‘Green Energy’ vs Wild Nature

Do you want to keep the lights on and the gadgets running, or liberate Nature from a deadly enslavement by Technology?

So I must announce, because all the critics miss this point, that it is not merely that technologies are burning polluting fuels and thereby fouling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, nor that other technologies amplify a simple virus jumping across species into a global pandemic; the essential problem is that technology always comes to exist in exchange for a sacrifice of wild Nature, and it always has unforeseen and unforeseeable consequences which inevitably impinge upon naturally-occurring freedoms for humans and non-humans.

Even a superficial look over the history of technological advancement reveals precisely this, and this holds just as true for the ‘green energy tech’ so desired by those loathe to abandon industrial civilization. As noted by Becker, the closing scenes of the documentary show orangutan-habitat destruction which owes not to the creation of renewable-power sources but to the supply of Civilization-manufactured foods for feeding all the people in mass-society. Thus it is one atrocity which will not be remedied by the transition to ‘green energy’ but solely through a dramatic decline in the demand and capacity for civilized-manufactured foods, a result which will come only by the collapse of industrial civilization. The degree to which we face and accept and embrace that goal, regardless of the hardships it may entail, demonstrates the degree of our love for (and defense of) wild Nature.

Even if it’s less than ideal, the one solution which stops industrial society causing climate change is immensely preferable to the plethora of bogus “solutions”.

Like the wise who pull out the roots rather than hack the branches (paraphrasing H.D. Thoreau), we must aim efforts on one grand goal which delivers the ultimate success — that is, saving Nature beyond human control — even if it isn’t as easily achieved as less-effective alternatives we might be allowed to enact (e.g., minimal pollution regulations, the Green New Deal, subsidized contraceptives, et cetera). That goal should be the forced collapse of the worldwide industrial-technological system (industrial civilization) which creates, or at the very least exacerbates, all of the problems plaguing us in the created ‘Anthropocene’ epoch. That is the only single goal which will adequately resolve our dilemma.

Three example websites pushing the ‘empower women’ trope.

The other common canard pitched as a solution is simply ending capitalism.

Used by political conservatives to slight “failures” of socialist nations, the Left’s response to such images is only to attest that it does or will provide nighttime lighting and food surpluses, far from the natural condition where food demand slightly exceeds supply (thus isn’t wasted) and sunset brings the darkness which all Earthlings have evolved with and rely on. Thus it’s clear that capitalism and communism are simply two peas in the pod of techno-industrial mass-society.

Effectively, renewables simply add a non-emitting source for electrical power rather than replace any existing fuels.

While there is a baseless hope, or a theory or prediction, that wind- and solar-generated energy will supplant the dirty fuels presently used most, there is absolutely no guarantee of this; were it to happen, it would be contrary to all history of industrial fuels: the access to crude oil (and later refined diesel) did not end the usage of coal, nor did the utilization of oil and gasoline prevent the development of uses for and extraction of natural gas. (Similarly, natural materials which had little utility decades ago have since been put to industrial uses and so are now valued, resulting in the increased destruction or alteration of vast swaths of wild Nature in order to obtain those resource deposits.) So not only has techno-industrial society sought out and laid claim to all available coal, oil, and natural gas accessible beneath our planet’s surface, but now it wants to take the sunlight which lands on the surface and the wind which flows over it, too. Was it forgotten that evolved organisms currently utilize the sunlight which falls on them, or do these non-humans not matter if consideration of them limits Civilization staying electrified? Electricity and expendable fuel consumption has gotten more efficient, but has electricity demand ever diminished in all the time of transition between different fuels? Of course not, and the Jevons Paradox informs us that efficiency increases always bring consumption increases.

Some critics of the documentary falsely claim that the film advocates fossil fuels, while others bemoan that it gives the fossil-fuels industry ‘ammunition’.

But with only a bit of checking we can see the true priorities of the film’s attackers. For example, Ketan Joshi’s website reveals his bona fides for discussing ‘renewable energy’ — disqualifications to any claims of being out to save Nature: “I did a science degree at Sydney University, and since I was a teenager I’ve loved science, technology, philosophy and psychology. I worked in the renewable energy industry for about eight years…” While his page greets visitors with a picture of a robot, he does not at all mention a love for wild Nature, only his work for the (oxymoronic) ‘green tech’ industry, which has gone from professional to pro bono.⁶ In any case, it doesn’t indicate a loss of ethics or giving aid to the hydrocarbons industry to agree with Exxon that 2+2=4, it is merely an undeniable truth to be recognized by all parties; to cite some promotion of the film by fossil-fuel loyalists is simply casting the shadow of a bogeyman in order to darken a truth which ought to be recognized by opponents.⁷ If we only scratch the surface of why the hydrocarbons defenders might advance this film which critiques ‘green energy’, we can see how their view actually aligns with the criticism of the documentary by prominent professional ‘green’ leaders. At best, the environmentalists reveal that they agree with the point being made by the Oil, Coal, & Gas lobbyists who say, “If solar and wind won’t do any better, you might as well stick with what you’ve got — you certainly don’t want to give up electricity!” This is precisely what liberals like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein and Josh Fox are all worried about,⁸ that people will so value the maddening and addictive technological garbage of the modern era that they will simply settle for baking the planet to death. But not only do humans not need any of the electrified stuff we daily engage with, it actually worsens our lives, dividing us from connecting with Nature and even other people, physically, face-to-face, in-person.⁹ For 200,000 years humans just like us lived in small groups, deeply connected to their people, relying upon and aiding their fellows, competing against outsiders (thus giving each one well-balanced traits for making allies and facing enemies, ensuring security and confronting threats, developing wholly with both offense and defense ).¹⁰ Yet, only 220 years after the first use of electric power, most people who think themselves environmentalists are now debating whether the use of windmills or solar panels can suffice for providing enough electricity (an unnecessary extravagance) to make it worthwhile to stop using fossil fuels and thereby avoid destroying our only lifeboat in the sea of the entire Milky Way. And when the insanity of that is challenged, when “Planet of the Humans” says we need to pull the needle out and clean up, get sober and face reality, the reaction is to shout down the messenger.

And for being milquetoast and servile to the technological system, Bill McKibben, a most prominent advocate of renewable energy, gets to soak up the limelight and be heralded as an environmentalist leader.

He often has grand platforms (Rolling Stone, frequently, and recently “60 Minutes”) to extol the talking points of the Green Energy industry (for which he volunteers), in addition to deflecting valid criticisms which might otherwise awaken sincere but misdirected people. Were he to take a more oppositional, or boldly confrontational position against the menace of further technological progress, McKibben would be marginalized and replaced by another figurehead for false hopes of a techno-salvation to come. McKibben — who on May 6th, 2020 declared that one of rural America’s biggest problems is a lack of consistent and reliable WiFi signals — measures quite poorly against even the timid academic-philosopher class who at least named the enemy as Technology itself: Martin Heidegger, Jacques Ellul, Lewis Mumford, Neil Postman, Chellis Glendinning; while none of them were brave enough to unequivocally state that only a revolutionary movement will be able to depose techno-industrial civilization and free all the inhabitants of Earth from the controls imposed by Technology, at the very least they recognized the primary source of the problem. This documentary also does so, in the seventeenth minute, when its director’s narration rhetorically asks, “Is it possible for machines built by industrial civilization to save us from industrial civilization?” Only if they are used disruptively, against the continuation of techno-industrial mass-society and to allow the revival of wild Nature.

Focus on the main problem: the crisis worsens while we’re distracted to reforming secondary concerns.


1. This nonsense is so commonly accepted that citations abound. For just a few examples:

  • …plant-based replacements for each of the major animal categories in the United States (beef, pork, dairy, poultry, and eggs) can produce twofold to 20-fold more nutritionally similar food per unit cropland. Replacing all animal-based items with plant-based replacement diets can add enough food to feed 350 million additional people, more than the expected benefits of eliminating all supply chain food loss.
    from “The opportunity cost of animal based diets exceeds all food losses” by A. Shepon, G. Eshel, E. Noor, R. Milo, 04/10/18




Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store