New movie by Michael Moore on our despoliation of Earth

April 24, 2020 • 12:30 pm

Michael Moore has put his latest movie, “Planet of the Humans” free on YouTube. It’s directed and narrated by Jeff Gibbs (Moore is the executive producer) and is 1 hour and 40 minutes long: just right for quarantine watching. I have to admit that I haven’t yet seen it, but I surely will. (I regard watching videos, or television, as luxuries that induce in me a sense of guilt.) But what I gather is that—as with all Moore’s films—it’s Manichaean, and two of the villains here are the mainstream environmental movement and “green energy”. The lesson seems to be that we’re doomed unless we practice stringent population control.

Here are the YouTube notes:

Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.

Removed from the debate is the only thing that MIGHT save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption. Why is this not THE issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business. Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, “green” illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end—and we’ve pinned all our hopes on biomass, wind turbines, and electric cars?

No amount of batteries are going to save us, warns director Jeff Gibbs (lifelong environmentalist and co-producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine”). This urgent, must-see movie, a full-frontal assault on our sacred cows, is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way—before it’s too late.

Featuring: Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Richard Branson, Robert F Kennedy Jr., Michael Bloomberg, Van Jones, Vinod Khosla, Koch Brothers, Vandana Shiva, General Motors,, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nature Conservancy, Elon Musk, Tesla.

Music by: Radiohead, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Blank & Jones, If These Trees Could Talk, Valentina Lisitsa, Culprit 1, Patrick O’hearn, The Torquays, Nigel Stanford, and many more.

I’ve put some links to reviews below the video:

Rotten Tomatoes: Based on only a handful of reviews, this site gives the movie a critics’ rating of 80% and an audience rating of 70%.

Gizmodo says the movie starts out well, but then goes “full ecofacism”, by which the critic means “population control” An excerpt:

What’s most frustrating about Gibbs’ film is he walks right up to some serious issues and ignores clear solutions. The critique of the compromised corporate philanthropy model is legit. We should absolutely hold nonprofits to account when they don’t live up to their missions. But the solution isn’t to take the leap to population control. It’s to tax the rich so they can’t use philanthropic funding as cover for their misdeeds while simultaneously filling government coffers to implement democratic solutions.

The Guardian gives it four stars out of five, calling it “refreshingly contrarian”, but short on solutions:

Most chillingly of all, Gibbs at one stage of the film appears to suggest that there is no cure for any of this, that, just as humans are mortal, so the species itself is staring its own mortality in the face. But he appears to back away from that view by the end, saying merely that things need to change. But what things and how?

It’s not at all clear. I found myself thinking of Robert Stone’s controversial 2013 documentary Pandora’s Promise, which made a revisionist case for nuclear power: a clean energy source that (allegedly) has cleaned up its act on safety and really can provide for our wholesale energy needs without contributing to climate change, in a way that “renewables” can’t.

Gibbs doesn’t mention nuclear and – a little lamely, perhaps – has no clear lesson or moral, other than the need to take a fiercely critical look at the environmental establishment. Well, it’s always valuable to re-examine a sacred cow.

The Hollywood Reporter gives it a basically neutral review with some criticism:

Planet of the Humans certainly makes many important and illuminating points, especially about the co-opting of environmental causes by corporate interests who use it mainly for positive branding purposes. But its despairing tone and overall atmosphere of purity testing may have the counterproductive effect of making you want to throw up your hands and ignore the environmental movement’s significant progress in recent decades. The loosely structured assemblage of damning information eventually proves more numbing than illuminating.

“Now, I know this all might seem overwhelming,” Gibbs tells us near the end of the film, and he’s right. His ultimate solution to what he describes as a “human-caused apocalypse” is to stem population growth. Presumably, a global pandemic isn’t what he had in mind.

Variety, though calling it “cluttered and ungainly”, recommends it nevertheless:

But that is the point, insofar as there is a clear one here: Gibbs says “the elephant in the room” isn’t climate change or any other individual factor, but humanity itself. With our species’ population having skyrocketed in the last 200 years, we are simply in denial that mankind’s needs are exhausting Earth’s resources. “Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide,” he says, as bleak footage of rampant deforestation (in large part to supply the dubious “clean energy” source of biomass) provide just one vivid proof. There is no obvious solution, save a massive scaling-back that capitalism-driven societies don’t even want to think about.

There’s nothing particularly elegant about the way “Planet of the Humans” arrives at that downbeat thesis. Though well-shot and edited, the material here is simply too sprawling to avoid feeling crammed into one ungainly package even narrator Gibbs admits “might seem overwhelming.” Still, medicine is medicine, and if these 100 minutes leave a bitter taste, you’re still probably better off for having swallowed their dose of sobering awareness.

So watch it if you want, leave any comments below, and be aware that this isn’t light entertainment!

90 thoughts on “New movie by Michael Moore on our despoliation of Earth

  1. Population control has always been the problem, but so sensitive a subject. My family practiced the 1 for 1, or less in many cases, since the early ’60s. Unfortunately, we are a small group.

    1. I was part of multiple humanitarian missions to Somalia over about a 15 year period. Mostly related to direct food aid.
      The first trip, they were suffering from the effects of famine and war. On my last trip, they were still suffering from the effects of famine and war. The main change that occurred during that 15 year period is that the population of the country doubled.
      I thought that perhaps it was about people migrating from elsewhere, but the same happened in many of the other countries that I worked in during the same period. Benin, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Angola… The list goes on.
      It is a cause for despair. When I started, I thought the idea was temporary disaster relief, like we did in Indonesia after the tsunami, and ultimately, to reduce human suffering.
      I am not sure that we did those things. Also, it is not sustainable. Delivery of direct food aid in large quantities is only made possible because of very large crop yields in the US and Europe, combined with low fuel prices for the rails and ships involved. Lots of different circumstances could interrupt or stop the system.
      When the discussion of real threats to humanity has come up, my fear has been the consequences of an interruption in the system that I contributed to. I could see a near-term situation where hungry people cook the last elephant over wood from the last baobab tree.

      Anyone who sees population not being a major part of the problem has probably not spent time in Kinshasa. There are lots of places outside of Africa where large numbers of people live tenuously, I have just mentioned some I have experience in, not to claim that the primary problem lies in those specific populations.

  2. This movie is a false alarm. They clearly failed to consult with any demographers or with the UN population office. An article written for Nature by Prof. Adrian Raftery and colleagues at the University of Washington, not happy with the IPCC ad hoc forecasts, developed a statistical analysis. ( This analysis argued that we will experience a global “demographic transition” where the population will level off. Moreover carbon emissions will also level off by the end of the century. The title of the article is the conclusion, “Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely” which is not an especially favorable result, but the good news is that population and carbon emissions will find an asymptote.

    1. Given that we already have 2-3 times as many people as we need to be sustainable, “leveling off” doesn’t seem to be such a great thing.

      1. The general consensus is 1. that it will level off at about 11 billion or a bit more, and 2. even this is dependent on various imponderables which it make it somewhat speculative that it’s going to happen. It will only level off if the fertility rate in Africa drops markedly in a way that it is not doing so far. Given that all countries will be wanting to move to Western levels of comfort, etc., which requires large productions of energy, even the current global population is much too high to be sustainable without dramatic technological change. If the mooted leveling off does not actually happen, which is still quite possible, we have a real problem. There’s no basis for complacency.

        None of this takes into account the possible effects of life-extension technology, though I’m betting that serious life extension is not going to be available for a very long time and won’t be a factor in this. Still, there’s a lot of buzz among people doing this research (see David A. Sinclair’s book _Lifespan_), so it can’t be entirely discounted.

        1. “..If the mooted leveling off does not actually happen..”

          If “mooted” is left out, it will surely happen, once the human species is extinct. Let’s try to keep that from happening in the next 10 generations.

      1. No, and I hope never to. I get upset when I see remarks about population control. Most people don’t know about demographic transitions and believe population grows without limit, and so I always have to say something about that.

        The Chinese certainly had a population problem in the last century, but instead of their brutal one child solution, they could have induced a demographic transition by bringing their population into the middle class, which they finally did.

        1. I haven’t watched this film either but I do think that population should be part of the discussion. Just because China introduced a draconian rule to deal with overpopulation doesn’t make it a taboo subject. Nudges toward lowering the population (or stopping it from growing) can take many forms. For example, there are all sorts of laws in the US that encourage people to have big families. We are constantly bombarded with messages that assume we should all want as many children as we can afford. I’m sure some would consider deciding to have one child or none as some kind of un-American activity. Putting an end to this would be a good thing.

  3. (I regard watching videos, or television, as luxuries that induce in me a sense of guilt.)

    Except for the news, I haven’t watched commercial teevee in a decade, maybe the better part of two. But films and documentaries — good ones — I consider part of a holy trinity, right behind books and music.

    1. There’s a good documentary about ZZ Top available on Netflix fight now, ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas.

      Mostly talking with Billy, Frank & Dusty, some of the people they worked worth and, strangely enough, Billy Bob Thornton (He’s been in bands, including a ZZ Top cover band, since HS). Tells their history from before ZZ Top on through. Pretty good.

    1. UPDATE/NOTE: Note that Films for Action is not the full distributor but a sustainable film clearinghouse. The film is still up on Youtube.

  4. I haven’t watched this movie. I like Michael Moore but I don’t trust him to tell the truth. In his very first movie, “Roger & Me”, he purposely juxtaposed two scenes in order to tell a more compelling story and mislead the audience. As far as I’m concerned, that is unforgivable in anything presented as a documentary or showing real-life events. Make stuff up that wasn’t recorded but don’t outright lie.

      1. Good point but it is still the Michael Moore school of documentary film-making.

        I’m not claiming this film makes false statements, just warning that Mr. Moore has lied in the past for dramatic effect. Take it for what it’s worth.

        1. “I’m not claiming this film makes false statements”

          It does, e.., the longevity of solar panels. So I stopped after 32 minutes; likely it’s full of false implications, if not always expressed as blatant ‘factual’ lies.

  5. I take it that the music mentioned is calculated to make the message easier to take, not to distract from it.

  6. I am pretty optimistic about all of it. If we elect another Donald Trump or two we won’t have to worry about any of it because we will all be dead from other causes – like disease and war for a start. Maybe we will be the first species to go instinct because of stupid.

  7. Haven’t seen the movie; and given the comments above I’m not sure I want to. But what’s Branson doing in there? His latest move has been to demand a loan from the Govt (ie the UK taxpayer) to bail out Virgin Airlines, which has been carefully domiciled so as to avoid paying any UK tax at all.

    This spoof sums up what many people feel about Richard Branson just now:

    1. “His latest move has been to demand a loan from the Govt (ie the UK taxpayer) to bail out Virgin Airlines, which has been carefully domiciled so as to avoid paying any UK tax at all.”

      IIRC he placed a full-page ad (which I guess qualified as a deductible business expense) in the NY Times (or wherever) cheekily admonishing South Dakotans(?)for not one of them having (yet) set foot on one of his cruise ships.

  8. “Mondo cane” was a companion to the “Limits to growth”.
    I remember my reaction and shock.
    We know all of this and more, but seeing it in one presentation, twists the perception away from comfort of denial and makes a call, oj! it’s time to think and do something.

    How many people would read Collapse by Jarred Dimond?

    Movie – even biased – can reach more eyes 😉


  9. I stopped watching fiction movies circa 2011 and never really was into too many fiction books. I read mostly non-fiction articles or parts of books that interest me. A really good documentary that I love is SOMM. I’ve rented it from the library before but I think you can get it on iTunes for a small fee to buy or rent. It was on Netflix for a while. There is academia within the documentary. They compare it to becoming a medical doctor. (The amount of work etc.) Loved it.

      1. Are you sure of that?

        It’s not entirely fictional of course. The people interviewed were presumably not merely actors, certainly not all of them. It would claim to be devoid of fiction, in any deliberate sense.

        It has one false implication put forward for sure (as I’ve said twice), and probably many. That could be construed as one definition of the word ‘fiction’.

  10. One of the comments claims that there will be a demographic transition. But at what population level? No one doubts there will be a demographic transition. At some point, the planet will be unable to support further population growth. I doubt the planet can support 12 or 15 billion humans. It will be a planetary disaster. And it will be a human disaster of absolute misery.

  11. Michael Moore, whose films are effective but often tendentious, generally follows a woke, regressive-Left line. Interesting, then, if he is now serious about the threat of over-population. Up until now, wokies have studiously avoided that issue, because the highest rates of population growth, as Max Blancke reminds us, are in Africa and the MidEast—from which a continuing, probably growing flood of immigrants attempting to reach Europe can be expected.

  12. I have to chuckle at the skeptical and critical comments about a film that is simply presenting the dire facts that so many scientists, journals, books and lectures have already given us! I dont know what the error was that made one distributor withdraw the film but I am suspicious of who pointed it out and exactly what it is. The veracity of the film – what it presents to us visually and through the voices of interviewees – is beyond question. So why are so many people uncomfortable? Are they in denial? They don’t like squirming? They see themselves in the film as the unquestioning overconsumers or corporations and they dont like being reminded that they are part of the problem?
    Gibbs and Moore both deserve a medal for not ignoring overpopulation. It’s the first time that someone on the left (Moore) has broached the subject. More power to him; I hope he uses his influence and reputation to keep telling the truth and make even more people uncomfortable.

    1. “..not ignoring overpopulation. It’s the first time that someone on the left (Moore) has broached the subject.”

      Try harder before making categorical statements. E.g. from wiki

      “Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born May 29, 1932) is an American biologist, best known for his warnings about the consequences of population growth…”

  13. People often write about how their ideal world holds a smaller population of people, living sustainably.
    I don’t think that it is a bad objective, but one should be realistic about how we get from here to there, and exactly what that process would be like.
    The problem is that the folks who might be considered to be in the “excess” group are unlikely to just quietly die off and bury themselves, leaving behind pristine wilderness where they once lived.
    Also, most people make unwarranted assumptions about which group they and their families will end up in.

    1. It’s NOT a matter of the surplus people dying off. It’s just a matter of not reproducing like rabbits.

      If every two people only had ONE brat then the population would halve in about 30 years, no killing necessary.

      The biggest problem I can see – other than persuading stupid people (by which I mean, mostly religious) that they don’t need to have swarms of kids to make God happy – is managing the economy. All current economic models only seem to work for growth. I have this strong suspicion that economics (as a discipline) can no more control economies than astrology can move the planets.


      1. I’m sure cr is perfectly capable of defending himself, but I have to say that in all the years I’ve been coming to this site, I’ve never seen him say anything that could justify your diatribe.

        Are you suggesting that being British makes the perceived insult OK? That doen’t make any sense. BTW, he’s from New Zealand.

        1. There have been a handful of comments like this posted here by “Liz” over the last two days. I don’t know if it’s some type of performance piece or if her commenting account here has been hacked by some type of random-sentence generating bot.

          Whatever it is, it’s out of character from her usual thoughtful comments. And I don’t think it’s directed at cr personally.

          1. Thank you, Ken. That is so kind of you.

            I may have overreacted slightly to a comment made years ago by Cr and I am very sorry for writing those things. I am sorry, Cr and I hope we are good.

            The other comments were perhaps overreactions to the tweet stating that Dr. Birx and Americans have Stockholm syndrome. I’m not so sure I am too sorry if I wasn’t as gentle as I possibly could be.

            I am sorry, again, Cr.

      2. “I have this strong suspicion that economics (as a discipline) can no more control economies than astrology can move the planets.”

        Economists are so good to judge the work and worthiness of other human primates. By what metric is economists’ work evaluated? “Productivity”? “Effectiveness”? Frequency of sage pronunciamentos from the mountain top? (re: The Economist [?] referring to “the saintly Alan Greenspan.”)

        I have made a reasonably good-faith effort to consult my “friend” Google on the matter. It’s as if the notion never occurred to anyone. Or maybe economists are not to be subjected to the scrutiny to which they subject others.

  14. Finite ecological system, humans that wont stop reproducing above replacement level. Malthus was early, but correct.

  15. Interesting. So many comments, so little evidence that anyone actually watched the film. It’s disturbing, maddening, informative, and over population is a minor focus. What Gibbs exposes is the myth that green energy is green, and is indeed as dangerous to the planet as straight use of fossil fuels. He also demonstrates the corporate greed that has infiltrated the green movement, making it more about profits than care for the planet. The major point about population and culture is that what we are doing, no matter how “green” is not sustainable and there will soon come a time when folks will simply have to do with less. If you are not moved to some sort of personal action by the closing scenes, you are definitely part of the problem.

    1. “ energy …. is indeed as dangerous to the planet as straight use of fossil fuels..”

      The movie is unconvincing, so I assume you can back that up with evidence. Let’s see it.

      1. As you said “Above I’ve made it clear that I realize wind and solar are far from a realistic complete solution to getting energy and avoiding the worst of climate change.” That was one of the main points of the film. Another was that green and renewable, especially biomass, is not nearly as green as many believe, and that many of those industries are driven by corporate greed. I have no interest in trying to convince you of anything. We have had three solar-assisted homes, one off-the-grid, and we are well aware that the collectors have a finite life span [more like 20 years] and that the storage batteries like the panels pose some environmental problems from production to disposal.

        1. Your earlier

          “Gibbs exposes … that green energy ….. is indeed as dangerous to the planet as straight use of fossil fuels.”

          sounds considerably different from your later

          “green and renewable …. is not nearly as green as many believe”

          I have no dispute with your last statements, other than the 20 years being incorrect. If you dispute the latter, let’s have the evidence. I’m not speaking of gradual degradation, which happily is quite small, maybe ½% per year, if you select carefully before buying panels.

          The first 32 minutes, at least, of this film says nothing that is not already well known (the parts not false implications), at least well known outside the ignoramus USian class, containing both some from the so-called left and also most from the right.

          If the remainder of the film is as bad, it’s a very counterproductive one, IMO.

  16. I watched it, and was extremely disturbed by what it showed about the green movement, and the growing use of biomass as a supposedly green alternative to oil. I was also extremely moved by the final scenes. But I was left with a terrible sense of dread, that there is nothing that I as an individual can do to change things. The environmentally friendly house that I have designed (still largely in my head) and wanted to build at some point now seems to be nothing more than mistaken wishful thinking on my part. That I don’t have children is a single, small consolation.

  17. I found the movie very well done and very depressing. Not particularly about population control, which is something I’ve realized the problem with for some years. But about the big ecology agencies’ being sold out to big money, as represented by the Koch brothers.

    I was surprised, though, that the word “nuclear” was used only once, and then only in passing. Whatever be your opinion of the subject, it’s a major possibility we can’t afford to ignore. Is fusion all it has been promised to be or is it not? I know plans are going ahead in a number of places, including an international project in southern France (in an earthquake zone!).

    I heard one conspiracy fan wonder if Sars-cov-2 wasn’t a ploy to reduce population. I think not.

  18. Movie had the same depressing info on Big Oil co-opting the Green movement as Naomi Kline’s well-researched book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. But without the shred of hope.

  19. I’ve watched part of it, intend to finish it later. What I’ve seen seemed dishonest and manipulative. The fact that solar panels are made partly from coal doesn’t necessarily mean what they are trying to imply. The relevant question is what is the aggregate effect of the green tech. Sure, it is possibly a waste of money and effort to drive an electric car where coal provides the electricity, although it may still be better due to increased efficiency. There are no simple answers.

    The population problem is nothing new, but the answer isn’t new either: education, especially for women, and development. Eventually the population goes down on its own. We’ll be living in a highly degraded earth when we get there, but what are the alternatives? There is a number of humans that Earth can sustainably support. With solar panels, wind farms, nuclear energy, smart grids and hopefully fusion, that number is far greater than with fossil fuels, for which that number is quite possibly zero.

  20. Perhaps it is an impossible thing to achieve, likely the populations of both Germany and Japan strongly against it now is an indication of how unlikely, but I believe that the only way to save the next couple of generations a really terrible climate change effect, is to get busy as soon as possible building an enormous number of nuclear power stations all over the world.

    People seem to fear the sudden nuclear power accident deaths of even as many as 100,000 people (nothing close to that has ever happened, I think) much more than the early deaths over more time of 10s of millions of people due to air pollution. And of course they have irrational confusion between nukes for energy and nuclear weapons.

    I’d be interested to hear in reaction any real evidence to what I’ve said above (not at all original of course) is incorrect, or is technically impossible. I’d even claim the opposition to nuclear power is no less irrational than is the attitude of the vaccine conspiracy people. I do realize it seems politically impossible.

    This change also should not reduce the drive for pollution-free power from the sun and wind. But they are simply nowhere near enough, and cannot be without an enormous reduction in population. I can claim at least some personal credit in that respect (2 Volts, 10kW of solar panels, geothermal heating/air), but for me this has not been any big sacrifice. And I realize most are not able to do that much.

    In the end a reduction in the world’s population, not by a disaster of course, will hopefully happen.

    And a much better solution than nuclear power is thermonuclear power. But again, it cannot happen soon enough. We need that nuclear power generation for a half century at least.
    The claim is also that modern designs are much less prone to accidents, but even if that’s false, they must be built.

    On the side, and we may both be dead before it happens, I’ve bet a guy about which will happen sooner: a viable thermonuclear generation plant or a viable full size quantum computer.

    1. P.S. The Guardian’s

      “…a revisionist case for nuclear power: a clean energy source that (allegedly) has cleaned up its act on safety..”

      is an example of a writer/reporter being a misleading ass, IMHO. There have been accidents, that’s no good, but learn something about the years of life lost to the air pollution of fuel burning compared to the corresponding human life loss to nuclear accidents. He or She is just repeating thoughtless fear mongering, I think.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but with evidence please.

  21. Above I’ve made it clear that I realize wind and solar are far from a realistic complete solution to getting energy and avoiding the worst of climate change.

    I did watch just over 30 minutes.

    I quit as soon as I heard the grinning ninny make a completely false implication about solar panels designed to last only two years. I’m sure someone somewhere in the world has bought a purported solar panel that produced nothing at all when the scammer had gone and he or she tried it out. So that ninny’s words may not technically be a lie. But this utterly unquantitative babble is absolutely the worst way for anyone to learn anything.

    I cannot be bothered with the rest of the film.

    Maybe it gets better. But this style of quick shifting conversation excerpts is just a bunch of garbage for those who are too stupid or lazy to sit down with serious printed material and actually learn reliable knowledge with at least a modicum of quantitative stuff in it.

    There are certainly plenty of well known problems with wind and solar, ones which are clearly not going to be emphasized by those PR people for green energy companies.

    But to think that anyone would arrive at their opinions by watching (at least the first half hour) of this film is to me just as depressing as realizing how many are getting their politics from Faux News.

    1. This is interesting to see where the conversation about climate change is going. What needs to be determined is whether a way forward is going to involve the corporations or not. This post seems to say not, but I would argue that is going in a direction that I would not be opposed to on principle, but which means something violent. Corporations aren’t going to submit nicely.

    1. Thanks for digging up the link. I must say, I have not followed the issues closely for quite some time. I assumed the problem of global warming was a technical one and could be solved with technology. However, Heinberg’s assessment isn’t much rosier than Gibbs. If the energy will have to come from fossil fuels for a very long time to come, as he implies, then I don’t think there is a good solution. The coasts will flood and the oceans will die. The problem is, I don’t think modern humans are capable of cutting back. How can you stop growth before it stops us? Based on the weak response to the pandemic, I think warming is 100 times worse. We can kiss the future goodby. Let’s hope it ain’t so. Maybe fusion energy will come to the rescue.

      1. I think you have pretty much summed up my perspective as well. Personally I think that access and use of fresh water is a more imminent crisis than global warming – not that the latter will be a crisis. You ask a very important question re growth – I think that humans won’t stop growth and growth will stop us. You also mention fusion, and it made me wonder why hydrogen from solar has not taken off.

        1. There are so many technological possibilities for energy that learning about them all can give a false sense that there is an inevitable solution, if not just around the corner, then out there somewhere. Like the fog of war. There is a sense that, in every other crisis, humans have mustered the strength and ingenuity to surmount heavy odds, so this one will not be different. But, it is beginning to look like we are going to have to be mighty lucky to get through this.

          1. It seems to me that the hurdles inhibiting us from completely replacing fossil fuels for energy production and transportation with cleaner alternatives is human behavior. The technology is within reach. Some of it has been in reach for decades but development was kept to nearly 0.

            If we had the political will I think we could change things quite quickly. This would entail ending the political support and subsidies that the fossil fuel industry has enjoyed for decades. Not an easy task to break up such a well established racket. On the bright side, it’s already happening despite the obstacles. Too slowly, yes. But it demonstrates the potential that is there.

            Clean enough cheap enough energy would give us the ability to deal with all of our problems. Other changes and tools will be needed as well, but the energy problem is key. And it’s within reach. We can do it.

              1. I think we can do it but we can’t rely on technology alone to pull our asses out of the fire. I’ve known this for decades. It’s foolish to go on as we do and think that we will be able to just carry on and live our ridiculous lifestyles because we’ll have a technology to fix it like some deus ex machina (literally).

              2. Yes, that’s been my sense of things too. I remember when Zero Population Growth (now Population Connection) was a popular, but briefly considered, notion. At the time, I decided that was going to be the only way to really get a handle. Reduce population and go sustainable in everything. As the years rolled by I thought it had been a dream. Nothing happened.

              3. Likewise. We old farts likely won’t be around for the worst of times to come, but we do feel anxious for our children and grandchildren. Many of our parents had a very tough time during the Depression and emerged with a can-do work ethic that seems to be dwindling these days. They prospered and thus we too prospered, but we were inculcated with the world view that one should live below ones means and if necessary, live more with less

              4. Our generation blew it. It’s up to the next one to handle the result of our negligence.

  22. I think you have pretty much summed up my perspective as well. Personally I think that access and use of fresh water is a more imminent crisis than global warming – not that the latter will not be a crisis. You ask a very important question re growth – I think that humans won’t stop growth and growth will stop us. You also mention fusion, and it made me wonder why hydrogen from solar has not taken off.

    Again, the link failed first time around.

    1. My view of nuclear is that it should be the replacement for coal while more elegant solutions surface in maybe 30 years. New designs for nuclear plants are much safer and there is the promise that waste can be recycled. I think a “man to the moon” type investment in nuclear could save our skins. At least it could be a big part of the solution. The problem is the psychology of it. People, irrationally, believe it’s bad.

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