Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Matt Damon hosts PBS "Journey to Planet Earth": Open with "State of the Planet's Oceans", with global warming


Tuesday, April 14, Matt Damon narrated the first of a series on PBS, “Journey to Planet Earth”, with the episode called “State of the Planet’s Oceans”, link here. The website offers teacher’s guides. The closing credits mentioned an interesting corporate name, “Screenscope.”

The program started with a view of the “Venice of Portugal”, Navarro. The town depended on cod fishing for decades, but in the past few decades the yield is way down from overfishing, leading fishermen to troll in poverty. Some migrated to Ned Bedford, MA, and repeated the same cycle.

Off the coast of Florida, the program documents the Tortugas reserve, where fishing is strictly regulated by patrol boats.

But the most important part of the program examined global warming. As have previous programs, Damon explained how glaciers in Greenland melt more rapidly and slide off as they become “lubricated” by melt-throughs. The rise in sea level might affect not only Navarro (above) and Venice or Amsterdam, and Florida, but become catastrophic for Bangladesh, most of which is less than ten feet above sea level. Tens of millions would migrate to Dacca, introducing political instability.

But another frightening prospect is the total loss of glaciers in the Andes by 2015. That will force rural post-Incas from the Altiplano to migrate to Lima, where they would probably live in desert shantytowns that even now have practically no water. The photography of the shantytowns was graphic.

The show concludes by showing a wildlife refuge, visited by the whale shark, off the coast of Belize.

Note also
: If you notice once in a while that the spelling in an internal link on a posting doesn't quite match the name of the posting, it's because I made an undetected typo in the heading (here an accidental "s" on Matt Damom's name) and later corrected it. Blogger will let you post without titles and make a link name based on the first words in the posting.

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