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Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction (DVD)

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Monte Thompson
Running Time:
60 Minutes
80 Minute version included
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Call of Life is the first feature-length documentary to fully investigate the growing threat posed by the rapid and massive loss of biodiversity on the planet. Featuring leading scientists, social scientists, environmentalists and others, the film explores the scope, the causes, and the predicted global impact of a mass extinction occurring on a scale not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

If current trends continue, scientists warn that half or more of all plant and animal species on Earth will become extinct within the next few decades. Entirely caused by human activities, this contemporary mass extinction is disrupting and destroying the complex, interconnected biological systems that support life on earth.

Through interviews with eminent biologists and ecologists, the film examines the primary drivers of species loss: habitat destruction, global warming, pollution, and invasive species, all compounded by the expanding human population and our consumption patterns.

Call of Life tells the story not only of a crisis in nature, but also in human nature. In interviews with psychologists, anthropologists, and historians, the film looks beyond the immediate causes of the mass extinction to consider how cultural and economic myths, along with deep-seated behavioral patterns have allowed this crisis to develop, continue to reinforce it, and even determine our response to it.

Call of Life examines the collective and individual choices we have before us, and how the decisions we make -- or fail to make -- in the next decade will affect the habitability of Earth possibly for millions of years to come.


Among the scientists and other authorities featured in the film are:

• Richard Leakey, famed paleonanthropologist and author of The Sixth Extinction

• Norman Myers, renowned Oxford University authority on biodiversity, author of The Sinking Ark

• Stuart Pimm, Chair of Conservation Ecology at Duke University, author of A Scientist Audits the Earth

• Gretchen Daly, Director of the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology, author of The New Economy of Nature

• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University conservation biologist and author of The Population Bomb

• Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Director, Yale University Forum on Religion and Ecology



"Today, we estimate that there could be several dozen species effectively going extinct every day. The extinction rate now is at least one hundred times and maybe a thousand times, conceivably ten thousand times greater than it has been in the prehistoric past. ...In many ways it's the biggest crisis since we came out of our caves 10,000 years ago."
- Norman Myers

"Biodiversity is fundamentally important to the survival of humanity. I do recognize that the survival of humanity may not necessarily be the most important thing, but we are humans and most of us think that it is important." 
- Richard Leakey


"There are tremendously important bigger scale services like climate regulation, the nice climate we've had on earth in the past many thousands of years, is intimately linked to the plants and animal life on the planet." 
- Gretchen Daly