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A Malthusian Confronts Renewables (review of ‘Planet of the Humans’)

By Sherri Lange -- May 7, 2020

“Anti-mineral-energy Big Green has been hoisted by its own petard.”

“Solar and wind cannot replace fossil fuels. They are intermittent and always need to be backed up with non-renewable sources. In the case of solar and wind factories, the process of building, maintaining, and rapid replacement is overwhelmingly irresponsible, destructive, and short sighted.”

Ronald Reagan said back in 1964:

… anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we’re denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we’re always “against” things — we’re never “for” anything. Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

Would you like to see a documentary chronicling “what isn’t so”? Check out the multi-million-view U-Tube sensation, Planet of the Humans by “equal opportunity offender” Michael Moore (with producer Jeff Gibbs).

In short, the anti-mineral-energy Big Green has been hoisted by its own petard.

The film uses landscapes of post apocalyptic scope, and piercing personal interviews; stabbing but yet strangely subtle exposes of renewable-energy fraudsters; and a series of questions to create “awareness.” (Some of the interviewees are Green icons: Al Gore, Bill McKibbon of Green New Deal fame, Sir Richard Branson, to name a few.)  It is an ambitious movie crafted by Jeff Gibbs, writer and director; Michael Moore, producer, with brilliant interviews; and coproducer Ozzie Zehner, of “Green Illusions,” fame.

It is Ozzie who informs us that solar panels are made of quartz and coal. And that not only the production process but quick decay plus the destruction to desert life makes solar panels a questionable proposition for real environmentalists. Behind-the-curtain now has a spotlight.

The movie–providing open disclosure on green mythologies, incongruities, along with just dead wrong approaches to “fixing” and enhancing energy systems–is bravely done. There is a great deal of exposing, “what isn’t so.”) The director and producer also deftly expose the financial web of many green causes and their promoters. (We regret the absence of exposure of the wind turbine debacle, but perhaps that will be in Part Two.)

Planet of the Humans could not cover the entire scope of the harm of “renewables” in its hour and forty minutes. Many of us versed in the subjects have quietly discussed what was missed in this film: images and commentary on birds and insects being fried mid-air above solar arrays (Ivanpah), thousands, or millions, tens of millions, bird, bats and insects, sliced, exploded lungs, by industrial wind.

This was a missed opportunity to portray the devastated landscapes, habitats, including ocean creatures subjected to noise and infra-sound beyond sustainable life. Some are experts in the technical and economic failures of green promises are here, Wayne Lusvardi, and here, Mark Krebs and Tom Tanton, who would be worthy subjects for a Planet of the Humans II.

But let’s talk about the film as it is: a formidable visual portrayal of the shams of renewables, promoters in full verbal gear, some Renewables Leaders, stupefied by simple questions about biofuels, shots of protestors, dialogues with people who contemplate and research and study where the human race is going.

It is fascinating. The ironies abound, and the slightly wry tone from time to time, adds depth to the seriously deep contemplation. It is, in a way, a combination of Super Size Me (filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s spoof on cultural excess) meets tragic ironic cultural commentary of Bowling for Columbine, meets take your pick of “doom pics.”

However you wrap it in movie context, it is for my taste, a very self-aware narrative, allowing the photography to create most of the story. (One could add two more full feature films to cover more details, and we would welcome that.)

The Narrative Unmasked

Planet exposes the myths of Green Energy, targeting the ironies of promoters who bravely assert their program is 100% Green Energy, or is “sustainable,” or green, and effectively displacing carbon dioxide emissions.

The docufilm exposes little known details that many do not know: electric cars are indeed powered by coal. It shares with the viewer ironies of  famous filmmaker and former US Vice President Al Gore’s green profit motives as leader of the global green energy revolution. (“Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy.”)

A choice memorable scene depicts a brief interview with a noticeably deadpan Robert F Kennedy Jr, whose expression is puzzled and blank as the movie’s narrator, Jeff Gibbs, asks him innocently in a flat tone: are you for or against biofuels? He clearly does not know.

By this time, the viewer has seen the razed forests, heard the commentary on the necessary back up systems, (coal and gas) and heard a plaintive female interviewee resident near Lake Superior woefully discussing the incinerator in her community that burns just about anything, including nearby forests, while spewing black toxic dust into the once clear air. The camera equally lingers on her tearful face, as sincere a person as exists, as on Robert F Kennedy Jr’s blank stare.

What is clear is that the interviewees do not appear to have much knowledge about energy, and are in a way as misinformed as the former Leader of the Green Party in Canada, Elizabeth May. Her response to the Michael Moore/Jeff Gibbs movie, is to call it dreadful and unhelpful: “The grid is for storage. That is our premise in Mission: Possible.  Feed into the grid when renewables produce above local demand; draw from the grid when renewables drop.” One can easily see the lack of knowledge by Ms. May and her addition to an already abundant confusion.

The movie is about other things:

  • Solar and wind cannot replace fossil fuels. They are intermittent and always need to be backed up with non-renewable sources. In the case of solar and wind factories, the process of building, maintaining, and rapid replacement is overwhelmingly irresponsible, destructive, and short sighted.
  • Much time is allotted to portraying the damage, harm and profit taking of biofuels.
  • Electric cars are also fossil-fuel heavy. They are charged via the conventional grid. Basically, power-up or plug in stations are fed from local utilities, which are of course gas and coal heavy.
  • The Green Energy movement is laden with profit takers, insincere, unknowledgeable, and apparently rapacious in consumption of materials, landscapes, wildlife.

The movie is also about providing visual confirmation of the destruction: this is extremely powerful footage, and I suspect many of us have not seen some of those images. 

The panorama of tree removal sequentially showing a long shot of stripping an entire forested area, bulldozed, razed, while watching a mother and child bonobo climb higher on a stripped tree, eventually scrambling, clearly exhausted, in the muddy bank of the river, is as heart wrenching a scene as could be offered on the theme of environmental carnage.

Fodder for Planet II

Some are wondering where is the equal time given to birds and bats which are demolished in the tens of millions per year, insect life as well, by wind turbines.

Where is the equal time to other wildlife displacement and unimaginable, in cases terminal, destruction? We suspect the intense power of the last scenes with the near death bonobos is sufficient to suggest the ongoing and pervasive harm to animals and flying creatures, and habitat, and that this is the tip of the iceberg.

Other running themes troubling to many, include the director’s acceptance of inevitable apocalyptic climate change, which to many is the “charging station” for harmful and useless wind and solar and biomass.

Also, the Malthusian solution drifts in and out, that there are simply too many people on the planet. That food sources cannot keep up with population expansion. Highly controversial, Malthusian theory is largely disputed. It’s ugly history traverses India, China, and the US, to name a few.

Still, going forward begins with creating awareness. For a film producer and director who must have spent thousands of hours scouring international film archives and directing fresh film, Planet of the Humans is an achievement. But this beginning deserves a sequel and, finally, a deep dive into Malthusianism and its latest iteration, climate alarmism.


You cannot fail but be impressed with the visual scope of the portrayal of production of solar, mining, child labor, international transportation, lame or nonexistent materials control and disposal of toxic waste. Much of it is here. In technicolor.

At once it is shocking; terrifyingly busy images of barges carrying materials, barren landscapes, time lapse destroyed forests, toxic rivers, and hauntingly unforgettable plumes of blackened air space, more riveting in light of the “greenness” they represent.

Our view, and that of colleagues very versed in the collateral harm of “renewables,” is that the images in the movie are merely “representative” of much more massive destruction. 


Filmmaker Michael Moore calls this movie, the “most urgent film we have shown in the 15-year history of our film festival.” Environmentalist Michael Donnelly described the film last summer as critically important and warned:

Sure, ‘Planet,’ Jeff [Gibbs], Ozzie [Zehner] and Michael [Moore] will come under fierce fire from those who benefit from the current half (at best) measures. Already, many of the organizations and people – a huge multimillion dollar Climate Campaign industry … have panned it, without ever even seeing it.”

Others call for the movie’s removal based on climate bias, or other perceived dangers, referring to it as a gift to Big Oil.   Already at six million views, we hope millions more will view the film during the few remaining weeks it is hosted on You Tube. Consider this a Course 101 in Renewables.

Ozzie Zehner in a talk some hears ago (2012), asks: “Ten years from now, will we think of renewable energy as clean and green?” The question, rhetorical, has even deadlier consequences now.


Quote: Jeff Gibbs, narrator.

“Everywhere I encountered green energy, it wasn’t what it seemed,” Gibbs says at one point. “It was enough to make my head explode.”

Quote: Reviewers, Frederic and Maryann Brussat

A delusion-shattering documentary on how the environmental and green energy movements have been taken over by capitalists.

Quote: Jeff Gibbs, narrator at the beginning of the film, asks bystanders.

“How you ever wondered what would happen if a single species took over an entire planet? Maybe they are cute; maybe they are clever, but lack a certain self-restraint. What if they go way, way, way, way, way too far? How would they know when it is their time to go?”

Quote from review:

No amount of batteries are going to save us, warns director Jeff Gibbs (lifelong environmentalist and co-producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine”). This urgent, must-see movie, a full-frontal assault on our sacred cows, is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way—before it’s too late.

Featuring: Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Richard Branson, Robert F Kennedy Jr., Michael Bloomberg, Van Jones, Vinod Khosla, Koch Brothers, Vandana Shiva, General Motors, 350.org, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nature Conservancy, Elon Musk, Tesla.

Please see this list of other reviews by John Droz, as well as some of his own perspectives.

Excellent full length Michael Moore movie: Planet of the Humans
Michael Moore Documentary Reveals Massive Ecological Impacts Of Renewables
“Planet Of The Humans” Skewers Renewables, Delivers Same Old Anti-Humanism
Michael Moore stumbles upon the truth about so-called ‘green’ energy
Moore Rolls Out Movie Destroying A Common Enviro Left Narrative
Moore-backed Doc Tackles ‘False Promises’ of Green Energy
Michael Moore Is Now the Green New Deal’s Worst Enemy
Left-Wing Activists Are Trying to Cancel Michael Moore
Professor Can’t Muzzle Moore Movie; Must Pay Defendants’ Legal Fees
Alex Epstein: The five things Planet of the Humans gets (mostly) right
Short video: Michael Moore Goes Nuclear On Green Energy
Michael Moore pulls the chain on renewable energy
Guardian: Contrarian eco-doc from the Michael Moore stable
Moore Movie Acknowledges Green Energy Is Tommyrot
Green Brownshirts Strike at Michael Moore


  1. Marshall Rosenthal  




  2. Pauli Sommer  

    It would have been a real clincher to the wind industry to have included in this documentary, the harm to health from audible and sub audible noise emitted from industrial wind turbines.

    If viewers would have seen the video clip from cardiologist, Dr. Ben Johnson saying that what we need is an “epiphany” on this ethical crisis, they would be forewarned of the liability issues that are coming, when residents file lawsuits.


    The video of the Nurse, Evan Davis, from NYS would have also clearly shown the viewers that there are serious health concerns from living within clusters of turbines.


    I hope there will be a sequel!
    On second thought, why would a modern-day Malthusian care about harming innocent men, women and children.


  3. kakatoa  

    Why was Crescent Dunes mothballed?

    Was it a fundamental failure of the Ivanpah like concentrating tower of power/babel or was it the failure of the energy storage part of the project that was supposed to make RE dis-patchable?



  4. Sherri Lange  

    Marshall, thanks. For my take, this docu film could not embrace all possible solutions, even a low hanging fruit one like new nuclear. The one solution they seem to offer, fewer people, is facile, incorrect, and I felt, not worth discussing in the review. Awareness, is the ultimate goal, it seems, in this film, and as noted, we hope very much, a lot of us, that there will be Part Two. I was honestly very pleased with the imagery, real footage, a lot of it fresh, not canned, and some of course historic. From what I am hearing, people who were unaware, found the footage astounding and powerful, enough of a statement of current pseudo ECO affairs to merit watching and sending to others. Could have included the debacle of wind, absolutely. That really merits one film to itself.


  5. Suzanne Albright  

    Here in NYS, where Gov. Cuomo is hoping, via Article 23 that was conveniently maneuvered into the 2020-21 budget, to turn upstate into 25,000 acre solar fields- yes, 25,000 acres each, to provide intermittent, unreliable energy requiring constant conventional back up, to downstate. Those many thousands of otherwise agricultural and other suburban and rural properties will be cleared, wildlife and their habitats removed, and replaced with solar fields that will eventually decay and rot where they are (based on what has happened in other places), just like broken down, rotting industrial wind projects (NOT to be mistaken for “wind farms”, an oxymoron). How many birds and other flying animals will burst into flames while in flight, cremated in the air, never to be counted? No one will ever find out. Please watch this documentary before it is removed. And, thanks to Sherri Lange for once again taking the time to share valuable information.


  6. Sherri Lange  

    Crescent Dunes. Nevada. We need a lot of space, and ongoing….because it is contentious to this day. And mysterious.

    “One of the highest-profile failures at Crescent Dunes was an eight-month shutdown caused by a leak in the plant’s molten salt thermal storage tank. SolarReserve’s lawsuit blamed the leak on ACS Cobra, a Spanish company that carried out the engineering, procurement and construction work for Crescent Dunes.Jan 20, 2020” Ten thousand mirrors, 2 miles wide, a boondoggle and error ridden experiment. A BILLION dollar waste, with outmoded solar panels, and no one seems much to want to talk about it. “Spanish company ACS Cobra, he says, delayed necessary work on Crescent Dunes and designed a salt tank that leaked, crippling the plant. SolarReserve similarly blamed ACS Cobra in its Delaware suit but doesn’t appear to have filed any legal claims against the contractor. Grupo Cobra, ACS Cobra’s parent company, didn’t respond to requests for comment.” I would guess it’s one of those glaring errors that one wishes would just plain “go away.” Hard not to notice!

    I am actually pleased that there was a focus on biofuels and solar in this film, because often the “conversation” is anti wind…..Hoping as I mentioned, we may see a sequel.

    Thanks, Mark, for pointing out this gargantuan wasteful project. Taxpayers on the hook. For this one, on the hook for $737 million in loan guarantees.


  7. Sherri Lange  

    Thanks, Suzanne Albright. Article 23, don’t get me started! This film review might be called: Renewables to Ruinables. ( I wish I had coined it, but give credit to Mr. Purdy from Alberta.)

    When and if we can tally the environmental destruction, and see this film again, it will haunt us if we do nothing in the meanwhile to correct things.

    The imagery of broken toxic solar cells, strewn like so much fake pixie dust and chips, leaking into precious soils of deserts or update NY, doesn’t matter, all are rich in biodiversity, is enough to make you truly STOP in your tracks. I always say a picture is worth….thousands of words….pictures of damaged twisted solar arrays are on line easily accessible: hurricanes, general quick decay.

    So add to the “mix”, decomposing elements from the modules, panels, and the inevitable clean up that is already mounting. Please read the quote below.

    “The problem of solar panel disposal “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment” because it “is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.”
    “The reality is that there is a problem now, and it’s only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago.”
    “Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”
    Were these statements made by the right-wing Heritage Foundation? Koch-funded global warming deniers? The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal?

    None of the above. Rather, the quotes come from a senior Chinese solar official, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. solar industry, and research scientists with the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics.”

    Hardly looking to the “future” for more natural ways of producing power!

    Thank you again, Suzanne.


  8. Sherri Lange  

    Suzanne, I realize you know this, but for those who might want more detail: disposal of solar panel waste is about to burst on us, by 2050 it is estimated to become a massive problem. Shipping toxic solar by product waste to other countries is just moving the waste around. Not a solution. Chems are aluminum, glass, silver and ethylene-vinyl-acetate. Also lead, chromium, and cadmium. Some of these are obviously cancer causing.

    “Solar panels are just one part of the problem of old electronics, which is now the fastest-growing category of waste. China once accepted about 70 percent of the world’s e-waste, but it started refusing to take recycling a couple of years ago.”

    Hurricanes and high force weather events, yes, even rain, takes out some of those, unless in sealed panels, and into ground water eventually. Michael Shellenberger reports that solar panels create “300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.”


  9. Suzanne Albright  

    You make more excellent points, Sherri. Add to that the energy sprawl, the vast amount of necessary acreage created by solar (and wind) facilities, compared to a few acres for reliable, cleaner nuclear that lasts for fifty years and more, and is housed in secure, extremely well constructed power plants- not outside, exposed to harsh weather elements with no protection. Thanks for your thorough responses!


  10. Sherri Lange  

    Once again, thank you Suzanne Albright. I know you have a background in turbine fires, and the toxic fumes and residues of these, and that fires are essentially
    90% under reported. You are deeply appreciated for your advocacy and education.


  11. Michael Spencley  

    By producing this must-see film, Michael Moore has taken a wrecking ball on the House of Renewables. I never thought that I would see the day when he would wear the moniker of being a green heretic. In his traditional quest to provoke thought, he has certainly put the spotlight on the folly of dysfunctional and disastrous sources of renewable sources of energy.

    Part of the power of the film was its broad-scale illustration of the desecration of nature by many sources of so-called green energy including industrial wind, solar, and bio fuelled power plants. As was stated, a whole sequel could be done on the folly of wind alone. However, the gritty image of a broken gang of wind turbine carcasses looking as though they were skeletons sitting on deck chairs on a shipwreck, made for indelible imagery.

    No doubt, Moore will have to suffer the wrath of the “GGG Klan” (Greedy Green Goons) and the sheeple who thought that cigarettes were good for you if a medical doctor was in the advertisement and pitching his favorite brand.

    Many thanks to Master Resources for publishing this review, and to Sherri Lange for writing a very timely and cogent review of this important film.


    • rbradley  

      Thank you Michael for this comment. Yes, Mr. Moore et al. need to do a sequel and have the fake DC Greens visit a wind ‘farm’ and a solar ‘farm’.


  12. Sherri Lange  

    Thanks, Michael. Very well said. Very. It is just so, this is the same propaganda that promoted “safe” smoking, heralded and sold by poster Physicians in white coats: “Because hard working doctors know what a mild good tasting cigarette is,” OR “More doctors smoke Camels…” The wind and solar Greenies also have their propaganda machine, which strangely has lasted quite some time, protected financially and ideologically by governments and corporate agendas. I think this MM and JG docu film exposes in short order, fallacies that are “in our faces.”

    I did not find the film overtly strident, or preachy. Just informational. The results to our environment, suggested, but only in a “taste” fashion, not the full meal, are ongoing and utterly disastrous. I doubt we will know the full extent for hundreds of years. Thanks again for a wonderful comment!


  13. Sherri Lange  

    Pauli Sommer: thanks for the detailed comment. I completely agree. The health impacts would be a FULL feature film on their own. I like that you quote Dr Ben Johnson of Iowa, cardiologist and sleep expert. Thank you so much for the links! During COVID, it is more tragic that people are forced to “shelter” and that again doubles down on the ILFN impacts. I am hopeful that the interest in this docu film will express a need for more information on wind, health, economics, habitat loss and a host of other relevant subjects. We will, I fear, continue to see denigrating comments about this film, but that will only serve to heighten the awareness of the issues. And further expose the charletans.

    As reported in the National Post, Canada, the Green Party photo-shopped a picture of Leader Elizabeth May, with a reusable metal straw and recyclable coffee cup. This seems to be what they are reduced to: more propaganda. It’s funny, but a useful event to show how far some will go to express fakery. https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/election-2019/green-party-used-photoshop-to-add-reusable-cup-and-metal-straw-to-photo-of-elizabeth-may

    Yesterday, or day before, she announces that Oil is Dead. Really? Then she takes a real verbal beating in the virtual Parliament Hearings from a cogent job promoting young Saskatchewan MP, and Parliamentary mayhem ensues. Interesting times.


  14. John Garrett  

    “There is no such thing as bad publicity”
    -Michael Moore


  15. Sherri Lange  

    Love this, John. Thanks.

    Another notable quote, and reflects on the wild popularity of his docu films:

    Michael Moore: “I’m a millionaire, I’m a multi-millionaire. I’m filthy rich. You know why I’m a multi-millionaire? ‘Cause multi-millions like what I do.”


  16. rbradley  

    Nice review of ‘Planet of the Humans’ by David Kreutzer at IER: https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/we-disagree-with-you-so-shut-up/


  17. Sherri Lange  

    So many excellent reviews, and this one shines, Yes. Thanks, Mr. Bradley.


  18. Planet of the Humans, Movie Review, Master Resource, A Malthusian Confronts Renewables | Great Lakes Wind Truth  

    […] “Solar and wind cannot replace fossil fuels. They are intermittent and always need to be backed up with non-renewable sources. In the case of solar and wind factories, the process of building, maintaining, and rapid replacement is overwhelmingly irresponsible, destructive, and short sighted.” See original post at Master Resource: here. […]


  19. david hutzelman  

    With any luck, Planet of the Humans will do to renewables what Silent Spring did to DDT.


  20. Sherri Lange  

    Great comment, David. The count of viewers keeps on escalating, and am wondering what the impact is in Europe at this time. It is a huge accomplishment, and despite the obvious already discussed few problems, this is indeed as momentous as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Just got a message from someone who saw expended turbine blades going through a wood chipper, and directly into landfill. Please, if anyone has film footage of these events, please share? How is it that there are so few rules for wind turbine promoters, developers? Can’t think of a single other industry that operates with so little guidance, if any.

    Here is a quote by Ms Carson, that I like:

    “Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?”
    ― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

    Except, in the case of “ruinables,” it is more than “not quite” fatal, it IS fatal. And the toxic stews being brewed and carelessly, callously sent into our earth, water, will haunt us, destroy us.


  21. Sherri Lange  

    Elizabeth May continues her saga of confusion. (Retiring Leader of the Green Party of Canada)
    Rex Murphy, commenter/columnist supreme. Remember, Oil is Dead, comment from May a few days back. May in her Bashing Alberta oil, and referring to COVID as an “opportunity,” Murphy asks:

    “How many jobs has Elizabeth May created? How many families have been fed by environmental protests? How many poor Canadians were lifted out of the welfare trap because some smug spokesman for a cleaner world gave a press conference? How many Indigenous reserves are better off — their drinking water cleaner, their young people with better prospects — because the Sierra Club, Greenpeace or May’s Green party has been around? What, aside from unending, captious alarmism have they contributed to anyone other than their own specious cause?”

    Mr. Rex Murphy’s reference to Ms. May is universally true of similar environmentalists world wide. All the Sierra’s, many if not most, the Greenpeace (es), all the ornithological societies, many if not most, which claim to “abate” or mitigate harm to wildlife (wind and solar), whilst being part of the profit taking.


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