Climate, Keystone, and Controversial Documentaries

Documentaries are extremely important in that they give us some back story on things we might only kind of know about. A new documentary, Elemental, targets some issues that affect the environment, such as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, pollution in the Ganges River, and how a man faces the battles of a rapidly warming climate.

Pretty deep stuff.

Maybe you’ve heard about Keystone XL in the news, but you’re fuzzy on the details. If so, here are some of the facts:

  • TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. proposed to construct a 1,700 mile crude oil pipeline
  • The pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, reducing the need for trains and trucks to get oil to the refineries. Canada to Texas. That’s a long pipeline.
  • The project has two phases: The first pipeline is the one under proposition, which runs from Alberta to Nebraska, while the second is under construction; it runs from Oklahoma to Texas. An existing pipeline will connect these two.


So it’s a project that covers a lot of ground and could possibly cause a good bit of disruption. Which means that there’s a pretty heated argument brewing between the the project’s supporters and its critics. Here’s where they stand:

The people FOR the pipeline claim that it will boost the economy, providing jobs for several people. Along with that, it is said that this cut America’s dependence on oil imported from Venezuela and the Middle East. This is because the oil will be imported from resources in Canada and other polar regions, and we will have easier access to it because of the pipeline.

The people AGAINST the pipeline claim that it will put the surrounding environment at risk of toxic spills and water pollution. Also, separating the crude oil from the sand, silt and clay it comes from requires huge amounts of water, a resource we can’t afford to waste. They also argue that we should be looking for ways to provide energy without oil, rather than making it easier for oil to get to us.

While Elemental tackles more issues than Keystone, the XL pipeline is such a complex issue that it helps to do a little extra reading.

Here’s a scene from Elemental which focuses on citizens speaking out against the pollution affecting their community:

And here’s a scene of a government official in India attempting to clean up the Ganges river.

What are your opinions on the pipeline controversy, the pollution in the Ganges, or just our ever-changing climate? Please leave a comment below and share your views with us!

For more info on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, click here.

For some of the arguments for it, click here.

For some of the arguments against, click here.