An honest look at green energy
By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
It’s no secret that the downfall of the planet could happen someday. But what if I were to tell you that we are already amid that downfall and there seems to be nothing we can do to combat it?
For a while, I’ve wondered what humans could do to prevent an awful fate for our planet and I have found that there isn’t anything that we would be willing to do because the true problem is us. Everything that humans are doing is destroying our planet—for example, capitalism breeds consumption and I feel that will lead to our demise. The truth is that there are too many people using too much, too fast. You might try to combat that statement with: “What about our green initiatives such as solar and wind energy? What about trying to be 100 percent sustainable?” But green energy will not save the planet—some feel that our human impact is just too great.
After watching the 2019 Michael Moore documentary, Planet of the Humans (directed by Jeff Gibbs) my perspective of green energy has changed. The documentary explains that “green” technologies are just a distraction from making a real plan to save our Earth. Jeff Gibbs states that green “renewable” energy and industrial civilizations are one and the same. He claims that wind turbines and solar panels are “desperate measures not to save a planet, but to save our way of life,” and argues that just because we are using wind power and solar panels does not mean we are not also burning fossil fuels. Solar and wind energy are intermittent energy sources, which means that the reality of converting to 100 percent sustainable energy is impossible because of how unreliable they are. Backup fossil fuels-powered facilities are always running on idle.
In Planet of the Humans, Gibbs went to an eco-festival in Vermont which was intended to be fuelled by solar energy, but when it rained, they converted to biodiesel and then hooked into the electrical grid. Biodiesel is just the use of plant and animal material as a “renewable” energy source. This moment was just the beginning of Gibbs’ revelatory unveiling of the truth behind humankind’s “green” initiatives. “Everywhere I encountered green energy it wasn’t what it seemed,” Gibbs states early in the documentary.
Major corporations such as Sierra Club and 350.org and public figureheads with Earth-saving promises have been in cahoots with Wall Street and billionaires in leading our environmental movements down a dirty path. Solar panels and wind turbines are not a long-term solution, they are not as renewable as we think they are, and they are far from carbon neutral.
The conversion from diesel energy to solar and wind energy is a “green” movement that is peddled to the public as a game-changer… when in reality it is an illusion. Planet of the Humans illuminates the manufacturing process of solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars and how they are all environmentally destructive with a lengthy and largely toxic list of elements required, including cobalt sourced by child labour; rare earth metals; sulphur hexafluoride (which is 23,000 times more warming than CO2); gallium arsenide; ethylene-vinyl acetate; hydrofluoric acid, and petroleum to name just a few. When taking a look at how energy alternatives to fossil fuels are constructed, it begs the question whether these alternatives are worth it or if we’d be better off carrying on with the status quo, only at a highly reduced rate of consumption.
By not taking the time to think about these data-backed arguments about the problems in our energy system, humankind is running headfirst into our downfall. Awareness can help cultivate the path to change.