So says Maude Barlow, the chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, who has just been appointed to advise the United Nations on water issues, after a recent flight over the oil sands.

During the trip, she saw steam rising from the ground, no birds in the sky or animals on the ground. “We were devastated by what we saw and smelled and experienced.” Barlow likened what she saw to Mordor, from Lord of the Rings.

“The air is foul, the water is being drained and poisoned and giant tailing ponds line the Athabasca River,” she told a news conference late last week. “What stunned me from the air is how close they are to the Athabasca River and what might happen if there was a spill.”

The Council of Canadians is calling for a moratorium on new oil sands development until thorough human and ecological impact assessments have been undertaken. Barlow is so shocked by what she saw that she said she would like to take her concerns about protecting Canada’s water supplies, including in areas around the oilsands, to the assembly’s floor.

Can you imagine a UN resolution halting oil sands development… Some how I doubt it…

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