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Why The Green New Deal Won't Save Us

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  activism critique environment

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The Green New Deal has attracted a lot of flack as its viability has been the subject of political bantering in a highly polarized climate. Some people have said it goes too far, while others have said it doesn't go far enough. Some environmentalists are more candid with themselves — it's, at best, a distraction from real pressing problems that deserve our attention.

The Green Deal simplify exemplifies an environmental ignorance that plagues the mainstream. And it's not just conservatives, as some liberals might jive. Michael Moore's documentary, Planet of the Humans aired earlier this year and was available for free viewing for several months. Conservatives propped it up as evidence that environmentalism is a hoax, while liberals criticized its criticism of human growth and alternative energy methods. One thing the documentary has done is brought the conversation more into the open. It fell short in some ways, but it also surfaced several other good points. The mainstream environmental movement has been overrun by "green capitalists" seeking to make a buck. Lots of people claim to be environmentalists today, but if you chip away at the facade — even a little bit — it topples over.

The "Green New Deal" is just the latest manifestation of the faux environmentalist movement. Its a dialogue that serves to prop up the mainstream view of environmentalism, that somehow more technology, perhaps better technology, will solve all of our problems. Some parts of the Green New Deal might well have an impact on carbon emissions, but the idea as a whole is just an extension of the very kind of environmentalism that real environmentalists have been pushing back against for years.

It's no secret that the smart grid is a central part of most "Green" initiatives. Propaganda from utility companies worldwide has successfully brainwashed most people — including many environmentalists — into thinking that so-called "smart" technology will increase energy efficiency and help facilitate a green energy transition. In fact, environmentalists have exposed the smart grid for what it truly is: the utility industry's way of wringing out even more dollars from ratepayers' pockets, including by selling household utility usage data to government agencies and third parties. William Bathgate, an electrician, testified to the Michigan Public Utilities Commission a few years ago that it costs $0.31 per day just to run a smart meter, compared to virtually nothing for an analog electromechanical meter. Does this sound "green" to you?

But this is the new "green". Once upon a time, green meant good for the environment. Now, the only thing green about "green" is the color of the dollar bills flowing to those profiting from this environmental negligence. Perhaps it's no wonder that prominent "environmental" organizations like the Sierra Club have fallen hook, line, and sinker for "smart" meters in the past.

We’ve been down this road before. It’s easy to fall for the false techno-solutions we are offered. Compact fluorescent bulbs- promoted widely by these same environmental groups, are now being condemned for their mercury contamination and high EMF pollution. Catalytic converters in California’s cars have reduced smog- but at the cost of reducing fuel efficiency and increasing carbon emissions. Biofuels, promoted by industry as a way to cut fossil fuel consumption, have ended up causing skyrocketing food prices and riots in many countries, as calories bypass hungry mouths on their way to our gas tanks. Electric cars - often cited as justification for the "smart" grid, will simply relocate the pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack. — Stop Smart Meters

Just like "smart" and "managed", "green" has quickly become a hyped-up buzzword that now indicates something best avoided.

Ignorance of the massive environmental harm of the smart grid is just the tip of the iceberg. Today, so-called "environmentalists" are largely ignorant of the massive footprints of technology at large, especially the heavy environmental burden imposed by wireless technologies. People talk about "going green" by bypassing pencil and paper for a tablet. The only way that's going green is by dumping dollars into the coffers of big technology companies, I can promise you that. See Appendix A for a summary of the shocking energy inefficiency of wireless technologies.

As with smart meters, we already have the solution. Smart meters are unnecessary, wasteful, and harmful so-called "upgrades" to the electricity grid, but electromechanical analog utility meters are a tried and true solution that have been in use for decades. Likewise, wireless technologies are relatively new, and objectively inferior to wired technologies in all capacities besides mobility. Yet, most people have been duped into thinking that the brave new wireless age is a stop along the road to carbon neutrality, when the only route containing it is the one to certain environmental doom.

The impacts of many of these technologies on people are not insignificant. This year has been one filled with calls for racial injustice. Do you think black lives matter? If you use a smart phone, your actions suggest differently. I don't know about you, but modern-day slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo to fuel the insatiable demand for rare earth minerals required by "smart" phones doesn't sound like racial justice to me. Don't all all black lives matter? Or just the ones in developed countries wealthy enough to blissfully indulge in wireless electronic gadgets while African children mine away for cobalt?

At the same time, looking at energy efficiency alone is not the end-all be-all. LEDs and CFLs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they are more environmentally harmful (if you disagree, consider that humans are part of the environment, too — if you think sacrificing human health is an acceptable trade-off for a reduction in energy usage, we'll agree to disagree). The holistic impact of any technology on the environment must be taken into account.

Unsurprisingly, the Green New Deal is full of much of the same environmental hogwash about technology saving the planet. We need less technology (or at least less environmentally-harmful technology) to save the planet.

So, the Green New Deal won't save the planet. Young people won't, either. I'm generalizing, somewhat unfairly but most accurately, that by and large, most young people are either ignorant or apathetic about environmentalism, including those who call themselves "environmentalists". I'll recall the time I reached out to a sustainability group at the University of Pennsylvania, criticizing them for giving away a portable cell phone charger as a prize and calling it a "green" move (doublespeak, anyone?). A club representative shrugged this off, replying "The idea is that it wouldn't be consuming any fossil-fuel powered energy if it is solar powered. I am not going to tell anybody that they need to give up their phone."

I guess she didn't read Appendix A. That's "fake facts" right there. Apart from that, it's obvious she's a fake environmentalist that doesn't really care about the fate of the planet at the end of the day. Somebody's got to call the hard shots and make uncomfortable decisions at the end of the day. Yet, most people young people are complacent with environmental destruction and won't give up their destructive and harmful lifestyle, even when educated about. "I am not going to tell anybody that they need to give up their phone." Translation: F**k the planet, I don't care as long as I can send emojis from wherever I am.

So, it's okay for young "environmentalists" to bemoan people driving around automobiles, but when their own nasty environmentally harmful habits are called out, they get defensive and shrug it off as inevitable and acceptable? Anyone see the hypocrisy? If you won't give up your smartphone, why should I give up my gas-guzzling car? Ignorance won't save the planet, and neither will closedmindedness.

Young people criticize older people for supposedly failing to "act" on the climate, but one can see the hypocrisy. Older generations, raised in an era of frugality necessitated by the Great Depression, grew up in an era where things were built to last decades, not years, where things were mended or repaired, not thrown away. They were green, not "green".

Today's youth eschew responsible environmentally friendly technologies like landlines and wired Ethernet connections for wireless ignorance. One time in downtown Philadelphia, some college-aged environmental protesters started parading down the street suddenly, handing out flyers. I took one skeptically, becoming even more skeptical when I saw it had a QR code at the bottom — not even an alternate URL. I shook my head. I called a colleague later and told her about it.

"Yeah," I could hear her shaking her head over the phone. "They don't get it."

They really don't. How can any group claim to be "environmentally responsible" when it distributes flyers that require a "smart" phone — a device that does and requires massive environmental harm to function — to look at? One look was all it took. This was faux environmentalism at its most ironic.

The fact is most young people don't get it. In "real" environmental circles — ones that don't propose false solutions to every climate issue at stake — I'm often the youngest by twenty or thirty years. Unfortunately, this is the bleak reality that faces our world. Most young people don't give a crap about the environment, because if they did, it would mean facing the stark reality that their entire wireless lifestyle is at stake. So, they'll say they care about the environment and yell at people driving cars, but if it comes to sacrificing their own wireless convenience for the planet, no way Jose, can't do that, that's asking way too much.

Sometimes, in the Pennsylvanian Gazette, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, I'll read letters from older alumni who lament that their generation has failed the current generation, and they hope the current generation can do better. But today's youth are less environmentally conscious than ever. Most real environmentalists are old enough to be receiving Social Security — you won't find many of them on a college campus these days. It saddens me and frustrates me when I see these letters. Not only is it the current generation failing future generations more than any previous one, but older generations are feeling guilty about allegedly "failing" the current generation. Certainly, I won't argue with people who say they didn't do enough, but they're doing a heck of a lot more than today's youth. Today's youth aren't going to save the planet. They're going to help destroy it. It takes more than saying "divest from fossil fuels" to make an environmentalist. It takes a nuanced, comprehensive, and holistic knowledge of the impact of all human behaviors on the environment, which young people largely lack. They're mostly clueless - or apathetic - or both.

The environmental ignorance of technology continues today. While scientists are calling for moratoriums on 5G and many have raised concerns over the heightened energy usage of 5G technologies, most young people simply see greater wireless speeds. Never mind that they can get faster, more secure, more reliable connectivity by hardwiring, or better call quality and comfort by using a corded landline. 5 is greater than 4, so 5G must be good. A real willingness amongst Generation Z to tackle these potentially uncomfortable issues is almost nonexistent. Real environmentalists are spurned by faux environmentalists, who criticize the status quo but ultimately seek to uphold it. Even controversial figures like Greta Thunberg have failed to tackle these issues.

Elon Musk is a perfect example of the environmentally irony that is so alarmingly common today. Young people are largely brainwashed into seeing him as some kind of hero. After all, Tesla's electric vehicles will save the planet, right? (Of course not — fewer cars, yes, different cars, no.) At the same time, Musk has been launching satellites into space all year so that he can deliver wireless Internet access from the sky. As if us environmentalists don't have enough to deal with, now in addition to trying stop 5G here on earth, we have to stop lunatics like Musk from deploying 5G in space, too! And yet, there are "environmentalists" out there who actually respect this guy! It's unbelievable. Musk is Public Enemy #1. At least, he's Environmental Enemy #1.

Cities in particular deserve a special mention, because many people see them, for some reason, as the solution to many environmental problems. In fact, cities are one of the biggest problems. Cities are far and away the most toxic places to live. Combine pollution, smog, chemicals, and electrosmog, and you have fertile conditions for environmental sensitivities which have confined many people to their homes — long before COVID-19. For many people, life in cities is increasingly intolerable. New York City has becoming the laughingstock of the country as they replaced hundreds of payphones with "Wi-Fi kiosks". Just what the world needs, more electrosmog and wasted energy. It's something painfully obvious that environmentalists know but "environmentalists" don't seem to: the first step towards combatting today's climate crises is to stop creating new ones!

Ultimately, this is why the Green New Deal can't, won't, and wouldn't save us. It's an artifact of the "environmental" movement, and the "environmental" movement will never acknowledge the stark realities of today's pressing issues. Whenever and wherever green can give into "green", it will, and whenever making a sacrifice becomes too uncomfortable to Generation Z, backlash and pushback will stop progress in its tracks. The Green New Deal might be a "feel good" thing, but it's less of a "do good" one. If we want to take some real action, we need to get serious. We need to be willing to ask the tough questions, and we need to be willing to do something about them. Why are people paying $800 for planned obsolescence engineered devices that need to be replaced every three years with rare earth minerals mined by child labor in Africa and shipped on massive ocean-going vessels across the ocean from Chinese laborers? (The idea of a shelf-life of a product under 40 years would have been unthinkable to Western Electric and the Bell System. It's why my 1957 telephone is working perfectly and your 2014 iPhone isn't.) Why are we leaving the lights on all night in commercial office buildings all over the country, creating unwanted light pollution and unnecessarily wasting energy? Why are utilities allowed to replace analog meters that last for decades and use no energy with "smart" meters that waste energy, create health hazards, and fail easily and quickly? Why has the F.C.C. recklessly granted the green light to 5G? Why is SpaceX launching satellites into space? Why are we putting cell towers in national parks? Why do most schools still have Wi-Fi? Why are kids allowed to use cell phones? Why is anyone allowed to use a cell phone? Why aren't we taxing them more heavily? Why are we embracing the Internet of Things, so that ever more wireless gadgets can ping each other in a toxic sea of electrosmog, wasting energy left and right? Why do we have three-car families in which teenagers drive to school even though they could take the school bus? We are we banning incandescent light bulbs when they are the most environmentally friendly lighting type? Why are thousands of pounds of food wasted everyday when millions of children are starving? Why is it that more people have access to "smart" phones than toilets? Why?

I'll tell you why we're not asking those questions. Because the answers are green, not "green".

Earlier, I asked "If you won't give up your smartphone, why should I give up my gas-guzzling car?" This wasn't just a rhetorical question. Most young "environmentalists" think public transportation is important. So much so they're largely eschewing private automobiles for public wheels, much more so than previous generations. It's the right kind of environmental thinking, but unfortunately it stops there. What about public communications? Both have been around for over a century, yet in the past two decades, public communications has been deteriorating all over the world. Public transportation certainly has its share of problems, but most environmentalists and "environmentalists" alike agree that it's a key part of the solution to combatting climage change. So, too, is public communications! Yet, using a payphone, once a symbol of wealth and importance, is now seen as an indication of poverty. Only people who can't afford to trash the planet with their $800 iPhones, after all, could afford to use one, right? One time I was using a payphone and a passerby offered to let me use her cell phone. "And get brain cancer? No thanks!" I was tempted to snap back. I refused. Switch from an environmentally friendly high-quality communications instrument to a harmful and low-quality one? Why would I do that? I'm an environmentalist, not an "environmentalist".

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