William Marsden’s book, Stupid to the Last Drop, is an unabashed polemic that examines Alberta’s economic addiction to oil and how the federal and Albertan governments continue to disregard the long-term effects on the environment.
The tale behind Marsden’s invective begins in the 1950s when an oil company scientist recommended detonating a series of nuclear devices 1,300 metres below the Athabasca basin as a way of exploiting the province’s lucrative oil sands. The government eventually quashed the proposal, but Marsden’s book argues that the province has since gone on to green-light numerous other tactics proven nearly as hazardous to the environment. Marsden’s story looks at a province that has profited wildly from $100+ prices for a barrel of oil at the expense of its rivers, marine and other wildlife, and its Aboriginal communities. He visits the boomtown of Fort McMurray, where blue-collar workers earn more than $100,000 a year from the industry even while the mayor preaches an eco-aware message.
Stupid to the Last Drop is an important book examining the long-term damage to the planet in the pursuit of short-term economic gain. Marsden’s journey through Alberta’s oil sands, vividly told, has the feel of a doomsday documentary.
About the author
William Marsden is an award-winning senior investigative journalist with the Montreal Gazette and the co-author of the international bestsellers Angels of Death and The Road to Hell.