Yesterday, someone I love very much called me crying (this was a man and I had never heard him cry before) and said: “You have to see the Michael Moore film: Planet of the Humans (https://planetofthehumans.com/) which started playing on YouTube on Monday and is going to run free for 30 days. I turned on the film and watched all the way through. I did not cry when it ended although the director tried his best to evoke my tears showing the final scene of a scraggly orangutan dying alone in the mud against a deserted landscape with the trunk of one sole dead tree which had been its last home. The image is enough to bring me once more to the verge of tears, but I will not be provoked.
The film is a very convincing unveiling of the scam and the gold-mine for greedy investors (the Kohn brothers, et al), lying politicians (Gore, et al) and irresponsible Conservation Associations (Sierra Club, 350, et al) that green energy has turned into.
It is good that we should know this, and I appreciate that they relieved me of the pressure I was putting on myself to finally buy an electric car (that’s out), but I do not agree with blanket denunciations that offer no other solution, not even the slightest hint. The documentary reminded me of a dystopian thriller from 1973 (almost 50 years ago) staring Charlton Heston called Soylent Green that visits a future (year 2022!!!) of dying oceans and year-round humidity due to the greenhouse effect. In the film, the world is suffering from pollution, poverty, overpopulation and depleted resources. For those who have not seen it, I will not spoil the surprise ending: it is worth watching. In this movie, there is no solution either: it is meant to shock you and make you think. Obviously it didn’t make any of us think enough for we are but two years from the fictional setting and there is still no solution on the horizon.
Back to my gripe. The movie offers no possible solution to problems that can only be solved, first by scientists and then by well-meaning politicians and investors. Yes, the lonely, home.ridden citizen can vote… and looking around at the array of politicians and people holding high offices in what we consider our democratic nations… that is not exactly a consoling possibility. We can support Associations that pressure governments and undertake projects to solve the problem… but that is exactly what we have been doing and what the film denounces as just one more scam (perhaps due in part to ignorance, but suggested to be caused by greed). So we’re back to zero. Unfortunately, films like these make one feel angry, frustrated and helpless which –for me- is the worst possible result, because I will not only not do anything about it, but will reject all further information.
So, after steaming a bit last night and then watching a short series on Netflix (The Innocence Files) where at least people are doing something to solve a problem (finding ways to free innocent people locked up in jail for crimes they didn’t commit), I found myself waking up this morning and thinking: “Well, what can I do and what am I already doing?”
First I went to what I do now. I buy as much bulk and as little pre-wrapped food as I can. I separate my garbage (compost, recyclable, glass and waste) very carefully. I make sure that all plastic bottles, cans and containers are crushed to occupy the least possible space both in the garbage and in the recyclable (one of the problems of garbage is the volume). I wash my dishes and hands and face with cold water (save gas) and with the stopper in the drain so I can reuse the rinse water to soak the next set of dishes 8aves water); I turn off lights I am not using in my house (all this is good for my economy also). I use the car as little as possible, mostly walking to where I have to go unless that isn’t a choice. I wear my clothes for umpteen years and hardly throw anything out; when I do get rid of something, I take it to the second-hand shop. When I throw out a pair of nylon stockings I snip them into little pieces so, if they do get to the ocean, they can’t strangle turtles or other marine life. By the time someone informed me that there are now cotton buds with wooden sticks, I already had a 100 piece box with plastic sticks in my drawer. I hardly ever use them but when I do, I cut the plastic stick into very tiny pieces with scissors before throwing away. If I had a meat grinder, I would grind them up… might get one, now that I think of it. I use so little plastic wrap (I reuse it until it falls to pieces) that one box has lasted me the 10 years I have been here in France and promises to still be around when I’m not.
What else do I do… Well, I help de-contaminate the mental sphere of the world aiding women (and people in general when asked) in finding happiness, or at least peace, in their lives and stop suffering. I have been doing this, through certain therapies and groups, for the last 27 years.
Before that, I spent four years working for a Mexican Conservation Association called Pronatura (two of those years, as its President), mostly raising money to protect sea turtles and monarch butterfly habitat (several programs that were begun under the auspices of Pronatura continue to be in effect today). So I understand how difficult it is for Conservation Associations to come by money for their projects. When, at the end of the film, several associations are named and their contributors listed (all big, ‘greedy’ companies) I remembered how I had gotten myself a bleeding ulcer giving pep-talks and soliciting big greedy companies for money so that we might carry out as many of our conservation programs as possible. Receiving money from these ‘enemies’ did not compromise our nature commitment in the least so I don’t really know if the film is uncovering misdeeds, or if its makers have been misled. Unfortunately, it does not show what conservation associations do DO, so it might harm those that are really fighting the good fight.
The Nature Conservancy was among the companies listed in the film as receiving big bucks from big bad companies. It was also an organization that Pronatura worked with while I was President, but I know from experience that The Nature Conservancy does marvelous work supporting conservation programs in developing nations and was an important factor in supporting us with big bucks in our sea-turtle protection program. What is wrong with getting big bad companies to support good nature programs and then giving them credit for it. Sounds to me as if they want to throw out the baby with the bath water.
So that about sums up what I did, and what I try to do now… Can I do more? I am open, I am willing, I am waiting for someone to show me a new way… That is something that Michael Moore’s film did not do.