2020 Documentary “Planet of the Humans” Uses Outdated Footage and False Information to Denounce Renewable Energy and Villainize Human Existence.
As a writer and all-around marketing enthusiast, I am fairly new to the solar industry, and certainly no expert on renewable energy. However, I do know a thing or two about communication and information. In the time that I have now been working as a writer and marketing manager within the solar industry, I have had the opportunity to do quite a bit of research and discovery in the field. Initially joining the solar business, I was all in favor of the green energy movement and had positive opinions on all sources of renewable energy, and often cite the large list of benefits of cleaner, alternative sources of power. So I found it quite surprising when I noticed a lot of mixed reviews from potential customers when discussing the idea of switching to solar. Some people had really tainted and negative opinions on the industry and many were referencing the 2020 Michael Moore film documentary, 'Planet of the Humans' as the basis of the “scam” that they claimed renewable energy was. Therefore, It was pretty obvious that I needed to include watching this film as an integral part of my industry and marketing research.
I watched the documentary in detail and let me tell you, I was horrified! Initially, I was overcome with emotional fear and utter confusion. Could everything I thought I knew about renewable energy have all been a giant misconception? Was I selling lies to people? Had I in fact been posing as an advocate for clean energy, yet actually just further contributing to the destruction of the environment? Was I part of the problem or the solution? I had no idea. But then again, some of what I had just watched just didn’t quite sit right with me. I have long been a fan of Michael Moore’s work, from his award winning documentaries 'Bowling for Columbine', 'Fahrenheit 9/11', and more. But this film felt quite opposite from the usual liberal stance taken by Mr. Moore, with a huge right hook aimed at the left-wing supporters of sustainable energy.
The film relied heavily on emotional string pulling, dated footage and contextless testimonials. The dark cloud that this film casts over the renewable energy industry would certainly be more than enough to make the average viewer feel like they had been conned, especially if they had limited prior knowledge or backing research invested in the industry. Which begs the question, how much research had Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore actually done themselves? Thus, I began my search for answers.
Images of SolarFest
In the early part of the film, Gibbs and Moore take an initial stab at the solar industry, aiming to create the image that solar energy production is nothing more than a farce. They do this first by showing footage of SolarFest, a festival of music, art and entertainment, held in Vermont in support of environmental causes and showcasing technological products and services catered to sustainable living. In the film, the festival is said to be completely powered by solar energy, but later shows behind-the-stage footage where a small amount of solar panels is only providing a miniscule amount of energy, and the festival stage is plugged into the grid, receiving its primary power from traditional energy sources, which utilize fossil fuels.
This is echoed several times over in the documentary with electric car charging ports, Tesla’s gigafactory, and more, all utilizing standard energy as a backup or in combination with solar panels. While this holds true to the fact that solar energy is intermittent and does often require alternative sources of energy to offset during times when the sun isn’t shining, it is hardly the falsely-advertised, optical illusion that they are making it out to be. While it is true that solar often requires a backup energy source, the footage used in the 2020 film release, along with the solar technology showcased within are all vastly outdated. Solar technology has come a long way since most of this particular footage was captured. If you look closely enough at the film, you can tell from the vehicles, clothing, and other features within, that the majority of the footage was filmed between the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
Screenshot from “Planet of the Humans” on YouTube, Showing Man in Crowd Wearing T-Shirt from 2001.
Technology grows and improves very rapidly, and it’s absolutely ridiculous that an esteemed film producer such as Michael Moore would be utilizing 20-year old footage and technology with outdated limitations to prove a point of current-state-of-affairs, but it appears this is most certainly the case. The filmmakers also visit a football field-sized solar array in Lansing Michigan, where visitors can be seen flexing thin and pliable, hand-held demo versions of the larger panels displayed across the large plot of land. The man leading the tour, Jan Nelson of the Lansing Board of Water and Light, goes on to explain that the efficiency of their panels is around 8%, and that they cannot afford more efficient panels and opted for the ones they use specifically due to the fact that they are cheap and made locally in Michigan. He then says that the entirety of the football field-sized collection of solar panels can only produce enough energy to fully power 10 homes.
The problem here again is one of outdated film footage and technology which makes this also irrelevant in a 2020 film documentary release. You needn’t look further than your own pockets to find proof of how much technological advancement is made in just a short, 10-year span of time. The very cellphone in your pocket today is largely more powerful and efficient than the cellphone you owned in 2010, and as new technology arrives, the prior technology becomes more affordable. The solar industry is no different. Solar panels today are far more efficient and affordable, and require substantially less alternative or backup energy sources than the dated solar panels featured in Moore’s documentary.
The same can be said for the largely abandoned, solar and wind graveyards depicted in the film, and the giant solar array in California’s Mojave Desert. All of which are outdated and largely unused technology presently. This is a part of life. The old ways die out and make way for the new, and to portray this naturally occurring, forward progression as some grand misfortune or to ignorantly suggest we are better off relying on outdated and toxic energy production, as the film suggests, is to say that the wheel should never have been invented because it takes too much time to improve the design and therefore, we were better off without it. Absurd, yet precisely what is stated in the film, as they mention that since it requires some burning of fossil fuels to manufacture many components of renewable energy products, we are therefore better off solely using fossil fuels for energy. Yet, the goal is to improve these products and eventually get away from fossil fuels altogether. Clearly, this film is using the limitations of the wooden wagon wheel to steer people away from modern transport, because if the long term goal isn’t achieved in the early stages of design, then obviously it’ll never work and is a waste of time. Ok. Hey Alexa... take a note.
Josh Fox, who brought us the 'Gasland' documentary, called Moore’s documentary, “shockingly misleading and absurd.” Climate Scientist Michael Mann echoed this sentiment by stating the film was full of “half distortions, half-truths and lies.” He went on to say that Moore and Gibbs, “have done a grave disservice to us and the promoting climate change inactivist tropes and talking points.” This is only 2 of countless scientists, writers, critics, industry experts and more that have all come forth to expose the numerous inactualities and false truths perpetrated throughout this film. And then, we get to the overly dramatic, heartbreakingly irrelevant and inconclusive ending. Cue the apes!
The film concludes with extended video footage of mining processes, deforestation, and destruction of an orangutan habitat to overcompensate for the dated material and lack of relevant facts presented in the film, by tugging on every human heartstring possible. The footage presented is graphic and paired with emotionally draining music, yet absent all contextual relevance to the majority of the film. The mining and deforestation imagery is relevant to pretty much all modern production and industrialization and the destruction of the orangutan habitat, though honest and devastating, is not specifically relevant or directly connected to the solar and renewable energy industries.
The narration then concludes on this note; “Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide. We must accept that our human presence is already far beyond sustainability and all that that implies...We must at long last accept that it’s not the carbon dioxide molecule destroying the planet, it’s us. It’s not one thing but everything we humans are doing. A human caused apocalypse.”
So, after all of the deliberate, falsely-stated claims against the green energy industry, Gibbs and Moore suggest that carbon dioxide is not the culprit, but rather it is human existence as a whole. The only suggested solution to a problem that has been drastically exacerbated throughout the entirety of the film, is no solution at all. The film states that overpopulation and human consumption are the undeniable villains that will ultimately destroy the planet, and urges us to abandon all hope of clean energy solutions, as the only REAL solution is to have less humans. Great, thanks for that extremely helpful information. Please excuse me while I go kill myself now for the sake of climate change.
But seriously, why even make a film denouncing all modern efforts to find a more sustainable source of energy, only to offer no better alternative? Moore and Gibbs are basically dredging-up as many colorful and emotional visualizations they can find, reverting back some 20 years in the process, just to urge you to not switch to solar because saving the planet is hopeless and incite that we should start finding ways to kill off the population instead. Wow, just wow!
The dramatization of this film and its culminating revelations are beyond devastating and depressing. Not only did this film provide no viable or factual evidence to say that green energy is NOT better for the environment and worth continuing to develop, but it also encourages us to blame ourselves merely for existing and urges us to accept that our future is a hopeless one. If someone out there is struggling with depression, lack of self-confidence, or God forbid, considering suicide, well this film may have just nudged them a little bit closer to the edge.
But, the truth is anything but. The Planet of the Humans portrayal of the hopeless and unavoidable demise of humanity and the planet is nothing more than another cinematic doomsday prophecy. Renewable energy has and continues to grow and thrive both in its economical and environmental advancements, and is becoming more and more affordable, standardized, efficient and productive as the new leader of energy production.
The future is not one of death and destruction due to solar panels and wind turbines. The future is not filled with acres of solar graveyards and windmill wastelands. Rather, it is one of cleaner air and improved manufacturing through the continual efforts of scientists, engineers and developers who dedicate their everyday lives to finding a better way to power our homes, cars, planes and trains, and increase sustainability for our growing population and environmental health.
The answer is not to accept defeat, but to defeat unacceptance.
Article Provided by: Solar Sun Pro - Las Vegas, NV - http://www.solarsunpro.com .
Written by: Ryan Barbin - Digital Marketing and Content Creator - Solar Sun Pro
For More Information on Why You SHOULD Consider Switching to Solar Energy, Read My Article Here: : Fossil Fuels Vs. Solar Power (wixsite.com)
Sources and Links:
Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” Documentary -- 2020- on YouTube
Michael Moore’s ‘Planet Of The Humans’ Skewers Renewables, Delivers Anti-Human Malthusianism
‘Planet of the Humans’ Finds Michael Moore Pitted Against Left-Wing Activists He Once Inspired
The Important Debate Planet of the Humans Misses
Planet of the Humans: One Moore Rebuttal to Widely Debunked Anti-Renewables Documentary
Climate experts call for ‘dangerous’ Michael Moore film to be taken down
Planet of the Humans Debunked