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Documentaries, nature, society

Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World

YEAR: 2021 | LENGTH: 3 parts (~60 minutes each)  |  SOURCE: BBC

description:

Climate activist Greta Thunberg takes a year off school to explore the science of global warming and challenge world leaders, calling for action on climate change.

episodes:

Greta travels through North America on her way to a UN climate conference in Chile. To understand the impact of climate change, she stops at three key locations that reveal how the planet is changing. In the Canadian Rockies, she learns how a small change in temperature has allowed an insect infestation to kill nearly half the trees in one of its most famous national parks. She visits a glacier that is melting faster than models predict, and discovers the cause is partly due to soot from forest fires falling on it. In California, she sees at first hand the destruction these fires create when she visits Paradise, a town at the centre of a deadly fire in 2018. When the UN climate conference is suddenly moved to Madrid, Greta finds herself on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean and decides to sail back, braving life-threatening storms, to make her speech calling for immediate action on climate change.

Greta sets off to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which will be attended by US president Donald Trump and other world leaders, to call for action on climate change. Greta is demanding an immediate reduction in fossil fuel use - one of the main drivers of climate change. As she travels across Europe, Greta finds out what is preventing more rapid action to tackle global warming. She meets Polish miners who have lost their jobs and fear that climate change policies will further decimate their industry and culture. In Davos, she is frustrated by what she sees as a media obsession constantly pitting her against President Trump. Greta also travels to the UK to see the prototype of a technology that aims to lower emissions from industry by capturing carbon dioxide from factory emissions before it enters the atmosphere. She also meets with a figure who’s been an inspiration to her, Sir David Attenborough.

As the world is bought to a standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic, Greta has to put her plans on hold. The pandemic reveals the enormity of the challenge that tackling climate change poses as Greta learns the drop in emissions caused by the 2020 lockdowns is not enough to put the world on track to meet its climate goals. With mass protests off the agenda, Greta investigates what else could help limit the impact of climate change. She visits a tree plantation to learn how the age of a forest has an impact on whether or not it can take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In Switzerland, she encounters a machine that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air, and in Denmark, where it has been estimated around half of the land is used to grow food for livestock, she visits a research farm that is exploring ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by beef and dairy cows. Greta also looks closer to home and contemplates how everyone can play a part – from our choice of the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Having recovered from Covid-19, Greta also explores what lessons can be learned from the international response to the pandemic, meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel to demand more rapid action to challenge climate change before she returns to school at the end of a pivotal year.

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