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Documentaries, nature

Inside the Bat Cave

YEAR: 2020 | LENGTH: 1 part (60 minutes)  |  SOURCE: BBC

description:

A remarkable journey into the secret world of one of the most endangered and least understood animals on earth – bats. With cutting-edge night-vision cameras and ultrasonic detectors, this programme follows a greater horseshoe bat roost for four months during the summer of 2019, capturing the hidden life of the colony as never before. Witness the birth of a new generation of pups and follow their progress towards their perilous maiden flight outside the roost.

biology, Documentaries, nature, society

Extinction: The Facts

YEAR: 2020 | LENGTH: 1 part (1 part 58 minutes)  |  SOURCE: BBC

description:

With a million species at risk of extinction, Sir David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, threatening food and water security, undermining our ability to control our climate and even putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases.

Extinction is now happening up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate, but the issue is about more than the loss of individual species. Everything in the natural world is connected in networks that support the whole of life on earth, including us, and we are losing many of the benefits that nature provides to us. The loss of insects is threatening the pollination of crops, while the loss of biodiversity in the soil also threatens plants growth. Plants underpin many of the things that we need, and yet one in four is now threatened with extinction.

Last year, a UN report identified the key drivers of biodiversity loss, including overfishing, climate change and pollution. But the single biggest driver of biodiversity loss is the destruction of natural habitats. Seventy-five per cent of Earth’s land surface (where not covered by ice) has been changed by humans, much of it for agriculture, and as consumers we may unwittingly be contributing towards the loss of species through what we buy in the supermarket.

Our destructive relationship with the natural world isn’t just putting the ecosystems that we rely on at risk. Human activities like the trade in animals and the destruction of habitats drive the emergence of diseases. Disease ecologists believe that if we continue on this pathway, this year’s pandemic will not be a one-off event.

Documentaries, society

The Wolfpack

YEAR: 2015 | LENGTH: 1 part  (90 minutes)  |  SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

description:

The Wolfpack is a 2015 American documentary film about a family who homeschooled and raised their seven children in the confinement of their apartment in the Lower East Side of New York City.

Locked away in an apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for fourteen years, the Angulo family’s seven children — six brothers: Bhagavan (b. 1991/1992), twins Narayana (who now goes by Josef)[9] and Govinda (b. 1993/1994), Mukunda (b. 1995/1996), Krisna (who now goes by Glenn, b. 1997/1998), and Jagadesh (who now goes by Eddie, b. 1998/1999); along with their sister Visnu (b. 1990/1991) — learned about the world through watching films. They also re-enact scenes from their favorite movies. They were homeschooled by their mother and confined to their sixteenth story four-bedroom apartment in the Seward Park Extension housing project. Their father, Oscar, had the only door key and prohibited the kids and their mother Susanne from leaving the apartment except for a few strictly monitored trips on the “nefarious” streets.

Everything changed for them when 15-year-old Mukunda decided to walk around the neighborhood in January 2010, against their father’s instruction to remain inside. All the brothers then decided to begin exploring Manhattan and the world outside.

Documentaries, geology, nature, society

Climbing Blind

YEAR: 2020 | LENGTH: 1 part (56 minutes)  |  SOURCE: BBC

description:

The incredible story of Jesse Dufton as he attempts to be the first blind person to lead a climb of the Old Man of Hoy, a sea stack with sheer cliff faces rising out of the sea, in Orkney, Scotland

Jesse was born with 20% central vision. At four years of age, Jesse was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disease that breaks down the retina’s cells. When he was 20, Jesse could no longer read. By the time he was 30, he could only detect light, with around a one to two per cent field of view. As a lifelong climber, what Jesse has achieved flies in the face of adversity, training for world cup events and leading traditional rock climbs with his sight guide and fiancée Molly.

As his sight degenerates, his climbing continues to make remarkable progress. His attempt on the Old Man of Hoy is testimony to his ambition to take on new and greater challenges, despite his devastating condition.

This engrossing documentary will make you laugh and cry as it delivers not just a truly gripping climbing story but an inspiring tale of human endeavour and attitude.

Documentaries, nature, society

Ocean Autopsy: The Secret Story of Our Seas

YEAR: 2020 | LENGTH: 1 part (90 minutes)  |  SOURCE: BBC

description:

Two-thirds of our planet is covered in water, split into five distinct oceans, but in reality Earth’s seas are part of one huge global water system – a system that has been instrumental in shaping our destiny for millions of years. Now, however, in the 21st century, it is mankind that is shaping the destiny of our oceans. In unprecedented ways, humans are changing our seas and the life within. The ocean bed, the currents, marine life, even the water itself is transformed by what we are putting into our oceans.

In this revelatory BBC Four documentary special, oceanographer Dr Helen Czerski and zoologist Dr George McGavin carry out an ‘autopsy’ on the ocean itself and reveal the startling changes it’s undergoing. Moving the story beyond the well-known impact of discarded plastic on our seas, the autopsy will investigate the effects of high levels of life-threatening toxins on marine ecosystems and the invisible plague of micro- and nano-plastics saturating the water. The destiny of our oceans is on a knife edge and the window of opportunity to save them is rapidly closing.

But all is not lost. Along the way, George and Helen follow some surprising stories of hope as scientists uncover biodiverse ecosystems at the bottom of wind turbines that act as artificial reefs. George also visits the team at the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, a coastal wetland restoration initiative on the Essex coast twice the size of the City of London, that has been transformed into a nature reserve for rare and threatened birds and other wildlife using excavated soil from Crossrail.

Our precinct is the North Sea. Industry has polluted these waters for longer than any other sea on the planet and, in the past 50 years, the North Sea has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the world’s oceans. The unique levels of human impact provide oceanographers with a crystal ball for the future of ocean change. If it is happening in the North Sea now, scientists can predict where they will see it globally in the future.

Embedded with a team of leading researchers on board the Pelagia, a Dutch Oceanographic research vessel, Helen is on a mission to perform a comprehensive health check on the North Sea, using gas-sampling techniques to investigate a mysterious methane leak that may be caused by sea temperature rise. Understanding its origins could be critical to uncovering the human effects of global warming. The team will have to work for 48 hours straight on this ‘floating laboratory’ in the ocean.

They also carry out a survey of the North Sea to generate a comprehensive map of micro-plastic movement in our oceans. Ninety-nine percent of the plastic we dump in the oceans is missing, so the team wants to find out where it is all going. Starting off on the coastline, the team samples plastic on the surface, documenting where they find each piece and what it is. They also sample the depths of the sea for micro-plastics and discover marine fungi that could provide a possible solution – they might be ‘eating’ micro plastics.

Intercut with this survey, Dr George McGavin visits Utrecht University. Here, leading animal pathologist Lonneke IJsseldijk performs a necropsy (an animal autopsy) on a harbour porpoise to try to find out how and why it died. Lonneke believes the best way to understand what is in our oceans is to look inside the animals that live there. She looks for chemical fingerprints of human toxic pollutants hidden inside, like PCBs that were used in the building industry in the 1980s but which never break down.

Throughout this ocean autopsy, Helen and George find terrifyingly high levels of micro- and nano-plastics, rising sea temperatures changing the ocean ecosystems, and marine mammal life whose very existence is threatened by human toxic pollutants saturating the oceans at every level – the ocean floor, the life in the oceans and even the water itself. But they also find stories of hope, where nature may be able to repair itself if given a chance. What they discover is that it is not too late, but the window to action the change we need is closing quickly. If we can understand what is happening to our waters now, can we act to save them?

Documentaries, society, technology

Broken

YEAR: 2019 | LENGTH: 4 parts (~60 minutes each)  |  SOURCE: IMDB

description:

Influencer hype and scarcity marketing create conditions where counterfeit makeup thrives, teens become addicting to vaping, disposable furniture kills, and corporations use single use plastics in a 4 part series.

episodes:

Influencer hype and scarcity marketing create conditions where counterfeit makeup thrives, tainted with bacteria, lead, arsenic - and worse.

Initially designed for adult use, vaping has addicted teens to nicotine, thanks to hipster ads by startups like Juul. Now Big Tobacco's cashing in.

Disposable-furniture makers like Ikea use eco-friendly images to hide their true costs: fatally flimsy construction, environmental ruin and more.

Corporations market single-use plastic products as recyclable. In fact, much plastic recycling ends up as landfill - or on beaches in Southeast Asia.

biology, Documentaries, nature

Jane

YEAR: 2017 | LENGTH: 1 part (90 minutes)  |  SOURCE: NATGEO

description:

Jane is a 2017 American biographical documentary film directed and written by Brett Morgen about primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist Jane Goodall.Jane Goodall, a young and untrained woman, challenges the male dominated scientific consensus of her time with her chimpanzee research and revolutionizes people’s understanding of the natural world.

Documentaries, society

Chocolate’s Heart of Darkness

YEAR: 2020 | LENGTH: 1 part (42 minutes)  |  SOURCE: DW

description:

In 2001, the lucrative chocolate industry, due to pressure from NGOs, committed itself to putting an end to child labour in cacao plantations before 2006. 18 years later, has that promise been kept?

The Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cacao producer, made a real effort to eradicate this scourge on the country. They built schools and trained farmers. Television adverts even reminded populations that child labour is illegal. So why does child exploitation still exist?

Further into isolated areas of the forest, at the end of near-impassable roads, Paul Moreira discovered child slaves, forced to work in plantations, their incomes often seized by traffickers. These child slaves are separated from their parents and sometimes resold onto other traffickers.

Documentaries, nature

Whale Wisdom

YEAR: 2019 | LENGTH: 1 part (50 minutes)  |  SOURCE: TERRAMATER

description:

Whales have long been a profound mystery to us. They live in a world so removed from our own that we can barely imagine their lives. Their environment is different, their senses are different, their relationships are different.

What goes on inside those vast heads? How might such almost alien creatures see the world? How might they think? New science is beginning to give us some answers.

Marine biologist and filmmaker Rick Rosenthal is on a journey to explore these insights, measuring the latest science against his own observations and long-held beliefs – and just maybe, getting a glimpse of the world as it must seem to these ocean giants.

Captured on camera for the first time in ‘Whale Wisdom’, Rick films the astonishing behaviour of a humpback whale which, time and again, manages to outwit humans in order to get what she wants – their fish. She brilliantly thwarts each attempt by the managers of a salmon hatchery to keep her away. Her coup de grace – slipping in and out unseen into an enclosure barely bigger than herself.

In Norway, ‘Whale Wisdom’ captures hunting techniques of humpback whales showing they have learned to interpret another species’ feeding calls – orcas – for their own benefit. The humpbacks, alerted by the orcas’ calls, wait for them to herd herring into tight schools, then sweep in and swallow the entire shoal.

Whales seem to experience fun, too. The camera team captures adult grey whales surfing the breakers, spending hours of each day riding waves at the surf break, stopping only when the tide changes and the waves subside.

And whales share songs. Humpback whales sing, and in the course of a season, a favourite “hit song” emerges. That song is passed from whale to whale, until eventually it’s being sung by all the humpback males in the Southern Pacific Ocean. ‘Whale Wisdom’ uses ultrasonography mapping to illustrate the scientists’ recording of one whale learning the song from another. Researchers believe the songs contain important information, possibly about their migrations, which is shared when the song is transferred – a cultural exchange among whales.

Filmed entirely in 4K from above and below the surface using boats, kayaks and drones, and working with respected whale scientists and researchers, Rick Rosenthal shines a light on the culture and wisdom of whales.

 

Documentaries, nature, society

Maldives: Fighting Back the Tides of Trash

YEAR: 2021 | LENGTH: 1 part (26 minutes)  |  SOURCE: DW

description:

Thilafushi, an island of floating rubbish island in the Maldives, grows by a square meter a day. But diving instructor Shaahina Ali is trying to slow that growth by recycling and using floating barriers to hold back the rising seas.

For decades, the Maldives simply dumped the trash the tourists and the island country’s 400 thousand residents generated. Yet Shaahina Ali says that has to stop. Almost every day, the diving instructor and her allies go from island to island in the Indian Ocean. Working with an environmental organization, they have obtained trash compactors that make plastic waste transportable, allowing it to be shipped abroad for recycling. Ali also advocates avoiding disposable plastic. She gives lectures, advises hotel managers and even bends the ear of the Maldives’ president himself. When she has time, Shaahina Ali goes scuba diving. Beneath the waves she sees environmental degradation – dying corals and fish caught up in plastic waste. She says, “We can’t afford to address just one problem. We’ve got to take care of everything at once because everything is connected to the sea.” But the island paradise is not only threatened by rubbish. Climate change is also causing the sea levels to rise, and the Maldives are at risk of sinking beneath the water. That’s why conservationists are using floating barriers made of recycled plastic to help prevent flooding. In addition to the environmental group “Parley for the Oceans,” Ali has also won politicians to her cause. Last year saw a democratic change of government in the Maldives. “The new government no longer views environmentalists as annoying troublemakers. They see us as partners instead,” Ali says. But those trying to save the island are in a race against time. “If we don’t succeed,” says Shaahina Ali, “far more than a vacation paradise will be lost. We will lose our homeland.”

Documentaries, society, technology

A to Z

YEAR: 2020 | LENGTH: 2 parts (54 minutes each)  |  SOURCE: PBS

description:

Where would we be without the world’s alphabets? Writing has played a vital role in the development and expansion of cultures throughout history. But researchers are only now uncovering the origin story to our own alphabet, which may have gotten its beginnings in a turquoise mine 4,000 years ago. From the shape of the letter A to the role of writing in trade and storytelling, discover how the written word shaped civilization itself.

episodes:

The birth of writing and the first alphabet were among the world’s most vital inventions.

The creation of printing, the first information technology, drove empires and revolutions.

Documentaries, society

Welcome to Sodom

YEAR: 2018 | LENGTH: 1 part (93 minutes)  |  SOURCE: IMDB

description:

Hundreds of thousands of mobile phones, LCD TVs, notebooks and the likes become useless and “out” relatively soon and end up in Ghana where children and adolescents dismantle them in toxic smoke. A “clean” business for some, a poisonous routine for others.