Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs’ “Planet of the Humans” is a terrible movie to see before you go to bed. It kept me awake for hours thinking about this bold movie that challenges our assumptions of the environmental movement and its leaders. Moore has an annoying propensity for stripping away the comfort of our illusions. Nevertheless, no matter what your political persuasion is, it is vital to see the movie. The Planet of the Humans admonishes us to THINK!
This movie completely throws back the green organic veil of the environmental movement. Banks and hedge funds are jowl to jowl at the pig trough slurping up the greenbacks. The Koch Brothers, are the quintessential Vulture capitalists, who are lurking behind environmentalists and feasting on the bones of sustainable ecology. People and organizations we have viewed as our heroes and leaders like Bill McKibben, the leaders of 350, Sierra Club, Elton Musk, Robert Kennedy Jr., l Gore, etc. and their affiliations with corporations and banks are examined. In short, Moore and Gibb’s posit, we are lied to about the efficacy of renewable energies. I felt like a child realizing that the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny were only fiction as I saw my environmental heroes exposed, and the green veil was torn away.
The film candidly examines wind, solar, and other sustainable sources of energy and electric cars. They assert that wind, solar, and other alternative energy sources are not genuinely viable when we look at the real total costs. We all want to believe in environmentally clean green and renewable, but we must be attentive to the claims of all products and organizations.
I want to believe that the solar panels on my house are an essential part of saving the planet. However, it is far more useful to stop using air-conditioners in my home on a hot august day and go swimming. It is far more sustainable for me to ride a bike into town a few miles away than it is to take my car. It is far more useful to make my house more energy-efficient than to have a biomass generator in my community. Using a clothesline is far better than a gas dryer. Though not explicitly mentioned, if a majority of people switched to a locally sourced vegetarian diet, it would probably be the most valuable and easy action we could take. It is not just the actions of one person, but of communities and millions of people profoundly engaged and considering the impact of their environmental choices and collectively taking action.
The movie points to the absurdity of destroying forests to make biomass. Biomass is not merely taking agricultural waste or sweeping up the streets and alchemically transforming it into clean, renewable energy. Instead, we cut forests down, and the trees are fed into a biomass generator that is supposed to produce clean “natural energy.” How naive of us to be conned by something so apparent! If you destroy trees and the entire forest ecosystem, how is that even remotely environmentally sane?
The other egregious con is biofuels, which are produced by vast agribusinesses growing corn. Pesticides and fertilizers saturate the fields and poison the groundwater. The fairy tale is that corn is magically transformed into an environmentally friendly fuel that will save the planet. It is perhaps less of a fairy tale and more the saga of the snake-oil businesses. The agribusiness relies on government subsidies for oil, water, tax breaks, etc. to fatten their coffers and lubricate the wheels of their malevolent industries.
Gibbs and Moore exhort us to think and act on these questions of the green economy and sustainability. Why chop down the Amazon to plant sugar cane to turn into biofuel so you can run your energy-efficient car? How can an electric vehicle be genuinely ecological if the fuel to power it is most often from an electrical grid powered by coal, gas, and oil? How can biomass be environmental-friendly when we are destroying forests? How can solar panels be ecologically efficient when they are made from energy-intensive processes? How do we make these changes personally and in our communities? How do we become genuinely informed and wise about all the Green Washing/ Wishing? I do wish that there had been an emphasis also of the tremendous positive change actions that have taken place, the changes in environmental laws, and where alternative energy has been viable. Perhaps, that is their next movie.
One scene that has remained firmly in my mind, a live horse is thrown into a meat grinder to make fuel. The horse looked at the camera before the machine devoured it. The horse had a look of complete fear and horror. Why throw a living creature into a meat grinder to make a few liters of fuel? The horse is symbolic of our ecological suicide. The look of complete fear and horror should make all of us recoil in shock and fear.
The last segment of the movie shows the destruction of a rainforest, and one lone orangutan is left dangling on the tree. Our ecological and inhumane insanity could not be more vivid. We are not only destroying the environment, the oceans, and this beautiful world we are destroying ourselves. Our children or grandchildren could be the lone creature clinging to a tree in the desert
There needs to be tens of thousands of living room discussions, zoom chats, community conversations, and thoughtful reflections on ecocide and this movie. We need to look at the science and the evidence of our environmental destruction and remove the chimeric veil of our green fantasies. We drive our energy-efficient green cars — but sit inside any vehicle made in the last fifty years, and you’re sitting inside a bubble of plastic, rare earth minerals, and chemicals. No matter how many times the vehicle brands itself as ecologically efficient, it is not. Environmental efficiency is walking, taking a bike, rollerblading, etc. Green is money, and money is green. Moore and Gibbs are not “catastrophizers,” they are warning of this present ecological disaster that is destroying the planet. Though critics point to some factual errors and condemn it and if this is so, publicize it and let your evidence come forward.
“Planet of the Humans” is an extraordinarily vital movie to see and consider. Whether you are a conservative or leftists, a tree hugger, or a hunter, it is critical to watch the film and make up your mind. The movie is free to watch at https://planetofthehumans.com. Bravo to Jeff Gibbs, Michael Moore, and their team for creating this provocative and profoundly engaging movie.