Bright Green Lies


How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It


Bright Green Lies is a much needed wakeup call if we are to avoid sleepwalking to extinction—joining 200 of our fellow creatures and relatives that are being driven to extinction per day by an extractivist, colonizing money machine that is lubricated by limitless greed, and guided by the mechanical mind of industrialism. This destructive machine is labelled ‘civilization,’ and its violent and brutal imposition on indigenous cultures and communities is legitimized as the ‘civilizing mission’ for which exterminations of the rich cultural and biological diversity of the earth is necessary for the linear, blind rush to progress. Religions change, extermination continues. But there are other ways: the ways of indigenous cultures to whom we must turn to learn how to walk lightly on the earth.”

Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya and the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology; author of Earth Democracy and Making Peace with the Earth

Bright Green Lies exposes the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of leading environmental groups and their most prominent cheerleaders. The best known environmentalists, he illustrates, are not in the business of speaking truth, or even holding up rational solutions to blunt the impending ecocide, but a mendacious and self-serving illusion that provides comfort at the expense of reality. They fail to state the obvious. We cannot continue to wallow in hedonistic consumption and industrial expansion and survive as a species. The environmental debate, Jensen argues, is, because of them, distorted by hubris and the childish desire by those in industrialized nations to sustain the unsustainable. All debates about environmental policy needs to begin with honoring and protecting, not the desires of the human species, but the sanctity of the earth itself. We refuse to ask the right questions because these questions expose a stark truth—we cannot continue to live as we are living. To do so is suicidal folly.

‘Tell me how you seek and I will tell you what you are seeking,’ the German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said. This is the power of Bright Green Lies. It asks the questions most refuse to ask and in that questioning, that seeking, uncovers profound truths we ignore at our peril.”

Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of America: The Farewell Tour

Bright Green Lies dismantles the illusion of ‘green’ technology in breathtaking, comprehensive detail, revealing a fantasy that must perish if there is to be any hope of preserving what remains of life on Earth. From solar panels to wind turbines, from LED light bulbs to electric cars, no green fantasy escapes Jensen, Keith, and Wilberts revealing peek behind the green curtain. Bright Green Lies is a must-read for all who cherish life on Earth.”

Jeff Gibbs, writer, director, and producer of the film Planet of the Humans

“This disturbing but very important book makes clear we must dig deeper than the normal solutions we are offered.”

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

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Bright Green Lies lays out in heartbreaking and sometimes disgusting detail the simple fact that to maintain the growth of techno-industrial civilization by replacing fossil fuels with solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower, electric cars, and whatever other green machines we might construct still requires the continuing rape of Mother Earth and the poisoning of her water, air, soil, wildlife, and human populations. The authors tell us unequivocally: Green growth is a doomed enterprise, and there is no future for humankind living in harmony with nature in which we fail to recognize that unlimited economic and population growth on a finite planet is ecological suicide. Environmental groups that blithely refuse to question the industrial growth paradigm should be fearful of this book, as it exposes with a sword point their hypocrisies and falsehoods.

I suggest they seek the immediate burning of all copies.”

Christopher Ketcham, author of This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption Are Ruining the American West

Bright Green Lies is a tour de force. The authors expose many of the fallacies of mainstream environmentalism and economics. Their main thesis is that much of what passes for environmental concern today is geared primarily toward sustaining an unsustainable ‘lifestyle.’ Most so-called ‘sustainable’ practices are just a slower way to degrade the earth’s ecosystems. For years, I have been harping on the fact that society needs to do a full accounting of the real costs of our lifestyles. This book exposes much of what is missing in our flawed accounting system, and the genuine costs of this failure. I thought I knew a lot about the environmental impacts of the consumer society, but Jensen and his co-authors have shown me that I, like many people, only had a superficial appreciation of these costs. Bright Green Lies takes off where William Catton’s book Overshoot: The Ecological Basis for Revolutionary Change left off and provides a stimulating roadmap of how to think about our environmental crisis. It makes a powerful case for what society needs to do to reevaluate its present and unsustainable pathway. Hopefully, Bright Green Lies will result in more thoughtful, insightful, and ultimately productive environmental activism.”

George Wuerthner, ecologist, wildlands activist, photographer, and author of 38 books, including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy

Bright Green Lies is a book I’ve been keenly awaiting, a book made of numbers, clear thinking, wit, and love. Bright Green Lies urges the protection of the natural world in all its sacred and manifest diversity. Arm yourself with the precision and honesty that this book fiercely inspires and demands; recognize that life itself is the sole bearer of effective solutions, that organic, ecological, elemental, and biomic life can indeed save the planet from catastrophe.”

Suprabha Seshan, rainforest conservationist at India’s Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary

Bright Green Lies is the book we’ve all been waiting for. Jensen and his co-authors explode the myth that we can somehow grow our way out of the mess that we’ve created by using ‘renewable’ energies to prop up the lie that endless growth is possible without continuing to destroy the planet and the life-support systems that it provides. May Bright Green Lies be the first step toward shifting us to a different future—one which doesn’t continue to borrow from the future to give us an unlivable planet.”

Thomas Linzey, Senior Counsel for The Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights and cofounder of Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Contents and Excerpts

Event Recording

All three authors participated in a “Banyen Books ~ In Conversation” online event on April 26, 2021. Visit the podcast page or watch on YouTube.


Reviews by Anthony Biglan and Ozzie Zehner

June 26, 2021, by George Price

March 1, 2021, by Association for the Tree of Life