Quantcast
Climate

Racing Extinction: A Must-See Documentary of 2015, World Premier at Sundance

Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is one of the largest independent film festivals in the world, attracting some 50,000 attendees. This year's festival, its 31st anniversary, runs from Jan. 22 to Feb. 1. Robert Redford, founder of Sundance and a longtime environmental activist, sat down with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman yesterday to discuss this year's festival and pressing environmental issues, including the Keystone XL pipeline. The festival always has a solid showing of environmental films and this year is no different.

One of the standouts premiering at the festival is Racing Extinction. There have been five mass extinctions in the history of our planet and we may be in the midst of a sixth. We could lose up to half the world's species and humans are to blame.

Every year,
some 100 million sharks are killed to make shark fin soup. Photo credit: Racing Extinction's Facebook Page

Academy award-winning director, Louie Psihoyos, who also directed The Cove, joins forces with activists, scientists, nature photographers and inventors to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at black markets where endangered species are sold. With hidden cameras on, these activists uncover highly endangered species being sold at markets all over Asia. Psihoyos says, "the more endangered it is, the more you have to go to the backrooms. Wildlife trade is second only to the drug trade." The film goes beyond the black market trade to highlight humans' devastating impact on other species with greenhouse gas emissions.

Racing Extinction, is produced by Psihoyos's Ocean Preservation Society, who together with the United Nations, Obscura Digital, producer Fisher Stevens and musical score composer J. Ralph created illUmiNations. During this 11-minute event, images and statistics of the extinction crisis in our midst were displayed at the United Nations headquarters in New York City in September—the day before the People’s Climate March and two days before the UN Climate Summit.

Jane Goodall's voice broadcasted at the event, imploring the world: "In 200 years, people will look back on this particular period and say to themselves how did those people at that time just allow all those amazing creatures to vanish. But it would be very little use in me or anybody else exerting all this energy to save these wild places if people are not being educated into be better stewards than we've been. If we all lose hope, there is no hope. Without hope, people fall into apathy. There's still a lot left that's worth fighting for."

That's the take away message from this film. We can do something about this. Sundance says, "With stakes as high as the survival of life on the planet, Racing Extinction dispenses with apathy or fatalism to emerge as an urgent, affirming call to action to stem the tide before it's too late." Psihoyos says, "When you're talking about losing all of nature, it's not a spectator sport anymore. Everybody has to become active somehow."

Invoking a Chinese proverb, one activist says, "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness. There's so many people who sit back and say we're screwed, but you know what, with that one candle maybe someone else with a candle will find you, and I think that's where movements are started."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

10 Animal Species That Could Vanish in 2015 if We Don't Act Now

Is Kombucha Tea Really Good for You?

Find Out Which U.S. City Shames You Into Composting

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Business
Blue Point Brewing Company

Long Island Brewer Launches 'Good Reef Ale' to Help Restore New York’s Oyster Reefs

Between the 1600s and the early 20th century, European settlers in New York City ate their way through 220,000 acres of oyster reefs covering 350 square miles, The Washington Post reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
California restaurants will only be able to serve plastic straws like these upon request. Horia Varlan / CC BY 2.0

California Becomes First State to Regulate Plastic Straws

California became the first state in the U.S. to ban plastic straws in dine-in restaurants Thursday when Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to that effect, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The law, which will enter into force Jan. 1, prohibits restaurants from providing straws unless a customer requests one. It covers only sit-down eateries, not fast food restaurants, delis or coffee shops.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Giannis Giannakopoulos / YouTube

'Partying' Spiders Blanket Greek Beach on 1,000-Foot Cobweb

Arachnophobes beware. A shoreline by the Greek town of Aitoliko has been swamped by a mass of mating spiders and 1,000 feet of their cobwebs.

Earlier this week, a local named Giannis Giannakopoulos uploaded a YouTube video and posted several pictures of the spectacle on his Facebook page, showing shrubs, palm fronds and other greenery completely veiled by spider webs.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Frank Straub / EyeEm / Getty Images

Greenpeace Report: Europe Has 10 Years Left to Ditch Fossil Fuel Cars

Europe must phase out the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars by 2028 if it wants to live up to its Paris climate agreement emissions-reduction pledges, according to new research by Germany's Aerospace Center.

Even conventional hybrid cars, which feature gasoline-powered engines, would have to disappear by the mid-2030s if Europe intends to fulfill its part of the Paris deal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the Greenpeace-commissioned study.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
An ambulance crashed into a fallen tree from Storm Ali in Newcastle on Sept. 19. Owen Humphreys / PA Images via Getty Images

100 mph Winds Kill Two in First Named Storm to Hit UK and Ireland This Season

Storm Ali, the first named storm of the UK storm season, killed two and sent several to the hospital as winds of more than 100 miles per hour walloped Ireland, Scotland and Northern England Wednesday, The Guardian reported.

More than 250,000 homes and businesses in Ireland lost power and 30,000 lost power in southwest Scotland.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
Hawaii, Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) with surface reflections. Robinson Ed / Perspectives / Getty Images

Hawaii's Cauliflower Coral Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Listing

Cauliflower coral, a bushy species in the Hawaiian Islands that has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change, could soon get federal protection. The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday announced that listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
David Speier / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Journalist Dies in Clash Over Dirty Coal in Germany

By Andy Rowell

Over the last week, the German Police have deployed thousands of officers, backed up by water cannons and armored vehicles, to evict hundreds of climate activists trying to defend the last remnants of an ancient forest in Germany from being destroyed by RWE, which wants to expand the biggest open coal mine in Europe.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Flooded suburb of the city of Itacoatiara (Central Amazon region) in 2009. Jochen Schöngart, National Institute for Amazon Research

World's Largest River Floods Five Times More Often Than It Used to

Extreme floods have become more frequent in the Amazon Basin in just the last two to three decades, according to a new study.

After analyzing 113 years of Amazon River levels in Port of Manaus, Brazil, researchers found that severe floods happened roughly every 20 years in the first part of the 20th century. Now, extreme flooding of the world's largest river occurs every four years on average—or about five times more frequently than it used to.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!