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Planet of the Humans: Beware the environmental capitalists

The sustainable finance movement needs to manage the risk to its reputation, as Jeff Gibbs highlights in his documentary.


Earth Day came and went largely indoors this year for much of the planet, with the television providing re-runs of anything by David Attenborough to inspire us to look after our environment. Or there was Jeff Gibbs’ ‘Planet of the Humans’.

A difficult-to-watch documentary for many reasons, ‘Planet of the Humans’ tells us that any efforts we make to save our planet are futile. 

Gibbs seeks to highlight – not very convincingly – the failings of the clean-energy movement, blaming banks, corporate executives and well-known environmental groups along the way. The documentary was posted on YouTube free to all on April 22; it had clocked up 3.4 million views by the time I watched it. 

It was always going to be antagonistic, with a fair amount of creative editing that avoided the full story – Michael Moore was the executive producer after all. And it didn’t disappoint in that regard. 

Gibbs, narrating in monotone, highlights that solar panels can only convert 8% of sunshine into electricity to prove a point that solar is not worth the damage wreaked by mining for its components. 

Indeed, that would have been an accurate number back in 2009, but today panels run at between 18% and 25% efficiency and technological improvements are increasing efficiency and storage every year. 

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