Before getting too far into this post, we have to first say that we have a pretty large (18 panels) solar array on our house. We love it. We are thrilled that we got it. We also have a pretty realistic perspective about it. We know, for example, that there was mining of products and destruction of habitat that needed to happen in order to manufacture the system. We know it has a lifespan of, maybe, 20 years. Even though it produces nearly 2 times the amount of electricity we use on a very good month, solar power is not a total solution to the energy problems humans are now facing.
To us, that seems like rational common sense. In fact, if you add wind and geothermal and other "green" energies to the equation, it is still not enough to get humans out of the existential crises that we have created for ourselves due to human overpopulation, excessive consumption, habitat loss, etc. Yet too many advocates for "alternative" energies promote these technologies as de facto be-all end-all solutions that they are not.
The problem is that too many people don't want to face the reality that to survive on this planet much longer humans are going to need to radically change the ways we live. Rather than doing that, they look to things like solar power as ways to keep us consuming while leaving a little bit smaller footprint on the planet.
That is the topic that filmmaker Michael Moore took on in his latest project, Planet of the Humans (embedded below).
In it, in classic Moore fashion, Moore takes on some of the most common misconceptions about alternative energies and exposes the connections between these technologies and traditional fossil fuel companies. Most importantly, he tackles the difficult question, "can these technologies save humankind?"
Spoiler alert: He answers that question with a hard, "no."
In Planet of the Humans Moore accuses the Green Energy Movement of, in effect, selling snake oil that says people can continue living as we have in this modern, consumer based society so long as we get some solar or wind power (or eek, biofuel) to help offset things a bit. On the face of it, that is a pipe dream, no less offensive than a street corner charlatan pushing the latest elixir.
The notion that green energy alone cannot save humanity should not surprise anyone who has been paying any attention. In spite of that, the "green" energy industry has been aghast by the film, proclaiming it to be "dangerous," and with some going so far as insisting it should be taken down. What they don't realize is that in doing so they are only proving Moore to be right. Watch it yourself and see what you think.
In our opinion the most dangerous idea of all is the notion that humans can keep living on this Earth consuming as much as we have been. Too few have the courage to say so.