The rapid climate change we are experiencing in our lifetimes is, unlike previous eras of climate change, caused mostly by us humans and our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. We can’t really have a conversation about climate change, without talking about fossil fuels.

To prevent the worst case scenarios of potential climate change, we need to leave most of the fossil fuel yet to be extracted in the ground. We know this. Yet, we continue to extract fossil fuels at increasing rates to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population.

The oil we get from tar sands in Canada is one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet. TransCanada already has several pipelines and railways that carry crude oil and bitumen from tar sands across the country to refineries and ocean shipping routes. The proposed Energy East pipeline would be the longest pipeline in the world if it is approved.

Photographer Robert van Waarden traveled the route of the proposed Energy East pipeline and created a series of photographs of both the landscape and the people he met along the route. His photographs were exhibited in Montreal in March, 2015.