During a recent Hollywood Screening Q&A for the new documentary “Racing Extinction” hosted by The Wrap, Director Louie Psihoyos (Director of Academy Award Winning Documentary ‘The Cove’) and Elon Musk (CEO/CTO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Chairman of SolarCity) compared climate change denial efforts to tobacco lobbying. As a way to start a global movement before it’s too late, the filmmakers announced the Discovery Channel will air “Racing Extinction” in 220 countries and territories this Wednesday, December 2, 2015 (9pm/8pm Central in the US).
Producer, Actor, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk (who stars in the film) gave this scary view of how the public perception gets twisted by lobbyists, “The oil and gas industry has a few paid scientists who say climate change is not a big deal. Even though 97-98% of scientists think it’s obviously a big deal, they say, all scientists don’t agree, which is technically true. The same thing happened with tobacco. The tobacco companies knew that heavy smoking would cause lung cancer and Emphysema…and millions of people around the world were dying, they knew it, they just kept going.”
To gain mass acceptance that climate change is real before we have “mass extinction”, the Discovery Channel is committed to showing “Racing Extinction” across multiple channels on a single day (December 2, 2015) with access to 2.4 billion people. The overall goal is to get 1 billion to see it, and create a tipping point of believers before it’s too late.
Director Louie Psihoyos expanded, “Malcolm Gladwell says you need about 16.5% of the population before you can create a tipping. The science shows it can be as little as 10%. You just need 10 percent of the people with an unwavering belief in the truth, and the rest of the population just falls like dominoes. With this one viewing, we might be able to reach that tipping point.”
Elon Musk recommended reading “Merchants of Doubt” to understand “the playbook” of the tobacco industry lobbyists that is now being used by the oil and gas industry (and literally by the same people) to create a myth that climate change does not exist.
Elon expanded, “The problem right now is that the rules of the game fundamentally favor bad behavior….So effectively everything that creates CO2 gets the subsidy that people don’t appreciate, whereas things that are sustainable are actually penalized. If you have a system where bad behavior is rewarded, and good behavior is punished, then of course, you’re going to get the wrong outcome. So one way or another, the rules of the game have to change so that we favor the good over the bad.”
As a reflection, Louie added, “What gave me hope to do this film was ‘The Cove’. They were killing 23,000 dolphins and porpoises in Japan before we did the film. Now, they’re killing less than 6,000 so we reduced it 70-75%… so then I thought, well if we could do that with this little body of water, let’s scale it up.”
Louie then encouraged everyone to take action, “There’s a lot of causes, but there’s a lot of solutions too.” You can “Start with 1 Thing,” and share it on social media with the hashtag #Startwith1Thing. The end of the “Racing Extinction” and website also list many ways everyone can help, including:
• Walk or Bike versus drive
• Take public transportation versus drive
• Reduce or eliminate your meat consumption
• Protect the Arctic by reducing your carbon footprint
• If you’re going to eat seafood, make smart choices (Download The Seafood Watch App)
• Take a shark quiz, and learn how to protect them
• Think about your next car purchase
With nearly 150 World Leaders arriving in Paris today for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21, November 30 – December 11, 2015), it’s the perfect time to spotlight this “Racing Extinction” documentary to the world. According to CNN, the summit’s goal is to reach “a landmark global deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”
You can also send a message by voting for candidates who take climate change seriously. In the end, Elon Musk emphasized, “It’s really up to the people of the world. They’ve got to tell politicians that in order to get their vote, they better change the rules.”
© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist