SD350 response to “Planet of the Humans”

The YouTube video “Planet  of the Humans”, created and directed by Jeff Gibbs and presented by Michael Moore, is a hodge-podge of blatant inaccuracies and false accusations of climate leaders -mixed with some truths – that promotes despair rather than action. 

The video attacks Bill McKibben using a long disavowed quote about burning biomass for energy, ignoring his more recent denunciations, including his 2016 article “Burning trees for electricity is a bad idea,” as well as his efforts to set the record straight. It also falsely accuses McKibben of being some kind of corporate pawn. For those of us who’ve met Bill, seen what a tireless, thoughtful, humble leader he is, it appalling to see how poorly the video treats him. (See Bill’s article in Rolling Stone and his initial response to the video). 

The video’s claims that carbon pollution produced by producing electricity from solar and wind is comparable to that produced by burning fossil fuels for power is … just wrong. Its claim that solar systems only last a decade are disproved by any homeowner who installed their solar panels before 2010. While every energy source has environmental impacts and there are tradeoffs that are entirely worth discussing, this is the type of misinformation you’d expect from the fossil fuel industry. (See Carbon Brief for some #s).

Meanwhile, Planet of the Humans completely fails to make any mention of the need to replace fossil fuel based systems with sustainable alternatives, instead suggesting population control – often suggested by anti-immigration hate groups – as an only answer.

There is no denying a kernel of truth in the documentary. Clean, renewable energy and transportation systems are necessary to avoid the worst of the climate crisis, but we can’t grow our way out of the climate crisis. The fact is that while too many fellow citizens of our planet live in desperation, an affluent minority live an unsustainable lifestyle of consumption without regard to the toll this takes on our environment. We must transition to a sustainable culture that recognizes our planet’s limits.

As climate activists, our mission is based on science. We must be vigilant against misinformation and direct  people to the facts, as well as rethinking mindless growth so we can leave a planet that is nurturing, sustainable and equitable for generations to come.

As climate activists in California, we can see the impacts of increased renewable energy and efficiency — less carbon and air pollution. We can also see that our actions as community leaders are achieving better policies. There is hope and we remain committed to continuing to work for a renewable energy economy grounded in equity.

Further reading:

About Masada D

Masada Disenhouse co-founded SanDiego350 in 2011 and serves as its Executive Director. She is passionate about engaging volunteers and growing a powerful climate change movement.

Speak Your Mind