“Planet of the Humans” makes important points, but it missed the boat that already sailed some time ago.
It lacks nuance and contains a lot of information that is clearly out of date, giving the impression of “we still have these bits of material sitting on the shelves, let’s see if we can turn it into a film”.
There was no attention for any new forms of blue energy, for example. (Forms of energy generation based on tidal water movement, from the osmotic gradient between fresh water and saline water – occurring where rivers run into seas – and from solar ponds, the common denominator being water.)
Different ways of building, such as the PassiveHouse technique, that result in homes not requiring any energy at all or very very little weren’t mentioned.
I don’t think that hydrogen was discussed either, though I must admit that the documentary didn’t succeed in fully capturing my attention throughout the film.
There was no talk of phasing out the trend of consumerist building (building that generates lots of money for several companies involved in the construction but does not benefit ourselves as part of nature) and allowing more natural dwellings that are outlawed in many parts of the western world.
Main takeaway points:
- Not everything that looks good is good.
- Follow Vandana Shiva to hear something different than the usual. She is based in India, has a master’s degree in the philosophy of science from Guelph University and a physics-related doctorate from the department of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Source: Encyclopaedia Brittannica.
- Biomass and other forms of biobased energy for which new crops or animals are grown are no good. They are often even worse than fossil fuels. As fossil fuels are a greatly condensed form of biobased energy sources, less habitat destruction etc is involved in their use and they’re, by definition, more efficient in terms of energy production. The only form of biobased energy that is useful concerns energy generation from waste products that cannot be used in any other way, such as certain husks.
- Observe the bioethical imperative: “All living beings are entitled to respect and should be treated not as means but as ends in themselves.” (Fritz Jahr).
- The boundless drive to generate higher turnovers, increase production and and obtain bigger bank balances is doing us all in because it pays no attention to true well-being. It results in consumerism for those who have plenty of money, on the one hand, and misery and discontent for those who lack money, on the other hand (not to mention destruction of the earth system).
- Don’t by a SUV because it looks cool. It contains twice as much steel as a regular car.
- Consumerism is killing us, as a species.
- Pay more attention to manufacturing and after-life of solar panels and of parts intended for harvesting of wind energy.
And for me personally: I am now even more curious about what Jeremy Grantham would have spoken about if his talk in Oxford had gone ahead last month. I’d like to hear more about his investments in big timber, yes. As we’re increasingly building with wood, even high-rises, investing in timber does not have to be as negative as it often is.
Everything is a matter of balance. In nature, in natural science, in lifeless physics, the strive for balance is perpetual. We should probably pay more attention to it.