Apr 24, 2020

Forget About Planet of the Humans

By Neal Livingston / filmsforaction.org
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 https://drawdown.org/


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 www.blackriver.ns.ca

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