Racing Extinction, is a 2015 documentary that follows a group of undercover activities trying to draw attention to the role of mankind in the loss of at least half of world’s species. The activist group consists of filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, scientists, artists and members of the civil society.
The documentary takes us to the hidden world of extinction with heart wrenching images that are bound to change the way we see our planet and the threat our activities pose to its diversity. Creatures that have called this planet home for millions of years (some even before mankind came into the picture), are losing the battle to the international wildlife trade. The second key threat that is covered is the one posed by the oil and gas companies.
Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. It is believed that we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth’s history. This era is labelled the Anthropocene, or ‘Age of Man’, because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. The fifth major extinction was when dinosaurs went packing.
While we are the cause of the problem, the solution too lies with us. So while the overall situation hits you hard, you are not felt with a depressed note. The fact that we are the solution to this problem and that there is still a lot left fighting for, is the optimistic note the filmmakers leave you with.
Contrasting the ugliness of destruction with the beauty of its victims is the film’s core aesthetic. The diverse group of people whose efforts have been documented show that conservation is not an isolated subject, reserved only for the scientists. We all have to care and play our part to drive the date and lead it towards practical change.
First published in Natura, WWF-Pakistan’s quarterly magazine.
Fatima Arif is Senior Officer Digital Media, WWF-Pakistan.