Crowd Gathers for Screening of Environmental Documentary

Against the backdrop of the Paris climate change discussions, a crowd gathered at the Kennedy School on Monday night for an advanced screening of “Racing Extinction,” a documentary about species extinction by Academy-Award-winning director and National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos.

About 80 students, professors, and members of the public packed the Malkin Penthouse for the screening, which was hosted by the Belfer Center’s Environmental and Natural Resources Program.

Racing Extinction Screening
Members of the public gather to watch an advance screening of the environmental documentary “Racing Extinction” at the Malkin Penthouse at the Harvard Kennedy School on Monday.

“Racing Extinction” described the threat posed to endangered species in China, Indonesia, and Hong Kong by the combination of excessive hunting and climate change. According to the film, climate change has undermined and is continuing to erode the viability of ecosystems that have long supported a myriad of species.

As it elaborated on the supply-and-demand factors in the market for endangered species, the film juxtaposed images of medical practitioners using manta ray gills with images of rural Indonesian fishers who relied on poaching manta rays for their livelihood. The film also touched on the market forces incentivizing the excessive hunting of sharks and whales.

“It’s like we’re living in the age of dinosaurs, but we can do something about it [species extinction],” Psihoyos said in his voice-over in “Racing Extinction.”


Jennifer H. Lowell ’19, who attended the event, spoke of the imperative of environmental discussions.

“These are issues that matter for everyone,” she said, adding that the documentary shed light on “what we’re see what we will miss if we don’t do anything.”

Camille DeSisto ’19, who also attended the screening, echoed Lowell’s comments.

“It made me think about things in a different way,” DeSisto said. “I think everybody should see this movie.”


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