Bestselling author Chris Turner brings readers onto the streets of Fort McMurray, showing the many ways the oilsands impact our lives and demanding that we ask the question: In order to both fuel the world and to save it, what do we do about the Patch?
In its heyday, the oilsands 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. The future seemed limitless for the city and those who drew their wealth from the bitumen-rich wilderness.
But in 2008, a new narrative for the oilsands emerged. As financial markets collapsed and the 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 the seminal account of this ongoing conflict, showing just how far the oilsands reaches into all of our lives. 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 requires us to ask the question: In order to both fuel the world and to save it, what do we do about the Patch?