A Brief Review of Planet of the Humans
by Curt Hill
Planet of the Humans Puts Sacred Cows Out to Pasture by Brian Czech
There Is No Going Back to Normal: Which Way Do We Choose Going Forward? by Kavita Byrd
Will Covid-19 Spur a Peoples' Bailout for the World's Poorest? by Adam Parsons
Towards a Shift in Interdependent Life by Sanja Dejanovic
Coronavirus And Economic Interdependence by
Solidarity Economy Roads ~ Chapter 12 - Toward a Civilization of Labor and Solidarity by Luis Razeto Migliaro
When a Pandemic Makes the Impossible, Possible by Dion Forster
Planetary Crisis ~ Our Ecological Dysfunction Has a Marketing Problem by Kristine Mattis
We Will Not Get Out of This Crisis with a New Green Deal but with Old Brown Wisdom by Margarita Mediavilla
The Essential Paradigm Shift by Phyllis Creighton and Derek Paul
Understanding Our Pandemic – Economy Predicament by Gail Tverberg
The Needs of the Moment by Dave Pollard
Global Boom, Pandemic, Crash: Is History Just Repeating Itself? by Andrew Nikiforuk
Why the Renewable Rocket Has Failed to Launch by Art Berman
Planet of the Dehumanized by Gert Van Hecken & Vijay Kolinjivadi
A Universal Basic Income Is Essential and Will Work by Ellen Brown
Why Now is the Time to Think Global by Lisa Marlin
The Case for Degrowth in a Time of Pandemic by Giorgos Kallis, Susan Paulson, Giacomo D'Alisa, Federico Demaria
Is This an Apocalypse? We Certainly Hope So—You Should Too by Catherine Keller & John Thatamanil
Why Does Patriarchy Persist? ~ Part 1: What is patriarchy? by Brian Stout
Why Does Patriarchy Persist? ~ Part 2: How does patriarchy harm us? by Brian Stout
Why Does Patriarchy Persist? ~ Part 3: How do we dismantle it? by Brian Stout
The Climax of Religious Patriarchy and the Renewal of Human Relations by Luis Gutiérrez
A Brief Review of Planet of the Humans
This article was originally published in
Medium, 21 April 2020
REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION
"Humankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before,
to prove its maturity and its mastery -- not of nature, but of itself."
Rachel Carson, 1907-1964
Just finished watching an inspiring and uplifting documentary called Planet of the Humans (just kidding, tremendously sobering - and I highly recommend. Just be prepared!). I am left with this sinking feeling that what I think I know may not be so. I'm also left with a nagging question of how I get to a spot where I'm comfortable with what I know, and that the stand I take is grounded in reality, in some semblance of what's so. Everything can be spun to support whatever argument someone wants to make. Fox News does it all day long!
After watching the documentary, I posted a comment with what I was left with from the film on the YouTube string where I watched it, and within minutes, someone replied back with the answer - that the way out of it all, the entire mess we face, is nuclear power. This is the silver bullet! Now, understand, I'm not anti-nuclear. I don't know enough about it, how it works, the cost, the real hazards other than what's been sensationalized. But, I'm suspicious of something that is held up as the answer to all our problems (which this well-meaning gentleman implied), and will allow humanity to continue marching forward as it noshes its way through all the planet has to offer like its some sort of all you can eat buffet.
Maybe I'm crazy, naïve or delusional, but I can't quite work out the logic of going about business as normal with (name your favorite answer) as the ultimate solution. Sure, we can just keep growing the economy while we move to a "green" future! There are green jobs for all as we completely build out an entirely new infrastructure! Hurray! We all just need to get on board, and we'll have that more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. It's just around the corner! I know it. It's prophesied! It's in the stars! It's the great turning! We're just like the very hungry caterpillar!
How does this work? I mean, what does it take to build one of the giant windmills that dot the landscape along the freeway? What goes into constructing the solar panels that get us off the grid? What is environmental cost of building all the battery packs we need to wean ourselves from oil? I think all of this, and any other gnarly question we come up with, runs smack dab into the hardest and thorniest issue of them all. We simply don't want to change our standard of living, our comfort, our convenience. We're not going back to a lifestyle that is less resource demanding. As much as we say we want to reduce our carbon footprint, are we going to move into a smaller house? When I see people I know and love, and that are as seemingly progressive and conscious as anyone I know, buy their dream home - 5,000 square feet for 2 people in a wildly unsustainable part of the country where water is scarce and majorly taxed by a growing population – I know we're totally screwed. I know there are some noble and righteous people that radically downsize - and, still, what counts as downsizing here is palatial living for many people on the planet that want to be able to live to the level we downsize.
We like our lives the way they are, even when we don't. We're not going trade them in for a life that has significantly less of much of anything material and commercial, and mostly, people that have less material want more. They want a gas range, not a charcoal cook stove. They want flush toilets and running hot and cold water, not a trench latrine and fresh water a mile away. They want lights at the flip of a switch, not candles or an open fire.
There are some that don't want that. We call them shamans, or elders or something that separates them out from ordinary life. They are not like us - they are special. They have taken vows of poverty or live the life of an ascetic. This is not the way things are going. We want our new homes, our shiny new appliances, our gleaming cities. Drive through the suburbs of Chicago - what was once prairie, then farmland, is now mostly box houses with large green lawns - everyone 3,000 sq. feet or more. They stretch and stretch.
Are we going to fold those houses under, like we're making a new cake that better fits with the world we have? Of course not. We'll keep living this way, in our happy delusion. And, we'll make new heroes, never looking under the covers to see what's happening out of the spotlight, or conveniently not seeing what's incongruous, what's inconsistent, what doesn't seem to hold up in the scrutiny of full daylight. We prefer to go along in this fantasy, following the green pied piper to the happy land where we all get along sustainably, and where there's plenty of room for the polar bears, orangutans, pangolins, monarch butterflies, salamanders, tree frogs and the countless other life forms that call this planet home.
See, would you follow Greta's lead and take a sailboat across the Atlantic (or Pacific, or Indian Ocean) to attend a conference on those far away shores? Of course not. Are you kidding? It's what had her action be held up as so virtuous, so noble. It's that we wouldn’t do that. I wouldn't. Would you? I mean, we're not going stop driving our 18 mpg luxury car, or 12 mpg sports car, our big old truck or SUV.
There you go. A rough one today. In the book Don't Even Think About It, the author (George Marshall) interviews the economist Daniel Kahnemen, who received a Nobel Prize for his work on the psychology of decision making Marshall asks him about his take on the challenge in front of us. Kahneman replies this is not what you might want to hear. I'm very sorry, but I am deeply pessimistic. I really see no path to success on climate change. I am as well.
To repeat a refrain from earlier writing, I think we need to listen, and listen deeply, and do what for us seems true and right, and in line with the sort of life we want to be living now and is consistent with the sort of life we want for the future. If we can find peace there, a certain resolve, then I think we'll have sorted out something very powerful for ourselves indeed. That may begin to look like humanity demonstrating its maturity and mastery of itself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Curt Hill is trained to lead the Awakening The Dreamer and Project Drawdown programs through The Pachamama Alliance and has led transformation programs and seminars for 35 years to over 25,000 people. He annually designs and leads breakout sessions at The Conference for Global Transformation through Landmark Worldwide Entrepreneur, has built and currently heads a small company in the healthcare field with over 80 employees, and built and maintains a modest suburban vegetable garden. Father of two, husband, married for 28 years.