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Hi Lee & Eleanor, I heard your show on the movie planet of the humans. It seems the main point you’re getting from the film is that capitalism is endlessly extractive and no matter the source of energy the pollution will be too great for the environment and humans to exist. You’re half right- we need to move to a less extractive economy, but how we power that economy definitely does make a difference. No energy source runs off of fairy farts and magic dust and lasts forever. Green energy does require minerals and power to make, nobody’s claiming otherwise. But over the entire life-cycle of 25+ years solar panels and wind turbines pollute 1/10 to 1/20 the amount of fossil fuels https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/life-cycle-assessment.html. So using the lower number of 10x less pollution it’d take renewables 250 years to produce as much pollution as dirty fuels will make in 25 years. This gives us quite a bit of breathing room and unquestionably worth doing. Of course if the renewables are produced from green energy efficiency goes up. Most of the materials used in renewables and the lithium used in batteries are recyclable which further lessen their environmental impact.
Also, no forests need be cut down, solar panels can be installed on existing rooftops as Germany has done and also in desert areas. There are many places where wind farms can and have been installed with minimum impact to the environment. Would you rather have a fracking well in your backyard or a wind turbine/solar panels?
The film implies that people not fossil fuels are the problem. Environmental scientist Leah Stokes said:
“…the film Moore backed concludes that population control, not clean energy, is the answer. This is a highly questionable solution, which has more in common with anti-immigration hate groups than the progressive movement.
The fact is that wealthy people in the developed world have the largest environmental footprints—and they also have the lowest birthrates. When this message is promoted, it’s implying that poor people of color should have fewer children.
Not to mention the fact that pushing population control is completely disrespectful of women’s reproductive autonomy. Notably, almost all the “experts” featured in the film are white men. “
This from John Rogers, Senior energy analyst @ UCS
“…And tearing down strategies to build a more sustainable economy is a huge win for the fossil fuel industry and its political allies. Anti-clean energy forces have gleefully embraced the new movie. They would, since they use similar strategies to promote a sense of futility and despair, and to block action that threatens their power.
The facts, though, come through in so many other venues, even at a time like this. In the power sector, where I spend my time, wind supplies more than 7% of US electricity, and keeps growing. Solar power now graces fields, deserts, and the roofs of more than 2 million US homes and businesses, and is getting ever more efficient, less expensive, and more resilient. Renewables overall were on track to hit 20% of US electricity supply this year. And yes, all of it is really crowding out fossil fuels, despite what certain films may try to tell you.”
Nobody I’ve heard in the green movement is saying “Don’t ask questions!” – they’ve been answering these questions with facts and science, many people just don’t want to hear it.
I find your shows informative and entertaining even though we disagree on this film. You and Eleanor stay safe and healthy!