Imagine a beautiful park, a wild open space, next to the city, yet undeveloped. That place is Knowland Park, in Oakland California. It is a city park, but it is also undisturbed land, which provides a home to many rare native species of plants and animals, some of which are endangered. Among its many splendors, the park contains one of the last vestiges of Maritime Chaparral, a plant emblematic of Californian Coast, yet one that has almost disappeared from California altogether.
Knowland is a wonderful place, but its native grasslands, chaparral, birds, and animals are threatened. This threat to our land comes from the local, city owned zoo. The zoo plans to build over pristine parts of the park, to build an aerial gondola ride, offices, and to create animal enclosures to make a native California exhibit that will destroy native California. Knowland, the film, tells the story of the park, its treasures, and its history. The film asks us to consider the cost of the Oakland Zoo development; the financial cost, the environmental cost, and the cost to the zoo animals that will live their lives enclosed, unable to roam freely in open space.
The zoo is an outdated concept, it commoditizes animals for entertainment. Zoos do not educate our children, nor do they protect our environment, but they are cruel institutions for the animals imprisoned within them. At this moment, in our human history, do we want to pour concrete over native grasses, and build enclosures for wild creatures, or do we want to think innovatively, and protect what little remains of our real California, our heritage for future generations.