Editor of the Reformer,
Suzanna Jones' op-ed on the new Michael Moore documentary "Planet of the Humans" misses what should be the two main take-aways by anyone who sees the film.
First, the film as a serious and legitimate documentary fails. There is no context of a timeline. It contains no recent data or information, and none of the video clips it incorporates seem to be from anything after 2015 (with some going back to as early as 2001). There is missing information in some places and misleading information elsewhere. It is simply a sloppy piece of filmmaking.
The job of a documentary is to use facts and a clear timeline to provide a fair depiction of a historical or present situation, including allowing those being criticized in the film a chance to comment as part of it. None of that happens in the Moore film.
Make no mistake, the film does touch upon legitimate points such as the sometimes-too-cozy relationships between environmentalists and corporations. But even that topic is obfuscated by the factors mentioned above.
Second, the question must be asked as to what the purpose of this film was. It seems to throw its hands up as to what should be done relative to using renewable energy as a way to address climate change, or for that matter what to do about climate change in general.
Just this week, the Yale Program on Climate Communications (considered the leader on climate-focused polling) released data from a new survey that showed that even in the middle of the pandemic, people's concern about climate change still ranks high and on some survey questions has reached all-time highs.
The pandemic has caused a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions and a drop for the year of somewhere between 5 and 10 percent is predicted. But guess what. Scientists say that we need to drop 7.5 percent every year for the next 10 years in order to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. Given that a drop like that is only happening now because of a near-complete shutdown of our economy, how exactly are we supposed to do it annually for the next 10 years?
Yet not only does the Moore film not provide the context of a timeline of what it attempts to portray, it does not talk at all about the fact that we are running out of time to address climate change. In that sense, not only is the Moore film a missed opportunity - it is counterproductive. I only hope it will not lead to great harm in the war we all must wage against the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced.
North Bennington, May 25