Bright Green Lies
By Derrick Jensen
That green capitalism will save the world. The transition to green will make our economies cleaner and more eco-friendly.
This book argues that nothing could be further from the truth.
The only thing the green economy will save is capitalism and the extractive ways that we have become accustomed to. Energy is at the heart of the capitalistic economy and all the green folks are clamouring to turn energy green.
Every green technology ultimately depends on the same extractive processes that have powered fossil-fuel-based economies. In many cases, the green alternatives are worse.
Take battery-powered cars for instance. Most of them run on Li-Ion batteries which require the extraction of lithium from the soil. Most of the Lithium is produced from underground brine reservoirs. That brine contains about 7000 parts per million of Lithium. The rest of the brine is then sent to water sources such as rivers and lakes. There are lakes in Tibet and Bolivia in which no more life exists. The “clean energy” is ultimately being powered by the murder of an ecosystem. It is just that, that ecosystem is nowhere near you and you don’t care.
Solar energy is produced in two ways, either by concentrating the heat of the sun or by using the photovoltaic effect of solar panels. The heat concentration method often produces temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees. This often leads to the incineration of birds flying in the area. In one of the cases, the plant was located in the path of bird migration routes, resulting in the entire flock being incinerated as they flew into the location.
The solar panels themselves contain several rare earth elements which cannot be recycled. When a solar panel completes its operational duration of about 20-25 years, it is consigned to landfills where these metals leach out and turn the land completely toxic. It is very difficult and in many cases near impossible to recycle the metals.
Not to mention recycling often involved bathing the metal compound in acid in order to pry them apart and the best processes provide us only 60% of the original metal back. The acid is then sent into rivers or dumped on land turning it toxic. There is no non-toxic way to recycle metals.
Hydro-Energy is one of the worst green inventions. When a dam is built it destroys the ecology and the ecosystem of the river it is built on. Fishes that swim upstream to bread no longer can swim because the dam is in the way leading to a decline in the fish population. The land is often flooded to build dams destroying mangroves and other such flora that accompanies the waterbody.
Wind Energy is another one that is touted as a great solution to power requirements. In the quest to produce more and more wind energy, the size of the turbines has gone on increasing. First of all, wind turbines are themselves made of steel which is produced by destroying land through mining activities. Then they are set in concrete which is also not green. The Turbines use gallons of oil and that oil has to be changed every few years since it leaks out into the surrounding land. The turbine takes up the energy in the wind and creates dry lifeless patches in its wake where rain, nutrients etc cannot reach which would have been carried by the wind. Finally, the turbine movement creates a low pressure behind the turbine. A bird or a bat flying behind the turbine usually dies because of the explosion of their heart.
The birds explode and die because of low pressure.
Nuclear energy is only possible through fission today. This produces nuclear waste which has given us several superfund sites across the US already. In addition to this, building one single nuclear power plant requires tons of steel and concrete which are by no means green.
Not to mention, in order to turn all of the energy capacity across the world green, we could require trillions of tons of steel and concrete which are not going to help the cause of the planet or any other species that share it with us.
The only way that we can reach true sustainability is when the poop of one is the food for the other. Nature works like that. We have developed such a rapacious energy consumption norm today that nature cannot provide enough for us. We need to work towards a way of living that is not as energy-dependent.