Planet of the Humans, a documentary produced by filmmaker Michael Moore, is under major scrutiny from climate activists. The argument made is that the film is misleading and uses out-of-date information to criticise the environmental movement and the credibility of renewable energy. 

The documentary uses dated arguments made by supporters of the fossil fuel industry, paints a negative light over environmentalists, and makes notably contentious assertions about solar, wind, and biomass energy sources. 

Thing is, this documentary, chock full of claims that are at the very least questionable, has over 6.7 million views on YouTube, at the time of writing. Some climateers have called for the documentary to be wiped from the interwebs, but we think that the best way to combat this alleged case of misinformation, is to put together this list of great alternatives. So we asked our team. Take a seat, relax, and get ready to stack up on your climate knowledge.  

Our Planet – Lina Yassin, MENA Manager (Sudan) & Agnes Saycon, Chief Financial Officer (The Philippines)

Lina says you can find this amazing documentary on Netflix. But recently, due to quarantine, Netflix has made it public on YouTube.

Sometimes, we get distracted by our urban life and daily work/tasks. This is when we forget to pause and think about the beauty around us. 

“I love it because when I watch it, I remember just how beautiful the Earth is and why we need to protect it. Our environment is amazing and it will be destroyed if we don’t tackle the climate crisis,” Lina shared.

This documentary is really a good chance to reignite your passion for fighting for Planet Earth and its fascinating wonders. 

Our Planet got two votes! 

The Forest episode was Agnes’ favourite episode in this documentary series. She believes it shows how beautiful our planet is, how animals strive to survive the destruction humans cause everyday. It depicts how climate change destroys the planet and how forests try to recover on their own. 

“There is still hope. We can still save the planet by doing our part. Plus, the narrator is really good!

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change – Martin Vainstein, LatAm Communications Manager (Argentina)

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Josh Fox, addresses a particular question in a very personal yet globally-relatable way. 

How do we come to terms with the reality that our atmosphere is becoming damaged beyond the tipping point?  

With a soul-searching lens, he connects with communities already facing the severe effects of climate change, finding a mix of calamity and motivation. 

“One of the main things that I enjoy the most about the film is it’s deeply personal and sincere take on how the author feels about the climate crisis and how climate change affects each one of us differently based on our geography but also our privilege,” states Martin.

Many individuals he campaigned with through the years and across the world are featured on the film and it enriches how deeply personal and moving this documentary is for him.

Baraka – Santiago Sáez, Media Director (Spain)

I don’t know if I should call it a climate documentary, but it is definitely worth watching as a climate person. I don’t know if I should call it environmental, but it definitely is about nature and Earth, and the humans who benefit from destroying it,” Santiago shared. 

It is about the inequalities that fuel our climate disaster and their consequences. And, ultimately, it’s as hopeful and inspiring as it can get, whatever your fight is. And all that without uttering a single word.

So if you’ve watched it already, you know that he’s talking about Baraka, the stunning 1992 documentary by Ron Fricke. All other documentaries (and most movies) pale in comparison, according to Santiago.

This epic tour of Earth is full of beauty, tragedy, hope and despair. The music is astounding and the images are just unbelievable.

Be warned: You won’t be the same after watching this movie.

Human Planet – Chris Wright, Founder and Director (Australia)

Chris’ favourite is Human Planet, a BBC series.

Human Planet incoporates 80 stories, many never told before on television, set to a globally-influenced soundtrack by award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney.

As a movie soundtrack buff, this documentary series captivated him. It brought home some incredible realisations through its focus on different ecosystems – like rivers and mountains – but its use of music was incredible.

As a visual and audio experience, I’ve never seen anything like it since.

Each episode focuses on a particular habitat and reveals how its people have created astonishing solutions in the face of extreme adversity.

Merchants of Doubt – Mai Hoang, High School Outreach Manager (Vietnam)

This is particularly pertinent for anyone interested in climate communication. Mai says that this one has sound historical evidence and it highlights how fossil fuel giants have hired public relations firms- the same ones involved in denying the health risks of tobacco- to spin scientific evidence, amplify doubt, and sow the seeds of climate skepticism in the media.

“Though the documentary is set in the U. S., you can learn the common doubt mongering techniques and identify them when you see them.

Manufactured Landscapes – Katherine Cheng, Photography Project Manager (Hong Kong)

This was one of the earlier climate-related documentaries Kat came across as a young child and it had a tremendous effect on her.

It shows landscapes across the world that have been transformed through things like commercial recycling, manufacturing, and industrial production. 

There’s essentially no narration in it and they use a lot of slow, wide-angle shots, so it feels more like a quiet contemplation. They’ve since made Watermark and Anthropocene as well in a kind of trilogy. 

Tapped – Dizzanne Billy, Communications Officer (Trinidad and Tobago)

I think I’ve watched this documentary at least ten times. It provides great insight into the marketing trickery behind the bottled water industry. Personally, I believe this industry to be wasteful and unnecessary. 

This documentary carefully depicts the effects of the industry on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

Climate change is disrupting weather patterns, leading to extreme weather events, unpredictable water availability, exacerbating water scarcity and contaminating water supplies. These impacts are drastically affecting the quantity and quality of water available, especially in climate-vulnerable countries. 

The bottled water industry pushes the commodification of water resources in a time when water scarcity is already shaping up to be one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Skip the bottle. 

Planet of the Humans doesn’t seem to be a favourite among our team members, is it one of yours?

Dizzanne Billy

About Dizzanne Billy

Dizzanne Billy is a communications and marketing specialist from Trinidad and Tobago. A former Climate Tracker Fellow, she now heads up some of our most exciting outreach work across the Caribbean and ‘the interwebs'