You’re almost as famous as the dinosaurs you so righteously wiped out. The extinction you caused was severe – roughly 80% of the species living on Earth at the time didn’t make it. But nobody blames you.. We accept that you were nature playing its course. You were an abnormality of probable odds. If you had crashed into some space debris before entering our gravitational pull, you could have been thrown off course and everything would have been different. The chances of an asteroid your size hitting Earth again are almost impossible, but that won’t stop us from entering the planet’s next extinction level event. In fact, we’re in it now. We are that event. We humans have become you, the asteroid.
That’s a pretty bold claim, but after watching Racing Extinction, it’s a harsh reality I had to face. Racing Extinction is an Oscar-nominated documentary (Best Original Song) that highlights the immense global destruction humans are selfishly causing—from selling endangered animals on the black market, to wiping out species by destroying natural habitats, to acidifying our oceans via carbon dioxide. If we scale Earth’s existence down to a 24-hour clock, as seen in Racing Extinction, humanity only appears a few seconds before midnight, and in the few seconds, we’ve promptly fucked things up.
We’re often quick to dust environmental impact off our shoulders; we see it as a small price to pay for modern luxuries. This is alarming considering not only are we the ones causing another extinction—we’re also the only ones who can stop it. So, unless dolphins finally get tired of our shit and revolt out of the oceans and fix the world, it’s up to us to become aware of our footprint. Which is why I believe everyone should take an hour and twenty minutes of their week to watch Racing Extinction.
We’re not a sudden force of nature. We’re not an improbable cause like you. We’re unconsciously, yet consciously bringing about our end in increments. In the back of our minds, we know all the wrong we’re doing, but we choose to suppress it. For those who do know what we’re doing and choose to accept it, only a handful of them are actually willing to put the first foot forward and make a change. I’m writing this letter but I certainly haven’t done anything of value to save the planet after watching Racing Extinction—which is awful because _Racing Extinction is an excellently crafted documentary. Director Louie Psihoyos does a great job of threading the audience along, informing and shocking along the way.
I was forced to take a hard look at myself and society around me, just like Happy and Zeitgeist: The Movie did; two of my favourite documentaries. And in that hard look, I found the lethargic human in me—the one who’s too used to public transportation and pre-cut chicken breast to want to change.
I, like most humans, am part of the systematic problem. I am gravity pulling you into Earth’s line of sight. I am the college student who knows my paper is due the next morning yet I can’t be bothered to stop watching Netflix. I’d rather face the consequence and justify my actions at a later time than give up what makes me feel comfortable. Humans are a very flawed species; we’re brilliant yet stupid, aware yet oblivious and driven yet lazy.
In other words: do you have a cousin that’s looking to make a rest stop? We might just need another wake up call.