We humans like to define ourselves by what we build, invent or create, but our signature trait is manifest most clearly by what we destroy. Nothing reveals this unflattering trait better than our devastating impact on the animals and plants with which we share this planet.
Only one species, ours, seems poised to dominate everything: every ecosystem, every watershed, every major food system, every climate zone, every geographic region, every type of habitat, every market, zipcode, biological community, and individual animal — from the Arctic polar bear to the Antarctic penguin and the millions of species in between.
Today’s humans are architects of the most advanced civilization yet achieved and at the same time we are the leading executioners of nonhuman life, presiding over the first mass extinction since the death of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. While the current era marks humanity’s first global assault on biodiversity, it is the planet’s sixth major extinction event in the 3.7 billion-year history of life. Scientists warn that in the 21st century alone, the world may lose half of all living species, largely as a result of poorly planned human development and rapid growth in population and per capita consumption. At the individual level, nearly half of global wildlife have been lost in just the past 40 years. This film examines the causes of this “erosion of life” and the steps humanity can take to slow and reverse this race to extinction.
Filmed, directed, and produced by Monty Hempel, the film will present a hopeful but unflinching view of the biodiversity challenge we face in the twenty-first century. See the official trailer, below, for a preview of the film’s fascinating images, subjects, and themes.