(NOTE: I replaced the YouTube link with a more critical annotated version. Because intellectual engagement is better than censorship.)
So here I am, sitting back and waiting for the hot takes to start rolling in about the Planet of the Humans documentary. It’s already pretty clear that one group will be taking it as an excuse to take a huge dump on any and every environmentally conscious person on the planet. It’s also equally clear that another group will take it as an excuse to turn on every fact and datapoint and idea in the movie, out of despair and frustration.
Big surprise there.
Funny how when Moore was telling us about school shootings and fear culture, the left loved it and the right shouted about what a commie kook he was. Now he’s telling us about the perils of green solutions and the corruption and greed driving it, the right is thrilled and the left is shouting “ecofascist”.
 I’ll want to see more science on this, solar power has come a long way in the ten-plus years since any of the information included in this movie. But there is still legitimate cause for concern and caution.
 Frankly I find this instantly easy to believe.
Nobody’s got it right yet. Moore’s always had a mixture of solid truth in his messages, and a lot of scary shit designed to wake us up and make us think. Is he right? Is he wrong? Not really the point. You can’t be right or wrong about such a sweeping and multifaceted issue. All we can hope to do is take away some practical points and not discard stuff that still has merit in our rush to abandon our posts and flee, flee for our lives.
And that goes for the people on all sides of this.
Moore isn’t wrong that, without some unforeseen and orders-of-magnitude change in our resource-providing technology, there are just too many humans living too unsustainably for this planet’s biosphere. The problem, as I so often like to say, lies in the “so” this leads to. Yes, we need to reduce population. But as soon as any human agency takes over that decision-making process, the result will be ecofascism and an absolute travesty the likes of which human civilisation has never seen.
And mark my words. It’s coming. It’s only going to get worse and the climate is only going to continue to disintegrate around us. The choice will be taken from our hands and our population will be decimated. Or whatever the 90-10 version of “decimated” is. And before that happens, we are going to tear ourselves apart like rats in a sack. And it’s going to be the third world that cops it in the neck.
 And that’s good!
The thing is, Moore’s message hasn’t always been like this. The driving point, I seem to recall, of his book Dude, Where’s My Country? was that we were dying out because, I don’t know, something about sitting at computers too long and our sperm going manky and so more women were being born instead of an even mix, so population was declining due to lack of males. I mean, that was a solid decade back. Wasn’t that a good thing? Frankly the more women we have, the better.
Furthermore, it’s become very clear that the moment you grant rights and education to women, the population starts to level out and drop because they suddenly realise they have better things to do than sit around being baby factories. It’s happened in Scandinavia and basically everywhere else women have been acknowledged as human beings rather than cattle. Educate, and the problem solves itself. Maybe not fast enough, but it will happen.
Therein lies the problem. Therein lies the “so”. Because the developing world, the non-western world, is the one with the booming population. Women’s rights, education, birth control … the second we start trying to direct that shit in other countries, we wind up with genocide and butchery. Because we’re humans and we suck.
On the other hand, the developing world is a massive majority population-wise and are guilty of only the smallest part of the actual carbon load. It’s the tiny, rich, wasteful, privileged population of the west that is responsible for most of the pollution and fuckery which is contributing to human-caused climate change. It’s me. If you’re reading this, it’s you. The solar panels on my roof haven’t changed that one bit.
So what do we do?
Well, we’re not going to solve the climate crisis with green alternatives like wind and solar. Even if those technologies are absolutely fine, and even without hamstringing from movies like this, it was never going to work because we’re shit. We’re not going to get it together in time. We’re going to keep using fossil fuels until we die. Maybe the green technology we have in place will slow things down, maybe it will have no impact whatsoever. The fact remains that it’s not going to be able to support a population of 7-and-a-half billion monkeys.
What will? I don’t think anything will. Sci-fi shit, post-scarcity, is needed and that won’t happen. We don’t trust nuclear power and that’s the only thing I can think of with the grunt to replace coal in the mid-term. We could turn Africa and Australia into solar farms, but we won’t. And maybe it wouldn’t do any good if we did. Maybe that production would be more wasteful than digging up coal and burning it.
So is reducing our population the only thing we can do? Good news – that’s definitely going to happen anyway. Human fertility rates are dropping and our population growth is slowing. Even if we don’t take any more steps to educate and grant rights to more women worldwide, we’re levelling off – probably, I think, because we’ve just plain reached the edge of the envelope there. It’s not going to happen fast enough, but good news again! The climate collapse super-catastrophes are coming, and so are the climate refugee massacres and the ecofascist genocides. If any species can cull itself, it’s ours. We’ve trained for this. The question is, will any of us be left and will there be any arable land at the end of it?
I don’t know, whatever. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. I guess all we can do is sit back and do nothing and wait for the next thing to happen.
Ten minutes scrolling down twitter responses with “Planet of the Humans” in, and I know which side I want to be associated with forever.
And as my lad Mr. C has pointed out, I’m being lazy and identifying this as Moore’s work and philosophy, where he really just slapped his name on it. But fuck it, it’ll do for shorthand. It’s the message that matters.
And as my lass Linza has mentioned, not all the left is blowing up over this. There is a whole lot of blowing up though. I think there is some sobering information here, if my actual post hasn’t made that clear. Very fucking sobering indeed, albeit not particularly surprising.
OK so here’s the thing, I’ve heard about the “perils” of green technology before. The chemicals from solar panel production, for example. The murder of crows (har har) of windmills. And I’m sure there are more, I haven’t dived deep into this yet.
But here’s the thing: its about DIVERSIFYING. Right now, all our energy sources produce greenhouse gases, CO2 and Methane primarily, and the amount produced is unsustainable. As we all know.
If we put out more hazardous chemicals to mitigate that greenhouse gas production, sure it’s bad. However, maybe we can combine all the energy sources to produce a variety of lesser harms that our planet, and we through innovation, can keep up with?
Maybe people say all of this, but what I hear is more “can’t do solar it’s bad too” than anything else. And that’s just not going to work.
Nuclear is clean except for the start (mining) and the stop (spent fuel). Fossil fuels, we covered. Natural gas uses fracking. Solar has chemicals.
The best way is to use a mix so that nothing overwhelms us. Unless I’m missing something INSANELY WORLD ENDING about solar panel production. Which, I doubt.
It also seems to ignore the fact that yes, solar requires a lot of mining and coal power support, but the former is only an initial outlay and the latter is only because we’re not in full ramp-up (and probably never will).
Solar might be as bad as coal for the six months you’re setting it up, but is fifty years of solar as bad as fifty years of coal? I’d want to see proper numbers on that.
Oh wow, yes absolutely. Shit we have to mine for it? We don’t have to do anything to get oil and coal and natural gas, they’re just delivered by storks…. SMH
And doing things requires power so doing things right now burns fossil fuels therefore things we do are bad? I’m just blown away by these counter-green arguments!
“…and yet you live in society! I am very intelligent.” As the old comic goes.
Here’s a fairly good take-down but I’m still hoping to get weigh-ins from other sources.
I’ll dig in to that in a bit. Here’s Michael Moore et. al. responding to the criticisms on one of my favorite youtube shows:
Thanks for the vid! Quite a lot of their declarations here, I agree with. We do need to confront the other huge contributing factors to our own extinction. Setting aside our growing population (covered that depressingly enough in the main blog post), the idea of constant capitalist growth – yes, that needs to go. I can see some level of the need for it because on a simplified level a company needs to grow in order to keep adding new employees as the population increases, and keep paying everyone more as inflation occurs and so on. Only as we all know, that doesn’t happen. Or if it does, new employees and salary increases are a very tiny part of that graph. They’re the first thing to go when “hard times” hit.
No, almost all of it goes in the pockets of the rich. The main reason clean policies don’t work isn’t the population (as cited in the original blog post too, the developing world is far more populous than “ours” and contributes way less to the climate issue), it’s our level of wastefulness. By all means that needs to change. But I can cut plastics and put up solar panels and recycle everything, and it won’t do a bit of good if the infinite-growth-driven manufacturing company next door is doing a hundred million times more damage.
And on the face of it I think that’s what they’re still saying here – that it’s the big guilty parties in the industrial and economic worlds that need to be dismantled, and from there our general practices and approach need to change. But attacking the stuff regular people can do isn’t going to achieve that. And playing right into the hands of the fossil fuel people definitely isn’t going to achieve it.
Moore’s right about how the pandemic has shown us that we can act, immediately. And we, the little people, have significantly reduced carbon emissions worldwide. It’s still not enough, because the big companies are still fucking everything up. So something else needs to give. And I don’t think he’s wrong about this being over by the (northern hemisphere) summer, either.
“Thanks for the vid! Quite a lot of their declarations here, I agree with. We do need to confront the other huge contributing factors to our own extinction. Setting aside our growing population (covered that depressingly enough in the main blog post), the idea of constant capitalist growth – yes, that needs to go. I can see some level of the need for it because on a simplified level a company needs to grow in order to keep adding new employees as the population increases, and keep paying everyone more as inflation occurs and so on. Only as we all know, that doesn’t happen. Or if it does, new employees and salary increases are a very tiny part of that graph. They’re the first thing to go when “hard times” hit.”
Right, definitely, this much is fine.
“No, almost all of it goes in the pockets of the rich. The main reason clean policies don’t work isn’t the population (as cited in the original blog post too, the developing world is far more populous than “ours” and contributes way less to the climate issue), it’s our level of wastefulness. By all means that needs to change. But I can cut plastics and put up solar panels and recycle everything, and it won’t do a bit of good if the infinite-growth-driven manufacturing company next door is doing a hundred million times more damage.”
This is where Moore starts to lose me. It DOES matter, it ALL matters. Just not to flatten the curve, to use our pandemic parlance. So this added detail from the movie you provided tells me I am not going to give it my business. We certainly don’t need to be discouraging individuals from being non-consumer, non-wasteful, and environmentally responsible.
I’m sure that’s not what Moore meant to do, but that’s what this talk does. You have to find a better way to explain the “Drop in a bucket”, saying that it won’t do a bit of good is harmful. And false.
Sure anything next to “infinite” doesn’t do any good but that’s just not the reality. And the other problem with Moore doing this, all of this, is that he gives ammunition to the anti-environmental corporations out there. As we have seen, time and time again, all they need is a sound byte or two. They take down the opposition so easily due to their “infinite” money, we can’t arm them with weapons we generate! Just unacceptable.
That point goes more to the stupid points about how solar uses the existing power sources right now, and how extraction of solar is ALSO problematic. Yes, and so is extraction of all the OTHER energy sources. Your point?
“And on the face of it I think that’s what they’re still saying here – that it’s the big guilty parties in the industrial and economic worlds that need to be dismantled, and from there our general practices and approach need to change. But attacking the stuff regular people can do isn’t going to achieve that. And playing right into the hands of the fossil fuel people definitely isn’t going to achieve it.”
Your last point is, I think, what I’m saying is happening with this movie. Maybe you’re saying that too. But yes, regular people can’t save the world on this one, and we all knew that. Kindly don’t rub our faces in it though, Moore! I mean if you listen to what any leaders of this movement say here, or other leaders like Greta, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard them all say individual people can’t fix this. I’m thinking of AOC in particular, for examples here. And Bernie of course. Ahh Bernie. Damnit.
“Moore’s right about how the pandemic has shown us that we can act, immediately. And we, the little people, have significantly reduced carbon emissions worldwide. It’s still not enough, because the big companies are still fucking everything up. So something else needs to give. And I don’t think he’s wrong about this being over by the (northern hemisphere) summer, either.”
Right it’s still not enough, but now I’m starting to get the impression that he felt he had to convince the little people that we weren’t making enough of a difference in our own lives to fix it. But that’s an obvious point. I thought everyone knew that. Did Moore really think he had to wake us up that larger action was needed?
I think he’s wrong about the pandemic being over by the summer, I definitely do. American stupidity will see to that. Right now, you might see our total daily new cases going down, but that is solely due to NY. There are several states sharply increasing right now, due to rejection of science combined with desperation.
This will last into the Fall. And I’m arrogant enough to say all my other predictions about this have been right so far. Barring a miracle vaccine/cure/whatever, it will extend into the Fall. If only that it will resurge because we make more stupid mistakes and assumptions between now and then, as it does fade in the summer.
All true, good points. You’re right, the idea that we can’t make a difference when corporations aren’t trying, so why bother, is exactly what we want to avoid. Sure, maybe we can only make a negligible difference, but it’s still an adjustment in our life practices and philosophy. And we’ve just seen that if enough of us do that, it makes a difference.
Because it’s us right now, cutting back to save ourselves. I heard somewhere that this has caused a 5% reduction in carbon emissions. We need something like 8%, every year, but that’s not much slack the industrial complex needs to pick up. Shit, maybe they could even do more and we could return to almost normal lives.
The cynic in me thinks that feels like a pretty big reason the establishment is pushing to reopen. Too much more of this new normal and we might just make it difficult for them to resume poverty farming us.
Like other Moore movies and books (which is why I think of this as a Moore), this really doesn’t have many concrete solutions. They insist it’s not about population control (“we’re just saying what the UN has said about the population, is the UN in favour of population control?”), well then, what? We should all go back to living more simply, with hardly any machines or electronics? Sure, let’s try that. I know it’s wasteful. I don’t think going Luddite is the answer, since we can support a massive electronic infrastructure, if we just get our power generation shit together. What, did they think the fossil fuel industry, that we’ve been building since the 19th Century, was just going to stop?
Yeah the article convinced me, although I already suspected this. Someone has sold out here. Perhaps many someoneS. Michael Moore has fought the good fight many times, but Josh Fox is still in the good fight and not a celebrity like Moore is. He is against this movie, and in the article you sent, and that was enough for me. I trust Josh Fox over Michael Moore.
Haven’t seen my video yet but I’m sure it’s just going to rehash the BS from the movie and swear he wasn’t influenced.
Look it’s happening to everyone. The pressure breaks you, and you sell out. I get it. Just don’t expect me to trust you anymore.
This isn’t super well-written (a discussion of the discussions? Really?), but it knows its wheelhouse. And it uses the word “truthiness” which frankly doesn’t get enough airtime. It also contains a lot of good links to other articles, but I haven’t read those. And heaps of citations from other experts.
Some people might bristle at the idea that Planet of the Humans is not for the layman and won’t be properly seen through and understood by non-experts, but I’m fine with that. That’s why there are experts.
Films for Action took the movie down but then put it back up again. Here’s their statement (copy-pasted from the article):
And this may be worth a watch: