Renewable Energy, Clean Energy, Green New Deal, Green Living are some of the common words that people use when referring to the need to move towards environmental sustainability. It is an initiative towards reducing pollution and the consumption of scarce natural resources that are present in the world.
In the past couple of years, Mother Earth faced a rapid increase in pollution levels and a reduction of her natural resources. All of which were caused by human activities. According to many scientists, the world is on the verge of collapsing, unless necessary actions are taken to prevent such crises from happening. The problem was created by humans and should be resolved by humans by changing their ways.
Understanding and realizing the importance of change, many companies shifted their focus towards renewable energy by using environment-friendly material in their operations. However, there are numerous reports that question the authenticity of these strategies. Moreover, you have influential and resourceful climate activists and supporters that say they want to save the planet when their actions show the opposite.
In this first installment of “Planet Earth & Its Self-Proclaimed Saviors” we will discuss the documentary ‘Planet of the Humans.”
According to the documentary presented by producer Michael Moore and director Jeff Gibbs, many multinational companies are selling the thought that they are working with environmental-friendly and sustainable energy products when they are not. At first glance, the statement may be true but the supporting evidence is problematic.
First Generation of Renewables
They use data from ten years ago to criticize the first generation of renewables; wind and solar and the batteries needed for storage. They also criticize biomass that could generate electricity and gas telling that it is a solution that will destroy trees. Like it’s the case with soybeans it may be true that corporation could take advantage of this and cause more deforestation but they left out the part where biomass uses (1) organic waste, (which is what remains to throw away before cooking), (2) food waste (what remains after meals) and (3) human & animals waste to generate energy. How about we focus on this part?
The Influence of Media and Corporations
It is good to analyze the benefits and challenges of each technology but do it in an objective way showing all the data, not just the portion that benefits your narrative. It is true that we should not rely only on technology but also take an inner look at our behavior and our food. We have become addicted to consumption and the consequences of that consumption have led to deforestation and pollution.
Corporations have successfully bond with the media to collectively brainwash people into buying things. Apple and Android are very successful with this strategy. Do you really need a new phone every one or two years? If they change the technology, you are forced to find a new phone. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use the same phone for more than 5 years? Even if we do that we will continue to face other issues.
The cell phone has become a mini-computer. We used to leave our desktop and laptop on the table. Now we walk and sleep with a computer. Some people even wear it (Apple Watch). Is that really necessary? If the answer is yes then we should be willing to accept the consequences on our health and social life as well. If the answer is no, what could be a solution. Maybe use the phone only as a communication tool and enhance portable products like tablets and notebooks that we already have to use as a computer replacement.
What about our food? Why do we waste food? Do we need to eat so much packaged food? Why don’t we go back to our own small business farmers market? Is eating healthy that difficult? Why do we need to be aware of where our food comes from to avoid GMOs? How can we use blockchain technology to track where our food comes from? How can we use technology to help with agriculture in places like Africa to help the local farmers? All these are valid questions we can address and work on to ensure sustainability in the food industry.
We have to first become aware of this reality because we have been conditioned to become non-thinkers and develop a herd mentality, to not question what we see reported and promoted in front of us. Once we are aware of it we can question more, look for information, and have healthy discussions. Most people in the world are addicted to consumerism that is heavily promoted by U.S. based corporations. Like any other addiction this needs treatment as well.
It is true that technology has made our lives easier in many ways but its use is also affecting our health and the environment but couldn’t it be presented in a more simple and comprehensive way in the documentary?
Investing in Renewables
They also addressed the wealthy that invested in renewable energy and founded companies and foundations in this sector. But they throw them together with investors of the coal, gas, and fossil fuel industry. It not fair to treat all the same way because there are a few honest actors. However, there are many investors that are in it to make a profit, they don’t really care about the planet or the main philosophy of renewables which is to make large amounts of electricity and power affordable for all, not just the 1%.
Global Population Growth
They strangely also addressed the increased global overpopulation. Less-educated women would have more children and be at risk of contracting diseases because they don’t know better. They conveniently left out the health care issues these women face. How difficult it is to get proper health care. There is no discussion on education, especially for young girls in developing countries and equal rights. There is no talk about how to change to sustainable food, and energy production for all.
It slightly addresses that more people consume more but it doesn’t explain the compulsion for consumption. This can be solved if we consume less and some of us are experiencing this during this pandemic. “Less must be the new more” this is one line said in the documentary, but it doesn’t put it in context. What does it mean? Less consumption? Less humans on earth?
Analyzing the Conclusions
After watching this documentary an ordinary person, that is not up to date with the latest developments of the topics addressed, can conclude in simple terms that:
– There are way too many people on earth: unfortunately, this does trigger the thinking that something must be done to reduce the population.
-Any attempt to continue to create wealth using less polluting technologies is not good enough.
-The Renewables Industry is evil.
-The Fossil Fuel Industry is better than the renewable energy industry.
Since the data used for this documentary is outdated objective researchers will question these conclusions. Ordinary people should understand that it is based on outdated data however at times they do discuss valid points that should be addressed in open discussions. It shouldn’t be considered a valid piece but rather an opinion piece.
There are ways to resolve this without hurting people and the environment. Investing in academic education and healthcare for all for example. Having more educated healthy people capable of critical thinking will be beneficial for all nations. They can come up with ideas that will help us coexist with nature. Today there are already alternatives tested that provide sustainable food like vertical farming and aquaponics. This is the same for sustainable energy production as well.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should be able to share it. But because the producer has made well-researched documentaries in the past people will assume that all that was presented were facts. It completely leaves an open lane for Climate Change contrarians to make their case for the fossil fuel industry.
The Hidden Side
According to various “authentic” documentaries, the truth is that the companies that claim to use green products are presenting incorrect information. The meat replacement products such as the fake burgers for example are not exactly a healthier option but are marketed as an alternative to going “vegan”.
These companies are forcing the consumers to believe that they are working and operating their manufacturing units with green-energy resources, whereas the fact is that they are still exhausting natural resources at the back end. Some of these companies are doing it to sustain themselves, they do not seem to have another option. The rest simply do not care about the consequences as long as the final result is profitable.
Documentary or Opinion Piece?
A documentary film is a non-fictional, motion picture intended to document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record.
“Planet of the Humans” as a documentary is disappointing. It is not presenting updated facts or any concrete solutions. They took a sound bite from footage like the scenes where people are destroying forests and killing orangutans, which is mostly caused by corporations from the food industry like Nestle to obtain palm oil but they don’t mention it. Corporations that till today remain unaccountable for their actions.
However, it should not be surprising because we have seen “documentaries” in the past that did not present facts but rather present a narrative that benefited a certain group of people. They should not be called documentaries anymore but rather opinion pieces. An opinion piece is an article, published in a newspaper or magazine, that mainly reflects the author’s opinion about the subject. For filmmakers the same can be applied: you have an opinion or point of view and you look for others who have the same views to interview or you look for footage that support your point of view.
By omitting data, they gave ammunition to contrarians that will undoubtedly and unabashedly use this against the green movement. However, the ability to share their different points of view, and the questions these may raise should remain possible. Censorship and cancellation are never the solution but rather having a counter-argument with possible solutions. There are worse documentaries out there that omitted crucial information and change the narrative to manipulate public opinion that has even won awards. They were never censored or canceled. Planet of the Humans didn’t go that far but still, there is a huge effort to cancel it.
What they should have focused on is clearly present the problems we face and who is responsible for causing them (mainly the wealthy owning all the problematic corporations with the help of local government). Followed by presenting the proposed solutions with their pros and cons and concluding with what needs to be done for us to move forward. It would have been a better structure to stand on against the critics because it remains an important subject for survival on this planet. In the end, it is not the planet of a few (the wealthy), it is our planet.
In the second installment, we will look into the development of renewables, the struggle to maintain our natural resources and wildlife, and identify who are the real saviors of our planet.