Released on YouTube for free viewing on April 21, 2020, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. .
"Whether lobbying political leaders in world capitals or running cutting-edge grassroots campaigns, the film examines the decision of mainstream environmental groups and leaders to partner with billionaires, corporations, and wealthy family foundations in the fight to save a planet in crisis. The film questions whether green energy can solve the problem of society's expanding resource depletion without reducing consumption and population growth, as all existing forms of energy generation require consumption of finite resources. Centrally, the film questions whether renewable energy sources such as biomass energy, wind power, and solar energy, are as clean and renewable as they are portrayed to be.
"Upon its release, Planet of the Humans generated intense controversy. It was criticized by some climate scientists, environmentalists and renewable energy proponents as misleading and outdated. It was removed from YouTube on 25 May 2020 in response to a claim of copyright infringement, which PEN America condemned as censorship. The filmmakers challenged the claim, arguing that the fragment was used under fair use and that free speech was subverted. Twelve days later, YouTube allowed the film to be viewed again."
"... essentially makes a feature-length argument that green energy isn't what it's cracked up to be, and that its supposed heroes are made of clay. The problems, we're informed, are legion, and widespread perceptions about green solutions are sadly misinformed. You may feel good about yourself if you drive an electric car, but don't forget that it's recharged by energy from a power company that uses coal or natural gas. And that the battery was manufactured by a company using fossil fuels. Solar panels are great, but they mostly don't last more than a decade or so. Renewable energy sources such as wind turbines are intermittent, leading to power outages unless they're backed up by power generated by fossil fuels. Indeed, there are no business entities running one hundred percent on solar and wind alone.
"Planet of the Humans certainly makes many important and illuminating points, especially about the co-opting of environmental causes by corporate interests who use it mainly for positive branding purposes. But its despairing tone and overall atmosphere of purity testing may have the counterproductive effect of making you want to throw up your hands and ignore the environmental movement's significant progress in recent decades. The loosely structured assemblage of damning information eventually proves more numbing than illuminating."
" ... unfettered capitalism and its insanity of eternal growth on a finite planet is also what is leading us to the cliff edge. True enough, although his comments on overpopulation have an unintentionally ironic chime, in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Most chillingly of all, Gibbs at one stage of the film appears to suggest that there is no cure for any of this, that, just as humans are mortal, so the species itself is staring its own mortality in the face. But he appears to back away from that view by the end, saying merely that things need to change. But what things and how?"
[Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian]
Initial release: 31 July 2019
Director: Jeff Gibbs
Executive producer: Michael Moore
Producers: Jeff Gibbs, Ozzie Zehner
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.