I’m over my initial sarcastic anger at Syncrude. Of course it isn’t as simple as workers didn’t want to go out into the cold to do their job. But decisions were made to delay the implementation of prevention techniques, and it isn’t the decision-makers who suffered (unless they lost their jobs … and even so, that isn’t really on par with sinking to the bottom of a toxic oil-filled lake when all you wanted was to rest your wings after a day’s migration).
I teared up when I saw the Edmonton Journal’s headline: 500 Ducks Enter Toxic Pond and Only 5 Come Out, seen here: http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=1f6b1f26-f2d3-4c76-85b7-ade44fd699ce&k=29815
And it's not like I think oilsands workers would be immune to that statistic, either, as easy as it would be for me and other wildlife-lovers to point our fingers at them and shout "Shame!" I remember two workers from Syncrude driving an injured goose down to Edmonton from Fort MacMurray so that the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton could help it. Then they turned around and drove the six hours home. Individual people aren't the problem -- but they can be the solution.
There’s a time and a place for finger pointing and accusations, and there’s a time and a place for sitting down for a rational discussion and honest critique of events to prevent repetition.
All I can think is that right now is the time to try to save the ducks who made it out alive. We can speak for the 495 other ducks once that is done.
Have you ever seen the meticulous work necessary to try to save an oiled duck? The Edmonton Journal has a video on that too. Go to http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/videogallery/index.html and choose “Cleaning Oiled Birds”.
That is staff from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, the organization I am proud to be a part of, who are working to give the birds from Syncrude a fighting chance. We work hard to raise our profile in the community and the province. Every now and then, the need for us in this province becomes painfully transparent.
If you found this blog, and you care about the work WRSE does, visit http://www.wildlife-edm.ca and get involved. Individuals are the ones who will be the solution.