Sunday, 17 January 2021

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Ciné-ONU: Racing Extinction

08.06.2016 ’There are two essential parts of life: water and air. They have no boundaries. When we realise they are running out, decision making will change. These are the two elements essential to our survival.’ – Pierre-Yves Cousteau.

UNRIC partnered with UNEP, UNODC and WWF for the screening of Racing Extinction to mark World Environment Day 2016.


Panellists discussing at Cinema Galeries. Photo: UNRIC

Racing Extinction received a standing ovation for its powerful and harrowing portrayal of illegal wildlife hunting and the impact this has on our environment.

On a journey that spanned the globe, the documentary took viewers from shark fin smugglers in mainland China, all the way to remote villages in Indonesia, where the inhabitants hunt giant manta rays in their thousands.

The film climaxes with a breath-taking display of endangered animals projected onto renowned landmarks in New York City.  


Onlookers stood outside UN Headquarters, NYC, with projections.

Photo: Baum Foundation

Partnering with Travis Threlkel, the filmmakers mounted a projector onto a cutting-edge electric car to beam these critical issues onto the landscape of Manhattan and into the minds of the public.

Over 200 people crowded into Cinema Galeries on the evening of the 7th June to watch the film, with some scenes of true emotion from the audience.

A core theme of the film was to mobilise civil society and the resources available to change our ways of thinking.

After the screening, the audience members were captivated by a riveting panel discussion moderated by Director of the United Nations Regional Information Centre, Deborah Seward.

Panellists included Pierre-Yves Cousteau, diver, conservationist and son of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau; Jorge Rios from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; and finally Philippe Mayaux from the European Commission DG DEVCO.


Projection of the UNEP ‘Wild for Life’ Campaign. Photo: UNRIC

According to Philippe Mayaux, ‘This was a truly inspiring movie, however the problem is not with one country but with an entire system. There are many different dimensions that we need to tackle together. We are convinced though, that development without environment is just not possible’.

Jorge Rios emphasised the shared responsibility of differing groups, but that much of the problem is simple economics. A key point offered by both Pierre-Yves and Jorge was that while the film offers a lot of criticism specifically towards East Asian countries, that there is a burden upon all countries to fix this problem.

One of the themes stressed by both the film, and many of the participants in the discussion, was the interconnectedness of humankind and the environment.

Repeatedly stated was the need to change the our ways of thinking and paradigms. Pierre-Yves Cousteau exemplified this by saying: ‘We need to change to a green and blue economy. Behavioural change begins with cultural change and change of values – from this way we can innovate into a new system that respects our environment’.


UNRIC’s Related Links

Racing Extinction

UNEP Wild for Life Campaign



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