Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fragile Crossings 2015 calendar is out!

Here is the essay we wrote to "illustrate" the 13th month of the calendar:

Fragile Crossings – our Energy East Project

On 18 Sept 2013, Sustainable North Grenville held a meeting about the proposed Energy East Pipeline, which would
carry crude oil, largely “diluted bitumen” from the Athabaska Tar Sands, from Alberta to ports in Quebec and New Brunswick. At this meeting, we realized that we could assess the ecology of this project, at least for the conspicuous animals and plants that we study, by visits to places where its proposed route crosses streams, since we could line up obligations and possible obligations for 2014 that would run from southern New Brunswick to Alberta.
One way of looking at Energy East is that it is a proposal to force reprocessed geological waste from the destruction of Alberta's Boreal Forest across the Rest of Canada in order to promote one prominent family's reputation for ecological insensitivity beyond New Brunswick onto an international stage. Another way of looking at it is that it addresses an overwhelming need by producers and refiners to receive a greater value for Tar Sands oil, and and that a pipeline connecting west with east could help eliminate Canada’s reliance on crude oil imported from overseas.
Our project doesn't try to address these proximal concerns. From our point of view there is no counter-argument to the global imperative to minimize the emission of fossil carbon –  humanity must leave as much fossil carbon as possible in the ground while working out a carbon-neutral civilization. The Energy East Pipeline should be opposed and disallowed on purely a priori grounds.

This means that questions of how the pipeline would be run and routed – minimizing the likelihood of sinking dilbit and exploding dilutant – are simply questions of how to do wrong well. To put it bluntly, the exploitation of the tar sands is not supportable, and the product that the Energy East pipeline would transport should simply not exist.

Surveying this route has been not without its passion for us. Our joy of discovery has been like that of an erotic poet extolling every millimetre of his beloved – if we go to any place on a stream in Canada we'll find beautiful scenes and wonderful creatures, as indeed we have. So while some may classify us as “pipeline protesters” this project is really a hymn of praise to our beloved country – deglaciated North America – where the lifeblood of her streams and rivers is currently threatened by an untenable project.

Each of the paintings in this calendar has a story, which may be found at Sales of the calendar help to support our Fragile Crossings project. Through the winter Aleta will continue painting from photos taken all along the Energy East route, and Fred will be summarizing natural history observations, posting them at

The calendar is available for online purchase at

Aleta & Fred

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