This is one of the most disturbing films I have seen in a long while as it shows how environmentalists have partnered up with capitalism and turned the environmental movement into a severely compromised effort, that is built on the same illusion of endless energy and growth which it was supposed to replace.
The film is made by Jeff Gibbs, a long time environmentalist himself, and Ozzie Zehner, whose book Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism, provides the intellectual backdrop to most of what is discussed. For those who have an instant reaction against the film, I would suggest reading the book as well.
I too have thought for a long time that the way out of the energy crisis we have been creating for the past couple of hundred years was so-called green energy. The problem is, according to this film, most green energy producing units actually use more dirty energy to build them, than they ever produce themselves.
On the other hand many “green” energies are really no such thing and lead to wholesale destruction of the environment. These would include biomass fuel and ethanol production. This is destroying large swathes of Brazil’s and Indonesia’s forests (the smoke pollution from the latter makes the air in a large part of SE Asia unbreathable at times).
It isn’t emphasised anough here, and it is probably why the film has drawn a lot of criticism, but maybe what we should have been putting our efforts into was promoting a different type of lifestyle, one which wasn’t using up all available energy supplies, as none of them are really sustainable, a more simple, sustainable and connected life.
At the moment the Covid-19 crisis has slowed us down considerably, and could be used as a turning point, as we see the difference it has made already with fossil fuels sales plummeting through lack of demand, and blue skies returning to cities. Maybe this was just the wake-up call we needed. The problem is everyone seems to want to return to “normal”, but it is normal which is heading towards an apocalyptic future. Will we awake to a simpler living? Or will we carry on as we were?
(There are by now many reviews of the film, some of which are supportive, some critical. I feel myself that a conversation is needed in this crucial field, and we can’t have that if we start by blocking out what we don’t like or don’t want to know).
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