Will rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing, and industry increase the demands for freshwater beyond the finite supply? This program examines the role of high-level corporate and political players in the shrinking availability of what is already the most precious substance on Earth. Viewers follow numerous worldwide examples of the struggle for the basic right to water—from local protests at grade schools to the slow deliberation of UN conventions to violent revolutions in developing countries. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (90 minutes)
Hydrogen may be the fuel of the future, but what would it take to safely and efficiently make the transition from fossil fuels? In this program from the Scientific American Frontiers series, host Alan Alda takes a look at two ways to use the Sun’s energy to extract hydrogen; meets with Stan and Iris Ovshinsky, inventors of a hydrogen storage method involving a solid metal alloy; and makes a visit to Iceland, the country farthest along in abandoning oil for hydrogen, thanks to its vast reserves of geothermal energy. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (30 minutes)
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the agricultural industry today is feeding the world’s rapidly growing population while also caring for the environment. At the center of the challenge is the tension between sustainable and more mainstream industrial farming practices. This video looks at ecological problems caused by farming which relies on pesticides, hormones, and heavy mechanization. The program also assesses the advantages and disadvantages of sustainable alternatives. Interviews with a vegetable farmer, an organic winemaker, and an environmental scientist explore issues at the core of agribusiness while touching on innovative ideas and ongoing technological changes in farming practices around the world. Viewable/printable educational resources are available online. (21 minutes)
With freshwater making up only 3 percent of the world’s supply, are we looking at a global crisis in the making? Some say it’s already upon us—whether for drinking, growing crops, or proper hygiene, shortages are emerging all over the planet. Studying the impact on our home front, this CNBC Original documentary travels to the American West, where seven states compete for water from the Colorado River Basin, as well as to Alaska and Wisconsin, both of which enjoy an abundance of water and are eager to capitalize on their surplus. The program also visits Chile, a nation with some of the most efficient water markets in the world—in theory, anyway, since the realities of managing a scarce resource inevitably produce tensions. In addition, viewers learn about the bottled water industry, which has posted growth rates of 20 percent for most of the past two decades. Not available in French-speaking Canada. (44 minutes)
TEDTalks: Damian Palin—Mining Minerals from Seawater (03:00)
The world needs fresh water—so much so that more and more, we're pumping it from the oceans, desalinating it, and drinking it. But what to do with the salty brine left behind? In this intriguing TEDtalk, TED Fellow Damian Palin proposes an idea: mine it for other minerals we need, with the help of some collaborative metal-munching bacteria.
For decades, local food producers in the West have faced a shrinking market share. But if well-intentioned Americans and Europeans stop eating vegetables from Africa, will Africans have more to eat? Or will we simply deprive African farmers of a living? This program delves into that issue and other food-related problems, some of which have solutions while others urgently await answers. Viewers are shown how tenuous food security in Kenya doesn’t stop the country from exporting most of its produce to the West while potentially leasing large portions of arable land to Qatar. The film also profiles small U.K. growers, offers carbon footprint comparisons between livestock producers in New Zealand and Great Britain, and features commentary from Earth Policy Institute president Lester Brown and other experts. A Blakeway Television Production for the BBC. A part of the series The Future of Food. (52 minutes)