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Mobilizing Climate Action in the Face of Planet of the Humans

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/28/mobilizing-climate-action-face-planet-humans

The frame of this approach is so freaking condescending! The smeary implication is that this terrible hateful movie, product of MM & friend’s sad degeneration into witting or witless tools of fossil fools, has dealt a dastardly blow to something precious called “climate action”.

You know what this article is really saying? Please don’t watch this movie. Or if you do see it, please don’t take anything it says seriously. Please continue dreaming, dreamers.

I have something to say to the hypnotists, though I doubt they’ll hear me: Please knock it off. The least you can do, for your own credibility, is leave off addressing your readers as if they are unruly children.

But given how untrustworthy the film is, I have no idea if the Sierra Club compromised its principles in the investment companies it promotes.

Oy vey. The poor dear!


I watched the movie and I was not impressed in the least. Mr. Gibbs does a whole lot of griping about various efforts to mitigate the effects of burning fossil fuels. He offers not one solution. Not one. Everything we are attempting to do - everything - is bad, bad, bad. Nothing will work, at least according to Moore and Gibbs. Might as well roll over and just die, I guess.

The film rants about natural gas power plants. Are Michael Moore and his pal, Mr. Gibbs so clueless as to be totally unaware that natural gas is much, much cleaner than coal? I guess so, judging by the film.

Are we gonna solve the climate change problem tomorrow? No. Absolutely not. But we will for certain never solve it if all we do is sit on our thumbs and bitch about how awful we all are. That is a guarantee of failure.

The film was very depressing to me. That is the best I can say for it. Not worth the time.


I find this a poorly and hurriedly written review by Cynthia Kaufman. Her bio reads that she writes against Capitalism but she fails to see the anti-capitalism in the documentary? Actually no, I am wrong, she acknowledges that in a single sentence at the beginning, a small gesture before she can paint the entire documentary wrong.

Her allegation that the director drives a car around is downright silly and childish. She forgets that the director is not the one claiming to be 100% renewable. That is the myth is he trying to focus the viewer’s attention on. If 100% renewable was a dream that occurred to us it was fine. It is a manufactured and concocted dream.

She also expects precision and objectivity but lacks most of it when she suggests that this documentary shouldn’t have come out in current times of Covid-19, when she says “Give the pandemic that is killing so many of our loved ones, that call feels especially wrong right now.”. When is it a good time to talk about things honestly? When we are all dead and gone, dreaming dreams that are stitched up for us?

In the end, she says instead of making documentaries, we are supposed to take action. Documentaries like this will inspire action. Hopefully decentralized, local action that does not rely on a “single idea of environmentalism or climate change” but diverse, non-capitalistic, relevant ideas that work for all of the planet.


I too noticed Kaufmanʻs studied avoidance of the c-word: capitalism, a major focus of the film. Moore and Gibbs offer us an excellent critique of the corporate co-opting of a movement and its leaders. The film offers abundant options for us as we head for the cliff, but they all revolve around the one suggested by Ozzie Zehner in Green Illusions: a major contraction of the human footprint on Earth. Nobody wants to acknowledge THAT solution because it probably involves the r-word: revolution. Moore and Gibbs donʻt go there, but that is what Chris Hedges has been saying for a while now. DuckDuckGo his excellent essay “Chaco Canyon, Chaco Earth.” Either we draw ourselves down or the cliff will do it for us.


OK wait. I fact checked the fact check about Yucca plants. Here is the eHow comment on the life cycle of a yucca plant:

“The majority of yuccas will live hundreds of years although the original plant will not persist. Instead the plant root is long-lived and reproduces new plantlets. The tap root of a yucca is huge, often reaching 60 feet in length. It has fine hairs that help the plant collect water and nutrients.”

The comment about the yucca living 500 years is not unreasonable. Gibbs could have been more specific about a lot of things but thatʻs not the style of any Moore film.

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The solution has to be creating a zero-growth steady-state economy, but with some important caveats to bring the undeveloped and developing world up to a decent standard of life.

What we should know that creating such a sustainable society which Marx described as simple reproduction is impossible under capitalism.



Excellent, really excellent post. Terse, informative, honest, direct. Thanks for hopping by, Rabbit.

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The author misrepresents Bill McKibben’s stance over decades, in which he rallied around renewables and a transition to a low-carbon future as a platform for economic prosperity.

I saw McKibben speak – he gave me every impression that he was “a capitalist to his bones.”

I’ve got news for the author: There will be no semblance of current affluence in the future. And those who say there will be are liars. That’s the point of the documentary.


Welcome to the community.

As an environmental educator/researcher I found that the movie was quite compelling without going into detailed quantitative analysis which would have discouraged many if not most from even getting to its ending. There is a lot of sad truth to the movie, whether one wants to hear the message or not. Humankind has been living large on fossil fuels simply because they represent solar energy that has been stored over eons. It has been like spending a rich uncle’s inheritance without ever really having to work. A damn-near free ride. Is the energy available from renewables alone to power today’s cities and transportation modes? Probably not even for the obscenely unfair living standards among and within nations. When we cobble social justice concerns to renewable energy goals we are talking about taking the metaphorical Etch-a-Sketch and shaking the hell out of it and starting almost from scratch. That’s right, it would take a revolution. Big Money is organized for the fight but the People are no where near prepared for such and every effort that arises gets hammered in a never ending game of whack-a-mole. Renewables cannot be discussed in the absence of population, quality and equality of life, and ecological sustainability. Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs may have pulled off an ugly scab, but the blood that formed the scab was not theirs, it was mostly that of hyper-financialized capitalism.


I have not yet seen the film, but Yucca brevifolia have been estimated to live as long as 1,000 years, and a fairly careful study of 69 individuals in the Mojave Desert was believed to have worked with various at around 300 years



“Better would be to focus on helping people understand how they can become part of the rising climate justice movement and throw everything they have into making the planet remain habitable for our species and for others. I’d rather do that than sit back and wonder if we should all die.”

I’ll go with that.

The Arctic is melting down. An estimated 1.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gases are on schedule to be released without any further help from Exxon or anybody else. If this happens the planet will see chronic worldwide agricultural failure, and most people shall starve.

I have a problem with the “sit back and wonder if we should all die” part. That’s what we’re doing right now, and we’re the good guys. We have a tyranny of near-consensus among the good guys, backed up by the big money screaming in our ears, “do nothing!!”

Are you sure that you want to continue speaking nothing, ever, about the Arctic meltdown? Is that going to be your own final position, with an emphasis on finality?

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Thinking back to anti nuclear and pro environment days;

I’ll never forget sitting in the car waiting to pick up school children and listening to the Sierra Club president extolling the virtues of nuclear power, it was a long broadcast. Sierra Club sold out.

I always remove the r from revolution anyway; evolution, it’s accelerating at an accelerating rate right along with cosmic expansion.

It was the movie stars and orgs that replaced people power in the streets back in the 70’s an 80’s. Star organizers are part of the capitalist plan to help them skate from one distracting election cycle to the next.

Evolution. No one can see where it’s going en toto. Even so, we can boost it along a bit. A victory from writing in None of the Above would start a new post Covid-19 story that is way more fun than being a work slave for rich capitalists. Don’t forget, capitalists create jobs to expropriate wealth from you, if you work for them.

Imagine the payments and crew wages to run a hundred foot yacht moored near your Cayman Island bank account.

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It seemed to present a very valid critique of the movie to me.

I saw no critique of capitalism at all in the movie. It, like Ms. Kaufmann wrote, had a very misanthropic critique - “humans bad”.

Even in the most radical socialist future envisioned, we will still need renewables (and nuclear).

There is a mistake in this report of the film. The 500 yr old plants being pulverized in the desert to make room for the solar plant were Joshua Trees as was stated in the film, not Yucca’s. Please make that correction if you haven’t already. Thank you, it matters, it should have been illegal these plants are protected…the film didn’t even mention all the tortoises and babies that have to be taken out of their homes and how they don’t usually survive etc…we can learn from our mistakes and should do better, this film could have been presented better, I agree.


I need to edit my reply, by reading bardamu’s comment above, I found out that Joshua Trees are Yucca brevifolia.

What does that have to do with movie, except to prove you didn’t watch it?