Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs

Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs

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you [Laughter] I've got a question humans have how long does the human race have I don't exactly know but maybe I hope I give me at least 50 more years I think there's infinite amount of time I give us a million a million years being kind I would say probably about 10 years 1012 years thousands of years 47
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years 3 months 5 days it's approximate we're kind of like cockroaches on the planet no matter how much damage we'll do enough of us will survive to procreate and keep it going unless we can get to another planet but then we're just gonna it up like we did hurt well I think that we will be here for a long time but we will change we're gonna turn back into Apes have you ever wondered what would happen if a single species took over an entire planet maybe they're cute maybe they're
01:32
clever but lack a certain shall we say self-restraint what if they go too far what if they go way way way way way too far how would they know when it's their time to go [Music]
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[Music] due to our release through factories and automobiles every year of more than 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer this is bad well it's been calculated a few degrees rise in the earth's temperature would melt the polar ice
03:49
caps [Music] and if this happens an inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley foreign weather we're not only dealing with forces of a far greater variety and even the atomic physicist encounters but with life itself that was 1958 we've known about the dangers of climate change for six decades back then
04:21
there was so much air pollution that would actually block out the Sun there was so much water pollution rivers caught on fire forget throwing plastic bottles into the water we tossed our cars in there we also knew someday we'd run out of oil for millions of Americans this may be the worst weekend they've ever faced for finding gasoline to give them the automobile freedom they take as their do I never doubted humans would find a
04:52
better way and I wanted to be part of it a scientist sounded the alarm and the modern environmental movement was born unless we do bring these chemicals under better control we are certainly headed for disaster students all across the country organized the first Earth Day this point in time it's very very fashionable to talk about the environment but as every day proceeds we find very very little concrete being done as for me you might say I was an early
05:23
environmentalist when I was nine years old a bulldozer began knocking down the woods near my home I retaliated by putting sand in its gas tank when I grew up I became a tree hugger and moved to the wilds of northern Michigan to build a sustainable homestead and commune with nature I wired my cabin for solar panels and heated with wood instead of fossil fuels I wrote about sustainable living
05:55
and environmental issues for the Mother Earth News and several news outlets I traveled the country documenting invasive species ecosystem collapse and species threatened with extinction I covered protests against destroying mountains for coal and was once even confronted by the BP police journalist Jeff gets it by all means you can take all the pictures you want we'll write
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our report and then we have to send it to the FBI and the US Attorney's Office still call you through all of this I kept wondering why are we still addicted to fossil fuels so I decided to begin following the green energy movement [Music] what better place to check out how a renewable energy revolution is coming along than a solar festival in the Green Mountain state of Vermont powered by
07:07
100% solar energy so I was having fun and got a chance to ask about getting solar panels installed you can keep adding so maybe every time you get a tax return that's owned by another solar panel but then a little rain began to fall my cameraman noticed some commotion behind the stage [Music] for the festivals going off solar energy primarily primarily I need to bring this
07:57
stuff man these days you wanna make sure we have that power but the biofuel generator wasn't enough so they wound up plugging into the electrical grid that we all use it's actually pulling power in from the grid charging the batteries it's running backwards from the way we originally intended to do it but that was disappointing but after all it had been
08:31
raining maybe next time things would go better luckily for us hope was on the way it's been a long time coming but tonight change has come to America [Applause] Green activists across the country cheered when newly elected President Barack Obama rolled out a trillion-dollar stimulus package with nearly a hundred billion dollars for
09:03
green energy Green was finally ramping up and everyone wanted to be part of it President Obama brought in environmental activists and Jones from the Apollo Alliance with shovel-ready projects they've got to put up tens of thousands of wind farms they've got put up millions of solar panels former Vice President Al Gore who had a few years earlier released an oscar-winning film shared his ideas with the president we have the opportunity now to create jobs
09:34
all across this country in all 50 states to repower America Al Gore had already encouraged billionaire airline owner Sir Richard Branson to invest big time in green energy Branson is pledging future profits from his airline to the tune of perhaps three billion dollars three billion that's the bee to fight global warming is Al Gore a prophet I just felt profit investors came
10:10
forward investor Vinod Khosla known as the father of the clean tech revolution has poured over a billion dollars of his own money into some 50 energy startups major banks were eager to get involved by 2020 we think renewables will require 395 billion on an annual basis Robert F Kennedy jr. was both on the board of major environmental organizations and was leading a green energy investment group we build wind
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farms with old solar farms why she build art plant it's free energy forever the Sierra Club received 50 million dollars from billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg their mission fight call and promote clean energy so with the mayor's gift here's what will happen we'll have a large an aggressive presence in 46 days it's time for America to find a new energy path one that takes us beyond cold and then Bill McKibben one of the nation's
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leading environmentalists and author of a breakthrough book called the end of nature formed an organization called 350.org with the mission of igniting a global climate movement can I show off my necktie for a minute because they made it for me yesterday it's got that 350 on it because it's the most important number in the world things were looking up and the green energy revolution was under way Michigan had been hit hard by the Great Recession
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and hundreds of millions of dollars in green stimulus money was arriving now to do their part for the new green economy General Motors introduced a new line of electric vehicles when the Chevy Volt was ready for release I attended their press conference so these electric vehicles are ready for public consumption and we're ready with the infrastructure with the rates with the communications I am extremely grateful to be here today and in fact this is a chance for me to say thank you
12:12
more formally the Chevy Volt is upstairs we'll be able to take a look at it [Music] [Laughter] it's as simple as that the batteries are in the trunk no the battery in this particular design is a t-shape right down the center and across the backseat area does everybody thought we killed the electric vehicle what's the source
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of here I mean is it what's her mix of power Oh actually Lansing feeds a building Lansing feeds power to another parent starting off of your grid right it would be charging off our grid which is 90 about 95 percent cool long do you think it'll be before there's a solar to
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suggest that all of the power used for these cars will be generated from wind and solar in the very near future which cannot be correct in fact these we're talking about charging these up at night so it won't be any solar at that time so we're down to wind and very often at night the wind does fall off so I don't think coal is bad oh yeah it's got lovely BTUs it's got
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lovely energy how do you burn it more cleanly I mean do you see natural gas getting bashed we will be delivering power based on national gas very shortly and even with that that mix we intend to use biofuels if we can extremely supportive we did install the state's largest solar array at my company the Board of Water and light it's just down the street from there few miles if you want to take a look at it what what
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outfit are you with new world media we're doing a segment on the renewable energy I decided to take him up on this offer to check out their football field-sized solar array right down the street what we're trying to do with this kind of a tourist get a sense for what they've already done as an indication of what we could do to push the envelope even further we took a hard look at wind and determined that you know around here there's not any real good wind wind coming through all the time
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that's what we liked about solar you would get the power when you most needed it pass these around look at them they are pliable made in Michigan that was not a good thing although the efficiency of these panels is only about just under 8% if you happen to be NASA and you happen to own a rover running around Mars they have very efficient panels but we can't afford those in about a million dollars a square inch standard answer
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that we tell everybody is we're providing enough to meet the peak requirements of 50 homes however for most of the people that look at it a little bit closer we generate about 63 64 thousand kilowatt hours a year our average customer uses about six thousand kilowatt hours a year 6064 is just a little over ten we can meet the energy requirements for 10 homes over a year will that be an incentive to put more solar on well if you wanted to
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make all of the energy required for the city of Lansing over a year how about you have a solar array that was three miles by five my friend from the Sierra Club wanted him to be more positive but he was not interested as a consequence of the big push for green energy wind farms were rising around the nation including near my home in northern Michigan we've done coal and
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nuclear for years we've been trying to get in more into the new eco side these are largest in Michigan abetik it's four hundred eighty two foot total how many yards of concrete there's eight hundred yards of concrete in the base right around 140 tons of free steel what are those blades made out of that's all fiberglass and balsam they're about 36,000 pounds apiece this tower away 800,000 pounds we're done then the cell is 220,000 pounds and hub and rotor assembly is another 160 it's pretty substantial
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they were impressive machines but is it possible for machines made by industrial civilization to save us from industrial civilization an environmental leader Bill McKibben's home state of Vermont the Green Mountain State a site was being cleared for the installation of wind turbines a group of citizens was concerned about how the construction might affect the mountains they loved I joined them for a tour it's
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going to be one turbine the goal is to try to make them the leader and climate change I appreciate looking to the sky in the hopes that we can do that but more importantly I'm personally looking at the ground thinking this is not the kind of legacy I want to leave to my kids when I was a kid we'd go hiking in these woods we would be able to drink from the waters down the hill here and now you have to question that these towers
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supposed to last one eight twenty some years anybody considered that this is mountaintop removal for wind instead of coal yeah and we've even had people say if you can do mountaintop removal in Kentucky and West Virginia for coal then it's about time that the rest of the country shared in the mountaintop removal to they're gonna tell us to move that route the thing is is you've got to have a
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fossil fuel power plant backing it up and idling a hundred percent of the time because if you cycle up or cycle down as as the demand on the wind comes through then you actually generate a bigger carbon footprint than if you just ran it straight do you ever go to things where they just go that's not true it doesn't matter we're gonna have a smart grid doesn't make any difference they still got half the dirty idling because let's just say the wind stopped right now just stop for an hour you've got to have that
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power what do you do I'm a Environmental Health and Safety consultant I usually work with businesses to help them do things but I would never work with it's coming like this didn't get me on camera doing this this yeah not being judgmental or trying to play God but we've got to deal with population growth and sustainable resources we've all got to come back all the synergies go expose idli going to eat a water park we can find unique in
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different ways to waste energy this is not a Vermont company I mean Green Mountain Power will be bought out by gas Metro and gas Metro is owned by Enbridge as I understand it which is a big company resource company in Canada which is exploiting the tar sands that wants to build the XL pipeline they say and it's still we don't know the whole story have you asked mr. McKinnon to come see those good
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yes that's what I've heard people say [Music] I'm in a strange position I'm against our addiction to fossil fuels and have long been a fan of green energy but everywhere I encountered green energy it wasn't what it seemed this is any
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petroleum or oil based product area I read about a zoo that was said to be powered by elephant manure but it turned out the elephants didn't even produce enough manure to heat the elephant barn yeah we don't even really make enough we had elephant why's it even do that we would need a lot more more elephants ethanol plants also seem to have a secret ingredient this is the most productive farmland in the world and we're not that far west of the biggest coal mines in the world as well so bring the two together
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great so ethanol was reliant on two things a giant fossil fuel-based industrial agricultural system to produce corn and even more fossil fuels in the form of coal all of this in the attempt to replace fossil fuels it was enough to make my head explode I was getting the uneasy feeling that green energy was not going to save us and I wasn't the only one I've counted something like 25
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different alternative energy options so surely among all of those there there are enough sources of energy to keep us living basically the way we are in perpetuity that's not the reality we currently were getting in some cases no energy from these potential options Richard York of the University of Oregon published a study in the journal Nature in which he posed the question do now on fossil energy sources actually replaced fossil fuels what we implicitly assume
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often the substitute pushes out the the thing you wanted to substitute for it which you find is nations that add non-fossil energy sources do not seem to see a ticular suppression of fossil fees that's pretty mind-blowing we've got billions of dollars being spent and green energy is not even in replacing fossil fuels they don't even know that that's a question of this the story that we're in right now is ok we're in ecological hot water but there are
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technological fixes and if we're just creative enough if we're just ingenious enough and if we just work hard enough we will triumph seeking technological fixes one after another is simply going to to beat us to another level of catastrophe sooner rather than later we want to believe that these things are going to be available for us so if if we get a little worried then somebody comes up with a new thingy and promises that you know this will this will do it for
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us we want to believe you because we're a little worried are we desperate to accept any idea that sounds alternative or green are we avoiding looking too closely because we don't want to know the answer Ozzy's enter a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University was asking some of the same questions I mean I thought that solar and wind were probably a very good solution sunny it wasn't really even that long ago one of
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the most dangerous things right now is the illusion that alternative technologies like wind and solar are somehow different from fossil fuels I hear a lot of times that solar cells are made of sand and have you ever thought about solar panels the main ingredient that makes them work is silicon or sand this is the raw material chips are made of sand they don't you sand it off so the use I'll show you this is one of them the ingredients it's actually mine
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spruce pine north carolina's regarded as the finest source of high purity quartz in the world for semiconductor solar and communication applications she can't use sand because sand has too many impurities so you start with a very high quality quartz and a very high quality coal and then you put those two together into an arc furnace and you melt them the quartz is then melted with coal and a large furnace at temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees when we melt these
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together we get silicon metal and carbon dioxide and the carbon dioxide just goes off and get rid of the carbon use with metal this is not clean cold Aziz ener said it was an illusion that renewables were replacing coal or any fossil fuel environmental groups continued telling a different story we've already seen more than 25 percent of the u.s. coal fleet has already either retired or is on a schedule to retire coal plants were closing but Ozzie explained that well meeting people
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were being misled and the energy is now gonna go ahead and shut down the plant and go with renewable one of the largest solar plants and that's going to happen right behind me since you can't replace a coal plant with solar they're actually replacing the coal plant with two natural gas plants and natural gas is a fossil fuel this is the Las Vegas this is the Sun Peak generating facility this is the second natural gas plant that was used to replace the coal plant
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and you hear the same story 911 instead of using energy generated by coal-fired power plants the solar farm will now avoid about 2.1 million pounds of carbon pollution but then they're building a larger natural gas plant this is a 650 megawatt natural gas plant that's four times more megawatts than the coal plant over there that it's replacing and they're doing the same thing in North Carolina which was the subject of that years of living dangerously serious Duke Energy operates a coal plant right
27:16
outside of Asheville that is the biggest source of climate pollution in Western North Carolina and we are working to retire that plant and replace it with clean energy but what they don't tell you is that we're also building a larger natural gas facility so we'll be retiring a two-unit 376 megawatt coal plant won best seven hundred fifty million dollars to build a state-of-the-art natural gas plant when Michael Brune stands up and talks about clean energy he's using solar cells and wind turbines this is the New World hundred percent clean energy when Michael Bloomberg stands up and says
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cleaner energy he's talking about natural gas create cleaner energy solar wind and natural gas in fact the Sierra Club's beyond coal campaign actually coincides with one of the largest expansions of fossil fuel production that we've ever pulled off most of that being natural gas Ozzy's assertion that renewables were not replacing fossil fuels if true would append all of our assumptions about green energy and what was going to save us what would happen if I ask the same
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question to industry insiders like where do solar panels come from well you have to start with a mind or what's stopping us from earning the world at 100% solar and wind well intermittency is one of the major challenges the sun's everywhere except when it's not there there's a lot of developers that were flocking to California wanting to connect their solar farms and wind farms that utilities would turn to me and my team to help them look at what the impact to
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their grid would be when we had solar cells or wind turbines to a grid do we get to shut off a coal plant that's certainly the goal the problem is or the difference is that renewables are intermittent all of a sudden a cloud cover could come over and all in your solar generation could drastically decrease and if you don't have something else there to meet whatever the load is at that moment then you're gonna have power outages so we don't get to turn off fossil fuel power plant off when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing well it's not that easy we need to be
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able to back up that power to keep the system steady all the time so it doesn't collapse most likely that's through fast-acting gas plants but also the we call the base load plants either nuclear or coal that are on all the time but they may be can be dialed down during the day and dialed up when demand starts rising does it affect the efficiency to turn fossil fuel power plants on and off oh yeah they don't like to be dialed up and down it does make its wear and tear for them
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turning them on turning it off there's energy used in and lost and any time kind of like when you turn on your car and off you know you use a little extra gas to get it turned on I do still think you have to maintain a base load of some kind what's the solution then you need energy storage without storage you can't count on it if you can store the energy that's created off of things that are intermittent like solar and wind you can store that then you're now you're reducing your need for a base load but with adding storage like batteries
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increase the carbon footprint yeah absolutely in a big way actually and as more energy storage gets on the grid it has a mass scale implication when I looked up how much battery storage there is it was less than 1/10 of 1% of what's needed in a couple years they begin to degrade and need to be replaced a few years later I learned that the solar panels don't last forever either some solar panels are built for it to last only 10 years so
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it's not it's not as if you get this like you know just magic free energy right I don't know that it's you know the solution and Here I am self you know helping the cell in materials that would go in and pull them will take and so to overcome profound limitations of solar and wind rarely discussed in the media a new generation of technology was rising in the California desert what is this what we're using is a field of mirrors to focus sunlight onto a tower the power plant itself at three
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hundred and seventy seven megawatts will be the largest of its kind in the world this will become the biggest solar plant in the world there's some people that look out in a desert missi miles and miles of emptiness I see miles and miles of a gold mine but this next generation had a fossil fuel secret to this solar facility burns natural gas pretty much every morning in order to get started up how long do they have to burn it for hours usually this is the incoming natural gas for the facility
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this plant would work about as well without natural gases I would without coffee in the morning without food they have to file for acid rain permits permits for nitrous oxide emissions they have to apply for carbon offset permits because they're producing carbon dioxide here so they have to offset that the whole thing is built using fossil fuel infrastructure from the concrete to the steel to the mirrors to the backing on the mirrors the Sun is renewable but the solar arrays are not oh come on there's
32:30
gotta be something renewable I know it's doable yeah the problem with all of these materials is that it takes an incredible amount of energy to mine and process all of the materials that go into building something like this you use more fossil fuels to do this then you're getting benefit from it you would have been better off just burning the fossil fuels in the first place instead of plain pretend that green energy has nothing to do with fossil fuels is
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apparently a story only meant for you and me here is Robert F Kennedy jr. speaking to oil and gas company insiders it's a combination solar gas plant it's a turbine that we just take from a gas plant suspended from a big scaffolding a tower and surrounded by giant mirrors in the desert the plants that we're building the wind plants in the solar plants are gas plants what game is being played I mean well we're basically just being fed a lie for
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instance you'll hear about Germany running on win its own thirty five percent right now fifty percent of their power there are days this past summer when the Germans were generating 80% of their power from the Sun but Germany is still Europe's largest consumer of coal I'm event and design League Yuanda - the core good for that but I'm gonna say I'll heal there go sit outside booth only a small fraction of their energy actually comes from wind and solar in fact Germany is pushing forward with a large terminal that could import
34:06
natural gas from the United States Elon Musk the founder of Tesla when he announced his gigafactory battery plan he said it with power itself with wind and solar energy through a combination of geothermal wind and solar it will produce all the energy that it needs but in fact it has lines connecting it to the same electrical grid that we're all connected to electric cars wind turbines and solar panels use rarer thumbs and in fact the rare earth line is right up the street from here in mining these deep deposits about 90% of what they pull up out of
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the ground contains uranium thorium and low-level other radionuclides radioactive waste that has to be disposed of somehow they kind of turn it into a paste and spread it over the desert floor well that's good for the desert right yeah Tesla's electric cars are built with aluminum which uses eight times more energy to manufacture than steel they use with you which also rely on toxic mining and even more graphite which is one of the rarest forms of carbon in fact the investors wanted to open several new graphite lines after Tesla
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announced the gigafactory now Paul claims to be a hundred percent renewable we never stopped thinking about what's best for the planet we now run Apple on 100% renewable energy and they did chop down a forest to put up solar panels near their North Carolina plant but they didn't disconnect from the grid and they can't Duke says energy hungry companies like Apple can never go entirely off the grid they're still hooked up to our grid despite all the claims I haven't found a
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single entity anywhere in the world that's running on 100% solar and wind alone it turns out you don't just need fossil fuels to run a place like Ivanpah you need the devil himself or in this case themselves all of the mirrors that you see there are built by the Koch brothers Guardian glass industry a company that they control coke Carbon creates a lot of the inputs that are used to create the cement in the concrete and the steel and not only that they build the plants that builds polysilicon for solar cells
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they have they actually their own solar line called solar molex from every step of the process the Koch brothers are there but they're the evil of yours the funny part is when you criticize solar plants like this you're accused of working for the Koch brothers the idiocy in all of this this absolutely cannot extend civilizations life this relies on the most toxic and industrial processes that we've ever created [Music]
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[Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music]
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the beauty of a solar facility and particularly this technology is that it is so environmentally benign [Music] you I too had once thought deserts could be sacrificed zones I was wrong deserts are not dead they are in fact full of ancient life [Music]
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in the desert the Joshua tree stands waiting waiting for the giant ground sloths and the mammoths that shall never return the Joshua Tree depended on the giant mammals to reach up high and eat their seeds and thus disperse the Joshua tree but now stranded in time and space the Joshua Tree awaits a new fate to be sacrificed in the name of progress
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Joshua trees are torn down to make way for solar projects 23b sees cassie carlisle travels to the mojave desert to talk to neighbors they're not your usual tree more like something from fiction but these Joshua's are causing quite an uproar no it makes me sick after clearing them off killing them real quick and now they're grinding them up getting rid of all the evidence [Music] you not far from Ivanpah solar daggit California was home to several
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generations of solar arrays including some of the first on the planet Ozzie and I thought we would take a trip to see where it all began one of the sunniest places in the planet really that's the center of the solar industry and they've been building a dismantling and building arrays here for about 40 years then we happen to run into the mayor of daggits another solar plants out there
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my husband back in I'd say 83 84 they worked out there building that solar plant out yeah the cigs and everybody here worked how's that hold up is it the jobs still here no jobs went bye-bye they have their normal people that run the plant operators and stuff like that the bigwigs you know they have that where that energy is going I don't know were you originally optimistic that the solar would bring more jobs and the development with people really did a lot of things come in in this town they come
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and go they go home really fast then Ozzie and I discovered that the giant solar arrays had been razed to the ground oh my god I mean this was huge it suddenly dawned on me what we were looking at a solar dead zone look at the blowing sand yeah first and everywhere there's sand dunes
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forming around this area well [Music] so after all the mining the fossil fuels the toxins the environmental destruction here's what happens next only a few years after it was built things at Ivanpah began to fall apart broken mirrors littered the desert [Music] yes these giant solar and wind
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technology installations may last only a few decades then tear it down and start all over again if there's enough planet left it was becoming clear that what we have been calling green renewable energy industrial civilization are one in the same desperate measures not to save the planet but to save our way of life desperate measures rather than face the reality
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humans are experiencing the planet's limits all at once every different perspective I look at and imagine well we could do more of this or go to a larger area or use more of that well turns out there isn't more I looked at marine production and fish production and found that peak 20 years ago more and more of what we eat is from fish farming the current acres of actively
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farmed land that is peaked also the rivers are already being irrigated to about the limits of what they can sustain the Colorado River doesn't get to the ocean anymore well then you start looking at groundwater southern Great Plains and I think they can almost predict when they will run out of groundwater in a decade or two a human vulnerability at the global scale that any one of them we could maybe compartmentalize but
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we're seeing and propagating across topic after topic of society and the earth system and I don't think the people in charge are near nervous enough though each of them takes climate change seriously every expert I talked to wanted to bring my attention to the same underlying problem there are too many human beings using too much too fast as a global community we really have got to start dealing with the issue of
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population population growth continues to be the not the elephant the herd of elephants in the in the room ten of single species that's come to dominate an entire planet he's smart enough to voluntarily limit its own presence is there any precedent in nature Wow we have to have our abilities to consume reigned in because we're not good reigning them in if there are seemingly unrestrained resources species hit the
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population wall a lot and then they crash I mean that's a common story in biology if that happens to us in a way it's the natural order of things and I don't think we're going to find a way out of this one I don't as a scientist what leads you to that conclusion well because right now the a lot a large percentage of that that number is supported by industrial agriculture which is heavily subsidized by oil and it's not sustainable and you know and
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there's no going back without without seeing some sort of major die-off in population there's no turning back what's the thing that nobody ever asks you that you want nobody's ever asked me if I'm scared yeah and I am I actually am scared I lose sleep over all of this [Music] it took modern humans tens of thousands of years to reach a population of 700 million and then we tapped into millions of years of stored energy known as
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fossil fuels our human population exploded it increased by ten times in a mere 200 years our consumption has also exploded on average ten times per person and many times more in the Western world you put the two together the result is a total human impact 100 times greater than only 200 years ago and that is the most terrifying realization I have ever
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had we humans are poised for a fall from an unimaginable height not because of one thing not climate change alone but all the human caused changes the planet is suffering from so why are bankers industrialists and environmental leaders only focused on the narrow solution of green technology is it the profit motive
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and why for most of my life have I fallen for the illusion green energy would save us you clearly to answer this question I needed professional help I'll just be honest with you upon my dilemma you can be my you know clinical social psycho it's like the right has religion and they have a belief in infinite fossil fuels our side says what's gonna be okay we're
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gonna have solar panels we're gonna have wind towers as soon as I heard you talk about our denial of death I'm like could that be it could it be that we can't face our own mortality could we have a religion that we're unaware absolutely I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head what just differentiates people from all other forms of life was that you know we're not only here but that we know that we're here if you know that you're here then you recognize even dimly that you'll not be here someday
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and on top of that we don't like that we're animals so we don't like that we're gonna die someday and we don't like that you could walk outside and get hit by a meteor what human beings did back in yesteryear it is to envelop ourselves and culturally constructive belief systems you know call them cultures call them worldviews schemes of things whatever you call them every human community has them every culture has an account of the
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origin of the universe every culture has a prescription for how you're supposed to behave while you're here and every culture offers its denizens hope of immortality either literally or symbolically then the question is well what happens when you bump into people who don't share those beliefs whether you know it or not whether you like it or not but that's undermining the confidence with which you subscribe to your own views and exposing you to the very anxiety that those beliefs were
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constructed to eradicate in the first place if we're to make progress whatever that word means or even to persist as a form of life we're going to need to radically overhaul our basic conception of who and what we are and what it is that we value because the people that you referred to earlier both on the left and the right that think we're going to be able to discover more oil or solar
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panel ourselves into the future where life will look pretty much like it does now you know only cleaner and better either with more oil or greener for health I think that's just frankly delusional what I'm hearing is that if I haven't come to grips with my own anxiety about death and life and presented with a reminder of that yeah I'm highly likely to make some tragic decisions for the community yes the only
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solution in principle is you know as Albert Camus put it he said there's only one Liberty to come to terms with death thereafter anything is possible I find that downright inspiring as for our environmental leaders who dwelled in comfortable illusions how tragic of decisions were they capable of making I was about to find out they claim they're just using forest residues but actually a great deal of what the McNeil facility and lots of
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biomass facilities burn is whole trees as you can see by this pile that's stacked right outside of the facility these are trees it turns out that the biggest source of green energy in Vermont is something called biomass burning trees to create electricity this is definitely not the way that the first step is actually looking at our lifestyles and how we can reduce our energy consumption this is all the ash that has varying levels of metals great
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deal of radiation this trees have been absorbed you've got five seconds okay okay thanks for the offer maybe next time you got everything here you have the number one polluter in the state
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that people think emits magical fairy dust from the smokestack reality is what you have is a facility that burns 400,000 green tons a year or trees this facility burns 30 cords of wood per out that's a hell of a lot of wood and on top of that it actually burns natural gas as well and to think you would have to have 10 of these to replace one average coal-fired power plant you know it's just not gonna work it takes a great deal of fossil fuels to cut down all these trees to truck them in to use
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the big machinery to dump the woodchips everywhere so the idea that somehow this is not anything to do is follow the fuels just doesn't make any sense it's it couldn't happen without fossil fuels in fact how did the environmental groups get pulled into this obviously the main factor is delusion a lot of these environmental groups have been saying that all we have to do is for instance you know switch our fossil fuel economy over to a few solar panels and windmills and we can continue living life as normal some of the environmental groups
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have been for years touting facilities like this saying that you know number one its carbon neutral that this will actually help us fend off climate change because there are no co2 emissions it actually emits over 400,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide Oh but once we caught them they'll grow back they'll grow back over a period of decades to centuries but we cut every tree in the United States it would be able to power the country for a year you know and then what happens when you know
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that the streets are gone I discovered biomass plants were not even always biomass plants it's actually a solid waste incinerator that's posing as a biomass plant the impact in this community is is severe the plant is right next to his head start school for preschool kids there is Green Hill Manor and that's an assisted-living senior residence and there's also cat
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Elementary School right next door how do you know they're polluting can you see it the snow at the elementary school and at the at the preschool is covered with black some kind of black soot we just had it analyzed and it came as mostly tire chirps they have to add tire derived fuel to raise the temperature of the fire because anybody who's tried to burn green wood or what
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would know is that it doesn't burn but this biomass plant had yet another surprise they admit that they burned 20.1 tons per hour creosote treated railroad ties besides that they are allowed to burn 500 pounds per hour of pcp treated railroad ties these are shipped in from Canada it's not green it's not renewable it's not carbon neutral it's not anything that they
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claim to be yet they got eleven and a half million grant because was classified as renewable the plant owner told us that they were having trouble getting enough woodchips and he even asked us if we had any scrap wood work where we lived would we call the plant to let them know so they could come up and pick it up we're not talking about some old industrial site we're next to one of the most beautiful places in Lake Superior this
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is Q & A but this is actually launch Bay it's part of Q and Ave it's Lake Superior our lake so it's a very sacred place to many people let's go climate change rally Michigan State University students inspired by 350.org were holding a rally for the clean energy future they'd been promised
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[Applause] imagine when I found out that it is the largest on campus coal plant in the nation the goal is to get the whole world moving beyond fossil fuels but it turned out Michigan State had a form of green energy in mind the students did not support the University contracted with a Energy contracting company they put together like a modeling tool first like two or three months that the
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steering committee was using this modeling tool it didn't even contain data for wind or solar Adam told me they were planning on substituting coal burning with biomass burning but the permit that is currently being considered by the state is a permit for twenty four thousand tons of biomass per I think per year and the plan is to do that in all foil for boilers unfortunately the steering committee considers biomass renewable at the moment which were not happy with Michigan State wasn't the only
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University to go green I'm happy to announce the Carolina will be going beyond coal in the next decade now as we begin to wean ourselves on coal we are about to try another alternative energy source biomass and who is here to help the University of North Carolina switch from burning coal to burning trees so it is a great pleasure to be here today to celebrate the remarkable step that the university is taking to say we're gonna do our part
01:00:09
a remarkable step indeed were to do our part by getting out of bed with coal companies and into bed with logging companies where did the idea of colleges going green by burning trees come from anyway a little College called Middlebury in the heart of Vermont welcome to the celebration of the opening of Middlebury's new biomass gasification system it's now my great pleasure to introduce this afternoon's
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speaker Bill McKibben what powers of learning community and as of this afternoon the easy answer to that is woodchips it's incredibly beautiful to stand over there and see that big bunker full of woodchips you can put any kind of wood in you know oak Willow whatever you want pretty much anything that burns we can toss in there if we can chip it down to the right size and there are very few similar cases any place in this country of that kind of
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change over that scale but it shows it could happen anywhere and it should happen anywhere in fact it must happen everywhere it must happen everywhere but now it's time for a nature break enjoying our sustainably managed Michigan forests you walk through here in your look there's virtually nothing growing a little bit of grass occasionally and it seemed that biomass plant indeed were suddenly everywhere
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like this one in Cadillac Michigan in Detroit an incinerator that burned garbage was considered green the Detroit incinerator is known to emit horrible smells and pollutants that neighbors say make them feel sick and put their health at risk it's a stink it's a horrendous state a proposed biofuel plant for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan we consume trees from tens of thousands of square miles in order to create 40 million gallons of ethanol they were going to have to use
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up over a million tons of green wood we pointed out that they were going to be using more natural gas than they were going to be creating ethanol to displace the natural gas if you continue to do this you're going to be fertilizing the forests fertilizing for us with foster cotton will feel based on fertilize made from natural gas then came a ballot proposal backed by Bill McKibben and nearly every major environmental group requiring Michigan to get 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025
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this year Michigan voters have a choice keep burning dirty coal and oil or move Michigan to clean renewable energy like wind and solar vote YES on proposal three surprisingly proposal tree also known as 25 by 25 was the brainchild of an organization that was 100% biofuels and biomass allowing America's farms ranches and forest lands to be active participants in contributing to America's energy future these are the
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biomass and biofuels across the u.s. how did this happen and it wasn't just the USA it was all around the world woodchips which is just a euphemism for trees are being exported to Europe from America British Columbia Brazil and Indonesia wherever they can get them from biomass especially when you add in biofuels is by far the
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largest portion of green energy around the world even in Germany source of the solar miracle but maybe I was missing something maybe I had it all wrong I decided to ask people protesting fossil fuels how they felt about biomass and biofuels as green energy earning a biomass any kind of combustion is
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something we just need to move from the more trees you have the better a lot of that didn't grow if we cut it down we don't know the impact you're near as an oak tree invited chainsaw that wouldn't be saving the planet now it's a painful it's beautiful way to go I can tell you that to pick you awhile to regrow with so many people going out on such a massive scale all of a sudden that one's like that's that's pretty serious no I think we should not be burning trees we
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shouldn't replace one terrible way of getting energy with another terrible way of getting anything clearly most citizens are opposed to biomass and biofuels but what about environmental leaders at times they have promoted biomass but other times they sound like they are against biomass like this Sierra Club policy we are deeply concerned about the implications of wood to energy for native forests for this
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statement signed on by 75 environmental groups burning forests for energy will destroy one of our best defenses against climate change but then again their language leaves loopholes that enable biomass the NRDC says you must use the right types of biomass the dogwood Alliance says maybe small biomass plants are okay in the Sierra Club flatout states biomass can be sustainable [Music]
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which side are they really on I thought for sure with the camera rolling environmental leaders would speak for the trees does your organization have any stance on that I'm not sure I would say we support it as much as we can wrap our heads around we've almost made a peace with the timber industry I'm just
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curious what's your group stance on using forests for biomass biomass is renewable biomass we don't really have a stand on it if the director of the Sierra Club was here she'd be able to talk to your ear off about it I'm the director for this here at Club in Pennsylvania does the Sierra Club support or not support biomass
01:07:04
I'm not totally prepared to talk about our policy on biomass today our position is somewhat nuanced so I just want to be you know careful not to [Music] till you were 350 I am we have a position on biomass cuz I'm kind of actually one of my biggest concern as an environmentalist and we're starting to
01:07:36
burn trees there are people earning power are you aware of the problems with biomass or biofuel yeah yeah I'm not I'm not as aware that if I could be or should be Jeff hips are in Michigan where I live where I'm from there's large plants have burned trees for energy and pretty much whole trees chipped up do you have a thought about whether that should be part of green energy or not my biggest concern is that in Germany for instance they're moving towards reading towards solar and wind but sixty percent of
01:08:07
their actual energy is coming from biome nobody knew burning trees for energy I don't know the details so determine what Germany is really doing there's a lot of Sun I'd like to see us come out against any burning of tree get that side Stoke my wood stove almost every night winter so I'm not right but doesn't make a green energy power plant what does page count for burning food instead of fossil fuels
01:08:41
Susy front tightline over ten new wondering that what do you think the biomass questions announced are I found only one environmental leader willing to reject biomass and biofuels corn and so has being planted for biofuel in this country is the subsidies make it profitable I think the big crisis of our time - illusions that's we
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shifted her honesty was refreshing but as for the rest of them I wondered what are they hiding [Music] and why are they hiding it is it their ignorance or is it something else what if they themselves had become misguided what if
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they've made some kind of deal they shouldn't have made and are leading us all off the cliff it was long past time for me to come to grips with the other elephant in the living room the profit motive the only reason we've been force-fed the story climate change plus renewables equals were saved is because
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billionaires bankers and corporations profit from it and the reason we're not talking about overpopulation consumption in the suicide of economic growth as that would be bad for business especially the cancerous form of capitalism that rules the world now hiding under a cover of green today Bloomberg philanthropies is making I'm happy to announce a new investment of thirty million dollars in the beyond
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coal campaign we have more I'm glad to say that more than a dozen additional funders have committed to match that thirty million dollars and who were these new partners one of them was Jeremy Grantham billionaire world's leading timber investment advisor they were not investing in trees to turn them at the nature preserves which might answer another riddle why is this name redacted on the Sierra Club's tax return
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would they be embarrassed to take three million dollars from a man who made his living selling the forests of the world Bloomberg bringing a timber investment billionaire to the party was no coincidence Bloomberg sponsored a UN climate session to discuss wrapping up biomass and biofuels around the world billionaire's were in love with the idea of turning what was left of nature into green profits remember when Al Gore had gotten Richard
01:12:12
Branson to invest billions and to saving the planet Richard Branson founder of Virgin Atlantic powered a Boeing 747 from London to Amsterdam on a coconut oil mixture to highlight the potential of this amazing oil as a clean energy biofuel Branson had actually invested in biofuels he was attempting to replace the jet fuel damaging the planet with biofuels that required the consumption of the living planet and it was game on for the airline industry dozens of researchers
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from all over the Northwest gathered in Missoula the past two days to explore the idea of converting the region's massive reserves of wood into jet fuel especially with the demand for aircraft fuel expected to grow by a billion gallons of the Northwest alone United Airlines will buy a 30 million dollar stake in biofuel company fulcrum bioenergy the airline used 3.9 billion gallons of fuel last year what technology was Silicon Valley billionaire 4-node Khosla hoping to profit from nature takes a million years
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to produce our crude oil key or can produce it in seconds the company took over this old paper mill where logs are picked up by a giant claw dropped into a shredder and pulverized into wood chips clean green gasoline there must be a downside it is no downside the bank that crashed the economy ruined millions of lives and has our tentacles on the levers of power what would their favorite form of green energy be one of
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the very interesting markets that we deal with is Brazil it's unlike any other market in that today alternative energy isn't really alternative energy it's so much a part of the fabric of the society the country began to utilize its vast resources of sugarcane to produce ethanol there was a man from Goldman Sachs who was particularly in love with Turney forests into profits has everybody got enough coffee you might want to get some more meat david blood
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former CEO of asset management for goldman sachs how much money did mr. Blood believe should be invested in green energy a natural alignment for something in the order of 40 to 50 trillion dollars worth of capital 40 to 50 trillion dollars and who was going to help the man from Goldman Sachs help him raise that astronomical amount of money a gentleman some of you may recognize and know Bill McKibben it's entirely dependent on what
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kind of political will we can muster and if we do not get this done very fast then we're not going to get it done and so Bill McKibben went forth to generate the political will for trillions of dollars and green investments environment you are in some sense the Grand Poobah of the environmental movement on a global crusade for what commit to divesting from fossil fuels we
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can't justify investing our money and companies that are basically running Genesis backward so when you divest from fossil fuels and invest in green funds what are you investing in I took a deep dive into Securities and Exchange Commission filings to find out for instance in the green century funds recommended by 350.org and Bill McKibben I found less than 1% solar and wind and 99% things like
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mining oil and gas infrastructure companies including a tire sans exploiter McDonald's one of the companies driving meat consumption across the planet Archer Daniels Midland one of the world's largest producers of biofuel coca-cola the largest creator of plastic pollution on earth logging and paper companies including one that brags about
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biomass burning and banks lots of banks including Blackrock the largest financier of deforestation on earth they're engaged in is actually destroying our life-support system to see our club also partners with the green fund called aspiration aspiration also includes dozens of companies profiting from the destruction of the planet including
01:17:05
Chevron ExxonMobil Chesapeake Energy in order to maximize the production potential of the well the Shale formation will be hydraulically fractured the Russian gas giant Gazprom gasps bro owns the world's largest explored cash reserves 36 trillion cubic meters and in perhaps the most bizarre twist of all the Sierra Club's green funds biggest holding is in Viva the world's largest consumer of forests to
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be incinerated in green energy biomass plants of course one investment option is a green fund run by Bill McKibben's buddy David Blood and who was the chairman of this fund someone familiar use capitalism that gives incentives for people to do their best Al Gore and David Blood partnered to form a company
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called blood and gore no scratch that generation investment management and within this fund blood and gore designated a special investment category targeting 650 million dollars of biomass and biofuels funny thing was they partnered before Al Gore's film came out was that movie just about climate change or something else on one side we have
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gold bars mmm-hmm don't they look good I just like to have some of those gold bars on the other side of the scales the entire planet if we do the right thing then we're gonna create a lot of wealth and when it came time for Al Gore to choose between the entire planet and getting him some of them gold bars what choice did he make here is Al Gore earning his keep by pretending to care about the
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rainforests while lobbying Congress on behalf of the sugarcane ethanol industry any comment on the Brazilian effort here with the issue of the possibility expanding into that Amazon River Basin with further deforestation to produce more ethanol other sugarcane is a worry and I apparently are not as concerned about that no no I am I simply forgot what's been going on there is really very troubling and with your permission
01:19:49
I'll show you a very quick example of it over a period of 25 years the invasion of sugarcane mana cultures in the region clashes with the indigenous people's right to land these are images of a last-ditch attempt by the Wadden Ogawa to resist them it's important to note that the exploitation of the sugarcane growing areas in Brazil does not have to inevitably have the knock-on consequence of of causing
01:20:24
destruction in in the Amazon sugarcane fields of burning the satellite before the harvest to eliminate the leaves and tops of the plant which makes cutting more efficient environmentalists blame the seemingly endless sugarcane fields for air and water pollution on an epic scale and along with deforestation the threat it poses to the environment is becoming clear once the indigenous families were expelled the landowners stepped their
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homes on fire is there anything too terrible to qualify as green energy thank you very much Thank You Mavis and US Navy for once again invited me to speak with you today the ladies work to help launch this new cures industry is invaluable the US Navy has a special message this year in his time to turn green joining the vessels is what the US Navy
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calls its great green fleet of warships powered by fuel from renewable sources like algae grass and animal fat animal fat the next time you fill up at your neighborhood gas station you might find yourself pumping a little alligator into your tank that's right ul Lafayette researchers have developed alligator fat into a renewable source for biofuels and once we run through the animals what's next GE who brings you nuclear energy and
01:22:11
wind turbines is ready with a plan I believe that liquid fuels chemicals are eventually gonna have to be made through from sustainable raw materials we believe that seaweed is one of the most attractive opportunities better hurry one year after it was filmed the seaweed forest was dead you might ask yourself
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how could men destroy what remains of nature to enrich themselves well that's why they're billionaires and you're not the takeover of the environmental movement by capitalism is now complete environmentalists are no longer resisting those with the profit motive but collaborating with them The Nature Conservancy is now the logging Conservancy we will capture the most
01:23:27
important pieces biologically and there will be another large block sold to timber investment groups the Union of Concerned Scientists has become the Union of Concerned salesmen having taken millions not for science but to create markets for electric cars the Sierra Club sells electric cars and solar panels right from their website the best thing about San Jeff 'ti is that they make it easy for you all that you have
01:23:57
to do is to say yes the New York Times partners with Exxon Mobil to bring you the good news about biofuels out some derived fuel could help us meet growing demand Treehugger calm which claims to be the largest single source of environmental news was founded and funded by Georgia Pacific a logging company in fact they are neighbors Georgia Pacific is owned by our friends the Koch brothers who are likely the largest recipient of green
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energy biomass subsidies in the United States yes the merger of environmentalism and capitalism is now complete but maybe it's always been complete how is 350.org funded well not very well who are your funders to the degree that we have any money at all it's come from a few foundations us let's see the I'm trying to think who the biggest funders
01:25:01
are there's a foundation in based in Sweden called it's called the Rasmussen foundation that I think has been the biggest funder so you don't get money from Q or Rockefeller or any of those big no we did we Rockefeller Brothers fund gave us some money right when we were starting out that's been useful too but they no longer fund you really
01:25:36
Thunder sitting in front of me something that people know Rockefellers been one of our it's is one of them is a great ally in this fight you just sold your TV network to our Al Jazeera right and that government is basically nothing but an oil producer gas man Leon oil your take on that about a hundred million dollars pre-tax from a country that had that bases its wealth on fossil fuels isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in there ah well I get the criticism I just
01:26:07
disagree with it I'm proud of the transaction you couldn't find for your business a more sustainable choice what is not sustainable about it because it is bad life fossil fuel money get it I get it I get it and so if you got yourself an environmental movement and environmental leaders why not by the holy day itself [Music] [Music] now we are facing the greatest sets of issues that we've seen in my lifetime
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it's time now for a new generation to jump up on the stage and create a habitable country a habitable planet that we can all enjoy are you that generation I need to thank building energy which provided so much solar power to this that we've powered the entire event with solar energy but when I went backstage to see what was really going on on that jac I could tell you
01:27:19
that the toaster is is is 1200 watts so that run right there it could run a toaster I found the Installer I are they raining the festival on these solar panels if the concert is run by diesel generation they didn't ask us to to energize the oh okay and we'd also like to thank our incredible corporate sponsors have been behind the movement to end extreme poverty and tackle climate change since
01:27:52
the very beginning I want to thank Toyota Citibank we want to thank caterpillar we're standing at the construction site at the Dakota access Michael it looks like there are at least three bulldozers actually bulldozing the land the bulldozers are still going and they're marching over
01:28:23
the dirt mounds without these partners it wouldn't be possible let's give them a round of applause everyone [Applause] [Music] now I know this all might seem overwhelming it's a kind of thing that we normally don't try and think about but by not thinking about it it stands a good chance of doing this in [Music]
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I truly believe that the path to change comes from awareness that awareness alone can begin to create the transformation [Music] there is a way out of this we humans must accept that infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide we must accept that our human presence is already far beyond
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sustainability and all that that implies we must take control of our environmental movement and our future from billionaires in their permanent war on planet earth they are not our friends less must be the new more an instead of climate change we must at long last accept that it's not the carbon dioxide molecule destroying the planet it's us
01:30:19
it's not one thing but everything we humans are doing a human caused apocalypse if we get ourselves under control all things are possible and if we don't [Music] [Applause] [Music]
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