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This film takes audiences on a cinematic journey around the world, from the depths of the Amazon rainforests to the Taiwanese Mountains, the Mongolian desert, the US Dust Bowl, the Norwegian Fjords and the Scottish coastlines, telling the story of our planet through shocking testimonials, poignant accounts from indigenous people most affected by our ever-changing planet, globally renowned figures and leading scientists. This powerful documentary sends a simple but impactful message by uncovering hard truths and addressing, on the big screen, the most pressing issue of our generation – ecological collapse.
Confronting and entertaining, this documentary allows audiences to question their everyday choices, industry leaders and governments. Featuring a wealth of world-renowned contributors, including Sir Richard Branson and Tony Robbins, it has a message of hope that will empower audiences.
It was as a ten-year-old that Noam Chomsky first confronted the perils of foreign aggression. “The first article that I wrote for the elementary school newspaper was on the fall of Barcelona [in 1939],” Chomsky recalled when we spoke recently via video call. It charted the advance of the “grim cloud of fascism” across the world. “I haven’t changed my opinion since, it’s just gotten worse,” he sardonically remarked. Due to the climate crisis and the threat of nuclear war, Chomsky told me, “we’re approaching the most dangerous point in human history… We are now facing the prospect of destruction of organised human life on Earth.”
At the age of 93, as perhaps the world’s most cited living scholar, Chomsky could be forgiven for retreating from the public sphere. But in an era of permanent crisis, he retains the moral fervour of a young radical – more preoccupied with the world’s mortality than his own. He is a walking advertisement for Dylan Thomas’s injunction – “Do not go gentle into that good night” – or for what Chomsky calls “the bicycle theory: if you keep going fast, you don’t fall off”.
The occasion for our conversation is the publication of Chronicles of Dissent, a collection of interviews between Chomsky and the radical journalist David Barsamian from 1984 to 1996. But the backdrop is the war in Ukraine – a subject about which Chomsky is unsurprisingly voluble.
“It’s monstrous for Ukraine,” he said. In common with many Jews, Chomsky has a family connection to the region: his father was born in present-day Ukraine and emigrated to the US in 1913 to avoid serving in the tsarist army; his mother was born in Belarus. Chomsky, who is often accused by critics of refusing to condemn any anti-Western government, unhesitatingly denounced Vladimir Putin’s “criminal aggression”.
But he added: “Why did he do it?” There are two ways of looking at this question. One way, the fashionable way in the West, is to plumb the recesses of Putin’s twisted mind and try to determine what’s happening in his deep psyche.
“The other way would be to look at the facts: for example, that in September 2021 the United States came out with a strong policy statement, calling for enhanced military cooperation with Ukraine, further sending of advanced military weapons, all part of the enhancement programme of Ukraine joining Nato. You can take your choice, we don’t know which is right. What we do know is that Ukraine will be further devastated. And we may move on to terminal nuclear war if we do not pursue the opportunities that exist for a negotiated settlement.”
How does he respond to the argument that Putin’s greatest fear is not encirclement by NATO but the spread of liberal democracy in Ukraine and Russia’s “near abroad”?
“Putin is as concerned with democracy as we are. If it’s possible to break out of the propaganda bubble for a few minutes, the US has a long record of undermining and destroying democracy. Do I have to run through it? Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973, on and on… But we are supposed to now honour and admire Washington’s enormous commitment to sovereignty and democracy. What happened in history doesn’t matter. That’s for other people.”
“What about NATO expansion? There was an explicit, unambiguous promise by [US secretary of state] James Baker and president George HW Bush to Gorbachev that if he agreed to allow a unified Germany to rejoin NATO, the US would ensure that there would be no move one inch to the east. There’s a good deal of lying going on about this now.”
Chomsky, who observed in 1990 that “if the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every postwar American president would have been hanged”, spoke witheringly of Joe Biden.
“It’s certainly right to have moral outrage about Putin’s actions in Ukraine,” he said of Biden’s recent declaration that the Russian president “cannot remain in power”.“But it would be even more progress to have moral outrage about other horrible atrocities… In Afghanistan, literally millions of people are facing imminent starvation. Why? There’s food in the markets. But people who have little money have to watch their children starve because they can’t go to the market to buy food. Why? Because the United States, with the backing of Britain, has kept Afghanistan’s funds in New York banks and will not release them.”
Chomsky’s contempt for the hypocrisies and contradictions of US foreign policy will be familiar to anyone who has read one of his many books and pamphlets (his first political work, American Power and the New Mandarins, published in 1969, foretold the US’s defeat in Vietnam). But he is now perhaps most animated when discussing Donald Trump’s possible return and the climate crisis.
“I’m old enough to remember the early 1930s. And memories come to mind,” he said in a haunting recollection. “I can remember listening to Hitler’s speeches on the radio. I didn’t understand the words, I was six years old. But I understood the mood. And it was frightening and terrifying. And when you watch one of Trump’s rallies that can’t fail to come to mind. That’s what we’re facing.”
Though he self-identifies as an anarcho-syndicalist or a libertarian socialist, Chomsky revealed to me that he had voted for Republicans in the past (“like them or not, they were an authentic party”). But now he said, they were a truly dangerous insurgency.
“Because of Trump’s fanaticism, the worshipful base of the Republican Party barely regards climate change as a serious problem. That’s a death warrant to the species.”
Faced with such existential threats, it is perhaps unsurprising that Chomsky remains a dissident intellectual – in the manner of one of his heroes, Bertrand Russell (who lived to 97 and similarly straddled politics and philosophy). But he also still spends hours a day answering emails from admirers and critics, and teaches linguistics at the University of Arizona, the state where he lives with his second wife, Valeria Wasserman, a Brazilian translator.
Chomsky is also still engaged by British politics. “Brexit was a very serious error, it means that Britain will be compelled to drift even further into subordination to the US,” he told me. “I think it’s a disaster. What does it mean for the Conservative Party? I imagine they can lie their way out of it, they’re doing a good job of lying about a lot of things and getting away with it.”
Of Keir Starmer, he scornfully remarked: “He’s returning the Labour Party to a party that’s reliably obedient to power, that will be Thatcher-lite in the style of Tony Blair and that won’t ruffle the feathers of either the US or anyone who’s important in Britain.”
The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci advised radicals to maintain “pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will”. What, I asked Chomsky at the close of our conversation, gives him hope?
“A lot of young people; Extinction Rebellion in England, young people dedicated to trying to put an end to the catastrophe. Civil disobedience – it’s not a joke, I’ve been involved with it for much of my life. I’m too old for it now [Chomsky was first arrested in 1967 for protesting against the Vietnam War and shared a cell with Norman Mailer]… It’s not pleasant to be thrown in jail and beaten, but they’re willing to undertake it.”
“There are plenty of young people who are appalled by the behaviour of the older generation, rightly, and are dedicated to trying to stop this madness before it consumes us all. Well, that’s the hope for the future.”
As we exit the pandemic, expect to hear much more about The Great Reset and building back better. Far from resulting in a low-carbon dream life, though, it’s a cartoonish fantasy that will hand the global elite even more power.
‘The Great Reset’ is a term that has been bandied about quite readily by most Western neo-liberal politicians. So often, in fact, and without proper explanation, that it strikes the prudent observer as a kind of paid advertisement.
But what is it exactly? The term rose to prominence at the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in June 2020. It was initially launched by the Prince of Wales, before being absorbed into the philosophy of the sartorially dystopian sci-fi villain Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.
The Great Reset refers to a plan to rebuild the world’s infrastructure ‘in a sustainable way’ following the economic ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and to establish a global treaty to prevent future pandemics, or as it is described more formally, to “build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.” If you ever hear people talking about “building back better,” they are referring to The Great Reset.
Probably the most disturbing part of The Great Reset is how much it strongly resembles business-as-usual, only with EXTRA globalism. Most of the plan’s outlines include a further weakening of national boundaries and individual national autonomy, in favour of a more ‘universal governance.’ As usual, it is the rapidly vanishing Western middle class which must shoulder this burden, as their freedoms are further curtailed to meet the quotas of corporate-media-fuelled activism.
Regardless, many world leaders, no doubt charmed into acquiescence by Schwab’s commandingly sinister Blofeld-esque wardrobe, agreed to the Great Reset, including Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Mark Rutte, Pedro Sánchez, Erna Solberg and Volodymyr Zelensky. According to John Kerry, Joe Biden’s administration is on board, too.
But the general agreement of the Western leaders is absolutely typical of any agenda which is espoused by NATO, the UN, or the WEF. If an emotionally charged, politically vague and ultimately ineffectual edict or bill is proposed by one of these entities – each resembling a shabby, globe-trotting team of insurance salesmen – our effete politicians line up to show the most fervent compliance.
As a rule, it seems their solutions to specific environmental or scientific problems mysteriously become entwined with LGBTQ+ rights, workplace equity, open borders initiatives and other unrelated social justice causes. It’s as though any goals they have are somehow unilaterally from the same source, or entail the same solution, regardless of causality or consequence. Therefore, a united response to a global pandemic mysteriously also equals trans rights activism.
In their own words, “No single government or multilateral agency can address this (pandemic) threat alone. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly co-ordinated fashion.”
There are many other sweeping sentiments expressed by Schwab and his acolytes which can seem either trite or threatening. Consider“the gulf between what markets value and what people value will close” and “we want more attention paid to scientific experts. No one can “self-isolate” from climate change so we all need to “act in advance and in solidarity.” There is much talk of the pursuit of “fairer and equitable outcomes.”
International treaties always tend to be about concentrating power. It’s one of those rules of life, for realists, as there is no escaping power dynamics in human affairs. Real problems don’t often have feel-good solutions. Often, they require ‘solutions that sound mean’, that don’t sound good on a corporate goals bulletin. Initiatives like The Great Reset all entail the gradual loss of the autonomy of individual nations, as their decision-making power is transferred to an international, disembodied rule-maker.
It has been, without a doubt, a globalist fantasy for a long time, but the key question is: do they realise what they are doing or not?
As far as their amazing coordinated pandemic response goes, this appears to be nothing more than forced world-wide vaccinations for EVERYBODY. According to Klaus Schwab himself: “As long as not everybody is vaccinated, nobody will be safe.” To which the attendant neo-liberal world leaders nodded in re-affirming unison, repeating in unison their mantra: “Global public good.”
Schwab, despite appearing like an immortal brothel-keeper at Kublai Khan’s Xanadu, is really cut from the same cloth as your typical EU technocrat. His ideas are not creative, they are quite staid and pedestrian, and research of his career shows they have been unchanged since the 1970s. He has consistently been preaching the very same thing, like a broken record.
Schwab believes we can achieve environmental solutions without altering capitalism in the slightest, by creating treaties of “mutual accountability and shared responsibility, transparency and co-operation within the international system.” His idea involves ‘ethical capitalism’ – where the excesses of capitalism will somehow be held at bay by ‘ethical stakeholders,’ to whom the corporations will be held accountable, while (conveniently) the elites and systems already in place will continue as they are. This is the master plan of the World Economic Forum, largely unchanged for 40 years.
The result? A green technocracy, one assumes, with a WEF-mandated ‘ethical stakeholder’ apparatus, a worldwide spiderweb organisation ruling by the threatened fears of pandemic and carbon doom. No section of society would be exempt from edicts of ‘the new treaty.’
The Great Reset website appears to be little more than an advertisement for modern pod-living. It seems to style itself as a low-carbon dream-life (without loss of modern convenience) to effeminate hipsters. One can see slovenly-looking neo-liberal youths, frequent references to LGBTQ+ values, and an overall urgency about carbon footprints.
There is a hint of Adbusters about the website, creator of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Despite the fact that the WEF and Davos and all associated entities are entirely elite institutions, the website styles itself on grassroots urban activism. There is much cringeworthy symbology in its white papers, such as a green and rainbow flag-combination with fey slogans like ‘we salute you, zoom queen!’
Schwab refers to the aim of The Great Reset as “the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” with the first being powered by water and steam, the second introducing mass production, and the third electronic automation. The fourth will blur the lines between “physical, digital and biological spheres.”
In this grab-bag of magical advances, he lists, “fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage and quantum computing.”
This sounds like cartoonish optimism, as many of these technologies are anything but clean and don’t seem to de facto relate to side-stepping out of industrialism or anything else. On top of that, fewer than 9% of companies use the machine learning, robotics, touch screens and other advanced technologies listed as somehow ‘changing everything.’ Stakeholder capitalism, as a concept, does not explain itself as foolproof, and will no doubt be freely interpreted by the likes of Silicon Valley or supply chain conglomerates.
The jewel in the crown of Great Reset optimism has to be the belief that the advent of AI will alter everything positively, again without specifics, to somehow create a low-carbon new world.
It appears at best to be all be smoke and mirrors, a childish corporate fantasy manufactured by isolated bean counters. At worst, it is an intentional power-grab by unaccountable international agencies and hidden oligarchs.
Either way, it is a fake utopia at the price of privacy and autonomy, sold to us by used-car salesmen who think they are princes.
After watching the film “THRIVE II: This Is What It Takes” twice and taking copious notes throughout, Happy and I have concluded that this is one of the most profound and important documentaries for ushering in a truly sustainable future for life on Earth.
Besides claiming individual sovereignty as the context for taking back ones power from external authority, an enlightened and technologically advanced civilization based on connected resonance with the unified field is not only possible, but absolutely essential for continuing the diversity and health of all life on Earth.
Kudos to Foster and Kimberly Gamble for having the courage and foresight to bring these discoveries to light and sharing them with the rest of us. This film is a must watch for every conscious human being.
The Japanese government is planning to release more than one million tons of contaminated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, angering fishermen, local media have reported.
Japan has debated what to do with the rapidly increasing store of radioactive wastewater for years, and now the decision to release it into the ocean could be confirmed by the end of the month.
Currently, Japan houses the water in more than 1,000 tanks, but with 170 additional tons of the radioactive by-product being produced every day, storage space is quickly running out.
It is estimated that all tanks will have reached maximum capacity by the summer of 2022 and Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Friday that the decision was one they could “not keep delaying,” Kyodo News reported.
The water is used to cool the Fukushima nuclear reactor core, which went into meltdown after the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the plant.
The government previously considered building more tanks to house the additional water, or attempting to evaporate the water into the atmosphere, but an advisory panel recommended releasing it into the ocean as the most efficient solution. However, the release process is not expected to begin until 2022 and is likely to take 30 years to complete.
The prospect of an ocean release has reignited concerns among local fishermen who fear it could destroy their industry.
“We are terrified that if even one fish is found to have exceeded the [radiation] safety standards after the treated water is released, people’s trust in us will plummet,” Kyodo News quoted a local fisherman as saying.
Hiroshi Kishi, who heads a confederation of Japanese fishing cooperatives told officials last week that the release could have a “catastrophic impact” on the industry.
Fishing was completely halted following the 2011 disaster, and despite a recent recovery, fishermen in the region continue to face international trade restrictions. South Korea, which still bans all fish imports from the region, has described the proposal as a “grave threat.”
The initial meltdown in 2011 forced the evacuation of 150,000 people from within 20km of the plant as well as from outside areas that experienced high levels of fallout. The clean-up process is expected to take many more years to complete.
Unfortunately, we are living in a world where facts don’t matter much anymore. For instance, the wildfires that have swept across the western United States over the past few weeks are being almost universally blamed on climate change, even though the facts tell otherwise.
The fires in California and Oregon are not due to climate change. They are due to arson and sheer stupidity on the part of many, including those who are responsible for the environmental stewardship that is supposed to prevent them in the first place.
According to the Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit, “the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party.” Chalk this one up to stupidity, not climate change.
Likewise, the Almeda Fire in Oregon, which has burned more than 600 homes, cannot be tied to climate change whatsoever because it was caused by arsonists. As Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said, “We have good reason to believe that there was a human element to it. We’re going to pursue it as a criminal investigation until we have reason to believe that it was otherwise.”
There are several more reports of arsonists instigating the blazes that are currently destroying hundreds of thousands of acres in the West.
Despite these facts, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), recently said, “Mother Earth is angry. She’s telling us, whether, she’s telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, whatever it is, that climate crisis is real and has an impact.”
Of course, Pelosi didn’t offer one iota of evidence to support her contention that climate change is somehow responsible for all this. And since when did Mother Earth begin speaking to the Speaker of the House?
Not to be outdone, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also laid blame for his state’s out-of-control wildfires on climate change. “I say this lovingly — not as an ideologue, but as someone who prides himself on being open to argument, interested in evidence — but I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers,” Newsom said. “It’s completely inconsistent, that point of view, with the reality on the ground, the facts as we are experiencing. You may not believe it intellectually, but your own eyes, your own experiences tell a different story.”
Conveniently, Newsom failed to mention that California has one of the poorest records of implementing commonsense environmental stewardship protocols, which no doubt has played a significant factor in the Golden State’s proclivity for wildfires over the past several years.
According to California’s state oversight agency, “During its review, the Commission found that California’s forests suffer from neglect and mismanagement, resulting in overcrowding that leaves them susceptible to disease, insects and wildfire.”
In other words, under decades of Democratic leadership, California has woefully underinvested in forest management efforts, which have left forests grossly overgrown and prone to wildfire.
Making matters worse, California’s insistence on becoming the renewable energy utopia of the United States has led the state’s primary energy utility, PG&E, to disregard properly maintaining existing energy infrastructure.
As the San Diego Union Tribune reports, “every dollar spent on additional costs of renewable energy results in a dollar not available to spend on culling vegetation, insulating power lines, placing lines underground and other measures.”
As if that were not enough, the article also notes, “a report prepared by the independent consulting firm Beacon Economics for the San Francisco-based think tank Next 10 estimated California wildfires last year produced about nine times more emissions than were reduced across the entire state’s economy between 2016 and 2017 — and wildfires contributed more than the commercial, residential or agriculture sectors did in 2017.”
Ironically, Newsom’s naïve attempt (and his predecessors) to make the Golden State the renewable energy mecca has actually led to more carbon emissions because the state’s abundant forests have been turned into a giant tinderbox.
Adding insult to injury, Newsom has pledged to double-down on his efforts to make California more reliant on renewable energy, regardless of the uptick in wildfires and rolling blackouts.
And the claim that wildfires are increasing is 100 percent false. According to the Congressional Research Service, the prevalence of wildfires has decreased over the past three decades. As the report notes, “Over the past 10 years, there were an average of 64,100 wildfires annually and an average of 6.8 million acres burned annually. In 2019, 50,477 wildfires burned 4.7 million acres nationwide, below the annual average for both statistics.”
John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things. They cannot be altered by our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions.”
Fact-shunners like Gov. Newsom and Rep. Pelosi ought to put their wishes and passions aside and deal with the reality that their state is being decimated by wildfires due to their incompetence and ignorance, not because of so-called climate change.
If you’re looking for a little distraction from the news of the pandemic — something a little gossipy, but with a point at the end about how change happens in the world — this essay may soak up a few minutes.
I’ll tell the story chronologically, starting a couple of weeks ago on the eve of the 50th Earth Day. I’d already recorded my part for the Earth Day Live webcast, interviewing the great indigenous activists Joye Braum and Tara Houska about their pipeline battles. And then the news arrived that Oxford University — the most prestigious educational institution on planet earth — had decided to divest from fossil fuels. It was one of the great victories in that grinding eight-year campaign, which has become by some measures the biggest anti-corporate fight in history, and I wrote a quick email to Naomi Klein, who helped me cook it up, so that we could gloat together just a bit. I was, it must be said, feeling pleased with myself.
Ah, but pride goeth before a fall. In the next couple of hours came a very different piece of news. People started writing to tell me that the filmmaker Michael Moore had just released a movie called Planet of the Humans on YouTube. That wasn’t entirely out of the blue — I’d been hearing rumors of the film and its attacks on me since the summer before, and I’d taken them seriously. Various colleagues and I had written to point out that they were wrong; Naomi had in fact taken Moore aside in an MSNBC greenroom and restated what she had already laid out to him in writing. But none of that had apparently worked; indeed, from what people were now writing to tell me, I was the main foil of the film. I put together a quick response, and I hoped that it would blow over.
But it didn’t. Perhaps because everyone’s at home with not much to do, lots of people watched it — millions by some counts. And I began to hear from them. Here’s an email that arrived first thing Earth Day morning: “Happy Dead Earth Day. Time’s up Bill. You have been outed for fraud. What a MASSIVE disappointment you are. Sell out. Hypocrite beyond imagination. Biomass bullshit seller. Forest destroyer. How is it possible you have led all of us down the same death trap road of false hope? The YOUTH! How dare you! Shame on you!” More followed, to say the least. (If you’re wondering whether it hurts to get this kind of email, the answer is yes. In a time of a pandemic, it’s hard to feel too much self-pity, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read someone accusing you of betraying your own life’s work.)
Basically, Moore and his colleagues have made a film attacking renewable energy as a sham and arguing that the environmental movement is just a tool of corporations trying to make money off green energy. “One of the most dangerous things right now is the illusion that alternative technologies, like wind and solar, are somehow different from fossil fuels,” Ozzie Zehner, one of the film’s producers, tells the camera. When visiting a solar facility, he insists: “You use more fossil fuels to do this than you’re getting benefit from it. You would have been better off just burning the fossil fuels.”
That’s not true, not in the least — the time it takes for a solar panel to pay back the energy used to build it is well under four years. Since it lasts three decades, it means 90 percent of the power it produces is pollution-free, compared with zero percent of the power from burning fossil fuels. It turns out that pretty much everything else about the movie was wrong — there have been at least 24 debunkings, many of them painfully rigorous; as one scientist wrote in a particularly scathing takedown, “Planet of the Humans is deeply useless. Watch anything else.” Moore’s fellow filmmaker Josh Fox, in an epic unraveling of the film’s endless lies, got in one of the best shots: “Releasing this on the eve of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary is like Bernie Sanders endorsing Donald Trump while chugging hydroxychloroquine.”
Here’s long-time solar activist (and, oh yeah, the guy who wrote “Heart of Gold“) Neil Young: “The amount of damage this film tries to create (succeeding in the VERY short term) will ultimately bring light to the real facts, which are turning up everywhere in response to Michael Moore’s new erroneous and headline grabbing TV publicity tour of misinformation. A very damaging film to the human struggle for a better way of living, Moore’s film completely destroys whatever reputation he has earned so far.”
But enough about the future of humanity. Let’s talk about me, since I got to be the stand-in for “corporate environmentalism” for much of the film. Cherry-picking a few clips culled from the approximately ten zillion interviews, speeches, and panels I’ve engaged in these past decades, the filmmaker made two basic points. One, that I was a big proponent of biomass energy — that is, burning trees to generate power. Two, that I was a key part of “green capitalism,” trying somehow to profit from selling people on the false promise of solar and wind power.
The first has at least a kernel of — not truth, but history. Almost two decades ago, wonderful students at the rural Vermont college where I teach proposed that the oil-burning heat plant be replaced with one that burned woodchips. I thought it was a good idea, and when it finally came to pass in 2009, I spoke at its inauguration. This was not a weird idea — at the time, most environmentalists thought likewise, because as new trees grow back in place of the ones that have been cut, they will soak up the carbon released in the burning. “At that point I would have done the same,” Bill Moomaw, who is one of the most eminent researchers in the field, put it. “Because we hadn’t done the math yet.” But as scientists did begin to do the math, a different truth emerged: Burning trees put a puff of carbon into air now, which is when the climate system is breaking. That this carbon may be sucked up a generation hence is therefore not much help. And as that science emerged, I changed my mind, becoming an outspoken opponent of biomass. (Something else happened too: the efficiency of solar and wind power soared, meaning there was ever less need to burn anything. The film’s attacks on renewable energy are antique, dating from a decade ago, when a solar panel cost 10 times what it does today; engineers have since done their job, making renewable energy the cheapest way to generate power on our planet.)
As for the second charge, it’s simply a lie — indeed, it’s the kind of breathtaking black-is-white lie that’s come to characterize our public life at least since Vietnam veteran John Kerry was accused by the right wing of committing treason. I have never taken a penny from green energy companies or mutual funds or anyone else with a role in these fights. I’ve never been paid by environmental groups either, not even 350.org, which I founded and which I’ve given all I have to give. I’ve written books and given endless talks challenging the prevailing ideas about economic growth, and I’ve run campaigns designed entirely to cut consumption.
Let me speak as plainly as I know how. When it comes to me, it’s not that Planet of the Humans overstates the case, or gets it partly wrong, or opens an argument worth having: it is a sewer. I’ll finish with just the smallest example: In the credits, it defensively claims that I began opposing biomass only last year, in response to news of this film. In fact, as we wrote the filmmakers on numerous occasions, I’ve been on the record about the topic for years. Here, for instance, is a piece from 2016 with the not very subtle title “Burning Trees for Electricity Is a Bad Idea.” Please read it. When you do, you will see that the filmmakers didn’t just engage in bad journalism (though they surely did), they acted in bad faith. They didn’t just behave dishonestly (though they surely did), they behaved dishonorably. I’m aware that in our current salty era those words may sound mild, but in my lexicon they are the strongest possible epithets.
A reasonable question: Given that the film has been so thoroughly debunked, can it really cause problems?
I’ve spent the past three decades, ever since I wrote The End of Nature at the age of 28, deeply committed to realism: no fantasy, no spin, no wish will help us deal with the basic molecular structure of carbon dioxide. That commitment to reality has to carry over into every part of one’s life. So, realistically, most of the millions of people who watch this film will not read the careful debunkings. Most of them will assume, in the way we all do when we watch something, that there must be something there, it must be half true anyway. (That’s why propaganda is effective).
Actually, we won’t. We’ve dropped the price of sun and wind 90 percent in the last decade (since the days when Moore, et al. were apparently collecting their data). As Stanford professor Marc Jacobson has made clear, we could get much of the way there in relatively short and affordable order, by building out panels and turbines, by making our lives more efficient, by consuming less and differently. But that would require breaking the political power of the fossil fuel industry, which in turn would require a big movement, which in turn would require coming together, not splitting apart.
It’s that kind of movement we’ve been trying to build for a long time. I remember its first real gathering in force in the U.S., with tens of thousands of us standing on the Mall in Washington on a bitter February day in 2013 to demand an end to Keystone and other climate action. “All I’ve ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change,” I told the crowd. “And now I’ve seen it.”
We did an immense amount of work to get to that moment, helping will a movement into being. But from that moment on, for me it’s been mostly gravy — the great pleasure of watching the movement grow and then explode. Watching the kids who had built college divestment campaigns graduate to form the Sunrise Movement and launch the Green New Deal. Watching Extinction Rebellion start to shake whole cities. Watching the emergence of the climate strikers — and getting to know Greta Thunberg and many of the 10,000 others like her across the world. In each case, I’ve tried to help a little, largely just by amplifying their voices and urging others to pay attention.
I remember very well the night that same autumn after an overflow talk in Providence when my daughter, then a sophomore at Brown, said something typically wise to me: “I think you should probably be less famous in the years ahead.” I knew what she meant even as she said it, because of course I’d already sensed a bit of it myself. It wasn’t that she thought I was a bad leader — it was that we needed to build a movement that was less attached to leaders in general (and probably white male ones in particular) if we were going to attain the kind of power we needed.
And so, even then I began consciously backing off, not in my work but in my willingness to dominate the space. I stepped down as board chair at 350.org, and really devoted myself to introducing people to new leaders from dozens of groups. So many of those leaders come from frontline communities, indigenous communities — from the people already paying an enormous price for the warming they did so little to cause. Their voices are breaking through, and thank heaven: If you follow my twitter feed, you’ll see that the most common word, after “heatwave”, is “thanks,” offered to whoever is doing something useful and good.
If you get the chance to read the (free) New Yorkerclimate newsletterI started earlier this year, you’ll see the key feature is called Passing the Mic: So far I’ve interviewed Nicole Poindexter, Jerome Foster II, Mary Heglar, Ellen Dorsey, Thea Sebastian, Virginia Hanusik, Tara Houska, Vann R. Newkirk II, and Christiana Figueres; this week Jane Kleeb; next week Alice Arena, helping lead the fight against a new gas pipeline across Massachusetts.
I think that one thing that defines those movements is their adversaries — in this case the fossil fuel industry above all. And I think the thing that weakens those movements is when they start trying to identify adversaries within their ranks. Much has been made over the years about the way that progressives eat their own, about circular firing squads and the like. I think there’s truth to it: there’s a collection of showmen like Moore who enjoy attracting attention to themselves by endlessly picking fights. They’re generally not people who actually try to organize, to build power, to bring people together. That’s the real, and difficult, work — not purity tests or calling people out, but calling them in. At least, that’s how it seems to me: The battle to slow down global warming in the short time that physics allots us requires ever bigger movements.
It’s been a great privilege to get to help build those movements. And if I worry that my effectiveness has been compromised, it’s not a huge worry, precisely because there are now so many others doing this work — generations and generations of people who have grown up in this fight. I think, more or less, we’re all headed in the right direction, that people are getting the basic message right: conserve energy; replace coal and gas and oil with wind and sun; break the political power of the fossil fuel industry; demand just transitions for workers; build a world that reduces ruinous inequality; and protect natural systems, both because they’re glorious and so they can continue to soak up carbon. I don’t know if we’re going to get this done in time — sometimes I kick myself for taking too long to figure out we needed to start building movements. But I know our chances are much improved if we do it together.
Johnny Liberty, Editor’s Notes: Why Destroy the Global Economic System During the Coronavirus Crisis (and replace it with another that better serves the Global Power Structure)?
Global Bankers will pull trillions of dollars of equity out of the economic system (stocks, real estate values, business values) to rollback the debt obligations of the international bankers (because of the nature of the debt-based monetary system)
Total Economic Shutdown will destroy millions of family businesses, small businesses and medium sized businesses leaving a larger share to the big, corporate players.
Total Economic Shutdown will drop millions of people in countries around the world to the very bottom of the economic ladder. This is economic suicide for We the People and a few thousand dollars of government subsidies will not restore even a fraction of the losses.
Don’t believe what you’re being told because somebody in a suit said so. Question authority and do your own independent research.
The Coronavirus crisis is not about public health or caring for the elderly.
The Global Power Structure doesn’t care one iota about the health and welfare of the elderly. Protecting the elderly is a convenient excuse to destroy the existing economic order and impose a New World Order run by an elite few at the top of the pyramid.
Who benefits? The Global Power Structure, or 1%, will be the one who will benefit.
What is the result? To impose a Global Technocracy run by experts, scientists, technocrats, politicians and artificial intelligence under their total control. Your every move will be watched and tracked. You will be plugged into “The Matrix”.
For this you can thank the Coronavirus panic and overreaction.