The Shift

16 08 2014

I just came across this movie trailer, and it has made my blood boil……..  really.  It starts off well enough, I was actually looking forward to an inspiring piece of film making.  But all I got was more anger and depression than ‘feel good’ with this.

Let’s pull this apart…

The first couple of minutes, complete with stirring music, sets the scene for all the stuff we discuss here all the time, toxic food production, depression, inequality, bottom up change, sustainability, old world order breaking down, extinction level problems, and hope.  Except this film turns hope into hopium.

The next quantum leap then gets mentioned, and my hopium levels are rising……. we need a radical shift in consciousness… so far so good…  but then I smell a rat.  The shift is happening, we are told, right now….  really?  How come I didn’t notice?

“We have an opportunity to play a role in the biggest transition drama the world has ever seen” says Jean Houston (whom I’ve never heard of before), and even Charles Eisenstein makes an appearance, though I can’t help wondering what he thinks of this film…  we are in the process of awakening on a mass scale.  We are?  So why did we elect the very worst government this country has ever seen?  Why are airliners shot down?  Why is Israel not taken to task by the global community for its atrocities?  Am I missing something….?

By the time you reach a third of the way through, the Arab Spring is even brought up as a positive thing bringing, presumably, good change to those countries when in fact they are in a state of collapse….  people are apparently rising up against ‘the old’ and fighting for ‘the new’.  If only…

Using imagery of wind turbines, solar panels, and that funny rocket that can launch and then land back again without going anywhere (yet), we are told we have the opportunity to bring about unprecedented human thriving…….  My eyes glaze over.  There are of course no mentions of limits, climate change, or anything that will not bring about unprecedented human thriving.  This whole concept goes from hope to total dud in a matter of seconds.  We are so clever we can now design our own evolution.  Pictures of robotic prostheses are screened, and robots, all made with fossil fuels of course, raise the hopium levels of the uneducated viewer to hyperbolic levels, while my heart sinks at the unbelievably wasted opportunity to tell the truth.  Maybe I should make my own film after watching this…..

The words “unprecedented abundance” and “dreams” are thrown around with gay abandon.  Pics of Richard Branston in a space suit, and mining asteroids are used to make you believe absolutely anything is possible.

The shift on Planet Earth, requires a critical mass of people saying yes to “the inner shift”.  Except it’s the wrong shift…..  it is not a shift away from mass consumption, it’s a shift towards somehow self controlled mass consumption.  The world is going to be saved by entrepreneurs….  really?  I thought it was entrepreneurs that got us into this mess in the first place… and they call this change?  It’s just more of the same only different….  we’re even told young people will do this with or without resources.  That guy really is from a different planet.

We’re shown a flashlight that only runs on the heat from the hand holding it.  Yes, it’s clever, but it’s not world changing innovation, which I think the film is trying to make you think.  More sensory manipulation.  Then some kid from Sierra Leone shows us how he made his own battery.  He’s actually very clever, but he seems to only recycle old electronics found on the tip.  I hate pouring cold water on interesting stuff like that, but once we are in post crash mode, I don’t think a lot of electronics will continue to be manufactured so they can be recycled by poor and clever Africans.  This part of the trailer is probably closer to the truth than anything else presented, because we will be scrounging bits left over from the age of consumption….. until none is left.

I liked the bit about empowering women.  That makes a lot of sense.  The patriarchal system is a dismal failure, and we have to shift away from it.  Consciousness and spirituality is also brought up as a necessity for the future, and I agree with that too, wholeheartedly.

There is no dream too big, and no challenge that cannot be overcome we are told….  I contend that this is only true with unlimited cheap fossil fuels, the very thing we need to stop using, and stop right now.  Making your life mean something is then brought up.  But what meaning exactly?  What is the meaning of life, all over again?  Take it he says.  Sounds like domination over the planet all over again.  Or am I just an cynical old bastard..?

Yes, people are waking up, but they don’t know what the problems really are.  And they sure as hell don’t have the solutions.

You are here to wake up

I’d love to know what everybody else here thinks of this film.




18 responses

16 08 2014
Ben Pennings

Yes, different versions of this film appear regularly. And it’s all bullshit. As though wishing hard enough will change reality. Eisenstein and others previously have been asked to do interviews, not knowing the final outcome of the films which are as dangerous and mind numbing as watching as any ‘reality show’.

16 08 2014

I think this movie trailer goes beyond hopium, into insanity. Repeat the same process and expect a different result. This movie is about saving the current system not shifting to a new one.

The change/shift/correction is indeed coming, it’s just that humanity is not facilitating this change. Nature is about to give humanity a good kick up the arse.

Making your own movie Mike sounds like a good idea. Have you put any serious thought into doing your own movie Mike?

16 08 2014

In one word… NO!

I have neither the time nor the money nor the energy……. and besides, I truly believe it’s too late. It would take 2 or 3 years to put such an effort together, and I’m moving to Tasmania. THAT is what will occupy the rest of the time I have left.

When I made that flippant comment… well I was being flippant!

16 08 2014

There might still be time for a cameo appearance in the new Mad Max flick Mike!!! 🙂

I can picture it now… one man, one mission – traverse the barren post anthropocene land of down under to reach the refuge of Taswegia!

…with a Road Warrior escort of course!

You should really get in touch with the Director Mike! ;-P

16 08 2014

What a load of crap. It’s a shame as there are some good speakers there who are in this movie of human centered hogwash. Can’t believe they are still making movies like this nearly 10 years after the What a Way to Go movie which is a realistic look at the state of things. Yes Mike you should make a movie………………… The Shift is nothing but a feel good cult movie.

16 08 2014

And, the answer is: Cheap Energy. Not fossil fuel, but very cheap and abundant renewable energy. Those who work in this field have the answer to many of our problems. We’re not going to eliminate fossil fuel burning by legislation. The marketplace is going to shut the old energy corporations down the same way cheap oil shut down the whaling oil industry. Combine cheap energy with the new consciousness and we will find a way to make things right—if the methane doesn’t get us first, obviously. There’s no guarantee our species will make all the right choices, of course, and there will be struggles, but with the technology we have now and will continue to develop, it’s by no means certain that we will lose.

If you knew what Peter Diamandis knows about the new energy, you’d be much more optimistic, Mike. It’s coming, just give it a little while to become public knowledge. The entrenched fossil fuel corps are fighting it, but they can’t win in the end. Those corps will become corpses. We have to maintain a low profile now and fly under the radar to keep them from mobilizing their legal forces to shut the new energy down.

16 08 2014

And HOW will this new energy be manufactured without cheap fossil fuels………??

16 08 2014

As fossil fuels are driven out of the market due to the lower cost of renewables, the energy to manufacture new devices will come from renewables themselves. One of the biggest factors which is driving down the cost of renewables is that we are finding much cheaper designs and materials to manufacture them than in the past. Grid parity has been reached in many parts of the USA today and solar is cheaper than all of the alternatives right now. New devices which will come on the market this year and next will take it to a new level and represent a quantum leap in price-performance versus older solar technologies which are already driving out coal everywhere in the USA. Conversion efficiencies are steadily climbing for new solar cells even as costs are falling and that trend is likely to continue. My projections show that we should be able to power all of our energy needs with solar+storage by 2026. And, do it while energy prices steadily fall for renewables, but rise for fossil fuels.

Here’s a real-world example: Tesla has installed hundreds of charging stations around the world for their Model S. Most of those stations currently use grid power. As time goes on, Tesla and Solar City are installing solar energy collection and storage devices to use free energy directly from our star, reducing reliance on the grid. Ultimately, all energy for these stations will come from solar power and storage.

Another example: Tesla’s gigafactory will be built, according to plans, next to massive solar systems (capture and storage) which will provide energy for the manufacture of Li-Ion batteries. Current plans call for recycling and reuse of spent batteries once they are depleted, so the environmental footprint is reduced. Although I bring this up as an example, I personally think Li-Ion is going to be be seen as an obsolete technology quickly which will be supplanted by supercapacitors, but that’s just my opinion. Supercapacitors are far superior to chemical batteries as they can handle millions of charging cycles vs. only a thousand or so for batteries. And, they’ll last much longer, perhaps even longer than Edison’s NiFe batteries! They take less energy and materials to manufacture as well, which is an ongoing trend in energy which is making renewables more economical than fossil fuels. Fossil fuels can only go up in price as long as there is demand for them. Supercapacitors will be on a declining price trend for many years to come and will help drive demand for fossil fuels down continuously.

In summary, at some point in the next few years, more economical renewable energy will drive out fossil fuels from the world market.

16 08 2014
17 08 2014

“As fossil fuels are driven out of the market due to the lower cost of renewables, the energy to manufacture new devices will come from renewables themselves.”

Robert, the market is an ass, measuring stuff in dollars instead of megajoules…… BTW, the main reason the price of solar cells have come down is because the Chinese have been dumping their stuff on ‘the market’ at below cost, heavily subsidised by the government. Many have already gone bankrupt as a result, and I expect China to have a very major economic correction soon as its building bubble bursts. Only then will we see what an ass ‘the market’ is..

Renewables will NEVER match the energy density of fossil fuels. And all the stuff you talk about above is only possible because they are 100% made with FFs. Mining the resources to build the techno wet dream without FFs just won’t happen. Just try and make steel and aluminium without coal….

Then there is the scaling up. The 20th Century was built one brick at a time as and when it was needed, using growing amounts of ever cheaper oil. Oil which, as an aside, had an ERoEI of 100:1. Today, we need to replace the whole lot (and still growing, though that can’t last) with an energy base that doesn’t yet exist, has an ERoEI of less than 5:1, and which will have to be built with the remaining fossil fuels, which, if we go ahead with it, will be the final nail in the coffin for catastrophic climate change.

You’re just blinded by the technology. You just don’t get it. We can’t even afford to start making all the stuff you dream about……. or it will seal our climatic fate.

17 08 2014

The energy density of the new tech I’m familiar with will be far superior to FFs when it reaches the marketplace. You just don’t realize the advances that have already been made which have yet to reach the consumer market. It’s not Chinese dumping at all—it’s technological advances that will kill FFs. And, it’s not something coming out of the blue. If you look at the advances in the field over time, you’ll find that it’s a multi-decade exponential trend. The Chinese are latecomers to the market and no amount of dumping will gain them market share. This, in fact, is why Solar City is buying a New York state solar cell manufacturer. Their technology is far ahead of everyone, including the Chinese. At least as far as the public information available today (there are private firms with even more advanced tech).

This is also where Gail Tvberg misses the point. She assumes static technology extrapolated endlessly into the future when history clearly shows that the exponential growth curve applies to solar technology (see Kurzweil’s presentations if you want to see some graphs illustrating the point). Those trends are not linear, they are exponential, which means that when the knee of the curve is reached, the advances become super-speed.

Ignoring these advances leads to boneheaded papers like the Economist running an article which claimed that solar was the most expensive technology to use to replace coal. The Brookings Institution economist who authored the article used far-outdated data (accidentally or deliberately) which “proved” his point. But, when others applied current data, they found exactly the opposite conclusion. Solar is the best technology to replace all other energy sources and especially coal. And, it’s only getting better as we hit the knee of performance curve.

17 08 2014

Hahahaha!!! “The Chinese are latecomers to the market and no amount of dumping will gain them market share”

You just blew all your credibility in one line……. don’t you realise that China makes 90% of all solar cells? They don’t have ‘market share’, they ARE the market……. furthermore, it will be climate change that will kill FFs, and in the case of oil, it will be Peak Oil. And once we reach peak FFs, we won’t have the energy to make the alternatives.

Also, ANYTHING that grows exponentially…….. ALWAYS crashes. This time, it’s not different.

17 08 2014

“The energy density of the new tech I’m familiar with will be far superior to FFs when it reaches the marketplace. You just don’t realize the advances that have already been made which have yet to reach the consumer market.”

Don’t hold back now Robert, please do enlighten with the details of this fantastic and imminent new technology about to revolutionise the marketplace and save humanity (or at least the imperial capitalist west)!

My guess is some sort of snake oil infused solar cell…. ;-P

17 08 2014


While watching the trailer for the movie my bullshit detector overloaded and blew a fuse.

You seem to think that by claiming to have solved one problem within a system, your cult (for that is what it is) has solved the myriad of problems that exist. It hasn’t. I have been around for many decades and have seen many cults come and go, most of which have originated in the USA. They all ended up in misery or worst for their adherents.

18 08 2014

So while I wholeheartedly support the basic message, that of dream a new future better than the past, I am left with a number of questions:

1. Where are we going to find the resources to make it happen?
2. Who is going to pay for it?
3. How is it going to address concerns related to climate change?

I understand that we will have several non-fossil fuel alternatives to generate energy, but its going to take a while before that reaches 100% penetration. The very act of replacing the old with the new will result in additional CO2 and other gases as the world warms up. I am still not sure we have a suitable replacement for high-heat furnaces, that will be required for smelting ores. While it is possible to sail by the wind, how do we get planes off the ground without fuels?

A good rallying call, but it does not seem to be grounded in what we know and what we need to do as a society … Seems to reinforce the message of on-going exploitation, rather than the need to embrace new economic systems, such as circular economies, or steady state economies, while I am all for growth if it can be achieved sustainable, there does not seem to be an thought as to the reality of how this may be implemented over the long term.

Is this a missed opportunity …

18 08 2014

What underlies the whole problem, of course, is human over-population. At predicted growth rates, there is absolutely no way we, as a species, can continue to live our current affluent western type lifestyles because natural systems will also continue to collapse exponentially.
Perhaps, perversely, we need Ebola to become air borne?

19 08 2014

Typical Bloomberg New Energy Finance greenwash.

The global glut of panels has driven down prices and sent the weakest to the wall. Now the glut seems to be ending, and guess what, prices won’t be going up because “Unlike other industries, a shortage probably won’t boost prices”.
Yeah, right.

“40 gigawatts in 2013” “At some point, it will be a 400-gigawatt-a-year market; it’s just mathematical” That’s very logical.

21 08 2014

I have to say, it was great to see snippets from the movie ‘They Live’ in that second video. It’s corny as hell, a b grade flick at best, but it’s good for a laugh and the underlying messages are oh soo true… OBEY!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s