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(TVO) features an important documentary on the unsustainability of suburban life in North America. The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream this Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.

The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream was created in 2004, six years before the worst oil spill in American history. It’s a disturbing foreshadowing, an exploration of our life in North America, where the “American Dream” is now defined by sprawling backyards in suburbia.

Canada is home to the world’s largest greenbelt, located in Ontario, a space of protected prime ecological and agricultural land; even these spaces are threatened daily by encroaching development and pollution. What the filmmakers reveal is a serious questioning of the sustainability of suburban life, which quietly conceals a deep dependence on oil. As our thirst for oil grows, demand is outstripping supply.

The suburban life, a life which so many of us lead, is comfortable: big yards, cheap housing, and a life away from the hectic downtown core. The suburbs have a long history in North America. Exploding after World War II with economic expansion, veterans returning from war wanted nothing more than to settle down into quiet family lives outside the city. In fact, there was a time when more people lived in the suburbs than cities or elsewhere.

Still today, suburbia is a popular option for families. The thing is, this lifestyle is purely unsustainable. It was built on abundant and cheap oil, enabling millions of people to drive miles and miles to work, shop and eat. It’s an energy-intensive way of life, and an unsustainable way of life at that. It will become economically and ecologically impossible to maintain suburbia in an age of oil depletion.

The film makes GreenHero Leilani Munter’s efforts even more important; as we face declining fossil fuels, how will we survive? How can we prevent a collapse, and how can we change the way we live and build to ensure a sustainable future for our communities? How can we move towards smaller, localized systems that can sustain themselves rather than relying on supplies of cheap, limited, polluting energy? There are no easy answers, but knowing the issues is important – visit our Oil Changers campaign page for ideas on how to switch off of oil and reduce your carbon footprint, and tune in to TVO on Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM to watch The End of Suburbia.

Are you working in a particularly polluting industry? Are you feeling guilty about the fossil fuel and oil you are emitting as a result? Like Leilani, are you doing something to offset or lessen this negative impact on the environment? Share your Oil Changer story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

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