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The Oil Man and the Sea

Kopecky, Arno.  The Oil Man and the Sea.  Douglas and McIntyre, 2013.  264 pp., maps, index, col & b/w photos, pb.  ISBN 978-1-77100-107-6.  $26.95.

The proposed Northern Gateway Project to build a pipeline from stacks_image_107Alberta to Kitimat and load bitumen on oil tankers has sparked a political civil war in Canada.  Kopecky persuaded his photographer friend Ilja to sail his 40 ft. boat up the BC coast from Sidney to Kitimat and explore the planned tanker route.  His interesting travelogue explains why this oil shipping is hazardous to the environment, and also gives citizens and First Nations epoples along the route a strong voice against a greedy enterprise powered by some very large world corporations.  He meets with many Firtst Nations groups and other concerned citizens all along the route, and sees first hand the challenges that face oil tanker traffic.  He also shows the beauty of the BC coast and what development of these oil reserves would cost the environment.

This well written book combines an abundance of information on ecology, culture and history while meditating on the advisability of oil pipelines and tankers, and reaching the conclustion that the BC coast is not a place for oil tankers.  This is a great learning tool, containing a wealth of information and promoting lots of debate and discussion.  The author has researched and interviewed well, and the excellent photographs greatly enhance the text.  I recommend this as background reading for all concerned citizens as well as a great resource for high students and teachers.

Recommended grade level – 9-12 Date: May 2014
Reviewer’s Name:  Rosemary Anderson Position:  Retired Teacher Librarian
Institution:  W.L. McLeod Elementary School District:  91, Nechako Lakes