Thursday, February 26, 2015

Race to the FINISHED Line?
“Racing Extinction” does more than Ask Tough Questions

Image: Racing Extinction: it’s not a spectator sport anymore

“My goal is to make a film that doesn't just create awareness, but inspires people to get motivated to change this insane path we're on. Films to me aren't just entertainment -- they are for me the most powerful weapon in the world, a weapon of mass construction.”
~ Louie Psihoyos

Weapons of mass construction. A Contradiction in terms, or the coolest term ever? We at Genesis Eco Fund love it, together with Louie Psihoyos, the Academy Award-Winning Director of “The Cove” and Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society.

His latest project, “Racing Extinction” (formerly entitled “6”) goes further than most activist documentaries about exploitation of the natural world. It not only takes action, it documents the actions being taken and shows the world—in an exercise of modern guerilla-media warfare—the err of its ways. 

Video: “Racing Extinction” Official Festival Trailer by Oceanic Preservation Society

Is it effective? Will it ultimately make a difference? Or is it too little, too late? When asked by The Dodo, How bad is it really?  Psihoyos replied, “One paleontologist told me that WWII will be a footnote in human history compared to the current loss of biodiversity that our generation is presiding over.” Source:

Translation: Bad. Really bad.

According to Psihoyos, we could lose half of the species on the planet by the end of the century. And although this will not be the first mass extinction to happen in the planet’s history, it will be the first that is caused by human behaviour.

Whether or not this is the case, only time will tell.  The more immediate impact of Psihoyos’ work—on The Cove, Racing Extinction and OPS—is its revelatory value; what the threat of such mass human-caused ecological and genetic devastation reveals about humanity’s appalling relationship with nature.

We all know about humanity’s dismal track record of environmental exploitation, going back thousands of years. But what Psihoyos and his colleagues manage to achieve is show us that things have not improved in many places in the world. If anything, population growth has all but guaranteed that things have gotten much, much worse than they ever were before.

The technology and large scale machinery for the wholesale destruction of species has never been as advanced as it is today; neither the potential profits for individuals and groups participating in the trade of threatened creatures—including but in no way limited to sharks.

And let’s not forget that much of the trade in threatened species is built on a cultural foundation of traditions stretching back thousands of years. Combined with booming population growth and middle class aspirations of material wealth, it is inevitable that demands will be met with supply, as long as that supply is available…no matter the cost.

Such short-sightedness is but one of the many tragedies of the intellectual animal which calls itself “human.”

How do we turn things around?

Psihoyos suggests:

“1. Get your home, school, places of work and worship, and government buildings off of fossil fuels ASAP
2. Explore a plant-based diet

3. Tell everyone you know to see this film
The solutions are all upgrades. I've been driving an electric car for five years, and it never goes into the shop because there's only one moving part in the engine -- the rotor -- which lasts forever. I power it with solar panels, I don't pay for gas; in fact, my whole house and studio is powered by the sun. My license plate says “VUS” which stands for Vehicle Using Sun -- it's the opposite of an SUV. My local electric company (which OPS has been working fervently to overthrow) pays us to produce electricity because we generate 140% more energy than we use.” Source:

Genesis Eco Fund proposes you look at getting an ecosystem for your home, office/workplace, and school.

Any dog owner with will agree it is all but impossible for them to eat dog. Likewise, someone who had a pet rabbit will likely turn their nose up at rabbit stew. This is because of the deep relationship they have with their pet—and by extension pets in general. 

Living in an ecosystem one becomes more conscious of—and sensitive to—the intrinsic value of nature and ecological systems. One has a much greater appreciation of fish, for instance, when one sees how their lives support the lives of plants in an ecosystem; and, conversely, how the plants support the fish. One appreciates snails as more than escargots when one sees them eagerly cleaning the ecosystem of algae.

An ecosystem is a living, breathing microcosm of the planet as a whole. Being a part of that microcosm gives one a visceral, experiential appreciation for the whole that no intellectual or conceptual argument can match.

Yes, a film can provoke strong emotions and trigger change, but an ecosystem in your life is there always: day in and day out, like a nagging Mother Nature reminding you to make your bed and wash behind your ears, it’s not easily ignored, let alone forgotten.

And so while we applaud the efforts of Louis Psihoyos and others who devote their lives to powerful cinematic reminders—these tools of mass construction—it takes more than a blueprint and a business plan to actually build the future we want. Those 90 minutes, no matter how powerful they are, need to be backed up by real substance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…in other words, ongoing immersion in a space of love.

That is the power of an ecosystem to enact sustainable long term positive change in peoples’ lives. The kind of sustained changes in attitudes and life choices Louis Psihoyos and his colleagues hope to be able to spark.

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