Forget Shorter Showers

Forget Shorter Showers

by Tom Shadyac (2011)

Film Review

Forget Shorter Showers is a documentary based on an essay by anarchist Derrick Jensen that challenges neoliberal dogma that makes each of us personally responsible for reversing the ongoing environmental destruction caused by industrial capitalism. Consumers who have joined the campaign to fly and use their cars less, change their light bulbs and take shorter showers are the victims of systemic misdirection by a pernicious PR industry. The latter continuously churns out propaganda that we can save the planet through market-based solutions such as shopping.

Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth is a classic example of this deliberate misdirection. Instead of calling for policy changes that hold corporate polluters to account, his film deliberately disguises the reality that industry is responsible for the vast majority of carbon emissions. In doing so, Gore incorrectly blames powerless individuals for the climate crisis, instead of the elites who hold real the real power.

Lifestyle Only Accounts for 22% of Emissions

If the entire global population adopted a low carbon footprint lifestyle, it would only decrease carbon emissions by 22%. Climate scientists tell us we need to decrease them by 70% to stave off catastrophic climate disruption.

In a similar vein, reducing individual water usage isn’t going to solve the freshwater shortage. Ninety percent of all freshwater is used by agriculture and industry. Five percent is used by municipalities, and 5% by individuals.

Industry is also responsible for the vast majority of energy consumption and waste production.

How We’re Conned into Taking Personal Responsibility

The filmmakers point out that we’re easily conned into taking personal responsibility for all these environmental issues because it’s less scary than acting decisively to stop the industrial capitalism from destroying the planet. Among other fears, people worry the grid might go down, causing us to lose access electricity, clean water and cellphone service – not because we need these perks to survive but because we’ve become addicted to them.

Fear of state violence is also a biggie. The documentary provides numerous historic examples of courageous activists who have overcome such fears.

9 thoughts on “Forget Shorter Showers

  1. A 22 % reduction is much better then no reduction. to me the problem is people just don’t give a shit about anything outside there little circle.

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  2. Finally, some sanity, some common sense, some reason! This is what I have been standing against forever. I refuse to take part in all of this “GREEN” corporate propaganda, I refuse to jump through their ridiculous and worthless hoops.

    The elite destroy the environment and the people, and then the blame is placed at the feet of we the people.

    Rid the world of about three to five thousand of the elite and their system/order, and watch as the environment and life all of a sudden begin to improve!

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    • I think this may be happening already as a natural consequence of an economy that’s almost entirely built on finance, service and information. Capitalism only works when you can create scarcity. It’s virtually impossible to make service and information scarce and you can only make finance scarce if you have total control over the means of exchange – and the corporate elite are losing control of this due to the sharing economy.

      I just heard Paul Mason talk about his book PostCapitalism on the BBC. It’s mainly about how the “sharing economy” is killing capitalism and the capitalist elite. Young people are no longer interested in buying and owning stuff. They’re sharing cars instead of buying them, staying in home stays through Air B&B, using aps to share tools, etc. Plus much of the stuff on the market now Is “information,” which is extremely hard to monetize (collect a profit from) because it costs virtually nothing to replicate it. One of the women on the program predicted that banking will be irrelevant by 2020 – that people will be turning to peer to peer lending, cryptocurrencies and crowd funding if they need money and they won’t need banks.

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      • If this is truly taking hold around the planet, then there is still hope left. Some days, I find it hard to hold on to any hope whatsoever.

        I too, see some of what you are speaking of even among the young here. It seems that among the youth I know, which is by no means many, they have rejected much of what our generation and our parent’s generation held to as “the American way of life.”

        There does seem to be a pushing back by many of the young people here, a rejection of the status quo; the “what was good enough for mom and dad is good enough for me” syndrome.

        Perhaps, after my generation has faded away, these next generations can bring this evil to its knees for good, and begin to build a better world. If I have any hope left, it is this!

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    • As I mention above, there seems to be a wholesale rejection by young people of buying and owning stuff. With the death of the consumer economy, there’s hope for a new economic model that won’t destroy the planet.

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  3. Pingback: Forget Shorter Showers, Film and Review | Tales from the Conspiratum

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