In their movie "Planets of the Humans", Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs give a most important contribution to the discussion about renewable energies and about the mental state of our society:
They show how politicians, administrators, concerned citizens and businessman try to solve a new problem strictly by traditional means: by means of legislation, organization, mountains of (tax) money, and simply by ignoring problems. By doing so, Moore and Gibbs correctly describe the true reasons for the continuous and unstoppable increase of CO2 year by year. Speaking up, they brake a most dangerous taboo of our society, and this is the great merit of their work.
They show us a society, where physics does not exist anymore. It is now logical and self evident, that fundamentally new problems like global heating require fundamentally new solutions. And fundamentally new solutions first of all must come from physics.
But in the society portrayed in the movie, physics is so much absent, that its absence does not even gets noted and cannot be expressed in words. But something must be said, words must be found So a displacement action occurs: instead of saying “there is a lack of physics here”, they say “its the fault of capitalism”.
This of course cannot be true, since the problem of renewable energy is or was even worse in socialist or communist societies (remember Chernobyl?). But even this formally senseless displacement action does not reduce, but rather it does contribute to the importance of the movie, since it shows how far confusion has reached in our society.
It gives great hope, that Moore and Gibbs made their movie at the same time, when we were preparing Physics & Art Against CO2. .
To whom does not know about physics, who knows physics only by name, from boring school lessons, it may seem that the mega technologies shown in the movie have something to do with physics: they are strange, expensive, you cannot understand it, so isn't it physics then?
Actually, its not. We are trying to show this in Physics & Art. The mega projects justly criticized in the movie are projects of bureaucracy. But they are not physics. Because they are unreasonable. Physics is reasonable.
And physics surely is not against nature. Physics is nature. For instance, plants and human beings are incredible masterpieces from a physics point of view.
Of course everybody and everything can be abused. Even love. Would that mean, that we give up on love? Just don't do it. Just do not abuse physics. In Physics & Art we try to explain that better.
Last but not least: some technical details presented by Gibbs are wrong, but that is natural - what do you expect from a movie maker in a physics free society?
For instance, the metal and glass used for the construction of traditional (physics free) solar plants is not really a problem. You can recycle it. Unfortunately, the real problems are even worse than what Gibbs presents, but you need some physics, to see them:
If you want to see a real problem, have a look at the latest one of those plants, at Quarzazate. they consume millions of tons of water each year. This water is evaporated, in the middle of the desert! Physics tells us, that water vapor is a very powerful green house gas, worse than CO2. Usually over the desert air is dry, so that the heat from the desert gets radiated off the planet directly into the cold Universe. When you cover the desert with a layer of water vapor, this heat radiation from the desert surface gets trapped in the atmosphere, heating up the planet. Did you know that?
And Quarzazate surely is not capitalism: the small amount of energy provided by Quarzazate (its only about 15% efficient) is produced at an incredibly high price, no capitalist would ever do something like this.
So where the movie is wrong, the truth is even worse.
Trees: again the movie is saying something important: do not burn trees! The final scenes of the movie are so important. Do not burn trees.
Use waste biomass instead. At the end of its live, all biomass, made from ashes goes back to be ashes, it decomposes, producing CO2 and heat. Death is part of nature, do not fight it. Simply use this heat for live. Usually the rotting biomass dissipates its heat directly into the environment. Instead, let it flow though your house, before dissipating it to the environment. And since nobody wants a huge pile of rotting biomass in front of the house, use a gasifier instead. Its the same, only without stink.
And how can one avoid, that physics gets lost in bureaucracy and betrayal? There is only one way: root it in culture. This is, what we try to explain in physics & art. Physics must be in harmony with nature as well as with culture.
According to Heraclitus, war is father of all. And what else can reduce the number of human beings from 10 billion to less then 1, as is requested by Moore and Gibbs? Only war. It would be the most devastating war of all, the apocalypse, now. But if we substitute the creative forces liberated by war with the creative forces of art? Couldn’t we create new thoughts and new things under the beautiful influence of culture, instead the deadly threat of war? In the end, this is what Physics & Art is about – so it really is a response to Moore and Gibbs. Yes, we can, but not without physics.
According to Beuys (an artist, who was also one of the founders of the green movement) everybody is an artist. Well, everybody is a physicist, too. Physics is what you can understand. What you cannot understand, is not physics. Physics is you.
Society has tried by now for at least 30 years to fight CO2 increase without doing physics. We urgently need to change that. Please help us. Please watch this movie.