Video: George Monbiot on the Canada tar sands and the need to restore ecosystems

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      In his latest work, environmental writer Georgie Monbiot argues that a mass restoration of ecosystems will not only benefit the planet, but also reshape humans’ lives for the better.

      “I started work on Feral because I just could not take it any longer,” Monbiot says in the first video below. “I realized that I was ecologically bored….I found myself scratching at the walls of this life, looking for a way out into a wider space beyond. And I think I found it, and it’s called rewilding.”

      What that means is the mass restoration of ecosystems.

      The U.K.-based columnist for the Guardian recently discussed those ideas with the Straight and his book, Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life. You can read the article based on that conversation here.

      Recent years have seen Monbiot take a keen interest in Canada on account of the vast deposits of bitumen deposits being developed for petroleum extraction in Alberta.

      “We’re seeing, in effect, a very beautiful and very sophisticated nation being ransacked by barbarians,” he warns, “and it’s no foreign army, it’s your own blinking government. And what this has led to is an unprecedented—even by Canadian standards—an unprecedented assault on the environment, which spreads outwards from the tar sands.”

      Touching on issues closer to residents of Vancouver, Monbiot continues: “The politics of Saudi Alberta have come to dominate the entire nation. Similarly, we see, for instance, in British Columbia, the way in which salmon farms have been allowed to run rampant and destroy the spectacular sockeye runs in the Fraser River, for instance, as well as doing a lot of other damage to the marine ecosystem….It’s vandalism on an enormous scale.”

      Monbiot previously spoke with the Straight about the Alberta oil sands in 2008. You can read that article here.