Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eco-Thursdays in April

On Thursday nights in April, from 8 - 10 p.m., Rhode Island PBS presents two documentaries each week about natural resources. The documentary pairs encore on Saturdays at noon and at half after midnight (12:30 a.m.)

April 4

Water Pressures: A Documentary
Water is a central element of life, yet one in eight people worldwide — 1.2 billion — lack access to safe drinking water. In the coming years, the water scarcity in some drought-stricken regions will turn into a global crisis. Hosted by actor-producer Adrian Grenier (HBO's Entourage), Water Pressures sheds light on this critical, complex issue by documenting the partnership between villagers in water-distressed Rajasthan, India and students and faculty at Northwestern University, situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. Students in a Northwestern environmental policy class see a model of conservation and community cooperation firsthand on a 10-day trip to India, where a leading nonprofit organizations illustrates the power of pairing traditional wisdom with simple teamwork to solve the water crisis in the Thar Desert. They also meet with political leaders, corporate executives and water experts to create their own local partnerships and try to make a difference in their own communities.

Energy at the Movies
From the gushing geysers of Giant, to the plutonium-powered time machine of Back to the Future, Hollywood has entertained us with unforgettable, often iconic images of energy. Whether intentional or not, films frequently serve as a snapshot of society, capturing sentiments of each time period. Many films have themes that memorialize collective optimism, fears, and observations about energy. Using film clips as a historical road map, Energy At The Movies is an entertaining lecture that enlightens audiences about the ways films influence how we think about energy, and in turn, how we influence energy policy.

April 11

Small Farm Rising
Right now, in our back yards, a new generation of farmers are redefining agriculture in America. Small, modern, sustainable and rooted in the community, these local farms are in the forefront of a movement growing across the nation. A family-owned and operated farm produces award-winning goat milk cheeses; a farm powered solely by horses provides members with a full diet year-round; and two youthful entrepreneurs run an organic vegetable farm. Small Farm Rising invites you to explore the sustainable practices, creative business models and deep connections to the communities of these three small farms in the shadow of the Adirondack Mountains. Experience one full growing season through the eyes of first-generation farmers as they enrich and enliven their rural environments.

Horizon: Death of the Oceans?
From the polar ice caps, to the tropics, David Attenborough reveals how our actions are pushing the world's oceans ever closer to the brink of destruction. The Census of Marine Life is the most comprehensive inventory of the oceans ever undertaken and draws on the work of 2,000 scientists from 90 countries. It will transform how we see the ocean, giving us a better picture of what lives there, our impact and what the future holds. In this film, Horizon reveals the techniques, meets the scientists and explores some of the findings from this massive project.

April 18

Lost Bird Project
The Lost Bird Project is a documentary about the stories of five birds driven to extinction in modern times and sculptor Todd McGrain’s project to memorialize them. The film follows the road-trip that McGrain and his brother-in-law, Andy, take as they search for the locations where the birds were last seen in the wild and negotiate for permission to install McGrain’s large bronze sculptures there. Travelling all the way from the tropical swamps of Florida to Martha’s Vineyard to the rocky coasts of Newfoundland over a period of two years, they scout locations, talk to park rangers, speak at town meetings and battle bureaucracy in their effort to gather support for the project. The film is directed by Deborah Dickson, whose previous films have been nominated three times for Oscars, and is produced by Muffie Meyer, whose previous directing credits include the original Grey Gardens documentary and several Emmy award-winning documentaries.

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time
Green Fire was produced in partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the US Forest Service. The film provocatively examines Leopold’s thinking, renewing his idea of a land ethic for a population facing 21st century ecological challenges. Leopold's biographer, conservation biologist Dr. Curt Meine, serves as the film's on-screen guide.

Green Fire describes the formation of Leopold’s idea, exploring how it changed one man and later permeated through all arenas of conservation. The film draws on Leopold’s life and experiences to provide context and validity, then explores the deep impact of his thinking on conservation projects around the world today. Through these examples, the film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the land community.

April 25

Powering the Planet
Get an eye-opening look at some of the world's most important case studies in smart energy decisions. In Spain and Morocco, large-scale solar farms and individual photovoltaic panels atop tents in the Sahara are beginning to bring the sun's vast potential down to Earth. In Brazil, abundant natural resources (sun, rain and sugar cane) are transformed into efficient, sustainable biofuel. In Samsø, Denmark, and West Texas, citizens have taken sustainability, and economic realities, into their own hands by becoming stakeholders in wind turbines. In China, a full-throttle approach to multiple sustainable energy technologies is giving rise to a "new empire of clean tech." Great nations and small communities alike are finding sustainable solutions that provide for people and protect the Earth. But what about America — are we making the right decisions for our country's energy future?

Farming the Future
Farming the Future: Farm Life on Long Island weaves a tapestry of interviews, historical photographs and contemporary footage to tell the story of farm life in America's oldest suburban region.

 Just a stone's throw from New York City, Long Island is home to a once-predominant way of life that is vanishing in the shadows of strip malls and suburbia. In 1950, there were almost 3,000 farms on Long Island. Just over fifty years later, there are just over 700. As the oldest mature suburban community in the United States, Long Island has experienced the pressures of development since the 1950's, yet, in the face of growing challenges, Long Island farms are the most productive in New York State, adding $150 million annually to the economy.

 Directed by Emmy® Award-Winning Filmmaker Ron Rudaitis, narrated by actor and Long Island native William Baldwin (Backdraft, The Squid and the Whale) and featuring music legend and Farm Aid President Willie Nelson, Farming the Future: Farm Life on Long Island examines the challenges of farming in suburbia, and celebrates the way of life, work ethic, and value system of the family farmer that has endured on Long Island for over three centuries. The documentary highlights challenges that prevent farmers from passing on their traditions to the next generation, and explores solutions that can help farmers remain on the land that has sustained them for generations.