Quitter! Tar Sand Employee Quits Over Damage

Canada’s internationally condemned tar sand oil extraction is one of the most environmentally damaging operations on Earth. We’ve covered that before, of course, and even noted some Canadians’ resentment of emerging technologies (like electric cars) that might reduce consumer demand for Canadian oil in North America and, therefor, reduce their income. That realization, that there are people out there willing to work against technologies that could improve the quality of life of their children and children’s children in exchange for a bigger TV and a flashier pickup, was pretty disappointing.

A few weeks ago, however, a Reddit user claiming to work for a tar sand oil extraction company says he quit his job over moral objections to the destruction his work was causing. He even posted the following video, below, to illustrate the point.

This video is over a year old, but none of the facts presented therein have changed. The tar sands are still an environmental disaster of epic proportions, but the oil industry and the conservative political establishment are working to push regulation (like the controversial but under-publicized Yukon XL pipeline) that will allow companies to squeeze even more oil out of the tar. This looter cash-grab is resulting in the wholesale destruction of Canada’s Boreal forests, which represent the last and largest swaths of pristine forest in the western hemisphere.

Because of the oil companies’ resistance towards outside regulation and monitoring, it’s still unclear how much damage tar sand oil extraction is doing to the public health, and officials and investigators can’t yet be sure of how much toxic waste is leeching out of the slurry pits and contaminating nearby waterways.

It’s a bad scene, in other words – one that’s been called a “carbon bomb” by one of the nation’s top climate scientists, NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, who adds that continuing extraction of oil from the region would be “game over for the climate”.

Back to our new favorite person: Quitty McQuitterton. Under a post entitled “I just quit my [very well paying] job in Northern Alberta, Canada because I didn’t want to be a part of this: (video)”, Quitty (Reddit user Johnnypondwater) added some commentary. He wrote that “My job is probably already filled. The oil sands will probably continue to expand and be extracted for the next 30+ years. It is that sort of ignorant ‘oh well it’s going to happen anyway’ attitude that is sending the environmental state in a downward spiral. Me quitting my job was a personal/moral decision I made because I didn’t want to be a part of the wide destruction and contamination of the environment in that area. But hey, maybe I’m just naive. People need to think differently I reckon.”

Indeed they do, Johhny. Indeed they do.

For what it’s worth, the community at Reddit rallied to support the user’s decision when the original post came up (on Valentine’s Day), applauding him for making the right call. I think everyone here at Important Media is 100% behind Johnny, as well.

What about you, dear readers? Are you behind Johnny, or are you applying for his job? Let us know, in the comments.

Source: Reddit, via Treehugger

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.