Apr 30, 2020

Director Jeff Gibbs' Response to Bill Mckibben Regarding Planet of the Humans

By Jeff Gibbs / planetofthehumans.com
Director Jeff Gibbs' Response to Bill Mckibben Regarding Planet of the Humans

[5/1 Bill McKibben's latest response to the film, in Rolling Stone]

I admire much of Bill McKibben’s work and I appreciate the time he has taken to express his concerns. There are items in his response to “Planet of the Humans,” which I feel compelled to respond to.

“Planet of the Humans” does not charge 350.org or Mr. McKibben with taking corporate money.

I have never supported biomass plants.

We were aware of Mr. McKibben’s 2016 op-ed presenting disadvantages of biomass. That op-ed also states that existing biomass plants should nevertheless remain in operation. After writing his 2016 op-ed, Mr. McKibben continued vigorous support for national legislation to fund new biomass infrastructure. In 2017, he endorsed the 100 by ’50 Act, which included grants up to $100 million for “second-generation advanced biofuels,” as well as the extension of biofuel producer credits, which the Koch Brothers had also lobbied for. Bill McKibben is still listed as a fellow at the institute that worked to create and promote the legislation. During this period after his 2016 op-ed, Mr. McKibben also supported a Sierra Club initiative called “Ready for 100,” which contained biomass.

These actions are an endorsement of the status quo, not a stance against biomass. They do not meet Mr. McKibben’s own standards for action. To this day, Mr. McKibben has neither come out against the biomass plant at Middlebury College, nor called for it to be closed. Mixed-messaging is a topic portrayed in the film. Mr. McKibben’s subsequent op-ed, which came out after the premiere of the film at the Traverse City Film Festival, is noted at the end of the film.

The film includes an interview with Mr. McKibben, which he walked away from. This interview was part of an organized media event. Mr. McKibben’s support for Proposal 3 in Michiganthe biomass plant at Middlebury CollegeWall Street investment schemesincluding those containing biomass, as well as his interview with us, are representations of historical events.

Unfortunately, I have no other record of receiving a communication from Mr. McKibben. It would not have affected our inclusion of his interview or the historical events leading up to it.

“Planet of the Humans” illuminates that where any of us cling to illusions, and associate with those with a profit motive, we are susceptible to making poor choices for the planet – unintentionally advocating for those things we know we should resist, and losing sight of those things for which we should advocate.

My hope in making this film, is that a new story emerges. Paradigm shifts are difficult; but getting humanity and the environmental movement on a more earth-centered path is the only hope we have.

Jeff Gibbs

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