Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All I Really Need to Know I Learned From "Saved by the Bell"

Dadgummit. They got the ducks again.

Any child of the '80s will recall that episode of Saved by the Bell--the episode that impacted young minds more powerfully than any other [save perhaps the one wherein Jessie had a drug-induced nervous breakdown]. It was the the time when Bayside struck oil and decided to hire an oil company to drill on the football field; the plan was to make Bayside High a first-rate prep school with the oil profits. Unfortunately, there was an oil spill that caused the deaths of the entire student population's science projects: Becky the Duck, in particular.

*Photos from*

Even before I found these photos online, I could clearly envision the sight of that poor dead duck, black and slick with spilled oil that had invaded her home--the nearby pond. She was dead--dead...and all because of the greediness of humanity. I must have only been six or seven when I first saw that episode, yet the images were so real and urgent that I have remembered them vividly after 15 years.

And now it's happened again, only in real life. Only this time it wasn't an oil spill that was to blame--it was an oil wasteland. These wastelands are toxic ponds, which are the dump sites for Syncrude™, a northern Alberta oil sand company (there's sand up there that is saturated with oil and people dedicate their lives to the extraction of this finite resource [hence "oil sands"]). In other words, there are specific designated areas for Syncrude™ to dump their toxic sludge. That's all fine and well, except for the 500 migrating ducks which landed in the toxic waste on Monday, all but five of which became oil-logged and sank almost immediately. These designated toxic areas that are not new; they've been a part of the company since its beginnings. In fact, Syncrude™ spokespeople claim this is the first time the birds have landed in 30 years. They seem to consider this a positive point--I think they should be embarrassed. Shouldn't they know by now that this is not okay?

It also begs the question, "If Syncrude™ has been dealing with migrating fowl for at least 30 years, what was the major oversight this season, that wiped out entire flocks of living animals?"

See, normally the oil company places sonic-wave noisemakers [pictured above, from] in the vicinity of the hazardous areas, which serve to deter flying animals from landing thereabouts. This season, it was snowing. Snowing. Evidently it was snowing a great deal--it would have to be, since that is Syncrude's™ only excuse for their oversight. On the other hand, the ducks were still flying around up there; how bad a snowfall could it have been? And if it was, in fact, snowing too heavily for the ducks to fly, it has since stopped; surely there was enough time to prepare for the annual migration.

Anyway, I think it's all a load of nonsense, and I hope Syncrude™ learns from their mistake (hopefully a lesson in the form of a mega-fine, which could amount to $1,000,000, according to the New York Times). It should not be happening. There is absolutely no excuse for such ignorance. A lot of people (my older sister, for sure) will be inclined to think, "Oh, Camille, it's just 500 ducks. Canada has lots more where those came from. You're overreacting." But that is exactly the mentality we need to fight:

If you're going to take a passive stand, you may as well just lay back down.

The future of our planet is at stake. Our ecosystem is fragile enough without these monstrous companies killing off hundreds of animals...even if it is only every 30 years.

Labels: , , , , ,


Anonymous Jessica said...

Blah blah blah.

The future of our planet is not at stake over the loss of 500 ducks. I am not heartless. I would just rather drive in my car than walk. I would rather have my house heated by natural gas than start up a fire in my fireplace.

People make sacrifices every day for modern-day conveniences.

And before you go spouting off any more about these "monstrous companies", ask yourself this: "Am I willing to give these things up to save a few ducks?"

Because I am certainly not.

May 1, 2008 at 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camille, you're BLOODY WELL RIGHT!! Syncrude and it's buddy Suncor don't give a damn about anything but oil, just to sell to the world and get rich. Any fine is just pocket change to them, there's supposedly 300 million barrels in the sands, more than Saudi Arabia has liquid, and it's making alot of Albertans very rich, and greedy. And only a few care about the damage to the planet, and everything we're killing. It's disgusting. My weak attempt at helping is to live small as i can, not buy houses full of manufactured crap, walk only, bus to work, and grow as many plants in my south facing bachelor apartment as i can, at least keep my space, and air, a bit cleaner than the suburban toxic sprawl that's giving everyone less healthy lives. When i was little, 40 year ago, i didn't know a single person with an allergy. Now i hear of allergies hard to garlic.
(Though that girl might have thought she was a vampire, she was a bit goth.) My point, i'm not sure, maybe we're the next ducks to die in the sludge we've made. People suck.
My place is spittin' distance from Bellamy hill, a major busy road carrying many thousands of cars into downtown daily. Maybe it's time for that paintball gun. "Lone gunman defaces 12 H2's!!" could be tommorow's headline. I'm at a loss otherwise.
Thank you for this informative vehement post. I've seen the big pit at Syncrude, it's vile, and all for oil. Money and greed. We've taken a REALLY bad turn, evolution wise. What can we do?
OOoo, a duck just flew past my window, into the river valley. I still feel sad though. We're consuming this planet so fast it's dying before our eyes.And i've given up alot of modern luxuries. If i had a cabin in the woods, without power,gas heat, or plumbing, i'd be there yesterday. Bye bye cruel city, good riddance to bad rubbish.

May 1, 2008 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jessica, you have zero social conscience. and the ducks are an ILLUSTRATION, dear. you greed mongers will get yours, when china buys us all with walmart money.

May 1, 2008 at 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

modern conveniences..HHAAAHH!!!!more like zombie-esque greed of the over priveledged "first" world.hang on to your crap, people, things are getting ugly.
16 days in a row, US gas prices set new alltime record. wait till oil is at 1000$ a barrel, and you can afford to drive, but not feed your children. not to mention the squalor the third world lives in, and how extremely little we actually care, or do anything about it.

May 1, 2008 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger linda rae said...

Is that you, Jeff?

May 1, 2008 at 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, Camille, this is the most serious post I have seen you write. Where's the sarcastic humor? Sounds like someone has found a cause. Are you going to do something about it or are you just venting?

May 1, 2008 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lr, no it's someone "anonymous" who also happens to live on bellamy hill. small world and all.

May 1, 2008 at 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Camille.
Reading the National Geographic in dr's office on tuesday, learned lake Powell has lost 50 percent of it's volume over the last 15 years, and continues to empty. I wonder when Canada will be asked to sell fresh water to California and Nevada. Too many golf courses in the desert, they say. I'm glad at least you are paying attention to the environment.

May 1, 2008 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also lr, lots of people were little, 40 years ago.if you know what i mean.

May 1, 2008 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, camille, i hope that last bit didn't sound like a dig. i meant; at least, YOU pay attention to the enivironment. as if to suggest too many others don't.

May 1, 2008 at 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, look! you found a cause! I'm happy for you. I am also loving the bob marley.

May 1, 2008 at 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love music too. my older sibs didn't play any marley when i was little, i'm unfamiliar. did see bob dylan, supertramp, and ABBA in the late 80's.
and diana ross, in the late 90's. seven costume changes, fun show. 4th row from stage.

May 1, 2008 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Adell Atwood said...


Apparently this is quite a sensitive subject for many people. While I am initially inclined to side with Jessica (see above), I do believe in the notion that one person can make an enormous impact. You've given me some food for thought. I appreciate your metaphorical scenario. You have convinced me to try a little harder to go green. Not all the way; that's far too expensive. But I will make some more efforts.

May 1, 2008 at 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camille, I like the quote about passive stands and laying down. I am going to be spending a lot more time horizontal now.

May 1, 2008 at 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People do need to be made aware of this situation. Thank you Camille for helping spread the word. The world is becoming a cruel cruel place. ~A

May 5, 2008 at 9:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home