There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle in the environmental world over the Michael Moore produced film Planet of the Humans. I read much of the criticism of it before watching the film, so had low expectations. It is perceived as merely an attack on the efficacy of renewable energy—making claims that ’green energy’ is all a bit of a con. The rebuttals come largely in the form that the evidence the film used is outdated, particularly when it comes to assessing the current contribution of renewable sources such as solar and wind. I think the film is probably out of date on that score. But that is only one aspect of the film. It seemed to me that the major underpinning theme of it was that our whole economic model is up the spout—it has a deeply anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist message. It denounces the billionaires whose baleful influence seeps into everything, including the renewable energy industry. Anywhere where they can sniff a profit in other words. But in the end it all comes down to all of us who go along with this system. And it suggests there are simply too many humans. Sadly, it doesn’t propose a solution and leaves the questions it raises hanging in mid-air. At least it’s thought provoking (like we’ve never been thought provoked before).
To a certain extent I agree with its premise so far as energy supply is concerned. Renewable energy is being treated like a great technological solution, designed to keep everything just the same as it always was. Very much like a vaccine in fact, there to restore normality, never mind that some say it’s we humans who are the real virus if you look at the destruction of the planet’s natural systems we are responsible for. But the negativity of the film, which might leave some viewers and fossil fuel industry types content to carry on burning oil, gas and coal like there’s no tomorrow is its core weakness. Renewable energy may have plenty of faults, but the transitional costs to acquiring genuinely cleaner sources of energy weren’t ever going to be cheap and easy. Certainly in the case of biomass, it has been shown to be unsustainable and many of biomass’s former proponents now oppose it. This doesn’t mean they are wrong on everything else too.
I think the film should be seen in the spirit it is intended, and the green movement should take its core message seriously. And if any billionaires see it, I doubt that they would want many others to do so. Having said which, it is freely available on Youtube, and already has over six million views.
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