Billions in Change • 2015

Category: Environment
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Driest Place on Earth

Chile's Atacama Desert is the driest, oldest and deadest desert on earth. Yet it's plays host to living creatures and penguins even thrive nearby. It may provide clues to where to look for life on other, seemingly barren, planets.

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Paradise or Oblivion

The Venus Project proposes an alternative vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know in order to achieve a sustainable new world civilization. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but as totally unacceptable. More at thevenusproject.com

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Earth 2100

Lucy is born June 2, 2009, in the suburbs of Miami and is still alive in the year 2100. This is her story.

2009 • Environment

Our Changing Planet

The launch of the BBC's ambitious seven-year natural history project, in which six presenters visit six of the planet's most threatened ecosystems to meet the people fighting to restore the Earth's delicate balance. Chapter 1: Steve Backshall travels to the Maldives, an area facing significant challenges because of climate change. Warming seas and the acidification of the oceans have led to coral bleaching on a massive scale, destroying the surrounding ecosystem. The biodiversity of the reefs provides food security, income and other benefits to the people of the Maldives, and Steve finds that they are working hard to try to stem the tide of destruction. He also goes diving off the reefs to check on a group of manta rays, whose presence offers a clear indication of the health of the reef. In Iceland, Chris Packham learns more about the effects of global warming. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at more than twice the annual global average. Snow and ice are melting at an increasing rate, which contributes to rising sea levels and is likely to provoke extreme temperature events beyond the Arctic. As one of the eight Arctic States, Iceland is being dramatically affected by rising temperatures, with the lives and livelihoods of many islanders being threatened. Chris also discovers that melting sea ice is opening the Arctic to navigation. These seas are home to many species of whales, so Chris joins a team of young scientists monitoring the impact of increased commercial shipping on humpback whales. On the other side of the world, Ella Al-Shamahi visits Cambodia in Southeast Asia, an area experiencing increasing economic growth. However, growth is putting massive pressure on natural resources, with ever-expanding cities and devastating overexploitation of the natural world. The Mekong river is the lifeblood of this region, but whole sections of it are under pressure. Ella meets a fishing community living on the Tonle Sap lake. The lake used to offer rich fishing grounds for local communities, but the construction of many dams along the wider Mekong is now threatening to destroy the biodiversity of this once abundant lake. The building of new roads has given poachers easier access to forests, and the illegal wildlife trade is big international business. Ella visits a project in Cambodia that rescues and rehabilitates illegally trafficked wildlife, including pangolins, the most trafficked mammal on Earth. Chapter 2: Liz Bonnin travels to California to learn about the increasingly invasive wildfires hitting the headlines. Scientists can see clear links between the fires, climate change, raised temperatures and an extended drought season. There is one crucial element that is key to a sustainable future in California: biodiversity. Loss of keystone species and large carnivores is a threat to the state's ecosystems, and conservationists and scientists are mobilising to save wildlife from wildfires and to treat their burns. Liz also visits the Pacific coast of California, where warming seas have brought with them a new resident, great white sharks. With each shark consuming up to 18 kilos of prey at a time, the impact they could have on the marine ecosystem is being studied intently. Ade Adepitan travels to Kenya to look at the effects rising temperatures are having on the land. Hundreds of millions of Africans depend on rainfall to grow their food and keep livestock, and the capacity for adaptation is low. Ade also visits a project in Kenya that is going to extraordinary lengths to safeguard the future of its most charismatic creature, the African elephant. Over in Brazil, Gordon Buchanan discovers a pioneering project that is trying to save one of the Amazon's iconic predators, the jaguar. Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, and as well as the Amazon rainforest, it is home to one of the world's most important wetlands, the Pantanal. This area is home to high numbers of jaguars, but in 2020, wildfires destroyed 30 per cent of the Pantanal, killing an estimated 17 million animals. More than a quarter of the resident jaguars were directly impacted by these fires, through habitat loss, food shortages, injury and death.

2022 • Environment

Decoding the Weather Machine

Disastrous hurricanes. Widespread droughts and wildfires. Withering heat. Extreme rainfall. It is hard not to conclude that something’s up with the weather and many scientists agree. It’s the result of the weather machine itself—our climate—changing, becoming hotter and more erratic. In this two-hour documentary, NOVA will cut through the confusion around climate change. Why do scientists overwhelmingly agree that our climate is changing, and that human activity is causing it? How and when will it affect us through the weather we experience? And what will it take to bend the trajectory of planetary warming toward more benign outcomes? Join scientists around the world on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth, and discover how we can be resilient—even thrive—in the face of enormous change.

NOVA PBS • 2018 • Environment

Part 3

In the final episode of the series, Anita Rani investigates the tsunami of single-use plastic that parents pick up in the form of give-away toys. It turns out that McDonald's are the largest toy distributor in the world, handing out over 1.4 billion plastic toys per year worldwide. They claim on their website that they are recyclable, but a visit to Simon Ellin, the CEO of the Recycling Association, makes it very clear that while that may be true in theory, in reality it’s not that simple. Meanwhile, Hugh is in Scotland. He’s learnt that at the same time as the public are trying to reduce the amount of plastics in their lives, the plastics industry has big plans to increase plastic production by 50% before 2040. To find out more, he visits the INEOS factory in Grangemouth, owned by the richest man in Britain, where they produce a staggering 60-70 billion tiny plastic pellets every day.

3/3War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita • 2019 • Environment