The documentary “Racing Extinction” definitely hit me on an emotional note. One thing I really enjoyed about the film was the undercover activism that took place in the film – I find that very admirable. I would love to be a “greenie” and exploit organizations and companies by going undercover. The exploitation of the shark fin collection and the illegal animal trade, while very disturbing, brought to light the very ugly truth of what is happening in the world and what society can do to end it. Seeing that shark struggle finless on the seafloor was tragic and heartbreaking to watch, but that is the ugly truth – that is what society does to nature. While it is disturbing to see, I also believe it causes for me to feel a spark of activism, to do everything in my power to help the world as best I can.

While the whole film was an emotional roller coaster, there were two parts that stood out the most. The last call of the O’o bird in Kauai and the hunting of the mantaray. I was emotionally struck by the O’o bird because as a viewer, you literally see this birds desperate attempt to try to save his kind, but no other bird will come. We listened to that bird call for help and ultimately die. It is natural for species to go extinct, but when humans accelerate extinction rates by 1000 fold for some species, I cannot help but feel disgusted, guilty, and depressed. The other part of the film that made me incredibly emotional was watching that community hunt mantarays, and watching that one specific mantaray die. I understand that that community’s revenue largely came from mantaray exports and it is not their fault since they are a developing nation, but it still makes me extremely emotional to see a montarays life slip away. I was happy that later in the documentary, they showed the community that they could keep their economy up by having mantaray tours rather than hunting them. It was the market that told them that they needed to hunt these beautiful creatures, it was not in their nature to do so and it is so beautiful to see this community change their actions toward the mantarays.


Kevin Katz