held responsible for that is verified by diverse studies (l. 59-60). The indigenous people are hit hard by oil sands production as well. Resources like forests for hunting have been taken away from them and they suffer from cancer and autoimmune diseases (l. 27-28) - for them "it's a choice between whether [they] starve to death or are poisoned to death" (l. 24-25) says Dr. John O'Connor who works at one of the villages.
means
quotations/reports/eye witness statements
The photo only emphasizes these effects even more. It matches the overall theme of contrast of the article. There is a huge machinery which is contrasted with just one small individual and it seems as if the shovel would almost swallow the worker. This enhances the argumentation of the author that industry destroys humankind on one side and the whole planet on the other side.
image/conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  Write a speech
Für diesen Aufgabenteil sollst du eine Rede schreiben. Du bist ein Austauschschüler an einer kanadischen Schule und sollst in einer Rede die Umweltschutzsituation in Deutschland schildern. Gehe in deiner Rede auf Versuche verschiedener sozialer Gruppen ein, um die Umwelt zu schützen.
"Have you ever thought about your environment? Like the nature, the sea, the forests, everything that surrounds you that you might think of as being granted and natural. We can take our nature for everything BUT granted. We would literally not exist without it - and yet, we harm it every single day. With cars, power plants and pollution and much more. Do we just not care about our surroundings?
This is not the way I think about that topic. In Germany, people slowly start to change their views. The awareness of environmental issues is growing - shops that sell goods unpacked open everywhere, people rather use their bikes instead of cars and we have more beekeepers than ever who dedicate their lives to one of the most important economically useful animals. The German government deems environmental protection as very important and funds different projects like generating energy through wind power. Just recently, the government banned plastic bags in retail stores - in order to encourage people to bring their own bags and to reduce plastic waste that only ends up in the oceans. In Germany, there are various groups that focus on environmental issues including initiatives and associations as well.
Foodsharing.de is an initiative that fights against food waste. Whenever you have food left over you can just use their platform and see where you can drop your food of - someone else will use it then and you did a good deed! In addition, there are a whole lot of really good blogs that just post useful articles on how you can avoid plastic like misseshippie.de. She shares her knowledge on how to make your own granola bars or on how to clean your room without using traditional cleaners. Furthermore, there are a lot initiatives in German cities - like the agenda21-karlsruhe - that make urban gardening attractive for people who do not have a backyard or who do not have enough room to grow plants. That in turn helps to reduce carbon dioxide, bees have plants to pollinate and people buy less imported fruit and vegetables. If every person would just do one single thing to protect our environment, we could live on our planet for much longer! So go home, plant a garden, ride your bike, avoid plastic and help your environment!"
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