Planet of the Humans; movie review: Pat O’Dea


If you must see a movie this year, you must see this movie.

If nothing else, it will get you thinking.

(And you don’t have to gather in a movie theatre to view it).

With its damning exposure of systemic corporate ‘Green Washing’, involving as it has, some leading Green and climate change organisations, this movie has landed like a bombshell in the midst of the environmental and climate change movement, causing some of them to make some (slight) policy backdowns in their support for the bio-mass industry, which was heavily critiqued in the movie.

However despite this slight vindication, planet of the Humans has had mixed reviews from the Left and the environmental movement,

TDB Recommends

Claims of misrepresentation and lies aimed at this movie, by some in the environmentalist movement, have even led to calls for its censorship and removal from the internet.

There are two main charges made against this movie from the Left:

The first charge, is that over the ten year gestation of this movie, a lot of its information about the efficiency of alternative Green energy has become outdated, and that modern solar and wind energy alternatives are way more efficient than the examples given in the movie. A claim that may have some merit, but in my opinion is a rather petty quibble that doesn’t take away from the main premise of this movie, that alternative green energy is incapable of powering human civilisation at our current levels of consumption, (and waste).

The other claim made about this movie is that it is “eco-fascist”. That it flirts with population control and eugenics.

To me the main message of this movie is that we must cut back.

The Covid Crisis shows that it is possible.

‘Humans’, ‘us’ have lost our way. Or more accurately have yet to find it. The climate crisis is only one example; the savage wars, including acts of genocide, we have committed against each other, is another tragic example, that humanity is still finding its way..

The Covid Reset

The main point of this movie, that its critics universally ignore, is that to save the planet, (and ourselves), we must cut back.

Trying to replace hugely wasteful levels of resource use with the same level of renewables, a fact made very powerfully in this movie, is actually physically impossible.

But the Covid crisis proves the main premise of this movie, it is possible to cut back.

The solutions are all around us. Free public transport to incentivise people out of hugely environmently damaging and terribly wasteful resource use, private cars.

We were told this was impossible.

All of a sudden it is possible. (i)

We were told that housing the homeless was equally impossible. Again literally within days, accommodation was found for them. (ii)

At the highest levels of government, traveling hundreds of miles by air to attend a meeting has been replaced by Zoom. (iii)

Cheap mass air commuting may never be the same.

The same with the hugely polluting cruise ship industry, as people realise that they are little more than floating human petri dishes. (And have been for a long time. A few years ago my father who is now 84 went on one of these cruises and told me that they had to quarantine one half of the ship off to stop an outbreak of the flue that ripping through the passengers. It is not widely advertised that these ships carry quite extensive on-board morgues.)

Representatives of Waikato Tainui report that the Waikato and the Waipa rivers have not looked this clean in a long time.

During the lockdown while most of the workforce were locked down, the ‘economy’ of profit and growth almost ground to a halt. But the real economy of providing food and shelter and health  care never missed a beat. The implications are clear, a lot of the population are engaged in meaningless work.

A UBI has been talked about seriously by Grant Robertson, the Minister of finance. A UBI would free many from doing meaningless wasteful jobs, just to pay our bills. (iv)

Personally speaking, there are much more rewarding things I would rather be doing than be a wage slave.

To me this movie was honest and clear eyed, not eco-fascist as its critics claim..

It may be a little trite, in the repeating of it, but ‘The world has enough for our need. But not for our greed’, is what I thought this movie was about.

(i) Public transport will continue to be free while we are at Alert Level 3.

(ii) Coronavirus: Homeless given motel rooms during COVID-19 lockdown

(iii) UK government defends PM’s use of Zoom

(iv) Coronavirus: Finance Minister considers universal basic income to ward off economic peril




Pat is an activist, Unionist and writer.


  1. You are wrong about renewables if you consider that nuclear energy can be scaled up in 10 years.

    This movie is wrong about a lot of things. For the past 2 months the US has produced more renewable wind and solar energy than coal. And this year coal use is set to decline by about 20% while renewables is set to increase by about 10% purely due to U.S. Government incentives.

    It’s like all the anti capitalists is still stuck in 2015 thinking when everyone though that technology would remain stationary with there “the world is doomed” mentality. The incentives for entrepreneurs to create better commercial scale batteries is huge.

    The tough questions about whether the whole through life energy cost of mining and through life cost whether renewables can produce more energy than it costs to create is a difficult question but it’s one that can be answered Yknow is electric plans a matured technology? No but that doesn’t mean it could be in the next ten years.

    Yknow people said the same things about Eddison inventing the lightbulb.

    • Its a finite and over populated planet.
      No matter what is done we cannot continue the way we have for much longer.
      The rest is picky detail.

      • Yeah but John we can’t allow an argument like over pollution to retard our material science development.

        • At the minimum when ever JohnW mentions population controls or non renewables (which we’ve gone over many times before) my immediate reaction is “oh god her comes another cultural revolution death squad for the non believers,” we can talk about overpopulation if JohnW wants to press me but none the less it gets him out of having to go ham on the roving revolutionary death squads when ever I introduce the small point idea that perhaps a planned economy will be better than Yknow getting heated over how many children woman are having and this was me debating JohnW in the early days after coming straight out of defending woman’s right to choice abortion or not, then been immediately confronted by JohnW tacitly implying that he or an economic formula for depopulation will control how many children a woman will have.

          I guess the choice bit is really important, in the early debates we kind of didn’t really believe in a pragmatic belief about capitalism so let’s say that the economist says there’s no evidence for overpopulation and there’s no evidence for overpopulation based on simple science (we can go in on the science but for this discussions I’ll skip over it) and then I would say no we can believe in a population crash because we want a higher utility or a better outcome or happiness or pleasure or what ever.

          So we don’t really have that much to gain if JohnW happens to be correct about population growth and then he kind of says “become anti-energy.” That’s really oversimplified but I think it shows the weaknesses of the argument. That’s one of the reasons why I thought no! if we make some adjustments to that argument and base it on decision-theory and my argument was “well the foetus is apart of the woman so technically it’s her choice” and then there’s the fathers decision theory but it’s kind of weird where we should look at the probability of each potential outcome and the probability of each outcome is usually multiplied by the reward or cost by taking that action.

          So let’s do a quick crash course in decision theory and let’s say that I force contraception on to woman or even social contraceptive where I put up tight boarder controls to control which immigrants come in and out of my country and who gets to Yknow procreate Yknow some sort of top down contraceptive well now I’m going to look like a complete ass if I am wrong and the population goes up anyway. But let’s say that woman CHOOSES to abide by these new norms which would be most ideal because there’s no roving deaths squads and I still get to use condoms.

          So basically when one decision is multiplied by the expected utility then the other decision is going to get overcrowded. “Does this make sense I want to get an idea of if I understand the argument as well as does everyone else understand?”

          • Sam you may have added some things to what I have consistently put forward.
            Controlling the worlds population will happen because we are in population “overshoot” being the correct term, when looking at the macro economics of this planet
            Either humans use their intelligence to reduce population in a humane way or we will suffer a steep decline of population due to lack of resources and food, unless fighting for resources or disease strikes us first. This is well beyond a personal choice matter.

            Energy is the second item you have mentioned.
            Humans lived in a fairly agrarian community pattern for many thousands of years. World population say 7000 years ago was about 5 million. , Changes about the 1600s started to appear. Population up to that time grew very slowly.


            Population growth depended largely on food, shelter and habitat when population numbers are relativity low by today’s levels. As local resources were taxed the humans expanded their territory and but numbers still rose slowly.
            Before agrarian communities developed, food was gathered, but as small family sized communities started to establish primitive horticulture then community size was able to grow. Horticulture was labour intensive and beasts were used to provide energy to plow, draw and carry water as well as transport food. Community size often grew, and with that the local natural resources became taxed. Forests became harvested beyond a sustainable level so other sources of energy were sought to save wood for building shelter,tools, weapons, boats, sledges, carts, fences and the many items necessary for the larger communities with more complex economics.
            Coal use became more widespread and used for energy to produce heating and production of metals in some societies where suitable minerals were discovered. More efficient tools, weapons and primitive machinery followed which led to an increase in food supply so populations increased in these communities. Steam engines evolved and shortly after mineral oil was harvested to provide an even greater supply of energy to enhance food supply.
            So we see a significant change in human communities from 1700 odd on when the human population doubled in 150 years. Human population started to expand exponentially.

            This expansion was a product of increased energy harvesting and use.
            But the Non Renewable Natural Resources were being consumed to supply energy, machinery and infrastructure.

            When ever energy is harvested and used then resources are consumed to do that, waste is produced, pollution results and environment gets changed along with the population of living things in that environment.

            In the 1960s various changes to the global environment were becoming very obvious and written about creating a growing section of the world community with increased alarm.

            A study was done by the MIT for a business group and in 1972 a ground breaking document of which 30 million copies were produced, changed the way science had been applied to measuring past changes to the planet and showing future trends if nothing was changed from business as usual. The document was entitled Limits to Growth.

            The global business community scoffed at it and proceeded to manufacture lies about what it showed, Those lies still live on today but the MIT’s scientific approach has stood tested and shown to be incredibly accurate.

            On several counts human population has limits as does the Earths atmosphere, its mineral resources, the space to bury trash and the consumption of Non Renewable Natural Resources. ( NRNRs)

            Of all the NRNRs on Earth at 1800 we have consumed close to two thirds and are consuming them faster than ever before. We have used up the easy to get minerals, water and soil to a large degree. What is left will become harder to exploit and many resources are gone. We have lost vast tracts of wilderness essential to the ecology of Earth as we know it.

            Civilisation will crash if we slow this rate of consumption as we are hooked economically with our present lifestyles and political structures and overshot population.

            But a crash is predicted as was shown in the graphs produced at 1972 in the LTG report.

            Our DSIR assigned a team to work on possible outcomes from this LTG revelation but that team and the DSIR were disbanded by the NZ govt.

            The LTG report has been analysed by many Universities and scientific organisations including the CSIRO several times, in 2014 by Melbourne University and found to be right on track.


            I could give dozens of links from reputable scientific institutions but unless some in depth reading has been done around the subject then it may be easy for disinterested folk just to walk away in ignorance.

            This link has reviews and more recent opinions of economists and scientists plus a review of the gross inaccuracies and lies from business and political institutional mouth pieces.


            If you prefer a video outlining LTG


            We cannot make nature’s limits disappear with wishful thinking.

            So with the overshoot of human population only China appears to have a strategy of population control with limiting numbers of children. The China population may peak within the next 5 years or sooner.
            But China’s contribution will not save the human race.

            From the Smithsonian
            “The business-as-usual scenario estimated that if human beings continued to consume more than nature was capable of providing, global economic collapse and precipitous population decline could occur by 2030.”

            If you wish to have an in depth understanding of the science and data then I suggest downloading The Limits To Growth and reading it through.
            The Interesting graphs start on page 124


            This is not about trivial political discussion but a glimpse of a bigger picture to which you can add what we now know of global warming, acidification of the ocean and over fishing. loss of soil world wide, diminishing reserves of ground water, melting ice and sea level rise. nuclear arms and extreme spending on weapons.

            Opt in to finding a basis for understanding what lies ahead if you wish.

            A much smaller population about that of 1800 or even 1900 may have a much better future prospect if they lived as humans did about 1800.

            A low energy consuming, low resource consuming mainly agrarian communities.

            Perhaps we need to crash first and a much smaller number eke out a living on the extremely depleted resources. Human intelligence is noteworthy for its blindness across many simple thoughts.

  2. Yes, Michael Moore, producer rather than director this time, has copped some flack on this one. Moore is bombastic and a bit sloppy sometimes, he does not fit neatly into an ideological category. But, in not running with the herd, he is sometimes ahead of it. When he got an Oscar at the height of “Dubya’s” time, he was booed off the stage for saying the attack on Iraq was an illegal war and that weapons of mass destruction were unlikely to be found–he was proved correct on both counts.

    “Planet of the Humans”, rushed out to coincide with 50th Earth Day, makes some very good points about recycling, and renewables, and green energy in the ownership of for profit capitalists. Support Greta and the climate strikers, learn from young people that have to cope with the pile of shit world they have inherited–do your bit–many under 40s already are!

  3. But the middle class and the rich dont want to reduce their consumption! They just want everyone else too! The poor and the ostricised, the vulnerable and the less fortunate to have and consume less and survive on less because theyre not worthy of being treated as equals!

    Greta Washing Capitalism is a thing.

    • Hi Chris, The fact remains, that despite knowing for 60 years that burning fossil fuels at the rates we are will dangerously warm the planet, the burning of fossil fuels has increased and is accelerating and is continuing to increase and accelerate, despite the growth in alternative Green Energy.

      As Mike Moore has commented recently, the Covid Pandemic has cut more greehhouse gases from the atmosphere in one week than the Green movement has in 60 years.

      I have watched and read a number of these sorts of critiques like the one you have supplied. You are right, your one is pretty low-key. Many are for more hysterical and shrill than the one you supplied. But they all share with your video the same basic criticisms of the movie. One; That the stats given in the movie on the efficiency of alternative ‘Green Energy’ are out of date, and that modern alternative wind and solar systems have achieved better efficiencies, than the examples given in the movie.
      Two; that the movie offers no solutions, other than a culling of the human population. (Leading into the charge of eco-fascism leveled at Jeff Gibbs and Mike Moore). I watched one such video, exactly the same talking points as this one you have supplied, that more shrilly than your video accused Gibbs and Moore of advocating genocide. Ironically the closing credits were full of thanks to their sponsors in the solar power industry.

      Finally I would like to make the point that it is wrong that this movie offers no solutions, which is one of the accusations mad in the video you supplied. Within the first few minutes of the movie the narrator states, “We must cut back”.

      The excellent and worthy documentary supplied by Cushla makes the same point. We must cut back.

      Here is Gibbs and Moore responding to their critics.

        • Yeah that’s nice Pat but how do we carrying those emissions reductions over into the recovery because as far as I’m aware no pandemic in all of history has caused an economic contractions. In fact wages have always gone up after a pandemic and more wages means more consumption. So I think it would benefit you of we go over those emmisions reduction goals again.

      • We must cut back on energy harvesting and consumption full stop.
        To harvest energy for consumption we must use energy and Non Renewable Natural Resources. These are finite and rapidly being depleted.

        To store, distribute and use harvested energy we must use energy and more Non Renewable Natural Resources which are being rapidly depleted.

        The store of Non Renewable Natural Resources is now diminished to approximately one third of what was there in 1800 but our rate of consuming these has increased exponentially. The last quarter of the all time store of Non Renewable Natural Resources will be too hard to exploit as the concentration will be too low to harvest economically and the sought after rarer Non Renewable Natural Resources will soon be of a scarcity that food supply will dwindle at first the drop sharply.
        Already industrialisation is beginning to falter which heralds the start of decline..

        We don’t need more energy.
        We need to live with a lot less and gradually adapt to use only what can be harvested organically. This means using natural materials frugally such as timber to build sailing ships, windmills and water wheels so supplies of timber are not diminished locally but frugally managed. Fibre from flaxes, hemp, cotton or other organic sources similarly and animal products such as leather, wool, horns, glue from hooves, oil from animals and plants but with a local management as transporting is not a simple task.

        Reducing human numbers is not eco-fascism. It will happen either by intelligent planning such as used in China or by starvation and disease or worse.

    • More on how the Corona virus is doing more to cut back human made air pollution and greenhouse emissions all around the world.

      ‘Nothing like this in recent times’: Photo of Mt Everest goes viral
      19 May, 2020 8:25pm

      It’s a view that locals say they haven’t seen for years, but as parts of the world remain in lockdown, and air traffic remains at an all time low, a natural wonder has made a long awaited comeback in the sky.

      Pollution levels across the globe seem to have come down, and for the first time in many years, Mt Everest has become visible once again from Kathmandu Valley, even though it is 200km away…..

    • Kia ora Cushla

      ‘My thoughts on this one’.

      Not as hard hitting, and up in your face, as the Jeff Gibbs film, but a worthy documentary sharing the same theme as ‘Planet of the Humans’.

      Which is – “The world has enough for our need but not for our greed.”

      Thank you.

  4. I started watching the film and abandoned it about 15 minutes in.
    It was outdated, inaccurate and pushed well debunked right wing and science denier PRATT*s.

    Seriously, its critics are correct.

    * = Points Refuted A Thousand Times.

    • RC
      How can you know what points it “pushed” if you only watched a sixth of it? I personally thought it was a reasonably accurate portrayal of Gibbs’ progression from Green; acolyte to apostate, which can not really be seen as being inaccurate without entirely denying his lived experience.

      I felt that Moore’s hand was more evident in the sometimes manipulative editing techniques. It’s a shame I haven’t been on-site much and came to this discussion a bit late, as I watched it a couple of times and did some background reading a few weeks back.

      My takeaway, was that; we really have to get down to the brass tacks of any claimed benefits of environmentally conscious projects. The spin can be deceiving, if people are willing to allow themselves to be decieved, so as to avoid much harder choices.

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