The world's most important energy resource is oil. It is the driving source for the economic growth of any country and the principal fuel for the world's transportation system. The second largest oil reservoir in the world is the oil sands of Canada, in the heart of Alberta. The oil sector is the largest and the fastest growing sector in Canada. Oil sands contribute to the economic growth and at the same time contribute immensely towards environmental degradation. Due to the benefits this sector provides, the problems associated with it have not been dealt with severity. To showcase the actual scenario and how it is to be living in a place near the oil sands, Fort McMoney, an online game, does the job very well. It portraits the living conditions of a place called Fort McMurray known for the oil sands development. Fort McMurray was known as a place of fur trade in the past but in the recent times, it has gained the name as the ‘boom town’ because of the fast paced developments taking place in the oil sands. There lie many issues within Fort McMurray that are unheard of and the game tries to bring those to the front line. These issues suggest that the oil sands are in fact depleting the city from within and many are unaware of it.
Background on Oil Sands
Oil sands are an important asset in Canada. World’s second largest reservoir lies here in Canada, in the province of Alberta. Due to the high demand of petroleum and petroleum-based products, the rate at which the oil is extracted has increased tremendously over the past few years. The investments in oil sands industry has increased from $10.6 billion in 2009 to $17.2 billion in 2012, a staggering 63 percent increase in just a single year (http://www.energy.alberta.ca/oilsands/791.asp). As a result of this increase, there are many problems associated with it. The most important among the problems are the environmental impacts. Studies have suggested that the environmental and the health risks due to the oil sands operation have been underestimated. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/environmental-health-risks-of-alberta-oilsands-probably-underestimated-study/article16667569/). From recent research, it was shown that the study conducted before approving the project did not incorporate the pollution caused from the mining sites. The pollution level could be two to three times larger than the estimated studies before the project was initiated. The harmful chemicals that can pollute air, water and soil are released when bitumen is mined, which will pose a major threat to the environment in the near future. The Boreal Forest is home for the aboriginal people and many animal species. To establish the project, large areas of the Boreal forest was cut down. This caused a decline in the different animal populations. The Athabasca River has high levels of contamination in the water affecting the aquatic life. Moreover, the aboriginal people residing near the river are suffering...