April 27, 2020 - by Sabine
Have you already seen the latest Michael Moore documentary ‘’Planet of the humans’’? Environmentalist Jeff Gibs explores green energy and determines that it is not going to save our planet. Even if we want to.
After watching this new eye-opening documentary we think differently about renewable energy. We have always thought that we should invest in solar panels and wind turbines. That these are the solution. The faster and more, the better. But after watching this documentary we have doubts.
Unfortunately, these green energy sources turn out not to be as green as we always thought. It is also poignant that large multinationals, banks and oil companies are benefiting from the climate crisis. They rebrand themselves as green and use the green movement to get their subsidies.
As the coronavirus dominates the news, we forget the climate crisis is going to cause much more problems for humanity.
We are concerned the coronavirus is pushing climate change from the agenda. Many plans and investments are now at risk, such as the European ‘’Green Deal’’, introduced by Timmermans. Striving to make Europe climate-neutral in 2050. At the same time, we see now more than ever the urgency of global warming as we notice positive side effects during lockdowns.
How long do we still have to make changes? A question that is asked random people on the street in the Michael Moore documentary. Is it 100 years or maybe a million years?
Planet of the Humans shows worrying graphs showing when and how fast the growth of world population and consumption has taken place. It has taken thousands of years to reach a population of 700 million people and has increased tenfold in 200 years. This is accompanied by exploding pollutant consumption. On average, consumption has grown ten times per person. Obviously, much more in Western countries. Together, the impact on earth is 100 times greater than just 200 years ago. Shocking charts change from horizontal lines to vertical lines straight up.
Sometimes all you need is a visual image to see things clear. How long can we continue this way? It will not be long and things need to change, that’s for sure. Because within two generations earth has reached its limits. How will things be in another 200 years? Maybe it’s already too late to go live a more sustainable life.
It turns out, green energy is not that clean at all. Wind turbines, solar panels and biomass are extremely polluting during the production process, shows the documentary by Michael Moore. It would cost even more fossil fuel energy in manufacturing than it ever produces. Michael Moore states that producing solar panels costs more coal than if we didn’t make them at all. Lots of land is needed to set up all panels and turbines. Furthermore, these green alternatives also make relatively little energy.
Shocking is how Planet of the Humans shows the gigantic pollution and destruction of earth during the production of solar panels and wind turbines. It causes mining, deforestation and pollution. A lot of fossil fuels are used in their manufacture. Lifespan is short; they degrade after about 20 to 25 years. The enormous residual waste is a huge problem too. There will always be a backup of coal or gas as they provide no energy when there is no sun or wind. Any company suggesting running 100% on renewable energy is not telling the truth. Michael Moore’s documentary shows no signs of hope at all.
In 2018, only 7,4% of the total energy consumption consisted of renewable green energy. As many as 61% came from biomass. The Netherlands is a major consumer of biomass. What about that? But biomass is not sacred and is not sustainable at all. Biomass is the burning of wood, where forests are cut down. It is stated that if you look at the whole picture, biomass is cleaner than coal or gas. Trees that are cut down have absorbed CO2 and in theory burning it does not add CO2 to the atmosphere. Sadly, it requires a lot of fossil fuels to harvest and transport the wood. And large forests are needed. In addition, it takes 30 years for a tree to grow.
Even if numbers are missing or facts are incomplete in Planet of the Humans, switching to renewable energy will probably still not be enough to meet our addictive consumption. Michael Moore certainly opens our eyes with his documentary. We should not just focus only on wind turbines and solar panels. Look at other alternatives and solutions too.
Why is Michael Moore not discussing nuclear energy in Planet of the Humans? What are the pros and cons about that? Maybe nuclear is the only solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for now. Or is there a better alternative? Moore is not really offering a good alternative for powering civilization and that's a missed opportunity.
What could be the solution? We have to understand why and how this pandemic Perhaps the covid-19 outbreak is a forerunner to an even more deadly virus. Normally nature takes care for balance. In any case, it would help the planet if human population will be downsized.
But more importantly, we must criticize our own consumption behavior. Our energy use must be drastically reduced. Ideally, we must end our luxury lifestyle we are used too, especially in the West. Fly less and buy less. Lowering consumption means less needed energy. We are struggling finding ways to maintain our lifestyle. That’s precisely the problem.
In the meantime, there are simply too many people, which also increases every year. We continue to eat meat, fly unnecessarily and with ease we buy new cheap stuff from the Far East we really do not need.
Can capitalism go hand in hand with saving the environment? According to Gibbs, this will never be possible. Does that mean the end of capitalism? Of course, capitalism has brought us so many good things. Food, healthcare, education and homes.
But unfortunately, this exponential growth has gone so fast that technology can’t keep it up. Earth also can’t. And now we have to look for solutions to maintain our ‘’normal’’ lifestyle in a sustainable way. Is that even possible? Society have to be classified differently. If priority remains making money and economic growth, we will never succeed to find a sustainable solution, I guess.
We believe, change must come from people themselves. Until we don’t acknowledge humanity is destroying itself and our planet, nothing will change.
Watch here the full documentary by Michael Moore: Planet of the Humans directed by Jeff Gibbs