Destroying the natural world in the relentless pursuit of power and profit is business as usual for the global elite. The military industrial complex, the energy industry, and the climate engineers, all are a part of the same malignant cancer that is controlling the world and killing our host, planet Earth. The dark and destructive agendas could never have been put into motion without the “order followers” that are so prevalent in the ranks of the human race. All those that are just “doing their jobs” without any moral consideration whatsoever. Even with the cooperation of the “order followers”, the onslaught of insanity from every direction could not continue without global societies being completely complacent. Canada’s Fort McKay is a case in point that parallels what is unfolding on the planet as a whole. Wikipedia calls Fort McKay a “hamlet”, but those who inhabit this “hamlet” would tell a very different tale. The essay below from Arlene Seegerts is exceptional and revealing. It is an exposé of what we all face on a global scale.
Death By Ecocide
The Story of Fort McKay & the Athabasca Death Sands
By Arlene Seegerts, contributing writer for geoengineeringwatch.org
How can you even begin to tell the story of an Indigenous community, just barely living, dead center in the midst of the largest petro-chemical industrial complex on the planet? A story rank with the hopelessness of dead and dying people, whose very existence is being threatened and ignored by those who have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to protect them and their future generations.
As the researcher/writer who traveled to the community of Fort McKay to begin conducting an unfunded Community Health Survey, at the request of a few local elders and community members who fled for their lives and the lives of their families, the only place I can begin telling their story is by asking questions that few people are prepared to provide honest answers to.
How do you explain how the local Chief and Council can sleep at night, after issuing a notice to community members, in February 2016, advising them that the bottled drinking water delivered to their homes for up to fourteen years is being discontinued, effective April 1, 2016? What would you say to people who are scared to believe the test results of two independent water studies, conducted by Health Canada and Hatfield Consultants and reviewed by the local doctor, miraculously deeming their toxic tap water is suddenly safe to drink?
How do you prove that both tests results are invalid and unreliable, when they are not shared with community members, nor with the public? What would you do when you suspect that neither the public agency nor the private corporation has bothered to do the complex testing necessary to identify the toxic heavy metals, poisonous chemicals and potent poly-aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs known to persist in water sources impacted by petro-chemical extraction and processing? How can local people have faith in the test results or the people who shared them, when they have been told, for over a decade, that the tap water is not safe to drink, nor should it be used for cooking or bathing in?
How can you even begin to imagine the complicity inherent in such questionable testing procedures, when preliminary results of our community health survey indicate that even showering in the water is feared by community members? And that they are ashamed of the unsightly pus-filled sores and scaly patches of skin, which cover large portions of their bodies and cause intense itchiness and pain? And why is it that these strange dermatological conditions mysteriously begin to disappear, within about six months of leaving the community, once the human body is taken out of the toxic environment and allowed to begin a natural detoxification and healing process?
What would you say to a young mother from Fort McKay, who was four months pregnant with twins when she was told that one of her unborn babies died because of rare fetal abnormalities? How sad is this, knowing the young mother is very committed to living a healthy lifestyle to protect the health of her unborn children? How would you reassure her that her tragic loss has nothing to do with the unknown levels of toxins in the water she is drinking, the air she is breathing, and the land that her ancestors once cared for and held as sacred?
How would you comfort other community members, suffering from a multitude of debilitating health conditions for which they are prescribed so many pharmaceutical drugs they often come in “blister packs”, and they no longer remember what each pill is for? And how would you respond to them when they rate their health as low as “2” or “3” on a ten-point-scale, and they sadly inform you that they feel like they are getting progressively sicker, and they have many days when they are in so much pain that they wish they weren’t even alive?
Would you wonder if the Chief’s sleeplessness, or lack of it, is compensated by his publicly-known annual salary of $660,000, as released by the Government of Canada, and his privately- rumored Swiss bank account, which community members suspect is filled to capacity with lucrative kickbacks and payoffs from the “Big Oil” corporations he is rumored to have been sleeping with, throughout his corporate career as Chief of Fort McKay?
Would you think it is good news, knowing that the Chief won’t have any problem paying the $7.50 per bottle, to cover the cost of continuing to have bottled water shipped from Fort McMurray to his barely-lived-in home in Fort McKay, knowing that he normally resides in the elite home he owns in the same community where the water is being shipped from? Would you join community members in wondering if he will use the toxic tap water to fill his private swimming pool in Fort McKay, now that the local water supply is deemed to be safe? Or would you suspect that he will fill his swimming pool with water shipped from Fort McMoney (as his primary place of residence is also known), which his band members assume he will willingly pay for, so that his own grandchildren can safely swim and play?
And if you believe this, why should other grandparents, who have lived in Fort McKay all their lives and can’t afford to pay for bottled water to drink, let alone to bathe or swim in, have to fear for their health and the health of their children and grandchildren? Why should they cry at night, in suffering and pain, due to the prolific symptoms of heavy metal poisoning and chemical toxicity, which they have never been tested for? Why should they fear for the health of the little ones they love, whose lives they know are also at risk? Why should they even have to advise their daughters and sons not to let their grandchildren play in the tub water for too long, no matter how much the little ones love to swim? Or encourage their children to move away from their ancestral homelands to keep them and their grandchildren safe?
Why is it that the grandparents and other community members can’t help but know how toxic the water is for their health, no matter how many lies and cover-ups that governments and industry perpetuate? And how can the people of Fort McKay cope with the true cost of poverty that prevents them from buying bottled water, let alone moving away from their toxic community, after so many have already lost their jobs in the very industry that is poisoning them? Does your heart also break, knowing they can no longer return to a life on-the-land, which sustained them, as Indigenous people, since time immemorial, long before governments stole their lands and resources and supported the industrial destruction of their ancestral homelands?
Why do we fear that more cancers and deaths will result, if the people still living in Fort McKay don’t get the help they need to move away, before it is too late? But where could they move to? And who would pay for the cost of relocation, when those who should be held accountable for their health and wellbeing are hell-bent on pretending that their lives are not at risk?
In fact, how can anyone justify the gross negligence of Health Canada, Alberta Health and the medical doctors supported by “Big Pharma” in their failure to do anything more than over-prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to treat the deadly symptoms of heavy-metal poisoning and chemical toxicity, which they either fail to recognize or blatantly ignore? How can they not know about the cumulative effects of toxins, which are exacerbated by the toxic drugs being freely administered to an unknowing population, who is willing to take any and all drugs prescribed to them, just to kill the pain? And if those legally-sanctioned drugs are not effective in killing the pain, how many residents of Fort McKay feel so hopeless and desperate that they will seek pain relief by any means possible, and become prey to the illegal drug-pushers who give Fort McMurray its other locally-dubbed name: “Fort McCrack”?
Why is it that profit-sucking corporations can routinely get-away-with releasing unknown quantities of highly toxic chemicals and poisonous heavy metals into the air we need to breathe and the water we need to drink, yet there is no effective process in place to protect the people of Fort McKay and all living beings from the consequences of unrestricted resource extraction?
Why is it that the practice of “burning off the stacks at night” is such a common occurrence that it is referred to as the “3:00 A.M. cough” or the “Syncrude cough”, by local residents from Fort McKay, Fort McMurray and other tar sands-affected communities, who are forced to breathe-in toxic fumes in the middle of the night? And yet nothing is done about it?
Why is it that safety officers and other industry workers are so disturbed by this common practice that one man privately told a woman from Fort McKay, “We are killing your people,” yet people who speak the truth publicly are quick to lose their jobs and called liars and troublemakers by governments, corporations, workers and even some community members, as well?
How can “Big Oil” corporations continue to write glossy annual reports that brag about their corporate responsibility, environmental stewardship, aboriginal relations, and worker safety – while even one body is found alongside the tailings pond a worker was sent out to monitor? And if it is true that he was declared to have “died of natural causes”, how long can this and other similar industrial and community deaths be covered up for?
How long will those same tailings ponds and huge tailings lakes continue to leach into local water reserves, knowing they eventually contaminate the muskeg, lakes and rivers which flow into the oceans and enter the hydrological cycle of our planet?
How brilliant do you think CNRL’s accountants are when they report on the cost-savings of the “Three-Sided Tailings Pond”, which is located only six kilometers from the Fort McKay Water Treatment Plant, knowing that the fourth side drains into the muskeg surrounding the community? How can corporations even pretend to reclaim muskeg, when the few feeble attempts at “reclamation” amount to little more than a large golf course, with a scattering of tiny toxic trees that refuse to grow, and a maybe a few dying buffalo that need to be fed imported livestock feed so they won’t starve to death, in what was once a thriving ecosystem?
How do you reclaim the toxic tailings dust that the highway north of Fort McMoney has been built over, along with all the toxic dust from other dry tailings lakes, which blows into the winds that circle the globe and coats the homes and vehicles of Fort McKay residents and other tar-sands affected communities? How many hundred millennia will it take to “reclaim” that? And what would you say to community members who tell you, “That white sand on top of the tailing pond, that’s what’s killing us”?
How can the same “Big Oil” corporations knowingly conduct air quality tests, long enough after the toxic fumes have been released, knowing how important timing is to reduce the necessity of providing false reports to hide their criminal actions, which deleteriously impact on human health and the environment? What would you do if you live in Fort McKay and you are surrounded by toxic fumes and tailings ponds in every direction, so that no matter which direction the wind blows, the noxious fumes permeate your home? How would you feel if you’ve been prescribed painkillers that damage your kidneys and puffers from every color of the rainbow, yet nothing seems to help you breathe without difficulty, or makes your headaches, dizziness and nausea go away? And what would you do, if each day upon waking, your head hurts as much as the night before, and the pain is so great, you feel as though your head might explode?
Why is it that even the new Prime Minister of Canada is promoting pipelines as the means to transition to renewable energy, knowing that “Big Oil” is not going to pay for the cost of pipelines unless they plan to take more toxic oil out of the ground, for the next forty years or longer? How can government and industry pretend that diluted bitumen is safe to pass through aging pipelines, knowing it is laced with a deadly cocktail of toxic solvents, which are corrosive and explosive, but are needed to move the tar-like bitumen unsafely to the ocean tankers waiting to make-good on FIPA? And not only that, how can the Prime Minister, in good faith, support “One-Point-Five to Stay Alive” at the Paris Accord on Climate Change, fully knowing that it will be “business as usual” in the Athabasca Death Sands, and death to all life on Planet Earth, unless the remaining oil is left in the ground where it’s not hurting anyone?
Do you think that the Prime Minister and all his loyal colleagues from Suncor, Syncrude, Shell, CNRL. Husky and Imperial Oil should take a public relations tour of Fort McKay, so they can take advantage of photo-ops: hugging sick old women and smiling at toxin-infected babies, while sympathizing about the sad state of their health and the devastation of their traditional territories, which they can no longer survive in, as Indigenous people? Then fly back to Ottawa or Calgary and support Premiers Notley and Clark in rubber-stamping their plans to push the pipelines through and build Site-C dam, to power another forty-odd years of tarsands extraction, knowing that grassroots Indigenous people and local environmentalists are willing to sacrifice their lives – to protect Mother Earth and all of our future generations? Even theirs?
How do you explain how the corrupt profit-hungry corporations of the world became so powerful that they are capable of controlling all levels of government, such that the deadly human health effects and catastrophic environmental impacts of unrestricted, uncontrolled and unmonitored resource extraction are allowed to destroy not only one small Indigenous community, but the entire Planet Earth?
And why should we fear stating the truth, almost as much as their own workers fear losing their jobs, when we live in Canada and shouldn’t have to fear for our lives, like Berta Cáceres from Honduras, who is only one of at least 1,000 environmental land protectors who have been murdered since 2002? Could it be for the same reasons that participants in the Community Health Survey that spurred these questions feel the need to remain anonymous, so they won’t suffer any of the consequences we all fear?
But in spite of this, why is our biggest fear that the majority of human beings reading this will just chalk it up to “conspiracy theory” and won’t realize that unless we put an IMMEDIATE STOP to all mining of oil and gas, including tar sands extraction and hydraulic fracturing; rail shipping, pipelines and tankers; and all other destructive sources of energy, including coal and uranium mining, nuKILLER energy, and the destructive damming at Site-C to fuel fracking and tar sands expansion, we might as well all give up our dreams for the future? As a grandmother, why am I scared that enough people do not fully understand the need to IMMEDIATELY SWITCH OVER to earth-friendly life-supporting energy and sustainable economies, if we are hoping for any life on our planet to survive, especially our children and grandchildren?
In closing, please tell me how we can even hope to guarantee our survival, when the minority of human beings controlling the planet are allowed to get away with their greed and corruption? Especially when the majority of human beings are allowing them to get away with it, because we either going along with them, fearful of speaking out, sound asleep, or in total denial of what is happening – right in front of our eyes?
So much denial, in fact, that most people refuse to look up and see the hazy skies above us, caused by the intentional release of deadly toxins from industrial waste and climate geo-engineering – evidenced by criss-crossing trails across the skies, which eventually settle in our lungs and land on the water we drink and the ground where our food grows. When will we all wake up to the urgent need to stand together and speak out, loudly proclaiming:
“We do NOT consent!”
Not only to the ecocide happening in Fort McKay, but to the catastrophic destruction – right around our planet.