Watch With the World: ‘Racing Extinction’ Global Event Premieres Tomorrow, December 2

A humpback whale breaches on the side of the Empire State Building as projected in ‘Racing Extinction.’
A humpback whale breaches on the side of the Empire State Building as projected in ‘Racing Extinction.’

What do all five of Earth’s mass extinctions have in common? An enormous atmospheric spike in carbon dioxide. Alarmingly, these carbon dioxide increases of extinctions past are quite minor compared with the greenhouse gasses of today, leading many to conclude that we’re racing towards a sixth mass extinction.

Discovery Channel’s Racing Extinction, which makes its worldwide debut tomorrow, seeks to change this by affecting a paradigm shift great enough to spin our thinking and, more importantly, our decision-making 180-degrees – so that instead of racing towards such a catastrophic event, we’re racing from it.

With state-of-the-art equipment, Oscar-winning director Louis Psihoyos (remember The Cove?) assembles a team of scientists, activists, photographers and other experts intent on exposing issues of endangered species and mass extinction.

It’s a lofty endeavor, and Racing Extinction does not tread lightly. Some of the imagery is shocking – sharks struggling to swim after their fins have been cut off, rooftops filled with these same fins stacked dozens deep, beautiful manta rays being hunted by local fisherman, methane gas explosions on a remote lake – but frankly, we can’t dance gingerly around an issue that is so critical to our lives and the lives of future generations.

And yet, Racing Extinction is full of hope, too. There are currently an estimated 7.3 billion people around the world, and as conscious citizens of a shared space in crisis, we have the power to affect positive change. To help address the need for action, Discovery has launched #StartWith1Thing, a global movement meant to encourage us all to make small better-for-the-planet changes in our lives. Each of us committing to small changes can add up to a huge impact on the world.

After all, it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Racing Extinction will air in 220 international markets across the world within a 24-hour timespan. It airs here in the United States on December 2 at 9/8c on Discovery. Head to RacingExtinction.com to learn more about the film and where you can catch it. 

Join the global conversation and share how you will #StartWith1Thing. Learn more about the movement at StartWith1Thing.com

The U.S. is the #2 consumer of wildlife products behind China. Many of them end up here at the National Wildlife Property Repository.
The U.S. is the #2 consumer of wildlife products behind China. Many of them end up here at the National Wildlife Property Repository.
Cows emit methane, a greenhouse gas 22 times more potent than CO2, as collected in this blue bag at a research facility in Argentina.
Cows emit methane, a greenhouse gas 22 times more potent than CO2, as collected in this blue bag at a research facility in Argentina.
Up to a half of all CO2 in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic. The resulting ocean acidification weakens calcium structures, as seen in this home experiment with vinegar.
Up to a half of all CO2 in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic. The resulting ocean acidification weakens calcium structures, as seen in this home experiment with vinegar.
Melting arctic permafrost releases methane, a potent—and flammable—greenhouse gas.
Melting arctic permafrost releases methane, a potent—and flammable—greenhouse gas.
Investigative photojournalists Paul Hilton and Shawn Heinrichs on assignment.
Investigative photojournalists Paul Hilton and Shawn Heinrichs on assignment.