Bright Green Lies, or half truths?

The film Bright Green Lies is now out, purportedly “exposing the illusions of green technology”. It’s already getting front page coverage in newspapers. I’ll be watching it myself this weekend. But now I’ve received an open letter raising questions about this film. Is renewable energy really as bad as it’s being made to look here? Or, in effect, is it propaganda for the oil industry? Here’s the letter:

“To the producers of Bright Green Lies,

Your message about clean energy is clear. I’m not an energy expert so I certainly couldn’t say how balanced your arguments are. I imagine there are others who would argue this.

But, whether or not your criticisms are fair — the much bigger question is this.

Why would you choose to target renewable energy, when there are much greater villains? Opponents ranging from fossil fuel barons, to faceless investors, even to the countless many who every day choose to support car culture, air travel, mass consumption?

Why would you direct your anger against renewable energy — when the result of your work is almost certain to empower the fossil fuel industry?

Having seen the front page coverage of your film so far, I don’t think I’m speculating on this. I am deeply concerned that Bright Green Lies is already being used by oil companies to strengthen their arguments, and defend their interests.

Are you being used? By choosing the title and focus of your film, have you set yourself up to achieve the opposite of what you intend? Or worse still, have you already been used — just by the headlines alone — since most people who have seen the headlines will never see the film, nor hear the subtleties of your arguments. Are you doing a great injustice to the many who are trying to make positive change?

Are you using your voice for real change — or is it heading in a very different direction?”

Myself, I’ll be watching the film this weekend —maybe my concerns will be dispelled.

Watch the film for yourself at brightgreenlies.com. But beware that any documentary can be very persuasive by presenting selected facts and leaving out others. If this film leaves you feeling that renewable energy is a bad thing, I’d encourage you to look further. Renewable energy organizations may be offering counterpoints and rebuttals. For starters, Google “renewable energy Canada” or do a news search.

In the past, industry’s approach to diffusing the environmental movement has been “divide and conquer”. Let’s hope that’s not what’s happening here, and if it is, let’s not fall prey.

All we have to decide…

Image: Joel Lee, CC some rights reserved.

In our time — the anthropocene — how many of us are doing what really matters? How will history remember you, me, all the others who denied or despaired? Bilbo & Frodo didn’t run away from what needed to be done, or sit around and blame everyone else. Models of action, against all odds — exactly what we need today. Shall we rise to the challenge?

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