New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: Planet of the Humans

After seeing this film, you may think that Earth Day is the most depressing day ever. Michael Moore executive produces the film written, directed and narrated by long-time collaborator Jeff Gibbs whose monotone delivery of the enlightening material is stultifying. Even more depressing is finding out that green energy is not all that green. They also build a case showing how organizations supporting events purporting to be green can’t even power a band’s amplifiers without diesel generators and the electric grid. 

Gibbs and Moore are both dogged documentarians who try to make the public aware of problems, offering solutions. But in this film, they paint a bleak vision of the future and say it’s already too late to clean up the mess caused by humans. 

Gibbs, Ozzie Zehner, and Christopher Henze shot the various segments revealing how bulldozing deserts decimating ancient Joshua Trees, cutting down forests and burning fields of sugar cane to clear it, wreaks all kind of havoc. Even converting garbage into energy take more energy than it would produce. It all indicates no respect for our planet.  Zehner, (author of Green Illusions) makes it clear that we’re naive if we believe that renewables will be able to replace fossil fuels and coal. 

Gibbs bounces around showing outdoor concerts, as well as cutting down forests and burning fields to explain why we’re using just as much energy as ever and destroying the planet in the process. Plus, they show how the windmills we think are going to help are expensive to build using dirty energy, and have finite lifespans of only a couple of decades. And they don’t even produce that much power! 

Even more devastating are lists of corporate behemoths, including coal and mining companies, petroleum producers, and banks who are cashing in on the green energy movement. They’re making profit by using their planet- killing industries proclaiming to fund the Green Revolution. Gibbs points out it’s like a giant shell game. That surprise reveal of the movie is the biggest disappointment. He even gives examples of  how the Sierra Club, Yhe Nature Conservancy and even Al Gore, Elon Musk, Robert F. Kennedy and the Koch Brothers appear to be complicit.

The biggest hoax of all is the notion that renewable biomass fuels are somehow going to save us. The very forests that we need to preserve life are being sacrificed. By grinding trees into wood chips, they end up polluting the air, leaving the ground bare, making the land uninhabitable for native human population as well as wildlife. 

The saddest part of this film, besides revealing the catastrophic results, is the realization that it just may be too late to do anything to reverse what is happening. They show that there is a direct correlation between the number of humans on the planet and the amount of pollution and food needed to sustain the growing population. The best thing that has happened to bring attention to cutting down pollution and saving wildlife is, unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic. Less planes in the air and less cars on the road mean clearer skies, animals returning to their habitats and even wandering back into the cities. 

Gibbs certainly knows his subject and he cares. But his delivery needed more energy to keep the audience engaged. Gibbs does not deliver the visuals and the information like Moore does, with humor and sarcasm. Gibbs is much more low key, perhaps, so not to trivialize, but it’s not as engaging.

Gibbs makes a disturbing and powerful visual statement in the final minutes of the film. He shows the ultimate destruction, pain and grief that humans have wrought on this planet. Maybe we should all hide our heads in shame, instead of binge-watching the latest reality show inanity. With this film, Gibbs and Moore are hoping we’ll DO something about it. 

Rumble Media         1 hour 41 minutes    Documentary

See on YouTube     

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