The Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands

I was honoured and privileged to have attended a special event at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for an advanced screening of a new documentary by filmmaker Niobe Thompson and environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki. The film is called The Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands which will be featured in a special 2-hour episode of The Nature of Things on CBC on January 27 at 8pm on CBC-TV.


Both Niobe and David were in attendance at the screening and answered some questions at the end of the documentary. The question period offered some insights into the motivation for making the documentary and provided the audience with some inspiring words about our energy alternatives.

The documentary takes an in-depth look at the environmental and human impact of the oil sands in Alberta’s northern territory. It tells the story of the remote community of Fort Chipewyan, down the Athabasca River from the oil sands, and the serious health risks that are plaguing the residents. For years, the residents have been dying from rare forms of cancer. After many independent researches and studies, including research by the famedĀ Dr. David Schindler, toxin levels were found to be much higher than expected, including high levels of arsenic, lead and mercury.

The documentary captures a very wide spectrum of opinions from politicians to scientists to aboriginal leaders, even including the director James Cameron, who takes up the cause. Coincidently, the situation mirrors his recent film, Avator, in which an aboriginal culture is being threatened by a large corporation that is only interested in profits.

I’ve captured some of the question period using the built in camera on my phone.

Foresight – David Suzuki

Bringing Attention to a Cause – Niobe Thompson

Discussing Ethical Oil in Politics – David Suzuki and Niobe Thompson

The Economy’s Growth

Scientific Research – Niobe Thompson

Energy Invested versus the Energy Returned Ratio – Niobe Thompson

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