Review: Racing Extinction

Who wants to be a superhero? The question is doesn’t. I know I do and in watching Racing Extinction by Louie Psihoyos, the oscar winning director of The Cove (2009), his claim, albeit on the surface simple and achievable, is to do just one thing and you could save the planet.

According to one expert interviewed on Racing Extinction in 100 years 50% of the world’s species will be extinct. We are all have a part in this extinction yet as Louie Psihoyos says near the start of the documentary: “…think of this qs the biggest story in the world. We’re living in the age of dinosaurs but we could do something about it.”

The documentary then takes the familiar route of experts talking about the rate of extinction with one amongst them cataloguing sounds of species – some now extinct as well as photographing species. There are some powerful scenes in there and one phrase that packed a punch for me was the expert compiling the forensic arc: “The whole world is singing…we’ve just stopped listening.”

All of that is interesting and then the meat (pardon the pun) of the documentary focuses on China and the illegal shark fin business as well as David Doubilet educating the viewer that extinction is two fold direct and indirect. The direct impact is by man – raising too much cattle, CO2 emissions and then the indirect impact the acidification of the oceans. It’s not until the end of the documentary that the viewer is told what they can do in order to reduce the rate of extinction: going meat free once a week, reduce the use of cars etc.

At the end it comes down to this – is it convincing and whether you believe the data. However, whether you feel motivated to make a change after watching the documentary is one thing but what is for certain it is certainly educational, engaging and interesting to watch.

Racing Extinction airs on Discovery Channel UK at 9pm on Wednesday 2 December.

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