According to the UN, it is predicted that the human population could reach ten billion people by the year 2050. For broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham, who has dedicated his life to championing the natural world, the subject of our growing population and the impact it is having on our planet is one of the most vital – and often overlooked – topics of discussion in an era of increasing environmental awareness. Chris is worried that a world of ten billion may simply be too many people for the earth to sustain, given the impact 7.7 billion humans are already having. Travelling around the globe in search of answers to difficult and sometimes controversial questions, Chris investigates why our population is growing so rapidly, what impact it is having on the natural world, and whether there is anything that can be done. Chris travels to Brazil to discover a megacity on the verge of running out of water and an industry expanding to feed our growing numbers – with dire consequences for biodiversity. In Nigeria, a country set to become the third most populous nation on earth by 2050, overtaking the United States, Chris visits an extraordinary community surviving against the odds and a school that might hold the answer to a future fall in the birth rate. Back home in Britain, Chris interviews Sir David Attenborough – like Chris, he is a patron of the charity Population Matters. Chris also examines the role of falling birth rates around the world, the impact of an aging population, and meets a couple who are struggling to get pregnant through IVF. With interviews from several population experts, Chris's focus ultimately turns to the impact our levels of consumption are already having, and asks whether the world can rebalance to accommodate the needs of over two billion more people.
Adolf Hitler is infamous today as a war criminal - arguably one of the worst war criminals in history. Yet during the 1930s he was loved by millions of Germans. How was this possible? In this fascinating series, award-winning historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the background to Hitler's 'charismatic' rule.
How did we become our planet's only global species, at home in every environment on Earth. Learn how our ancestors found a way through the deserts and out of Africa. Explore the meeting of Neanderthals and humans. And discover how we survived the Ice Age.
Man on Wire is a 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center and is based on Philippe Petit's book, To Reach the Clouds, which has recently been released in paperback with the new title Man on Wire. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside reenactments (with Paul McGill as the young Petit) and modern-day interviews with the participants. Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petit’s success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marsh’s pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. It competed in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary and the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary. In February 2009, the film won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
2008 • People