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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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.

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.

  • 2020-07-16T18:00:00-07:00
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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.

Water: Saving Every Drop

Estimates say that by 2030, if we carry on as we are, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs. In India's Ladakh, rising temperatures are leading to glacial melt and water shortages in the mountains of the Himalayas. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is also struggling as it experiences severe drought.  

"earthrise" investigates the local solutions being developed in Ladakh and Jordan to help ease the increasingly worrying water problems. 

  • 2020-07-23T18:00:00-07:00
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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.

Shelter: Building Better Cities

Half the world's population live in cities, and by 2050 the figure will increase to two-thirds, or about 6 billion people. The environmental impact is already extensive. As the global population expands, so too do pollution and pressure on resources.

  • 2020-07-30T18:00:00-07:00
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Coping with Extremes

"earthrise" travels to southern Kenya and to Myanmar to see how the locals in these areas are coping with extreme weather.

  • 2020-08-06T18:00:00-07:00
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Antarctic Sanctuary

For centuries, mankind has been hooked on the concept of a mysterious continent at the end of the world. Ancient Greeks and Romans called it "the unknown southern land" and a century ago, Captain Robert Falcon Scott paid the ultimate price on his famous South Pole expedition.

Antarctica, the planet's southernmost continent, is home to spectacular biodiversity — from emperor penguins and blue whales to krill. But climate change, oil drilling and an ever-expanding commercial fishing industry are threatening this undisturbed land and its iconic creatures.

  • 2020-08-13T18:00:00-07:00
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