UNITED STATES— WE ARE Racing Extinction!

I must confess… Besides new episodes of Oak Island, it was difficult finding something to write about. The repeats of America Unearthed were much better than some of the choices available on my other favorite channels. On day three though, I decided to suffer through something horribly boring, just to write about it for this column.

Thank Goodness I found Racing Extinction on the Discovery Channel!

The use of the word ‘Extinction’ piqued my interest immediately because I just finished reading about animal conservation efforts, and I love anything that has to do with animals, creatures, ornithology, cryptozoology, quadrupeds, or monsters. I’m a Loch Ness more than Bigfoot kinda girl, and would rather look for creatures under a rock with a cup in my hand, than use a fishing pole.

I also LOVE shows that have an undercover aspect, like What Would You Do and Restaurant Stakeout, so when the documentary started with activists going undercover to expose illegal whale meat sales at a popular restaurant, The Hump, I was hooked.

This collaborative piece was done by so many people who deserve respect, I recommend you visit their website if you don’t have time to watch the 90 minute documentary, www.racingextinction.com.

Go see for yourself how many wonderful people helped Louie Psihoyos (filmmaker of The Cove) in his noble endeavor! Another beautiful reminder that when people put their heads together, great things can be accomplished!

Racing Extinction profiled several efforts happening around the globe, including a bit of Jane Goodall, saving the Manta Rays, The Cornell Wild Acoustical Laboratory, Photo Ark, FrogPod and Toughie -the last frog of his kind. Efforts to stop the killing for shark fin soup was addressed, including the presentation of a Public Service Announcement featuring basketball star Yao Ming.

Now I understand why the Chinese government has been reluctant: in their culture they believe shark fin soup prevents cancer. When you are living in a country that is both polluted and overcrowded I am sure they feel a need to hold tight to any custom they believe will help.

Another remarkable moment I must share, is the segment about Ady Gil. The dedication he showed, when protesting outside of The Hump, resulted in the restaurant closing down. I believed him when he said he could stay there for 5 years if that’s what it would take. I hope to see more of his goodwill in the future!

If you loved the The Cove or the Whale Wars, you will love Racing Extinction. It is not nearly as graphic as some of the others (I only had to cover my eyes once) so the kids can watch.

The website is very interactive too, and interesting for both young and old. I wish it was around when I home-schooled because I would have incorporated it into our science, art, geography, history,  and maybe even music.

There are plenty of ways to help, from signing petitions to donating, and more! I recommend the footage on carbon emissions. The equipment they used to show the emissions from our breath, filling the gas tank, and the cows: it was incredible.

In closing I would like to leave you with a quote  from this documentary. It was omething said by Cornell Acoustical scientist Christopher Clark as he talked about the Kauai O’o and how sad it was to watch a recording of the very last male bird, so his death marked the extinction of all its kind. It touched me so much that I had to rewind and listen twice so I could make sure I heard his words right:

“Frozen in the Arctic ocean or the deepest jungles of Africa: the whole world is singing, clicking, grinding, whistling, and thumping. But we’ve stopped listening.”

Please America, start listening.