Part One

The world needs oil. That’s the fact. Some people don’t like this, some do.

Most people, I imagine, don’t really think about oil and the role it plays in their lives.

But trust me on this, it’s a significant role.

And if you think you’re hearing about Fort McMurray and the Athabasca Oil Sands now, just you wait. Like it or not, as conventional oil sources are being exhausted around the globe, nations are turning to the “Canadian Oil Sands” to sate their demands.

It Is There

The short of the long is that right now, as this very moment, the “global village” we call home needs oil. Oil is present everywhere in our daily lives: the energy we consume, the plastics we use, the clothes we wear, the medications we take. It is there. You may not like it, but it is there.

In fact, it is right here, right now, as you read this sentence. Just as it is was there when you turned on your computer.

It is there when you go to work. It is there when you go on vacation. It is there when you go camping. It is there when you buy a cup of coffee and it is there when you plug in your iPhone.

It is there when you get up in the morning and brush your teeth, and it is there in the evening when you turn out the lights.

It is there when you protest something unjust, and it is there when you celebrate something so amazing it hurts your very core.

It is there.

One Day

But oil will not always be there. Other sources of energy will be developed, other types of plastic will be produced, other types of medication, detergents and adhesives will be invented.

One day, when energy is plentiful and inexpensive, people will laugh over the prospect that nations ever went to war over oil – a notion about as ridiculous as nations warring over salt.

One day, when products are designed with their entire life-span in mind, people will shake their heads that we ever threw anything “away”. The notion that plastic containers were not compostable or repurposable will seem childish and ignorant.

One day we will be better.

Perhaps this day will come in my lifetime, perhaps not.

Until Then

But until that day, until civilization is ready to live without oil, the Athabasca Oil Sands will be here. The world’s largest source of democratic oil is being developed and it is being exported. The process is not perfect, but it is getting better.

Huge environmental pressures are being placed on industry and government, and changes are taking place. Greenhouse gas emissions per barrel are being lowered (yes, even while daily productions increase) and energy intensities are being reduced. Impacts are being minimized, knowledge is being gained and placed into action, environmental progress is being made.

All the while Fort McMurray will be playing its part on the global stage. You will read stories about it on your computer, BlackBerry or iPad and you will make judgment on the industry and thereby judgment on the community and people that live here.

So this is the reason for my oil sands. Over the coming weeks and months I hope you get to know more about us – who we are as a town, as a people, as an industry. We are after all here, doing what we do, because of your need for oil.

Part Two

Ok. Part Two is less about rhetoric and more about me.

So hi. This is me. Matt. Nice to meet you.

This is a blog about the oil sands – an industry in which I make my living as a Human Resources Advisor.

Along with my wife, I moved to Fort McMurray from Victoria, BC, in Feb of 2006, and have had the right combination of hard work, education, attitude, luck and connections to establish a new and (so far) successful life in northern Alberta.

I have a communications degree, am currently in the process of becoming a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), and in a previous life I used to be an apprentice cook.

You can see more about my digital presence through my Flavors.me account at Flavors.me/MattYouens. I have a personal twitter account, where I tweet about non-oil sands related bits and bobs as @MattYouens, and once in a while I blog on …and stuff like that….

4 responses to “About

  1. don’t stop doing this dude its really interesting

  2. I’m glad to see someone take a balanced approach to this with their blog. I would love to see more people from Fort McMurray get involved in the discussion.

    In my opinion the oil industry hasn’t done enough to engage its employees to become active contributors to one of the most important debates in Canadian history.

    When I look at the anti-oilsands groups, I notice that they have so many more voices. Their members are encouraged to act autonomously and communicate with the outside world. The result is that there are so many more touch points for the general public.

    The oil sands industry could really benefit by employing this approach.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Yeah someone else blogging from Fort McMurray! I’ll be getting my blog up and running very soon. I am so glad I found your blog. Looking forward to reading more.

  4. Hey Matt, I found your blog because I’m doing research around labour (TFWs specifically) and the oil sands. I also really appreciate your blog! In a couple of weeks, I’m headed up to the Unwrap the Research conference you blogged about, and your candidate profiles for the muni race were a great re-introduction to Fort Mac/Wood Buffalo. (I was last up in 2008.)

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