Throughout the world, sea levels are rising, coastlines are crumbling, and the intensity of hurricanes is increasing. Is the situation in New Orleans a glimpse into the future of all cities that exist near major bodies of water? Filmed six months after Katrina, this program analyzes why New Orleans flooded so catastrophically and asks whether the city—constructed on a steadily subsiding floodplain and losing coastal barrier land at the highest rate in the U.S.—should be rebuilt at all. (50 minutes)
People everywhere are interested in the weather, but how does it all work? Beginning with Earth's atmosphere—its evolution, its gaseous composition, and its four regions—this video takes a close look at how conditions combine to create climate and weather. Topics include the Köppen Climate Classification System; weather prediction; types of clouds and precipitation; thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes; and weather patterns such as El Niño and La Niña. A viewable/printable instructor's guide is available online. Correlates to National Science Education Standards, National Educational Technology Standards, and Standards for the English Language Arts. A Cambridge Educational Production. (26 minutes)
Most Pacific Rim countries participate in an advanced tsunami warning system—but when the 2004 Indian Ocean tele-tsunami struck, no such system existed for that region. This program recounts the events of the disaster and explores the potential for more occurrences like it—including scenarios involving vast destruction in the United States. Following a country-by-country breakdown of the 2004 tragedy, the video shows how landslides can cause tsunamis of almost unimaginable power, how such a collapse in the Canary Islands could swamp America's East Coast, and how a truly global tsunami warning system might be established. A Discovery Channel Production. (45 minutes
This program investigates sources of runoff and the pollution that occurs when it washes contaminants such as pesticides, bacteria, oil, and unwanted nutrients into aquatic ecosystems. Cost-effective initiatives to divert and filter runoff are also spotlighted, including stormwater rehabilitation systems, highway runoff purification systems, construction site erosion controls, and waste retention lagoons. In addition, many experts are featured, including A. J. Englande, of Tulane University; Frances Dunham, executive director of the Santa Rosa Sound Coalition; and Carlton Dufrechou, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
Studies of our planet's crust, or lithosphere, suggest that it's not a single solid layer at all. This video illustrates the process of scientific inquiry by studying the evolution of our understanding of plate tectonics, the dynamics of those ever-shifting slabs of earth we call solid ground. Beginning with Alfred Wegener's hypothesis of continental drift, the program discusses major and minor plates, types of plate boundaries, and the concepts of spreading and subduction. Earthquakes and volcanoes are also addressed. Correlates to National Science Education Standards, National Educational Technology Standards, and Standards for the English Language Arts. A Cambridge Educational Production. (25 minutes)
Whether they arise from human causes or forces within planet Earth itself, natural disasters threaten life and civilization with what seems to be growing frequency. This album of NewsHour segments studies troubling developments in marine, arctic, wetland, and urban environments—highlighting research opportunities that may help prevent future catastrophes. Coral reef decay, Everglades habitat loss, polar ice disappearance, and global warming are all analyzed. In addition, the program looks at earthquake prediction, hurricane and tornado tracking, air pollution monitoring, tsunami warning systems, and the cleanup of toxic flood sediment in New Orleans. Original broadcast dates: 10/1/03 to 11/8/05. (112 minutes)
This film offers a wealth of scientific evidence for dire climate-change predictions—but it also shows how businesses, local governments, and citizens can take positive action to reduce future dangers. With in-depth discussions of what may lie ahead, including increases in storm surges, hurricanes, water pollution, forest fires, and epidemics, the program promotes the urgently needed use of alternative energy sources, such as biodiesel, clean-burning coal, and wind and solar power. Interviews with leading climatologists and environmental health experts enliven the film's two-pronged focus on perils and solutions.
No matter where on Earth, the one human activity that consumes the most water is the one that wastes the most: agriculture. From locations around the world, this program surveys both disasters of agricultural irrigation, such as cotton farming in Uzbekistan, and innovative successes in water-efficient techniques and crops, such as in California and India. Numerous examples illustrate the destructive effects of deforestation and overgrazing, the difficulty of fighting erosion and reclaiming arable soil, and the urgency of the motto: more crop per drop. (27 m.)