I've long known how wasteful, destructive, and dangerous the process of extracting oil from tar sands is. To get one barrel of oil, you have to dig up four tons of dirt and rock. Beautiful old-growth boreal forest becomes a wasteland. And that single barrel of oil? It creates three times as much climate pollution simply to produce it as a barrel of conventional crude.
So, yes, I knew that tar sands were bad news. That's why I was willing to go to jail for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. But it's impossible to really comprehend the brutal reality of tar sands mining without seeing it firsthand.