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Sci Tech    H4'ed 5/5/20

"Planet of the Humans:" Its Misleading Message

    Message Mike Rivage-Seul
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幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧At last the left-wing environmentalists have come to their senses. Even the most extreme of them like Michael Moore has admitted that climate change is a hoax. So-called energy alternatives do more harm than good. And nothing can or should be done to address the Chicken Little faux problem of global warming unless it's reducing the number of people who have irresponsibly overpopulated the planet.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧That's the position adopted by more than one right-wing commentator over Moore's newly released , "Planet of the Humans." And for those who haven't paid attention to the environmental movement, the evaluation might well ring true.

The film Itself

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧In making its case, "Planet of the Humans" for instance presents formidable rows of solar panels as perhaps only enough to energize a kitchen toaster. The film demonstrates that the elements required to manufacture wind turbines and electric cars require environmental devastation that destroys tribal lands and exactly parallels the coal industry's mountaintop removal. And biomass is just crazy. The same holds true for ethanol and elephant manure. Too often, the purveyors of solar and wind technologies turn out to be fly-by-night con artists.

As for the heroes of the environmental movement, there just aren't any (except, perhaps, for India's Vandana who in a brief cameo dissents from biomass madness). Forget about the Sierra Club and Al Gore. Gore's in bed with Virgin Airlines' Richard Branson, Mike Bloomberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, and the Koch brothers. They're all compromised, interested only in corporate profit, and speak uniformly with forked tongues.

The same holds true for Bill and his organization 350.org. He's fumbling, inarticulate, and evasive -- just the opposite of how many of us have seen him repeatedly over the years in like Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now."

No wonder climate change denialists loved the film. Observing their gleeful victory dances will disappoint progressives who likely find themselves upset with Michael Moore, whom so many have come to admire for his other films and his general political leadership. Even a sense of betrayal might not be out of place as the film undercuts an environmental movement at a particularly crucial juncture where time to save the planet is rapidly running out.

Josh Fox's Counterpoint

In response to such understandable disappointment, Josh the producer-director of "Gas Land," a documentary critique of the fracking industry, recently on Krystal Ball's and Sagaar Enjeti's "Rising" news program. There, Fox criticized "Planet of the Humans" as fundamentally misleading. He pointed out the film's puzzling misdirection in support of its thesis that renewable energy is not the panacea for climate change that environmentalists claim. However, according to Fox, "Planet of the Humans" errs when it:

  • Attacks and dismisses the basic premise of the alternative energy movement that relies on solar and wind sources, but not exclusively as the film suggests. Alternative energy must be complemented by reductions in consumption, by conservation of public lands, and by recycling and reusing.
  • Holds instead that reduction of consumption and population control represent the only viable ways forward. (The Malthusian overtones of such argument are especially reprehensible, Fox said, during a time of pandemic.)
  • Focuses on 10-year-old technology as if huge strides have not been made in the past decade with both solar and wind power
  • Similarly advances the arguments that are not merely 10-years but 40-years old. They mirror perfectly what the fossil-fuel industry has been saying during that near half century despite the fact that its leaders have the links between their product and climate change the whole time. Even with that knowledge, they've argued (as the film itself implies) that the need for and viability of alternative energies is a matter of debate. In reality however, virtually the entire scientific community is in contrary agreement on the issue.
  • Spends an extraordinary amount of time addressing the pitfalls of biomass as though it were a major part of the alternative-energy proposals. (In reality it accounts for 1.4% of non-fossil-fuel alternatives.)
  • Ignores the environmental movement of the past 10 years, while arguing at the same time that a new more radical environmental movement is required.
  • Specifically, avoids mentioning the extremely important Green New Deal, the Movement, and the work of activist heroes like Naomi Klein, Greta Thunberg, and Bill McKibben around divestment from the fossil-fuel industry. Instead, McKibben is specifically singled out as though he were a shill for the industry he's been working against for decades. He's criticized for support of biomass despite the fact that he informed the filmmakers beforehand that this is no longer the case.
  • Ignores the fact that most within the alternative-energy movement stand in agreement with the filmmakers' position that capitalism and renewable energy do not mix. At this moment of crisis with its need for an F.D.R.-like mobilization of productive resources, socialism is much more compatible with the movement's goals.

Additional Points of Criticism

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧One could add to Fox's criticism the facts that:

  • (As John Gilkison has ) criticizing today's electric cars for their continued dependence on coal, oil and gas is like disqualifying Model Ts in 1908 as viable transportation alternatives because they still relied on horse drawn wagons for delivery of materials to the Ford factory.
  • Obviously, wind power is not dependent on mountaintop-removal procedures. In fact, mountaintops in Vermont do not at all represent the ideal spot for wind generators. Those would be found in the wind stretching from North Dakota and Montana in the north to western Texas in the south.
  • Biomass does, of course, have a valuable place among today's energy alternatives. It takes the form of fuel for wood stoves used by individual homeowners to supplement the energy generated by their rooftop panels.
  • The film misleads on the subject of population. At one point, it says that in a period of just 200 years, the globe's population increased by a factor of 10. During the same period, energy consumption "on average" rose by the same measure. Clearly however, figures for average energy consumption make it appear that everyone on the planet is equally responsible for energy depletion. They are not. The United States with less than 5% of the world's population, consumes around 25% of its energy. Meanwhile people on the African continent and elsewhere in the Global South consume far less. So, rather than giving the impression that there are too many people in the world, it would be more accurate to say there are too many Americans. The film avoids making that specific, but hugely important point.

Conclusion

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧"Planet of the Humans," of course, is correct in positing that energy corporations like BP and Exxon are trying mightily to co-opt the concept of green technology. Moreover, the corporate version of energy alternatives continues to centralize and control solar and wind sources in massive plants. So, they build expensive energy-intensive installations that depend on solar-panel arrays the extent of football fields or on thousands of easily destructible mirrors located in the desert to reflect and somehow gather the sun's energy. The business model of these concerns has them retaining control of "smart grids" just as they did with the dumb ones currently powered by oil and coal.

Moore's film is correct: such "solutions" are top-down and hugely problematic.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. His latest book is "The Magic (more...)
 

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6 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments


Mike Rivage-Seul

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The film is nicely edited and visually seductive and could easily persuade the casual viewer. More's the pity.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 10:00:01 AM

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Marta Steele

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Mike,

Thanks for all your hard work putting this together so cogently and with the right colors (no purple).

It's a shocker and the word needs to go around "accentuating the positive"--we still have lots of work to do. Scads of it.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Personally, I think thoughts that need to be communicated in person rather than online, but they have to do with next November. That's a priority. That's the looming issue of the future, before we can worry about the future beyond next November, or is it January 21, 2021?

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Your next film, Michael Moore? Make it quick!

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 1:44:42 PM

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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Marta, I always appreciate your laser focus on the importance of the electoral process and of getting it right in November. Thanks for the reminder -- and encouragement.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 2:46:38 PM

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Derryl Hermanutz

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幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧I haven't watched Moore's film yet, but I agree with the basic premise that an environmentally sustainable future requires less energy use, and less production and consumption of stuff, not "alternative" sources of producing the energy.

The best way of using less energy is to do manually what is now being done by electric-powered and fossil fuel-powered machines. Stuff like walking instead of driving; pedal bikes instead of e-bikes; organic foods grown by food-fueled farmers instead of foodlike substances grown by fossil-fueled Big Ag. Or turning your own lights on and off, instead of sitting there and telling your smart house to do it for you.

Fossil-fueled industrial machines replace human workers who are left unemployed or working at make-work "bullshit jobs". Fossil fuels are burned to power the machines, while the muscle-powered humans have nothing to do except burn electricity and wear out batteries playing video games and taking selfies. Replacing the fossil-fueled machines with electric machines still leaves the humans "redundant" - except as consumers.

It is our "culture" - energy-intensive industrial production and transportation of consumer baubles and junk food - that is unsustainable. Solar panels and windmills can't fix that.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧But what is everybody's favorite solution? The 4th Industrial Revolution - the Internet of Things that will computerize and automate everything, so that humans will have nothing to do except play with our electricity-powered smart devices and smart houses and smart cities.

Except, of course, for the humans who still have to do the dirty physical work of mining and refining all the resources, and building the new 'smart' everything, and the new 'sustainable' economy, and all the new electrical generation capacity and transmission grids to power the 'smart' future.

Rebuilding the planet's infrastructure will burn most of the Earth's remaining fossil fuels, and scavenge most of the Earth's remaining natural resources.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧But many of today's "greens" - who do not understand that physical reality is "physical" - believe they won't need any resources at all to rebuild the planetary infrastructure, because 3D printers will build the new 'smart' everything "out of nothing".

Was it Einstein who observed that as technology gets smarter people get stupider?

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 11:27:45 PM

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Reply to Derryl Hermanutz:   New Content

Nicely and fully expressed, Derryl. Thank you. No doubt, my review of Moore's film betrays the mindset you criticize here. Guilty. I particularly liked your "It is our 'culture' - energy-intensive industrial production and transportation of consumer baubles and junk food - that is unsustainable. Solar panels and windmills can't fix that." Touche'! 幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Can't argue with what you say.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 12:44:44 AM

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Brad Fuller

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Unless people who like to think on the human experience have an idea of what the human 'pyramid cap' wants they are basically running around and pointing fingers in six directions at once. The 'cap' is pushing sustainable development - aka Technocracy as the social and economic solution to the hydro carbon energy powered climax capitalism civilization currently dominating the human economy and experience as run by the 'cap' in its own interests. The 'cap' uses all manner of psychological means to advance their agenda which is largely readily available for study as written and published. Climate change is one such operation that side steps the monstrous polluting done under the current economic paradigm owned and run by the 'cap'. That the 'cap' has constantly called for a massive reduction in the human population (90% not going forward) but again side steps eugenics, trans humanism, even scientism as integral goals to sustainable development/technocracy, gives us a clear idea of their world view and enmity to nature and by extension the humanity that makes us who we are. Humanity is currently on the wrong footing, financially primarily, and fixing that fixes almost all of our problems as care takes over from fear.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 12:50:49 AM

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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Brad, I never thought of it as a "pyramid cap." But lately it's becoming clearer to me that those in charge (driven by eugenics, the theory of psychopaths like Friedrich Hayek and popularized by Ayn Rand) welcome climate change and COVID-19 as ways of thinning the herd along the lines you describe in your comment. They want the world for themselves and despise those they consider weak and "useless eaters" -- the elderly, sick, non-white, bleeding hearts . . .

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 3:52:36 AM

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Commentary a la tristesse.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 2:08:59 PM

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幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Message we got from the Gibb's film was...

- Solar, Wind, and Bio-mass energy need to be much cleaner.

- Users/supporters of solar, wind, bio-mass must be informed about any negative details of those green-promoted technologies;

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧- Work is needed to seriously extend the life-span of solar and wind equipment...without use of petroleum-sourced materials;

- Enviro groups need to be open about any downsides of current solar, wind, bio-mass programs to promote action to eliminate those downsides.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧- When any fossil fuel interests in any way pretend to be green, expose that ASAP;

- Assure that users of solar and wind equipment KNOW the life span and the source of the equipment.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 5:20:59 AM

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And... PS: Michael Moore and Ozzie Zehner were "just" producers of the film.

Rightly it's a Jeff Gibbs movie, not a Michael Moore movie like "Fahrenheit..." and "Roger..." etc.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Friday, May 8, 2020 at 12:05:56 AM

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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Yes, I know. But all of us also know that the film wouldn't get nearly the press it's receiving if it weren't presented (as it has been) as a Michael Moore film.

幸运飞艇有哪些选号技巧Submitted on Friday, May 8, 2020 at 12:06:46 PM

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All of these points are true, of course, John. My point was that this is not the moment to accentuate them -- with the entire political establishment arrayed against the fundamental change required and the rapidly closing window of opportunity.

Submitted on Friday, May 8, 2020 at 12:04:48 PM

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