Planet of the Humans

5 06 2020



13 responses

5 06 2020
Michael P Totten

I recently published on Medium my critique of Michael Moore’s new(needlessly) dismal and dismaying movie production, Planet of the Humans. Please share the url:

View at

5 06 2020

We’ll have to agree to disagree.

6 06 2020

Mike, did you read my critique? I opened it in strong agreement with the films attacks on biofuels, and agreement on over consumption and population, but then took issue with their bleak other conclusions:

“Michael Moore’s new film, Planet of the Humans, is, sad to say, unnecessarily bleak in tone, content and conclusions. One fully expects a Moore movie to be in-your-face contentious, provocative, and highly controversial. That it certainly is, but not in an accurate way, riddled as it is with out-of-date information, biased evidence, and a surfeit of logical fallacies that all combine to undermine the few substantive arguments that are critically important. Let me highlight the key points the film gets absolutely right and are important for any viewer to take away from this otherwise needlessly flawed, gloomy film.

“First and foremost, the movie documents why the use of biomass resources (crops and forests) is a bad option for displacing fossil fuels. Plain and simple, end of argument, move on to the far more preferable options (about which, later). There is a myriad of reasons for this conclusion, including the:
• massive land footprint required for biofuels;
• immense water consumption required to grow and process the biomass into fuels
(accelerating the shrinking of the once vast, Great Plains’ Ogallala aquifer);
• massive inputs of fossil-based agrichemical fertilizers, pesticides and fuels for operating
• erosion and loss of (essentially) irreplaceable top soil that took millennia to form;
• worsening of coastal dead zones due to the agrichemical runoff causing anoxic death traps
for marine species;
• multiple health-damaging air pollutants from combusting biofuels; and, perhaps most
• devastation of species-rich rainforests in the Amazon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Congo, and many other developing nations, accelerating species extinction, displacing indigenous nations from their ancestral lands, and releasing massive pulses of CO2 emissions that effectively make the use of the biofuels grown on these lands as bad a carbon emitter as the fossil fuels they displace.

“From this perspective, Planet of the Humans is compelling and convincing. And it goes further by forcefully condemning national environmental organizations who have willingly embraced and strongly advocated since the 1970s for the massive scaling up of biofuels. It singles out numerous leading climate action advocates for this hypocrisy, including Al Gore, Bill McKibben, the Sierra Club, NRDC and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), academic institutions touting their going “green” credentials, and of course, the pervasive, invidious greenwashing of corporations and Wall Street investors.

“If the movie had stopped there, and then illustrated some preferable energy service options, an outstanding and hopeful movie could have resulted. Sadly, they chose to attack the several best options – solar and wind power, batteries and electric vehicles – utterly failing to fully and fairly compare their complaints about these options with the alternatives. Hence, the fatalistic conclusion they falsely draw from their jaundiced, truncated analysis. Let it be said upfront, NO energy supply option is free of negative impacts of one sort or another. That’s the inevitable reality of human consumption. So, the real question requiring a comprehensive, holistic examination (not once, but continuously) is: which, among the dozen main energy resource options, can be scaled up with the least total impacts, costs and risk?

“An immense number of research assessments have been conducted since the 1970s on this multi-aspect challenge. [see: Lovins A, Lovins H. Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security, prepared for U.S. Civil Defense Preparedness Agency. Hanover, NH: Brick House Publishing Company; 1981. And also, Lovins A, Datta K, Feiler T, Rabago K, Swisher J, Lehmann A, Wicker K. Small is Profitable: The Hidden Economic Benefits of Making Electrical Resources the Right Size. Snowmass, Colorado: Rocky Mountain Institute; 2002. As well as, Jacobson, Mark Z. (2009) Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, Energy and Environmental Science, 2, 148-173, Royal Society of Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/B809990C]” ….and goes into greater details for another 10 pages.

6 06 2020

I did read it. Spot on re biomass, I disagree that renewables are any solution, and I don’t think that makes the future anywhere near as bleak as capitalism’s collapse does….

5 06 2020

The responses to Michael Moore’s latest documentary reminds me of the response that the Limits to Growth study received back in the 70’s, mostly from the infinite economic growth cult. Fifty years later its “business as usual” model proved to be extremely accurate. Updating that model with the latest data shows that we are about to fly off the cliff. It also shows that high tech “green” solutions will only delay the inevitable, and when the crash does happen it will be even more severe. Unfortunately we do not have another fifty years to figure out that Michael Moore’s message was right on.

These responses also reminds me of the Oscar Moore received for his Bowling for Columbine. He was booed relentlessly.during his acceptance speech where he condemned Bush for the bombing of Iraq. I wonder if they would boo him 20 years later.

5 06 2020
Mark Bevis

I saw the film as soon as it came out, stuck at it all the way through. I haven’t bothered with watching any of the criticisms that came out afterwards as I’ve no idea who Michael Moore was. But I did watch that Rolling Stone interview linked above.

For those of us long established in Doomosphere, the film wasn’t revealing anything particularly new. It’s good to see the predicaments we are in getting more mainstream airing, pushing the boundaries of the Overton Window.

The kickback from the establishment has been fiercer than I expected, but then several sacred cows were exposed for slaughter to a wider public, so it’s understandable. It does amuse me that the establishment (and not-so establishment) spends more energy trying to hide the predicament than trying to deal with it.
“There’s a hole in the hull captain, made by that iceberg we hit travelling too fast.”
“Shhhh, don’t tell everybody, they’ll all want a lifeboat!”

7 06 2020
7 06 2020
7 06 2020

Great review, with typically Ill informed comments at the bottom….

7 06 2020

Naomi Klein covered a lot of what was covered in MM’s documentary in her book “This Changes Everything” (end of 2014). Her book didn’t change much (unfortunately), but didn’t make any real waves at the time, now 5 years (!) down the line MM covers the same subjects in his free documentary (which is less detailed than NK’s book) and people are surprised and it’s ‘controversial’ , there’s major pushback and a backlash as well as support and … will it change anything?

8 06 2020
Michael Ian Gray

The weirdest thing is that Klein has come out against Moore’s film despite her book and having a fairly similar premise. That has puzzled me a bit for the last month or so. Why the change in opinion?

10 06 2020
Jonathan Maddox

Because Klein’s work doesn’t push a bunch of falsehoods.

9 06 2020

My only issue with the film really was I would have liked more data, which probably made it easier to attack. So for example, the visuals around decommissioned and decaying wind turbines could have had a number around what percentage of them end up this way, what sort of average lifetime they have etc. But then, I am sure the attackers would have found alternative data. I can understand also, that the filmmakers were aiming for visual impact.

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