“Planet of the Humans,” a documentary film released on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22), looks behind the curtain to reveal the real inconvenient truth behind many forms of renewable energy. Jeff Gibbs wrote and directed the documentary which was produced by the ever-controversial Michael Moore and less-controversial Ozzie Zehner (author of Green Illusions).
I viewed the film on Earth Day and was unimpressed that it only had around 26,000 views on YouTube. However, two weeks later the documentary had over 6.7 million views and was getting the attention of and negative comments from the renewable energy industry.
The documentary paints several renewable energy choices as being no better than fossil fuels. This is particularly true with biofuels. Wind and solar energy do not survive unscathed and neither form of alternative energy comes out looking as green as proponents would have you believe – since producing the solar panels or wind turbines also require vast amounts of fossil fuel and other resources.
Several environmental groups and leading proponents for “beyond coal” renewables come off as blatant hypocrites. Many groups, such as the Sierra Club and Bill McKibbon’s 350.org supported biofuels that produced as much carbon dioxide as fossil fuels. Al Gore’s inconvenient truth was that he supported investing in biofuels before producing “Inconvenient Truth.”
It is too simplistic to think all renewable energy is good and that it has no adverse impact on the environment. Clearing the landscape of forests to use as biofuel or to “plant” solar panels in place of trees is hardly green. There are tradeoffs with all energy choices. It is important that these choices begin with an honest discussion of the tradeoffs. “Planet of the Humans” raises important concerns that need to be part of that discussion.
The movie will be up for a limited time on YouTube (if you want to get an idea of how many people viewed it or to leave comments). You can also access the movie “Planet of the Humans” directly on its own website.