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New Film Questions Renewable Energy Future

“The film ‘Planet of the Humans’ released on Earth Day this week produced by documentary film-maker Mike Moore, has smashed opened the delusions of all renewable energy being clean or even a path to stop fossil fuel use,” says Emily Bailey of Climate Justice Taranaki. “Here is a message we, many indigenous peoples and grassroots groups have been trying to get across for decades. The most important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to drastically reduce our resource consumption. This is not something many people want to hear.”

“The truth is humanity, in the name of economic development and progress, has overshot critical planetary boundaries, threatening the planet's ability to support life, including our own. We are not saying all renewable energy is bad, but we need to consider all the impacts of each technology from mining to operation and end-of-life. Do they actually stop the use of fossil fuels and harm to our environment? It turns out that several so-called clean, renewable technologies do not. This is an uncomfortable truth to realise but a necessary one to make space to find real solutions during this rush for shovel-ready projects and a return to 'normal'. We should invest instead in projects that build local resilience and directly reduce fossil fuel use.”

“The film, screening for free on youtube, places special emphasis on big environmental NGOs like Sierra Club, 350.org, and the Nature Conservancy. These NGOs have partnered with large banks and corporations to promote large-scaled production and deployment of solar panels, wind turbines, concentrated solar mirrors, electric vehicles, biomass and biofuels. These technologies are, like fossil fuels, reliant on toxic mining, burning of fossil fuels and destroying natural habitat to make their products. They are immensely profitable for the already rich corporations who often also receive government subsidies.”

350.org thankfully stopped promoting biomass plants a few years ago but the damage is done and we all need to learn to avoid making similar mistakes. Real solutions lie in deep consumption reductions like we are seeing during the Covid-19 lockdown. Our massive reductions in travel is, for now, cutting our emissions but will go straight back up if we return to ‘normal’.”

“We need a re-localising of our economies so we travel less, waste less, produce locally and look after what we have. That means changing our value systems to pay fairer prices for ethical local products and essential services rather than wasting our resources and pillaging less protected communities in poorer places. It means shifting our industrial agriculture sector from the debt-ridden focus on export commodity markets towards smaller, diversified, regenerative agriculture that doesn’t rely on poorly treated farm staff, truckies and big-chain retail workers. It means working less and being happier with simpler lifestyles that allow resources to be shared equitably, even taking a voluntary pay cut like some MPs and CEOs are doing right now in solidarity with people impacted by Covid-19.”

“So many have hoped for decades that renewable energies and electric vehicles might enable us to continue living as we are but just ‘cleaner and greener’. The truth is these things can never sustain long term the lifestyles we in rich countries want. Runaway climate chaos will result in billions dying if we don’t engage in real solutions now. We can hide in denial and fear or we can act now to really reduce consumption and share the resources, skills and compassion we have to ensure as many as possible survive and even thrive this century. If we can do it for Covid pandemic then why not the climate emergency? The choice is ours and time is running out to make it.”

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