“The Swamp” explores the history of the Florida Everglades

“The Swamp” explores the history of the Florida Everglades

Source:  American Experience

“The Swamp” tells the dramatic story of humanity’s attempts to conquer the Florida Everglades, one of nature’s most mysterious ecosystems.

Home to a profusion of plants and animals found nowhere else on the continent, the Everglades in the 19th century were an immense watershed covering the southern half of the Florida peninsula.

Most Americans at that time believed swamps were filled with diseases and noxious reptiles and saw them as obstacles to the nation’s progress.

The idea of draining the Everglades became the goal of many entrepreneurs, politicians, and salesmen who saw great potential in turning the massive wetland into a profitable enterprise. Altering the landscape of the Everglades unleashed a torrent of unintended consequences, from catastrophic floods to brutal droughts.

Told through the lives of a handful of colorful and resolute characters, including Hamilton Disston, the wealthy entrepreneur who first attempted to drain the swamp, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the writer who became an ardent advocate for preserving the Everglades, “The Swamp” chronicles the repeated efforts to conquer what was once seen as useless wasteland and the passionate efforts to preserve America’s greatest wetland.

Watch chapter 1 of “The Swamp” above and the entire film at PBS.

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“My Country No More” traces the rise and fall of the North Dakota oil boom and its impact on one small town

“My Country No More” traces the rise and fall of the North Dakota oil boom and its impact on one small town

Source:  Independent Lens on PBS

Between 2011 and 2016, oil drilling in rural North Dakota reached its peak, setting off a modern-day gold rush in Trenton, North Dakota, population less than 1,000.

With billions of dollars to be gained in an industry-friendly state with a “reasonable regulation” climate, small towns like Trenton became overwhelmed by an influx of workers and countless acres of farmland were repurposed for industrial development.

“My Country No More,” a new documentary produced and directed by Rita Baghdadi and Jeremiah Hammerling, follows the rise and fall of the oil boom in North Dakota and paints a portrait of a rural American community in crisis.

Through the voices of Trenton’s residents, the film challenges the notion of progress and questions the long-term human consequences of short-term approaches to land use, decisions that ultimately affect all Americans, rural and urban alike.

“My Country No More” premieres  January 7 on PBS.  Online streaming begins January 8.

Read the story at Independent Lens on PBS.

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The Orchard announces release date for climate change documentary “The Human Element”

The Orchard announces release date for climate change documentary “The Human Element”

Source:  Variety

The Orchard has released the official trailer and set a Jan. 29 digital release date for Matthew Testa’s climate change documentary, “The Human Element.”

In the film, photographer James Balog uses his camera to reveal how environmental change is affecting the lives of everyday Americans.

Balog’s work was previously featured in critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning documentary, “Chasing Ice.”

“The Human Element” documents how the earth’s four elements – fire, earth, air, and water – have all been impacted by a fifth element, homo sapiens.

With his photography, Bolog illustrates issues ranging from rising sea levels to pollution’s impact on asthma cases to focus viewers on a call for change.

Read the story at Variety.

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Massive ocean cleanup device in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is running into problems

Massive ocean cleanup device in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is running into problems

Source:  Business Insider

The Ocean Cleanup, founded by 24-year-old Dutch innovator Boyan Slat, has run into some problems during its first month deploying a massive plastic cleaning array.

Slat’s 2,000-foot-long device, System 001, recently spent four weeks in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where the organization hopes to collect 50 tons of plastic within one year.

For the most part, the system has worked as expected and the team has not seen any harm to marine animals, Slat wrote in a November 20 post on the organization’s website.

However, there’s apparently a problem with plastic leaving the device after being collected. The team expected surprises, Slat said, adding that The Ocean Cleanup was working on fixing the issue.

Read the story at Business Insider.

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Michael Bloomberg sparks 2020 presidential rumors as he appears in Iowa to screen climate change film

Michael Bloomberg sparks 2020 presidential rumors as he appears in Iowa to screen climate change film

Source:  Newsweek

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has fueled speculation that he will run for president in 2020 with the Iowa premiere of his new documentary on climate change.

Bloomberg, who is said to be considering running as a Democrat after having toyed with the idea of running as an independent in 2012 and 2016, attended premieres for “Paris to Pittsburgh” in Iowa and New York earlier this week and will be in London for a third next week, ahead of the film airing on the National Geographic channel on December 12.

The documentary is described as a celebration of how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of climate change.

The title is a play on Donald Trump’s explanation as to why the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Agreement. “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said in January 2017.

Read the story at Newsweek.

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Artists strive to make climate change “visceral”

Artists strive to make climate change “visceral”

Source:  Scientific American

A new art installation by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah that focuses on climate change will open in the Boston Harbor next spring.

“Purple” is an immersive six-channel video installation that sheds light on climate change’s effects on human communities, biodiversity, and the wilderness, according to a news release.

The film will be shown from May 26 through Sept. 2, 2019 at the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina.

Akomfrah, who was recently named next year’s resident artist by the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston Watershed, is among a growing movement of artists around the world who are using art to bring a sense of awareness and urgency to the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Read the story at Scientific American.

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