Movie questions why we should destroy the desert to save the planet

Movie flier.

Movie flier.

At one point in the film an exasperated woman explains, “Ruining things to go ‘green’ is an oxymoron.”

That is pretty much the theme of Robert Lundahl’s film “Who Are My People,” which will have its Nevada premiere Tuesday, the evening after Harry Reid puts on his perennial traveling planet salvation show, otherwise called the National Clean Energy Summit 6.0, which advocates building industrial-scale wind and solar projects on public land throughout the West.

Unlike Reid, Lundahl, who grew up in the desert Southwest, sees something wrong with literally paving over hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine desert, which has been home to Native Americans and a wide variety of wildlife for thousands of years, with solar panels, solar mirrors and windmills, which in 25 years or so will be so much hazardous waste to be abandoned or hauled off, further scarring the landscape.

The hour-long film is a pastiche of desert scenes and running commentary from archeologists and scientists to tribal leaders, who point to various sacred sites that could be destroyed by the industrial-scale “green energy” projects.

Intaglios near Blythe, Calif.

Some of the more striking footage in the film is aerial footage of the Intaglios in the desert near Blythe, Calif. The largest of these prehistoric figures, or geoglyphs, measures 171 feet from head to toe. Archaeologists have no way of determining their age. According to the Mohave and Quechan tribes, the human figures represent Mastamho, the Creator of Earth and all life. The animal figures represent
Hatakulya, one of two mountain lions/persons who helped in the Creation. Sacred ceremonial dances were held in the area to honor the Creator of life.

Only a month ago, BrightSource Energy killed its Rio Mesa project near Blythe after 740 fossils were found on the site. The project would have been similar to the company’s Ivanpah project, using mirrors to heat water in 750-foot-tall towers.

“Ultimately it’s simple,” says Lundahl, who describes himself as an environmentalist and is an advocate of roof-top distributive solar panels, “you can’t destroy things to ‘go green,” and that includes the traditional practices and life-ways of Native American communities who were here long before the United States was even an idea, and the environment and traditional, indigenous landscapes which support those communities. You can’t have ‘green’ without social justice.”

But the Interior Department has already set aside 285,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land in six states — including 60,395 acres in Nevada — where permitting for utility-scale solar projects will be streamlined. Perhaps railroaded is a better term.

The Nevada land alone has the potential to generate 6,700 megawatts of power, in 2012 NV Energy’s peak generating capacity was only 6,000 megawatts.

Frame from movie.

Lundahl has invited Harry Reid and a number of the attendees at his “green” confab to attend the screening. I doubt any of them would be willing to hear an alternative point of view.

Lundahl invited Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who is scheduled to be at Reid’s summit.

“I want her to come, and hear first hand what the impacts of BLM policies are on the ground,” he said. “It’s not just a story about Indians, but it is a story about all of us. When did the public interest become corporate interest? When did public lands become set aside for profit making enterprises by multinational corporations with high placed ties to government officials? I did request interviews from the BLM but they declined all interview requests multiple times.”

Lundahl also points out in the film that huge amounts of taxpayer money is propping up these “green” projects in the form of grants and tax credits.

And much of that money is going to cronies of Obama and Reid. According to the Energy Department’s own figures, by the end of 2011 $16
billion of $20 billion given out in one loan guarantee program alone went to Obama backers. Energy’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, testified that contracts were steered to “friends and family.”

The showing of “Who Are My People” is Aug. 13, 7 p.m., at the Flamingo Library Main Auditorium at 1401 E. Flamingo Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at the door are $7.50 but can be purchased online.

At last year’s “green” summit, Reid bragged that solar panels on Nellis Air Force Base save the Air Force $1 million per year. He neglected to say the panels cost $100 million and will last no more than 30 years.

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