Still from "earthrise" episode "Food for Thought"
S1 E17: Rewilding Patagonia

Rewilding Patagonia

Three-quarters of all land on Earth is now significantly affected by human activity and the few remaining pockets of wilderness are themselves at risk of becoming ecological deserts. Agriculture, industry, urbanization, climate change — all these are decimating ecosystems and destroying biodiversity. Some 60 percent of the world's animals have been wiped out since the 1970s.

In response, a worldwide movement is under way to "rewild" the countryside. Rewilding is the restoration of an entire ecosystem to its natural state, by removing foreign species while reintroducing and protecting native ones. It begins with the removal of livestock, allowing vegetation to flourish. This encourages insects and other animals, attracting birds and other small predators. Removing fences allows for the return of herbivores, which are preyed on by apex predators — those at the top of the food chain — which then also multiply. 

One rewilding initiative — right at the tip of South America, in Chile's Patagonia — is exceeding all expectations. There, two philanthropists, Kris McDivitt Tompkins and her late husband Doug Tompkins, have helped create one of the largest national parks in the world. Kris, the founder and CEO of the clothing brand Patagonia, and Doug, the founder of Esprit and North Face spent $345m buying up vast tracts of land for restoration and rewilding.

In what has become recognized as the biggest land donation in history, Tompkins has handed 400,000 hectares over to the Chilean state to be run as national parks, alongside four million hectares of land contributed by the state.

Available until
2019-09-18T00:00:00-07:00

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Antarctica on the Edge

Antarctica, one of the most remote and desolate locations on Earth also functions as one of the world's main cooling systems. However, after decades of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, parts of the continent are now warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. 

Over the years, climate change has led to increased erosion of the continent, altered ocean currents and affected wildlife. Warmer currents are now flowing further south, towards the icy terrain, contributing to glacial melt, rising sea levels and drastically changing habitats.

Turning The Tide On Plastic: Creation and Art From Waste

Cheap and versatile, plastic is used for everything. The problem is, it's also indestructible. As a result, it piles up in landfills where it leeches toxic chemicals into soil and groundwater, or ends up in the ocean affecting wildlife and getting into food chains.

Approximately 268,000 tonnes of plastic float in our oceans - that's five trillion individual pieces. If nothing changes, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight than fish in our oceans.

  • 2020-02-20T17:00:00-08:00
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Rewilding Patagonia

Three-quarters of all land on Earth is now significantly affected by human activity and the few remaining pockets of wilderness are themselves at risk of becoming ecological deserts. Agriculture, industry, urbanization, climate change — all these are decimating ecosystems and destroying biodiversity. Some 60 percent of the world's animals have been wiped out since the 1970s.

Food for Thought

A look at the state of global food security amid rising concerns about the world population and climate change.

In New Haven, Connecticut, a community of scientists, fishermen and foodies are redefining their relationship with the sea using 3D ocean farming. In Africa, farmer-managed natural regeneration is restoring farmland to improve food security. In Holland, scientists are racing to future proof our planet against our love of meat.

  • 2020-02-27T17:00:00-08:00
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Feeding The Billions

With global demand for food set to increase by nearly 70% by 2050, sustainable food production is one of the biggest challenges for the future. The food industry is one of the most ecologically damaging industries and we will need to completely rethink its approach if we are to keep meals on the table for generations to come.

  • 2020-03-04T10:30:00-08:00
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Forest-Friendly Fires

In a busy market in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, a group of women gather to cook. While the dishes they prepare are traditional, the brightly coloured stoves they cook on are new.

The locally made Ugastove, which requires on average half the amount of charcoal of traditional cookers, saves money in reduced fuel costs, cuts carbon emissions and reduces deforestation.

  • 2020-03-05T17:00:00-08:00
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Protecting Precious Landscapes

To cope with our growing population we have tripled our exploitation of natural resources in just 40 years. As a result of the vast expansion of mining, industrial-scale farming, fishing and other human activities, natural ecosystems have lost nearly half of their area, and one million plant and animal species are facing extinction. Without the ecological networks which regulate our planet — from cleaning air and water to providing food — we simply cannot survive.

  • 2020-03-11T11:30:00-07:00
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Eco Burials & Protecting The Great Barrier Reef

Green Goodbyes 

Death is a messy business. In America alone, 1.6 million tons of cement and over 870,000 gallons of embalming fluid — commonly containing formaldehyde — are buried along with 2.5 million caskets every year.

“What you have here is a landfill … a toxic landfill,” says Glen Ayers of the Green Burial Committee as he looks around a traditional graveyard in Massachusetts.

  • 2020-03-12T18:00:00-07:00
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