Today: June 14, 2024

Louie Psihoyos On Racing Extinction

This December, Discovery UK will premiere the captivating, groundbreaking and visually stunning film Racing Extinction in a global exclusive event that will see the film aired in 220 countries in a 24 hour period.

In this highly-charged documentary, Oscar®-winning director Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) fearlessly examines the epic loss of biodiversity our planet is currently witnessing. Racing Extinction, which took five years in the making, and screened to critical acclaim at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, spans the globe from Argentina to China and from Mexico to Tonga, to expose how human actions are leading to a sixth mass species extinction.

Scientists now predict the loss of half of the entire world’s species in the next 100 years. Two forces drive these losses. The first is the international wildlife trade, which creates fraudulent markets at the expense of animals that have survived for millions of years. The other hides in plain sight — a world that the oil and gas companies don’t want the rest of us to see. Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing To Extinction team exposes these two worlds in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it.

In a race to save our planet, which is losing species at a rate not seen since a comet hit 65 million years ago, Louie Psihoyos’ team of artists and activists infiltrate the world’s most dangerous black markets, using covert cameras to catch the wrong-doers in the act. They also use high tech tactics to document the link between carbon emissions and species extinction, revealing stunning, never-before seen images that truly change the way we see the world. In Los Angeles, they employ cutting-edge carbon-dioxide-sensitive cameras to demonstrate the sheer volume of man-made emissions, contrasting that with stunning footage of phosphorescent plankton, whose decline spells serious impact on global oxygen production.

With an inspiring message that aims to shine a spotlight on man’s impact on our planet and encourage dramatic change, Racing Extinction highlights our indisputable impact on our natural world that is already causing irreparable damage and has resulted in many species dying out forever, even in the last 50 years.

“If you’re living out in a low lying island in the Pacific or the Indian Ocean, then salt water’s already coming into your gardens. If you’re in Bangladesh, you have floods every year that are coming up higher and higher because the seas are rising. If you’re living in Sub-Sahara Africa, then you can’t grow enough food for your family. Disaster is already striking all over the place.” But, Louie Psihoyos says,  “If you want to use a sports analogy, it’s like it’s half time and we’re way behind, but we can create a winning team, especially with young people on board. We can change things very, very quickly. With the help of Discovery I believe we can create a tipping point to create the change we need to preserve a planet that can sustain life for all species. There has never been a more important time in the world than to be alive now — the decisions we make in the next few years will impact the Earth and animal species for millions of years.”

To be part of the solution, not the problem. Visit:

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

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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