Writer-director Jeff Gibbs helms this new documentary endorsed by leftist polemicist Michael Moore, who wrote that it's "a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day—that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet Earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road—selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement's answer is to push for techno-fixes and Band-Aids. It's too little, too late." (141 min.)
Glen In case you're not depressed and cynical enough these days, this new documentary should push you right over the cliff. My main takeaway is that we suck. Human beings are pushing the planet and its resources to the brink of collapse, and too many of us believe we're going to innovate our way out of our overconsuming ways. What we learn in Gibbs' documentary is that the Green Energy Movement has been co-opted by corporations, monetized, and offered up like a false idol for us to worship. According to Gibbs' research, alternative energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, and biomass—all touted as green and renewable—are inextricably tied to fossil fuels and in fact require such fuel to be in any way feasible. His research also shows that in the final financial calculations, it would be more efficient just to burn the fossil fuels instead of going through this empty exercise of pretending to make a difference though "fake" green energy. Yes, it's unfathomably depressing to contemplate.
Anna Not a feel-good film, that's for sure. Gibbs paints a sad, hopeless picture and doesn't sugarcoat the fact that we are doing far too little and are far too late to stop the trajectory we're on. Between the incredible amount of mining and fuel burning it takes to create the panels and turbines, the miles of stripped earth they take up, and the fact that there just isn't enough energy created to replace fossil fuels with any of the biomass methods, there just doesn't seem to be a solution here. In fact, the solution seems to lie in reducing both our human consumption and the human presence on the Earth. Green is big business though, and if the rich keep getting richer selling their own brand of snake oil to hopeful consumers, they are happy to do so. It's very important to be aware of Gibbs' message, but boy is it a bummer. Make sure you're in the right headspace before you sit down to watch this one.
Glen Yep, that's definitely Gibbs' message—if we don't limit our population and consumption, we'll continue our trajectory toward disaster. It's not a U.S. problem or an Asian problem or a European, African, or Russian problem. It's a global problem. When's the last time humanity came together on a global scale to work together for the common good? Oh yeah ... never! Worse still, leaders worldwide are tied to wealth, and between greed and the corrupting influence of power, how can we expect our leaders to do the right thing? Gibbs says the first step is awareness, and I guess he's right. But the second step is action, and when much of the population is either in survival mode or simply doesn't believe in global climate change or the idea that our resources are finite, or frankly doesn't care about future generations, I fear we are truly doomed as a species. I wish Gibbs had offered a solution; his film is simply a frank look at our bleak future. How long do we have? I don't know, but as resources become scarce, I expect to see humanity devolve.
Anna Gibbs has a fairly monotone, glum way of narration that feels both pragmatic and dire. There's no light at the end of this tunnel, and it's both infuriating and disheartening that the human race can't get it together enough to stop choosing greed and destruction so we can have exactly what we want when we want. It's an important watch, but a rough one—I was in tears by the end. Δ
Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Split Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at email@example.com.