For “Racing Extinction,” director Louie Psihoyos and producer Fisher Stevensfollowup theirOscar-winning work in “The Cover” with an even broader look at the threats to our environment today — especially those that are man-made — and what we can do to stop them, if there’s still even time for that. And for Stevens, that’s a very big if.
So do you see this as a kind of follow-up to “The Cove”?
In a way, yeah. I would say “The Cove” was about a lot of things, but it focused on a small cover in Japan, and so I think this is kind of about taking it to the next level and showing more parts of the world and shedding more light on more issues that we face as humans every day. Since 2009 when we finished “The Cove,” I think the world has changed quite a bit, so we’ve had unfortunately a lot to film.
In what ways specifically have things changed?
Well, I think that in 2009 in Copenhagen, when we tried to make some kind of deals of cutting carbon emissions and making the world a little more sustainable, nothing happened, and therefore it was more like business as usual in terms of the amount of carbon that we’re emitting. In terms of species and what’s going on with dolphins and sharks, we’ve had a lot of movement, which is good. But in terms of the environment as a whole, you kind of realize it’s not just the oceans that are in trouble, it’s everything. So I’m happy that Louis picked up the banner and kept running with it.
Do you think in general that there have been encouraging signs as far as people’s engagement with these causes?
I think so. I think the world is getting more aware. I think the climate denier movement is getting weaker. They’re throwing a lot of money at it, but I think it is getting weaker. The good news is yes, people are getting more aware, there are more films coming out, China and India are trying to make adjustments. Our president in the last six months has really gotten on the bandwagon. Everything is moving in a good direction. I guess the question is will the action really now happen? Everybody’s talking a good game — trying to cut carbon emissions 28 percent by 2030, that would be amazing but can we do it?
What’s your own tactic for dealing with climate deniers?
I just find it mind-blowing, and I find them evil. I find them irresponsible and evil. It’s incredible to me that they have children and are still able to carry on in their daily lives. They’re going to be looked at as the bad guys, the villains of our times. They all have ulterior motives. It isn’t all greed with these climate deniers, but a lot of it is ideology and they just don’t want to be told what to do — at the expense of everybody’s health and lungs and their children’s health. It’s understandable that Mitch McConnell lives in Kentucky and coal is a big business, but we all know coal is going to be not happening. It’s going to go away, it’s just a matter of when. And the fact that this guy’s holding onto it, it’s just mind-blowing. James Inhofe, I think he’s just an idiot. I think he’s stupid. I think he’s convinced himself that none of this is real because his brain is so small. He’s one of the few, I think, that’s just a moron and just doesn’t get it. Everybody else gets it.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick