Planet of the Humans: debrief video

Hi again,

Here’s a follow up video to the documentary (which was offered for free by the film makers). I posted this elsewhere.

One really may feel a desperate need for a debrief after viewing the film! The film makers view the film as the beginning of a conversation that everyone has to have.

Some parts of the conversation, Buddhists have been working with for ages. One of the things they touch on is the need to be with the emotions that arise during and after viewing the film. To stay with such things with resilience and love is a big part of what the Dhamma’s about, right?

I remember a few years back, @sujato saying he’d lost hope in external mechanisms and institutions with regard to Climate Change etc. (I hope I’m not misrepresenting you Bhante.) I remember at the time disagreeing with this and insisting on remaining positive. I think it’s part of a discussion here on Discourse somewhere…

Recently, and before I saw this movie, I came to see how right Bhante is. I touched on that in my Rapunzel post (title inspired by Bhante in a recent talk).

This movie was only released in the last day or so. Now you may be thinking it’s about the planet and it’s creatures. It’s not - these topics are incidental. For me, it was, putting it mildly, a very surprising documentary.

I hope Buddhists and Buddhism will be part of this conversation. In what I’m calling the ‘debrief video’, they talk about moving towards a reduction in consumption, taking individual (not corporate) responsibility, sharing resources, being kinder basically - to each other, other beings, our poor planet. But it’s the act of watching the movie, going through it’s message and coming out the other end of how it makes you feel; that will make you feel, o.k, we need to re-think everything. It shakes you out of your complacency.

And if you feel powerless, know this: in releasing this film free online, I think ‘not for profit’, lots of people are going to know about it. One of the things that used to make me feel so powerless is that most people seemed not to know or care about the environment. Actually, most people didn’t have the time. Now alot of people have slowed down, stopped, because of the pandemic - that’s I think part of the timing of this release; the film makers want to spread the world and make us aware of what has been happening behind the scenes - but I won’t say more about that, you just have to watch the documentary!

I think this movie makes you let go of a lot of external crutches and psuedo certainties - it’s sort of like the Buddha’s simile of the mountains of aging and death rolling in. It’s dukkha and anicca and anatta rolling in upon us all. It’s things we all know on a superficial level - but really need to face more deeply. For me on a personal level, this is how it has landed. It lends further urgency to Practise. Not just for my sake, but so that in years to come, I don’t let others down when times become challenging. I really do worry about this. I think we’re all going to need to remember our humanity and forgiveness for each other too. Which is why I love this comment of Bhante’s:

I am reminded that if it wasn’t for forest monks in places like Thailand - I think of Luang Por Ganha who has talked about the need to protect the environment - a lot more biodiversity would have been lost in that country. And a lot of monastics like him lead the way in peace, resilience, wisdom, kindness and gentleness. I want to get better at these skills - because really I feel I’ve a very long way to go… Watching the documentary was a real impetus to practise.

The documentary brought home to me the power of greed, the sway of delusion and the need for kindness and restraint. It was hard and compelling - but as Buddhists, we’re supposed to be into stripping away delusion and seeing suffering with compassion, right?

The following video starts at about the 3 minute 30 second mark.

I posted these elsewhere but they were in the middle of a longer, rambly article (sorry this one’s gotten long too), so here they are again:

Also, you may wish to google, ‘random acts of kindness videos’ after watching the documentary itself.


Hello. You all should be aware that this film is controversial and has been criticised by various environmental groups.

I will reproduce this short post from Reddit that has some info:

Even in a world where fossil fuels are used for manufacturing, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with renewables is incredibly low compared with burning fossil fuels to generate electricity.

You should also take a look at this response from and this analysis of the film and a detailed fact check


As Javier mentioned, the documentary focuses on the negative environmental impacts of carbon-reduction solutions implicitly equating environmental solutions with the status quo. He also could not help but refer to how the rich and powerful are benefiting from promoting these “ineffective” solutions which would appeal to a certain type of audience even though it has no bearing whatsoever on the plausibility of the argument itself.


Although Michael Moore has dedicated his film-making career to the category of movies known as “documentaries,” he is not an investigative journalist per se, or even a journalist for that matter. He is a Hollywood movie producer and director. His sorts of motion pictures are not really designed to be informative in the same sense as investigative journalism, much less science journalism, and certainly not science reporting in mass readership science journals.


Just a bit of a rambling reply - food for thought - or not :slightly_smiling_face:

When one lives mindfully in a natural environment, one cannot help but to see what is going on. The further one is removed from the natural environment, the harder it is to see it clearly, and not to be influenced by prevailing ‘social views’ :slight_smile:

I’ve had an interesting experience recently. I live in seclusion in a natural environment. When I first came here 20 years ago, I believed all the things I had been ‘taught’ about the bush/forest etc. It was only by putting those things aside, and by observing the environment around, that these assumptions of truth started to break down. Now, I find that there was almost no accuracy in any of the information I had when I first arrived here.

I now live happily with venomous snakes, I see the inter-relatedness of all the myriad of beings in the food chain and how this dictates life. Conditioning gets unravelled as experience and observations show inaccuracies in public beliefs/opinion.

For example; This last season has been very good to all the creatures, there has been an extra nesting of many of the birds, and the bush rats, kangaroo, deer and foxes have been reproducing like mad! :rofl: This is all because of the climate and growth rates of different plants this last 12 months. So the animal and insect populations have increased dramatically. Now, these conditions will not persist, and there will be hunger and death and a population decline. I see with the bush rat population (they are all tunnelling around the house so are like a private circus city), there are fights developing, pushing out members as the winter arrives, and resources are stretched. The poor little bush rats all want to survive, they are desperate. They are burrowing everywhere, and seriously damaging the fruit trees upon which they depend for food.

The writing is on the wall, as clear as can be, everything is fuelled by this desire to exist. When resources are stretched, competition and survival of the fittest prevails. This whole Samsara is driven by this same principle… and we are all stuck on this rock in space, this planet which is a wholly dynamic process. It is all out of control :slight_smile: Yet in order to survive, establishing some control over the environment is a useful thing. One could even say that it is human nature that has moved evolution in this direction. The human abilities to affect the environment has caused the ‘success’ of the species.

This is all fine, it is just nature :slight_smile: It is also nature that the planet conditions will alter and no longer be so conducive to life as it is now. Just like the bush rats… just like all the animals that have become extinct, and as the many more beings that will become extinct, including humans.

There is no escape from nature :slight_smile:

The only escape is the escape from Samsara, via the 8 fold path. This is not a good thing, or a bad thing… it just is :slight_smile:

There may be wiser ways to live, less destructive ways… but it may also not be possible - that very ‘human nature’ gets in the way… Good or Bad? These labels don’t really apply… there is no choice in the matter… it just is

So just as with the bush rats, taking over my house, striving for survival, in the face of hunger and death… because I am endowed with human faculties, and have found and taken on the Dhamma, I can live in peace with this. It is neither good nor bad. I have a guide for helping make skillful and beneficial choices. And that is all that there is…


Hello and thank you for the reflections, critiques and new information.

I will pop your comments into the other thread with the film, so it’s fair.

You know, for some time now, I’ve been having growing doubts about the efficacy of technology, politics and power in their ability (inability?) to save this planet for future generations.

So this is more of what this film reinforced for me. That it’s just kindness, gentleness towards each other and other beings and our planet that is going to save us. By ‘save us’, I don’t mean that we’ll come out of this with a habitable and pleasant planet. That would be a lovely bonus. What I mean is that we’ll live and die with grace and kindness and courage; because apart from being frightened of what may happen to me, my family, my Buddhist community and my body and the terrible things that the most vulnerable will face - what bothers me in my heart is the fear that I will lose my kindness as my kilesas take over. I hope it will not be so.

And I really think that simplicity, wanting less are part of kindness towards our environment, each other, ourselves and other beings.

@Javier I found the links very interesting. Thank you. The tone of the final article was very passionate and fair enough coming from that author’s point of view. But what would be great going forward is if people like that contact people like Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs - not just because they have a following and influence - but because in the end, dialogue and sharing knowledge and making critiques in a kind, direct manner, may move us in the right direction. So I hope any misinformation in the films is questioned and there is transparent dialogue. But I hope it’s not mean.

And I hope all this improves the wider knowledge and caring of the general population.

You know, that thing about the mention of population being racist blew me a way. I’ve experienced a little racism myself; it’s stupid. But the population being too high is something I view from a Buddhist perspective - at the moment I am celibate with every intention of continuing in this way. I like it. It’s for me, a reduction in the rabid and rapid consumption that my mind and 5 senses engage in. It’s a simplification. A moving inwards. A letting go of what I want. It’s a movement towards more peace and more kindness and more capacity to give. That’s only in small ways because I’m nothing special - but still, it’s something I’ve noticed and 'am grateful about. This is how I took the thing about population. This is only partly what I meant when I said Buddhists had something to offer - or to be more accurate during this Vesak season, and to give credit where it’s definitely due - this is something the Buddha has already offered us all.

Thank you again.


I want to add - I know this is not for everyone. I’m not suggesting it should be.

I recently heard @Brahmali say something like this: if you have goodness and kindness to offer and an opportunity for a being to prosper and grow and learn, and you want to be a parent, then that is fine.

I wonder what would happen if all Buddhists were celibate - a part from Buddhism dying out on the planet I mean? Would the lower heaven realms suddenly expand in their ability to accommodate a lot more beings? :thinking:

Thanks again for these thoughtful, informed responses.

With metta

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