The Anthropocene Age — the age of humans — has brought about the extinctions of plant and animals species and has filled oceans, air, and soil with toxins. The people living in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland have relied on the seas for their livelihood since it is nearly impossible to farm here. In their cultural tradition Huldufólk are unseen mythic creatures who watch over the natural world with respect and diligence. But the balance between humans and nature has gone awry in the modern world.

The Faroe fishermen work together in regular hunts for pilot whales. While men in boats chase their prey towards the beach, men and boys wait with knives and spears. The resulting slaughter of these innocents is painful to watch and brings to mind the horrific murders of the dolphins depicted in Louie Psihoyo's stunning documentary The Cove. At the end of the carnage, the ocean's water has turned red with blood which is also splattered on the faces of hunters. After the carcasses are skinned and split into equitable pieces for consumption, the community gathers for a celebratory party. When the Sea Shepherds, a marine conservation group, arrives to try to prevent the killing of the whales, they are ridiculed and briefly jailed.

When the men aren't hunting the whales, they hang on ropes and are lowered down to the cliffs where seabirds are captured for food. One villager shows off his taxidermy shop where he has many examples of the birds that used to be plentiful on the islands.

The real threat to the future of the people of the Faroe Islands is voiced by Professor Pal Weihe who has been doing blood tests on those who regularly eat whale. In one family, he finds that the husband and two little girls all have high levels of mercury in their bodies. Weihe recommends that they cut back drastically on eating whale and seabirds. Otherwise, the daughters could suffer decreased cognitive functioning and loss of coordination similar to Parkinson's patients.

Although it takes a strong stomach to watch the pilot whales being slaughtered, our hearts go out to the residents of these islands who like their beloved puffins may die off in large numbers as a result of global irresponsibility. But unlike the puffins, humans have a choice that can turn their lives around.