Buried in the Sands: Canada's Energy Policy (55+)

Canada's economy is based upon resource extraction, but we live in a world with a warming climate. Most of our news and information sources are polarized, spun, and bought. Where we stand as a country about the national energy policy is anyone's guess, but it is our responsibility as citizens to become informed about it.

We will explore the tensions between being "sustainable" and earning money in today's world. Examples from the oil and gas industry will provide focal points. You will learn about topics such as formation fracking, horizontal drilling, pipeline and oil tanker safety, stakeholder inclusion, baseline studies, cradle-to-grave economics, end-game strategies, and the side effects of NIMBY-ism ("not-in-mybackyard" attitudes).

To apply this course towards the Adults 55+ Non-Credit Certificate in the Liberal Arts, please enter "1" under Quantity on the "Adding Optional Items" page to pay the $20 certificate fee.

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Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Weeks 1 and 2: Where and What is an Oil or Gas Accumulation?

You will learn about the following topics: how the present is the key to the past; how all oils are not equal; how producing formations differ; how horizontal drilling acts as a game changer; and how formation fracking is an art, not a science.

Weeks 3 and 4: Moving, Refining, and Using Hydrocarbons

We will look at the following topics: pipeline and oil tanker safety; state-of-the-art practices in the industry; the need for baseline studies; the art of stakeholder inclusion; and the importance of cradle-to-grave economic strategies.

Weeks 5 and 6: Assuring the Greatest Benefits from the Least Impact

We will explore the topics of government oversight; defining who is responsible for what; end-game strategies; and NIMBY pros and cons. We will also take up the topics of sustainability, future possibilities and alternatives, and where our personal responsibilities lie in using and conserving energy.

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

Who should take this course?

This course is for anyone who is interested in learning about energy issues and sustainability.

How will I be evaluated?

(For certificate students only)

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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