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Planet of the Humans. Why you cannot fault its message.

What critics of the new Michael Moore/Jeff Gibbs documentary fail to grasp is that, yeah it's old news and yeah it's not factually up to date... but it's not the stats you need to take home. It's the message and although it only comes from one man's mouth and not multiple mouths from multiple cultures and generations, you cannot fault it. This message is that, while green tech may or may not solve the energy needs of humans, it isn't going to solve the mass extinction event happening before our eyes and that what we really need is to scrap economic growth, give back to nature and "begin to plan how we’re going to humanely, lovingly and sustainably re-vision how we live.”

It then delves further into its criticism of green tech. Why? Because tech solutions are the exact opposite of the above. They're a way of saying "carry on over consuming and overpopulating, so long as your appliances are powered by pixie dust for which vast expanses of the Earth's surface and potential ecosystems must be smothered with machinery". There's a reason the billionaires aren't paying people to plant trees. If you can't charge people to use it, what's the point?

I'm not saying you shouldn't use electricity powered by renewables. I'm saying it's not a solution to the ecological crisis. It's a solution to your entitlement to use electricity powered by renewables.

Here's the thing. Mainstream environmentalists pay way more attention to meeting humanity's insatiable energy demands than to actually protecting nature, rolling out green technology as opposed to nature based solutions such as preventing deforestation, protecting endangered species, ensuring the intactness of forests and rivers and the restoration of ecosystems. Here's the problem. Green tech is unabashedly about finding a way to sustain our patterns of over consumption, a way of life that's destroying nature. Meanwhile nature based solutions are about, um... protecting nature.

Who is at the forefront of which? Billionaires from the resource depleted nations of North America and Europe are at the forefront of green tech while indigenous peoples and minorities from the resource rich but economically poor nations of Latin America and beyond, where the death rate of environmentalists is four a week (4 year old stat) are on nature's frontline.

I'm not pitting the two against each other but by arguing that we have no alternative to green tech, you make these groups even more invisible. You make nature more invisible. By arguing that we have no alternative to green tech, you promote the image of white billionaire saviours over these groups. By arguing that we have no alternative to green tech, you are just promoting someone else's business who doesn't give AF about you. By arguing that we have no alternative to green tech, you forget that once our "Human Planet" is powered by 100% renewables, there will be nothing left of nature and the peoples who fought for it will be long gone. By arguing that we have no alternative to green tech, you are telling people to not change their habits so long as their power comes from somewhere else. But a change in habits is what we need.

Robert Bryce in Forbes, while praising his honesty, describes the film's director as a doomsayer, offering little more than an anti-human rant and no solution of his own. How did he miss it? The solution is clearly to scrap economic growth and change the way we live. Hell, New Zealand recently removed GDP from their national agenda. Why? Because it's not synonymous with wellbeing.

This reaction highlights the reason why people buy into renewables which is that even if they're a false solution, your film has to have a happy ending or people won't buy it. Anything not to face the prospect of relinquishing our privileges. Worst, and yet most predictable of all, is the backlash from the climate elite such as Klein, who know we have to ditch GDP but are under automatic pressure to shut down anything that calls out their sponsors.

Right, so it's a critique of an environmentalism that refuses to reckon with unlimited consumption but it isn't. Care to state why?

Sure, the narration and visuals are mediocre, the interviews don't delve into other communities or cultures and worst of all, as many green tech insiders have pointed out, climate deniers are riding off the back of it. Yale's Dana Nuccitelli accuses the film of damaging "humanity’s last best hope for positive change". Australian green tech insider Ketan Joshi describes it as “selling far-right, climate-denier myths from nearly a decade ago to left-wing environmentalists in the 2020s.” I feel his pain if that's his industry and he now has to work ten times harder to justify his job but these "myths" were sold to me long ago, if by myths he's referring to the fact that humans need to consume less. Perhaps wind and solar are indeed more efficient these days than the film makes them out to be. I don't care. Stop selling endless consumption on a finite Earth. A true environmentalist settles for neither.

Critics then go on to make the cringemaking argument that overpopulation is a racist debate. If they know anything about the demands of our infinite growth model, they know damn well why overpopulation exists and that it's a problem. Infinite economic growths requires infinite population growth. By shutting down this debate our liberal elite is gravely lacking the maturity to realise that those wanting to have this discussion are actually defending the masses who, to your favourite energy billionaires, are nothing more than figures on a ledger. As for the filmmakers, I think it's more likely they're addressing their own country folk given that they're exposing green tech in their country and therefore expressing the need of their own people to change their habits, have less babies etc.

In all, the main criticism of the film is that it's decade old material isn't up to date with the latest developments in wind and solar; and while proving the filmmakers journalistically unethical in this regard, this critique demonstrates a complete and utter failure to catch the message of the movie.

#racingextinction #politics #indigenous #nature #globalwarming #LatinAmerica #environmentalism #climatechange #sustainabledevelopment #economy #environmental

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