We don't run on ads. We run on donations. Please help us by committing $5 a month.

Forget About Planet of the Humans

By Neal Livingston /
Apr 24, 2020
Forget About Planet of the Humans
A film still from PLANET OF THE HUMANS, directed by Jeff Gibbs and produced by Michael Moore.

SHAME on these filmmakers for making a film like this, full of misinformation and disinformation, to intentionally depress audiences, and make them think there are no alternatives.

I am an award-winning documentary filmmaker making films on environmental issues and renewable energy for over 40 years, and from making these films became a leading activist in Nova Scotia on environmental issues, and also a renewable energy developer and advocate.  

Let me make it absolutely clear that the new documentary, Planet of the Humans, by Jeff Gibbs — with executive producer Michael Moore, is inaccurate, misleading and designed to depress you into doing nothing.

Wind power and solar energy produce huge amounts of clean energy.  Look up the environmental footprint of a modern wind turbine, or modern solar panel, and you will find that the embodied energy and emissions are offset within a year.

The high quality and efficient wind machines we have will last 50+ years, and they produce millions of kilowatt hours of clean energy per year. Most materials in a windmill will be valuable materials to recycle when the machines are no longer viable.

Solar panels I put on my home in 2017 are guaranteed for 25 years, and will last 40 or more years. The one old solar panel I have that runs a pump on my solar hot water system works as well as it did 25 years ago.

Buy renewable technologies because they last. They make clean power for an adult’s lifetime.

An electric car I will buy when I need a new car. It will be much more recyclable than my conventional car, and the batteries when they wear out will be used to make new batteries.  I checked Tesla’s web site, and there you can trace the places and mines they buy their materials from, so look that up and judge for yourself. 

Minerals that are mined should have cleaner footprints for sure, and we can demand that manufacturers buy from proper sources when they don’t.

Planet of the Humans uses the most worn-out editing techniques to emotionally manipulate the viewer. We see windmills from the early 1970’s, the early days of wind power, which are long gone. We see on the street facile interviews, with film editing techniques to make environmental leaders look dumb. We see a dying orangutang as the film ends to make you cry. But nowhere does the film show us how to get off fossil fuels, by showing us where renewables are working. Nor does the film help us to stop forest destruction, by showing us places that have taken steps to protect nature, and there are many places that have done so.  

The majority of the films I have made on environmental issues are about forestry issues, and these films show winning strategies that have won us great victories over stopping the worst forest practices where I live.

Gibbs and Moore could have made a great film about the terrible things going on in forestry, and how burning trees for large scale power generation needs to be stopped, and what we can do now to stop this, and to change forest practices.

We are assaulted by the film into not even being able to think, which is one of the great intentions of propaganda. If you think it’s all bad, then there is no hope, and you will take no action.

Pretty lame way to make a film, or convince an audience to push for change. If Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore were bonafide activist filmmakers, you would know that what makes change in most countries around the world these days is comparative analysis. You could have made a film about who is getting it right.

Planet of the Humans' message is that no matter what you want for change to make the world healthier, you won’t get it no matter what you try to do - which is untrue.  

Don’t waste your time watching Planet of the Humans.  You’d be much better off reading


Neal Livingston for over 40 years has been a documentary filmmaker, environmental activist, and renewable energy developer and advocate, living in Nova Scotia, Canada.  To learn more about his work see

Trending Videos
Articles by Tim Hjersted, Co-Founder of Films For Action
Our Mentor: Thich Nhat Hanh
22 Films to Watch After (Or Instead of) Planet of the Humans
Featured Documentaries

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

Founded in 2006, our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

  • To dive in, click the Explore button above. You can filter by subject and category at the same time, and sort by newest, most viewed and top-rated.
  • Help us keep the quality of the site high by rating content 1-5 stars.
  • Add videos to our library! Half of our best content was added by members.
  • Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to get in touch.
  • Want to support us and watch some great films in the process? Our $5/mo Patrons get access to 15 of our favorite documentaries.


Why join Films For Action?

Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

We believe the first step to achieve this goal should be an information delivery network that can amplify the impacts of all our efforts 1000 fold. 

Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

Ultimately, we're just one star in this growing constellation of new media, but we aim to do our part by cultivating the best video library dedicated to transition online, and we hope you'll join us