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

Upcoming Airdates

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.

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.

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. 

  • 2020-01-09T17:00:00-08:00
    Link TV