Guest Post from Greenpeace Canada campaigner Mike Hudema

What comes to mind when you think about Alberta,Canada? Vast forests and wilderness, toweringmountains and ski hills, rodeos and cowboys? That might have been true once, but not any more. Albertais now home to the largest and most environmentally destructive project on theplanet, as revealed in a new site dedicated to dispelling Alberta’s clean image.

Traveling Alberta
is a mock travel site that pulls back the curtain on tar sands development andshows the world what the province is desperately trying to hide: pools oftoxic, deadly water It tells the realstory of what travelers will find in Alberta: massive CO2 emissions,toxic water and the planet’s dirtiest oil.

But waging a battle against Big Oil and exposing the world’slargest and most toxic industrial project is no small task, and we need yourhelp. We need you to visit this site (the more hits the better!!!!), to tell your friends and to spread the word. We need to get our message to theCanadian and Albertan governments that the world will not accept dirty oilextracted at the risk of environmental, social and economic health. And we needto do it now.

The tar sands are the dirtiest source of oil known to man.Unlike conventional oil operations, the tar sands are extracted by buildinghuge strip mines or deep in-situwells. While the rest of the planet is finding solutions to decrease theircarbon footprint, Albertais making ours bigger. Already, greenhouse gases from the tar sands are roughlyequal to the emissions of all the cars on the road today in Canada. Andthey’re growing.

Water used from the tar sands is so contaminated with toxicchemicals it must be stored in huge “tailings ponds” that are visible fromouter space. A city of two million people uses an amount of water equivalent tothe tar sands annually. And just this past week, about 500 birds perished afterthey came in contact with the toxic water. They are typically scared away byair cannons!

More than 147,000 square kilometers – an area the size of Florida – is at risk totar sands development. Yet instead of slowing down development, this governmenthas approved every single tar sandsproposal that has come across its desk.

This is the dirty image Alberta’sPremier will try to address as he travels throughout the United States and Europe, spending $25 milliondollars to beautify Alberta’simage. We need your help to send a clear message to Premier Ed Stelmach: Stopthe Tar Sands and clean up your own backyard.

If you want to tell the Premier and Prime Minister StephenHarper that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you want to tell them to clean up their act and make Alberta a great place tovisit again. If you want to have yourvoice heard as loud as big oil companies who are destroying the environment,visit www.travelingalberta.comand tell a friend.

Do your part to Stop the Tar Sands today.