Review of “Planet of the Humans”, a Film Directed by Jeff Gibbs & Michael Moore, Executive Producer.

Planet of the Humans”, the controversial film on environmentalism, in production for the past several years, was surprisingly released on Earth Day this year. Director and narrator, Jeff Gibbs, has been a collaborator on several of Michael Moore’s documentaries in the past.

In the week since its release, “Planet of the Humans” has been widely criticized as “depressing,” “offering no hope or solutions” to the growing mal-consequences of human-induced climate change. I believe this is a misreading of Gibbs and Moore’s intent, coming from a perspective trapped in a neoliberal worldview that cannot get out of our capitalist economic box.

Central Thesis

True, the loosely organized litany of the shortcomings of “green” alternatives to fossil fuel energy can be depressing. However, it is also true that some of the largest and best known players in the environmental movement of the last 50 years, such as the Sierra Club, and the efforts of Al Gore have been compromised and overtaken by Wall Street billionaires in the service of profit.

The answer is not despair or the abandonment of environmental activism but rather a dedicated commitment to reverse the resolute drive for economic growth, an organizing principle of capitalist society. “The Planet of the Humans” is a call to acknowledge the limitations of our world’s natural resources and build a society of cooperation rather than competition to lessen consumption and live more simply. Continued “capitalist growth is suicide,” Gibbs proclaims.

This insane thrust to an unsustainable direction by our national leaders was emphatically punctuated during last evening’s news. Nancy Pelosi, when asked if she was concerned that the four Congressional bills passed thus far dealing with the coronavirus has grown the national deficit by 2.7 trillion dollars to be dealt with by the next generation, was quoted as saying, “We will just have to grow out of it” once this pandemic subsides and our economy recovers.

The Limits of Economic Growth

We are the only species capable of destroying itself. We don’t need to “save the planet,” we need to save our human species from its own recklessness. This reminds me of Walt Kelly’s old Pogo comic strip quote: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”