Watching the documentary Racing Extinction filled me with emotions. The initial emotion that washed over me was anger. As the film began by stating how beautiful creatures have been dwindling constantly during the anthropocene, at exponential rates, I was horrified. Knowing that we have made such a significant impact while being on the earth for such a short time, I think about all the ways that we have harmed the earth. I am reminded what it means to passionately be an ecofeminist.
Immediately following the feeling of anger I am overwhelmed with guilt. At one point in the film, Louie Psihoyos, the director, mentions the negative impact that him and his team have had on the earth while making this film. They have the technology to see their own carbon emissions with their own eyes, but being a radical environmentalist is never black or white. This entire film was created in a moral gray area. I constantly feel guilt in my own attempt at navigating my way through the gray areas of environmentalism. I want to know what the real priorities are and how to support those without adding to other issues. If the priority for this film was to protect the manta rays and to create awareness about endangered species, is that possible without adding to the problem of hurting the environment and creating even more CO2?
The film responded to my question at the very end with a message directly to the viewer. It said that there are so many things that are important in the environmental movement. We need to find what inspires us and “start with one thing”. Overall the film left me feeling sick to my stomach from the images of a baffling amount of dismembered creatures. These that I have always thought to be sacred. It left me feeling deflated from my guilt; but this message at the end of the film brought me to place of hope. I was in awe of the capabilities of intelligent humans like Elon Musk, Louie Psihoyos, and the many other activists and scientists that worked on this film. I don’t know if I can say that I feel empowered because I feel a bit weak and small but I do feel excited about our technological capabilities. I want to cling on to this concept of finding my “one thing” and dedicating my life to it. I think that will help to alleviate my guilt and anger. Although it was sad, this film really showed that passion and determination can make a real impact.
Avia Z. Kalfa