Walking Mountains presents ‘Racing Extinction’ at Vilar Center | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains presents ‘Racing Extinction’ at Vilar Center

If you go …

What: Walking Mountains Science Center presents community film screening of “Racing Extinction,” the Oceanic Preservation Society’s movie raising awareness about climate change. A discussion with Leilani Munter, environmental activist and professional racecar driver, will follow the screening.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

Cost: Free.

More information: The film contains content that may not be suitable for children. Visit http://www.walkingmountains.org or racingextinction.com.

BEAVER CREEK — It sounds like a James Bond film, but instead of going after Mr. Big, "Racing Extinction" goes after something much bigger.

There's undercover cameras, a car that changes colors and an honorable message: Why would we want to disrupt something that took billions of years to evolve?

The Oceanic Preservation Society's film brings light to the ongoing issue of climate change and is a journey of several artists and activists going undercover to expose the hidden world of endangered species and the race to protect all species from mass extinction.

On Thursday, the Walking Mountains Science Center presents a free community screening of "Racing Extinction" at the Vilar Performing Arts Center at Beaver Creek at 7:30 p.m. There will be a Q-and-A session following the film with Leilani Munter, an environmental activist and professional racecar driver in the film.

“I think humans are such visual creatures, and so the fact that we can’t see carbon monoxide and methane is part of the problem. But if we can see it, then we can see all of the impacts of each of those things, and I think that’s really powerful.”Leilani MunterEnvironmental activist, professional racecar driver

"With climate change becoming more of a pressing issue every day, Walking Mountains is honored to have the opportunity to present important work being done by motivated people and facilitate a discussion," said Kim Langmaid, vice president and director of sustainability and stewardship programs at Walking Mountains Science Center.

For the film, the crew created a first-of-its-kind vehicle, a Tesla Model S with some modifications, including high-definition cameras with filters making carbon monoxide and methane visible to the human eye and a projection screen that can take over 40 floors of the Empire State Building.

"She's sort of like a James Bond car," Munter said of the car, known as 006, that can also change colors to avoid detection. "The goal with the car was to make the whole world our canvas."

Munter and her companions traveled the world with the car, bringing awareness to the most busiest of streets about pollution and the dangers it causes.

At one point, 006 is parked next to busy stop sign. As cars pull up and stop, 006 films them with a lens that shows the exhaust coming out of the tailpipe, which is invisible to the naked eye. The car then projects the image onto the building next to the stopped car.

"So the driver could look onto the building and see themselves with the actual pollution coming out of their tailpipe," Munter said. "I think humans are such visual creatures, and so the fact that we can't see carbon monoxide and methane is part of the problem. But if we can see it, then we can see all of the impacts of each of those things, and I think that's really powerful."

'MAKING THE SWITCH'

Even though the filming has ended for "Racing Extinction," Munter still uses the car for activism purposes. She is living proof of how to minimize ones carbon footprinter. She has solar panels on her home, drives a Tesla as her personal car (she says she hasn't been to a gas station since 2013) and she eats vegan. Also, for every time she gets behind the wheel of her racecar (covered in powerful messages about saving the planet), she adopts a rainforest to counter out the only time she uses gasoline.

"That's really important to me: my activism really comes before my racing," Munter said. "It's not like we don't know how to solve this problem. We actually already have the technology with the solutions. It's just a matter of people making the switch."

The film's message is powerful enough to bring attention to the city that never sleeps. At one point, a projection from 006 is put on the side of the Empire State Building.

"The whole city of New York stopped in their tracks, and it literally came to a halt and everybody was watching the show," Munter said.

"Racing Extinction" brings both awareness to the problems the planet faces and a call to action.

"We're fighting a pretty big battle here," Munter said. "There's a lot of people that are making a lot of money off fossil fuels, and they don't want to see things change."

We can all start as small as we want, Munter said, even with one thing. The film promotes the hashtag #StartWith1Thing to get people moving in a direction that protects all species, including humans.

"This generation, I feel like, is the one that's making the shift," Munter said. "I feel like it's really exciting to be on the planet right now because we're getting to be a part of that switch from fossil fuels to clean energy. Hopefully in another generation, there will be no trace."

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.