Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio flew over Mordor?


In class the other day the thing that stuck most with me would have to be Leonardo DiCaprio’s interpretation of the Tar sands. He said what many of us were thinking and summed it best by pointing out its very Mordor-like appearance. It seems to be a land of waste, devoid of life and color with all of the makings of a movie set Mordor vibe. That’s why I felt it might make for an interesting topic so today I wanted to talk about the Alberta Tar sands in Canada and their role in the U.S. Apparently now Canada has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the number one oil distributor to the U.S so as you can imagine the Tar Sands are huge. They cover an area the size of England with the purpose of extracting crude oil out of bitumen found under the Boreal Forest in Alberta Canada. The video I watched on this issue went into depth more than I would have space to here but I will include it below of course. They explain that due to Canada’s location and weather stability a ‘great partnership with the U.S. will most likely continue and that the tar sands production would be quadrupling over the next 20 years.” Going on to talk more about the environmental degradation caused and then they state that”Tar sand production spills out as much green house gas in one day as 1.34 million cars.” The video also points to the fact that Water is being wasted and polluted through this process as well. The sands require 3 barrels of water to extract one barrel of crude oil and of those 3 barrels 90% of it gets eventually wasted due to its toxicity. When they need to store this toxic water they put it into something called a tailing pond. The video states that out of every 160 liters of tailings produced one liter leaks and that every one of these tailing ponds leak as they were only constructed using sand. They also speak about all of the animals affected by drinking the water as well as other declines and talks about how the ducks are being affected and end up becoming covered in oil. For an area bigger than the amazonian rain-forest itself lets hope that another alternative presents itself to those who feel dependent upon its degradation for the sake of all environmental aspects of concern.

-Tymandra Amburgy-

Video link:


4 thoughts on “Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio flew over Mordor?

  1. when i watched before the flood the first time, this gave me chills. I knew about the tar sands, but i never really had an idea of what they looked like in real life. It makes it even worse that the operation leaches into the water and can harm birds and animals as well as destroying their habitat. Hopefully this operation won’t grow any larger than what it is now.

    Tom Walters


  2. I didn’t think many people paid attention to those little details, but for me this was huge when he said that. It just goes to show that these large companies don’t care whatsoever about wild life, the planet, or even native peoples land. And now our beloved Earth is turning into a horror looking scene out of a movie… When will we stop.

    Jaiden Deal


  3. Canada being the new #1 in oil is news to me! thats crazy, and kind of a shame. Since our relationship with canada is pretty solid, the influence that we will have on the tar sands seems dangerous. I imagine our Government to take full advantage and probably do a large amount of damage in the process. It really is sad, but anything in nature is expendable for the price on money.. so most of the world seems to think.

    Chandler B


  4. The comparison to Mordor is such a vivid one. The idea of Earth looking like that is absurd and kind of hard to imagine, but as seen in Before the Flood it is a harsh reality. This documentary was super helpful for me to see and understand more about Climate Change from a perspective that was not a scientist or professional who is the most knowledgable. Canada being the new #1 is also a shock to me.

    Mikayla Hounchell


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