In order to be truly sustainable, solar panels must offset the harms done in their creation and disposal, as well as enough energy to replace themselves at the end of their lifetime. Not only are solar panels not sustainable, but they likely never will be.
I’m not going to try to tell you where to focus your energy. But I will say this, if your choice is being motivated by a fear of despair, if you are fighting down a feeling of hopelessness, consider letting yourself feel it. Really feel it. Trust that there is wisdom in all of our feelings, even the dark ones, maybe especially the dark ones. And see where it takes you.
All honest environmental activists will feel despair at some point. The solution isn’t to run from it, or repress it, or deny it. There’s only one way to deal with despair, and that’s to go though it. We have to feel our feelings. Despair can be a teacher. It can lead us to a greater wholeness, more compassion, and a deeper sense of purpose.
“The film is asking us to come to terms with some difficult realities which we have yet to face: namely, that sustaining our infinite growth, industrial civilization on renewables is neither desirable nor possible, yet that is exactly what green capitalists are intent on pursuing.”
The larger environmental movement is terrified that if we allow ourselves to plummet into the depths of hopelessness and despair there will not be enough optimism to propel us forward. This notion is not just wrong, it’s harmful. Any solutions, if they are to be meaningful, will come from those of us who have been courageous enough to take the time and energy to feel these scary and discomforting feelings. Through processing our griefs and facing reality, we open to new solutions that were previously unavailable to us.