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Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta Is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn't Seem to Care) [Paperback]

William Marsden
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 30 2008
A bestselling investigative journalist takes a tour of the Alberta oil and gas industry, revealing how Canada’s richest province is squandering our chance for a sustainable future.

In its desperate search for oil and gas riches, Alberta is destroying itself. As the world teeters on the edge of catastrophic climate change, Alberta plunges ahead with uncontrolled development of its fossil fuels, levelling its northern Boreal forest to get at the oil sands, and carpet-bombing its southern half with tens of thousands of gas wells. In so doing, it is running out of water, destroying its range land, wiping out its forests and wildlife and spewing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adding to global warming at a rate that is unrivalled in Canada or almost anywhere else in the world. It’s digging, drilling and blasting its way to oblivion, becoming the ultimate symbol of Canada’s – and the world’s – pathological will to self-destruct.

Nowhere has the world seen such colossal environmental destruction as is being wreaked on Alberta. At one point the province even went so far as to consider a scientist’s idea of nuking its underbelly to get at the tar sands. Stupid to the Last Drop looks at the increasingly violent geopolitical forces that are gathering as the world’s gas and oil dwindle and the Age of Oil begins its inevitable slide towards oblivion. As Canadians deplete their energy reserves, selling them off to Americans at bargain-basement prices, no thought is given to conservation or the long-term needs of the nation.

In this powerful polemic, William Marsden journeys across the heart of a province seized by the destructive forces of greed, power and the energy business, and envisions a very bleak future.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta Is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn't Seem to Care) + Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent + Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands
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Review

“[Marsden brings] a fresh pair of discerning eyes to an unusual series of nation-changing events. . . . [H]e confidently reports how an entire province is destroying itself, and then asks why no one in Canada ‘seems to care.’ . . . The biggest stupidities that Marsden discovers could and probably should shock any Canadian. . . . Yet Marsden’s unsettling exposé of careless decision-making sheds more needed light on some very dark corners in Alberta (and Canada). He has walked into a provincial boom-town, populated largely by arrogant and greedy males (Hells Angels with suits), and not flinched. Good on you, partner.” —Andrew Nikiforuk, The Globe and Mail

“This is a powerfully eloquent polemic.” —Edmonton Journal (September 14)

“Marsden’s book is an engaging and entertaining read. . . . [A] worthwhile read and it will likely generate a fair bit of discussion about the industry.” —National Post

“[Marsden’s] book is a good primer on many of these urgent problems . . . Marsden has held the environmental mirror up to Albertans and it’s not a pretty sight—as many here have known for some time. . . . Marsden tells his story with a judicious mixture of personal stories and technical details of oil and gas extraction.” —Edmonton Journal

“For the . . . dozen or so Albertans who believe the energy industry and its friends in the Alberta government are neither all good nor all bad and who believe the same of ardent death-to-civilization environmentalists[you] need to read this book. . . . [T]his book could not have come out at a more opportune time. Marsden takes the worries of ordinary citizens and voices them . . . he pulls together all the disparate concerns into a readable whole. . . . None of us can feel smug. The sensible use of non-renewable resources is all of our duty, regardless of our association with the energy business.” —Calgary Herald


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

William Marsden is co-author of the international bestsellers Angels of Death and The Road to Hell. He is an award-winning senior investigative reporter for the Gazette in Montreal.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A polemic, but hard to deny July 28 2008
Format:Hardcover
I've heard it said several times that this book is a polemic. It is: the tone is certainly strident. But it's very difficult to argue with the facts that are presented in it. Between what we are doing in northern Alberta to the Aboriginal communities along the Athabasca River, and the disregard our government seems to have for its citizens who have been affected by oilsands or coalbed methane development, it's enough to drive you to distraction. Reading this book, you begin to understand, even if you can't condone, those who take the law into their own hands. The government of Albertan appears totally unwilling, or unable, to put the brakes on this runaway train of an industry. The entire system appears stacked completely in favor of industry. If even half of what is presented in this book is factual (and I'm quite sure that much more than that is), it would still be a stinging indictment of "business as usual" in the oil province.

All this from one who lives here.
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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still stupid. March 4 2008
Format:Hardcover
This should be mandatory reading for all high-school, college and University students. Every Canadian should be reading this one. As an Albertan and someone who works in the oil industry - this one is an eye-opener for myself and I've seen things those not working in Syncrude, Suncor and in Edmonton wouldn't believe.

Please Canada: Save us from our selves. We've elected more losers to make foreign companies rich, while starving our own people and the rest of Canada. Help, we're Stupid to the Last Drop and there is no 'seeming' about, we really don't care!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wakeup call to Canadians Sept. 23 2008
Format:Hardcover
William Marsden is an author and investigative journalist who bravely took on the Hell's Angels biker gang in a series of books and columns. Now he's after a bigger, richer, and far more deceptive foe... the Canadian oil industry. Marsden goes to the physical and metaphorical heart of Canada's oil country to provide an incisive examination of an environmental catastrophe effected by a manipulative oil industry in denial and aided an impotent and incompetent system of governments.

Marsden begins by supplying a great deal of informative historical background of the oil sands project, including a bizarre scheme in the 1950s to extract oil via controlled nuclear explosions. He also provides an inside view of the immense scale oil sands excavations by visiting the projects and talking with the workers. This sets the stage for the critique to come.

The two primary targets polemically identified by Marsden (the "stupid" ones of the title) are the oil industry and governments within the province of Alberta.

Marsden describes a heavily subsidized industry that flouts the rule of law, uses propaganda and intimidation to achieve its ends, is deliberately deceitful, and remains astonishingly ignorant of the long term effects (environmental, social, and financial) of its activities. He illustrates how time and time again the massive public relations machine of the oil industry obscures facts and keeps citizens in the dark (for example, by stating that the toxic petrochemical-related products suddenly infusing wells and land are naturally occurring).

The second side of the problem rests with an impotent and largely incompetent provincial government.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oil is not just a fuel, but a business June 27 2008
Format:Hardcover
After reading this book, I find that the author really changes your perception from what is said in the media, and what the actual and very detailed truth is of the oil business.
A lot of the material and facts presented in this book are things that the media will never go into depth with because it is very complex, and is beyond basic understanding. When you read this book you will see that there are reasons the price of gas is so high and all though you may not accept gas prices, you will have an understanding of how they got there, and what is expected to happen in the future, and from the way that this author presented the material, he gives you the idea that this gas battle has just started and that many of the major problems (demand & supply) are just starting to surface.
I will stop there because I don't want to spoil it, but I do recommend that you read it. Although it may be hard for some people to read because it is not an easy read, as it has many senoir University level words in there
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the Hurtin' Albertans Nov. 18 2008
Format:Hardcover
When I first learned about 'Stupid to The Last Drop,' by William Marsden, I knew that I had to read it. Not only did it relate to the oil and gas industry, it specifically focused on part of Canada. And even better, it was about Alberta, a province where I work every summer. In fact, I work in the oil fields (although I work for forestry companies, not for the energy industry). And saying that I work in 'the oil fields' is probably misleading or non-instructive, since just about the entire province qualifies for this descriptor.

The product description for this book gives you a good idea of what it's all about: 'In its desperate search for oil and gas riches, Alberta is destroying itself. As the world teeters on the edge of catastrophic climate change, Alberta plunges ahead with uncontrolled development of its fossil fuels, levelling its northern Boreal forest to get at the oil sands, and carpet-bombing its southern half with tens of thousands of gas wells. In so doing, it is running out of water, destroying its range land, wiping out its forests and wildlife and spewing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adding to global warming at a rate that is unrivalled in Canada or almost anywhere else in the world. It's digging, drilling and blasting its way to oblivion, becoming the ultimate symbol of Canada's ' and the world's ' pathological will to self-destruct.' Well, at least there is no misunderstanding of the author's opinion about what's happening in Alberta.

This book is not really focused on peak oil issues, although it touches on them. Rather, it is more written as a hard look at the current state of the industry, and mismanagement of the existing resources.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupid To The Last Drop
This book should be reqired reading for all politicians at all levels. VERY ILLUMINATING!
Published on March 22 2010 by J. M. Dejax
4.0 out of 5 stars Warning signs
...and not only bringing environmental armageddon, but Biblical armageddon too. I'm sick and tired of the fundamentalist Christians' literal interpretation of the Bible from the... Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2009 by C. G. Bowers
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Well researched, documented and presented! A real...
Well documented, researched and presented, this work is a real eye-opener as to what Big Oil is really doing with the complicity of Alberta's Conservative Party. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2009 by Book Buff
2.0 out of 5 stars A rather biased and uninformed book
This book is a very negative view of the Alberta oil and gas industry which is very one-sided and myopic. Read more
Published on May 4 2009 by David Moe
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake Up Canada !!!
In a honest yet provacative manner the author, William Marsden, has revealed Canada's deep, dark and ugly secret. Read more
Published on April 28 2009 by Ronald W. Maron
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for all Canadians and other Earthlings
Everyone knows about Alberta's Tar-Sands, but to most it is a far-away disaster. Marsden''s book grabs you from the opening paragraph, and takes you on a journey to the heart of... Read more
Published on March 27 2009 by Guy Dauncey
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupid Doesn't Survive Evolution
Book combines on-the-ground first hand investigation with historical context, a broad overview, pointedly specific and lucid stories of technological and scientific issues, and an... Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2008 by Philip Kienholz
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