KS3 Human Planet: Change and Sustainability


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During the last 30 years,

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overfishing has become a real threat to the world's oceans.

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Marine ecosystems are being destroyed

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and certain species are becoming commercially extinct.

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Yet, some small coastal communities that depend on fishing

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for their livelihood manage to fish in a sustainable way.

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One such community can be found on the other side of the world,

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in South East Asia in a country called Indonesia.

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Indonesia is made up of 17,000 Islands lying between Malaysia,

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the Philippines and Australia.

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One of the inhabited Islands is called Lembata -

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a volcanically active island that, during a storm

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faces the full force of the Indian Ocean.

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On the south coast of Lembata sits a very small

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and isolated village called Lamalera, a community

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which is completely dependant on the ocean for their food.

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Here, the fishermen favour traditional methods

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and still use simple hand-made equipment

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such as throw nets and harpoons.

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This is known as artisan fishing

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and seems to have a low impact on fish populations.

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Therefore, it's considered sustainable.

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It's the whaling season.

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From May to October, men from the village scan the horizon

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every morning hoping they'll be the one to shout...

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Baleo!

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Baleo! Baleo! Baleo!

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Baleo! Baleo! Baleo! Baleo!

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The whole village springs into action.

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It's a race against time to get out to sea.

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It's dangerous work

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but opportunities don't come much bigger than this.

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Everyone knows someone who has been killed or injured

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on a whaling expedition.

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Their challenge is to take on one of the world's largest marine mammals.

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This sperm whale.

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Measuring up to 20 metres long,

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these powerful animals won't go down without a fight.

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With simple boats and hands-made weapons, they seem ill-prepared.

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The villagers can only harpoon the whale when it surfaces to breathe.

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So they need to move fast.

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Incredibly, they launch themselves on to the mighty giant

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and drive their wooden harpoons into the whale's back.

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This is the most dangerous moment of all.

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To jump is to risk being killed by a flick of the whale's tail.

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Harpooned, the whale can escape and the fight is on.

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As the whale struggles to break free, another boat attacks...

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..and harpoons the whale once more.

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Dragging several boats, the whale is exhausted.

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A fisherman jumps into the water

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and a final fatal cut is made through the back bone.

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It's been an epic eight-hour battle, but this time,

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everyone returns safely home.

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The death of a whale may seem sad and unnecessary to us,

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but it's a lifeline for these villagers.

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One catch can feed the people of Lamelera for months.

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This small scale hunting is called subsistence whaling

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and has little impact on the whale numbers in these oceans.

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They only kill around six whales a year.

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The meat is shared carefully amongst the villagers.

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Nothing is wasted.

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And the fishermen can trade with farmers from nearby villages

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for other essentials.

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Yet, recently, the villagers have noted that fewer

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and fewer whales are passing by their islands

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and are worried about the future of this vital food source.

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As a community that depends heavily on fishing for their livelihood,

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how will they adapt if whale stocks decline further?

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The sea covers 70% of our planet's surface.

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It's home to three-quarters of all life on Earth.

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All the creatures found here are perfectly adapted

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to thrive in the ocean.

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All except one.

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Humans are not evolved for a life aquatic,

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but great opportunities await those who dare to venture into the water.

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And an indigenous community living in the coral seas

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of Indonesia are a perfect example.

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Travelling over 10,000km from the UK,

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we arrive at the Indonesian Archipelago.

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An archipelago is a group of many island in a large area in the ocean.

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The Sulu Archipelago is a smaller cluster of volcanic

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and coral islands lying between the Philippines, Malaysia and Borneo.

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And among the warm waters are scattered indigenous communities.

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One such community is the Bajau Laut.

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And it's their deep understanding of the ocean that sets them apart

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from any other culture on Earth.

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The Bajau are a nomadic community that relies solely

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on the coral reefs of the Sulu Archipelago.

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A nutrient rich ecosystem.

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Yet, years of industrial fishing using dynamite

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and cyanide has taken its toll on the coral reefs.

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Many are damaged and several species that live along the coral

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have since become endangered.

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The Bajau understand the fragility of the coral

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and as a result, they are constantly on the move

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searching for a healthier reef

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giving damaged coral time to recover.

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Living off shore, the Bajau children have adjusted to an aquatic life.

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The ocean is their playground.

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They spend so much time in the sea that amazingly,

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their eyes have become physically adapted.

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The youngsters can actually focus better than you or I

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while swimming underwater.

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More importantly, the Bajau have developed their traditional

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fishing methods to suit this particular ecosystem.

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This is called artisan fishing.

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Silbin, an underwater hunter is living proof

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of just how far the Bajau have adapted.

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He's out fishing for his supper, and like so many of his forefathers

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before him, Silbin takes one final breath and plunges into the depths.

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Completely focused and calm,

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he descends 20 metres down to the sea floor.

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His heartbeat slows to around 30 beats per minute.

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He's done this so many times that his body can cope

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with the intense physical pressure of being underwater.

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The pressure at these depths crushes his chest

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and squeezes his lungs to one third of its usual volume,

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so even without weight, he's heavier than water.

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This means that Silbin can stride quite comfortably

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across the sea floor.

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He spots a fish.

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Silbin can go even deeper than this

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and stay down for up to five minutes.

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But he's got what he came for. So it's home for supper.

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However, the Bajau are living in difficult times.

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Many of the traditional practices are being abandoned

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as the younger members of the community head inland

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in search of work.

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Living so close to highly endangered coral reefs, where there is

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a pressing need for improved protection and conservation,

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means the Bajau's way of life is under increasing scrutiny

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by various conservation agencies.

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How can they maintain their way of life against new pressures

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to reduce fishing and conserve the reefs on which they completely rely?

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In South America, floods can be so huge that the entire year

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must be spent preparing for them.

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In the Amazon Basin, a community has adapted to this natural phenomenon

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and know how to survive the annual floods

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when food becomes very scarce.

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Brazil is the largest country in South America

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and has a population of over 170 million.

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The northern region is dominated by rainforest

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and the second longest river in the world - the Amazon.

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The Negro is a tributary - a smaller river that flows into the Amazon.

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In the Amazon region, the climate is tropical

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and much of the landscape consists of dense rainforests.

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Being on the equator, it's always hot here,

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and the high rate of evaporation results in very heavy rainfall.

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During the wet season from October to March,

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it rains continually raising the height of this mighty river

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by around eight metres and flooding nearby forests and villages.

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The fish disappear into the flooded forests to breed

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and sourcing food becomes difficult for the communities

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who live on the banks of the river.

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But they are well adapted and build their homes

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and schools high up on stilts.

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Even the school run is done in wooden boats.

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It's June.

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It's the dry season and there's plenty of fish in the river.

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Meet Jarnia and her family.

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They live on the banks of the River Negro.

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But they know that within six months,

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the fish will have disappeared again so they need to prepare early

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and nurture another natural resource - turtles.

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Jarnea and the villagers are out collecting turtle eggs.

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During the dry season, the yellow-spotted river turtles

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lay and bury thousands of eggs in sandy banks.

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Turtles become a reliable source of food when the fish disappear.

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However, having relied for many years on this natural resource,

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the number of turtles have fallen dramatically.

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In an attempt to sustain and boost their numbers,

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the villagers have established their own turtle conservation project.

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The eggs are then reburied in a turtle nursery.

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Here, Jarnia and the villagers will ensure that they're safe from harm.

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It's mid-March and 3,000 eggs have hatched. It's release day.

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Despite the villagers' efforts,

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only 10% of the turtles will ever reach maturity.

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The big question is - will enough of them

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survive to feed the villagers during the floods?

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The floods have come.

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The river has risen by seven metres and Jarnia's village is transformed.

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Life has moved up into the tree tops leaving Jarnia

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and her family marooned by the colossal flood.

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With no fish around, Jarnia

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and her sister, Dora, decide to go hunting for hurtles.

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It's only now that they'll discover

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if their turtle breeding has paid off.

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Jarnia spots something.

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Jarnia is happy

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and the conservation project seems to be working.

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Today she'll be able to feed everyone in her family.

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The turtle seem to be going down a treat.

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Jarnia and the villagers have sourced a sustainable supply

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of food that's unique to their environment.

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By trying to conserve and boost the turtle population,

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they have successfully managed

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to feed their families during the greatest seasonal flood on Earth.

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The Mongolian steppe -

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an enormous and open expanse that covers most of Mongolia

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and home to a community of wandering horse herders.

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These people have survived here for a very long time,

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maintaining their culture and ancient traditions.

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This is the life of a nomad.

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Mongolia is a land-locked country in central Asia lying between China

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and Russia.

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It's a country that's on a high plateau

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with an average elevation of 1,500 metres.

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It has an extreme climate

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and geography that greatly affects the way people live.

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The Mongolian steppe covers much of eastern Mongolia

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extending, in a narrow band, all the way to the west.

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These nomadic people are self-sufficient

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and depend on their livestock for food and other necessities.

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Their lives revolve around their animals.

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As their ancestors did before them,

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the people of the steppe will travel many miles across the semi-arid

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or partly dry environment in search of good pastures and fresh water.

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The exact time and destination of the movements are determined

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by the animals' needs to find better grazing.

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This way of farming is called pastoralism

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and is practised in environments where finding adequate

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and sustainable supplies of food and water is a constant challenge.

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Today, approximately half of Mongolia's population still roam

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these vast plains,

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living in portable, traditional tents called yurts.

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Mongolia is the land of the horse.

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There are more wild horses here than anywhere else in the world

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and the nomads depend heavily on them.

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Today, the herders are trying to capture wild female horses or mares.

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Firstly, they must catch a foal using a lasso.

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This will force the mare to stay close.

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But it's not that easy. The foal is pretty strong.

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Once the foal is caught, they must place a strap,

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a halter on it before it tries to escape.

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It's the first time they've felt the touch of a human hand.

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They can now move to the mares. This is the real battle.

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Lively mares are strong creatures with attitude

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and things don't go according to plan.

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After two exhausting hours, the men begin to get the upper hand.

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Haltered and with its legs tied,

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this mare has finally been subdued and left to calm down with her foal.

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Only with her foal suckling will the mare surrender her milk

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and surprisingly for us,

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perhaps, this is the sole purpose of today's effort.

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The nomadic herders drink the horse's milk.

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It's an excellent source of protein.

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And what they do next makes the sugary milk even tastier.

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They ferment it into airag - a slightly alcoholic yoghurt.

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The yoghurt bacteria turns the milk into a nutritious summer food.

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Pastoral farming succeeds here because generally,

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it's a way of life that's efficient and well-suited

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to semi-arid regions.

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To the outside world, such a lifestyle may seem challenging,

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but over the centuries, these people have developed a strength

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and resilience which is essential for surviving

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on the Mongolian steppe.

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21st century farming methods allow agriculture to take place

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in the unlikeliest environment and on a massive scale.

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Welcome to the Australian outback.

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Australia is over 15,000km from the United Kingdom.

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It's in the southern hemisphere where the hottest temperatures

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are in December and the coolest in June.

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It's a country with six major states and territories,

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one of which is the Northern Territory,

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a sparsely populated state.

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Its capital is Darwin and 200km south is Maryfield Cattle Station.

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The Northern Territory of Australia -

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a vast land where few people live beyond the towns.

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Like many regions of tropical grassland,

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temperatures are high all year around and the soil is poor.

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Growing anything here is difficult.

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Here in Australia, supersized ranches across the country

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can hold up to 30 million cattle.

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The farmers manage these grasslands by pastoral farming -

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a sustainable farming method where cattle are allowed to move

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freely from place to place to graze on fresh grass.

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This avoids overgrazing.

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It's the wet season, which lasts from November to April.

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There's good grazing now

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and the cattle have spread out across hundreds of acres of land.

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So knowing the whereabouts of your livestock

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can prove to be a bit tricky.

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But the Australians have a hi-tech solution - the flying cowboy.

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It's the mustering season where farmers start rounding up

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their cattle ready to be sold.

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This is Ben Tapp. He owns an enormous cattle station.

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Today, he must bring in 2,000 of his best cattle,

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but first he has to find them.

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His cattle are out there... somewhere.

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Scouting for livestock as a muster pilot saves a lot time and effort.

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There's a fair few. There's about six or seven of them along the way.

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In the past, it used to take at least ten men on horse back

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up to a month to gather this number of cattle.

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But not any more.

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A farmer in a helicopter takes just one day.

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He'll need all his flying skills, his ability to read the cattle

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and his mate, Rankin, if he's to succeed.

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He must herd the cattle through deep water pools

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to get them closer to his yard.

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The helicopter keeps on their tails until they rush through the water.

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Clipping any tree could be fatal.

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Look out, look out!

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It's a dangerous job.

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Every year about ten muster pilots are killed.

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As the pilot gathers the groups together,

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they build in numbers and hundreds become thousands.

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With herd mentality, the cattle follow the first runner.

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Joined by a ground team of men on horseback and quad bikes,

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they steadily drive the cattle forward.

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Finally, the helicopters push all 2,000 cattle

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into Ben's very large holding pen.

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Today, this hi-tech approach musters half of the cattle in Australia.

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That's 15 million livestock rounded up by helicopter each year.

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This is an example of a modern farming method, which allows

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farmers to manage the Australian grasslands effectively

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while being able to stock a large number of cattle to keep up

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with the huge global demand for beef.

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Rivers that flow through cities can always pose a dangerous threat.

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But more economically developed countries otherwise known as MEDCs

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can afford ingenious ways to deal with extraordinary river conditions.

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5,600km from the UK, across the Atlantic Ocean, is Canada -

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a country that has a land area of nearly 10 million square kilometres

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making it the second largest country in the world.

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Close to the border between Ontario

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and Quebec states lies Canada's capital city - Ottawa.

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The city is in the grip of winter.

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At this time of year, temperatures can plummet

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to minus 30 degrees centigrade - colder than your freezer at home.

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It's a deep freeze.

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This Rideau River is one of Ottawa's main waterways.

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It winds its way through the city before reaching central Ottawa

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at Rideau Falls.

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At this time of year, the river is frozen solid.

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Spanning across the Rideau River is a low footbridge,

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which has caused a solid wall of ice to build over the waterfall.

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Bridges can often cause a problem as they interfere

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with the river's natural flow.

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It's the spring thaw.

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Further up river, ice has started to melt

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and is travelling down the river.

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But because of the wall of ice caused by the footbridge,

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the water can't get through.

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The ice has created a natural dam

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causing the river's water level to rise,

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threatening to flood nearby homes and business premises.

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Flood damage could run into millions of dollars.

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The Rideau River is now public enemy number one.

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A city-sized threat needs a spectacular solution.

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Here come the ice dam busters.

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Here in Ottawa, a sure sign that spring is coming

0:29:200:29:24

is the annual effort by the city workers to clear the ice.

0:29:240:29:28

Thousands of tonnes of ice, up to a metre thick,

0:29:310:29:33

sit behind the bridge forming a solid and impassable barrier.

0:29:330:29:38

The team need to break it up to keep the river flowing

0:29:380:29:40

and prevent flooding.

0:29:400:29:43

Using special ice saws and shovels,

0:29:430:29:45

they begin to cut the ice into long strips.

0:29:450:29:48

These pieces are still too large to flow under the bridge,

0:29:480:29:51

so the team have the ultimate weapon -

0:29:510:29:54

Dynamite.

0:29:570:29:58

Hundreds of kilos of explosives are placed

0:30:010:30:05

in specially drilled ice holes.

0:30:050:30:07

Then the ice is blasted high into the air.

0:30:070:30:10

Slowly, the ice and water at the top of the falls begin to shift

0:30:220:30:27

and the first of the ice strips crash over the frozen falls.

0:30:270:30:31

Flooding has been averted and winter's grip has finally eased.

0:30:320:30:37

The centre of Ottawa is safe for another year at least.

0:30:370:30:40

Preventing disaster is an expensive and noisy and disruptive business.

0:30:440:30:49

Although necessary in order to keep the capital city of Canada

0:30:490:30:52

safe from this unique force of nature.

0:30:520:30:55

Humans living in MEDCs,

0:31:300:31:32

short for More Economically Developed Countries,

0:31:320:31:35

are in the grip of consumerism,

0:31:350:31:38

as we increasingly purchase much more than we ever need

0:31:380:31:42

As a result, we throw away a lot of rubbish.

0:31:430:31:47

In the UK alone,

0:31:480:31:49

refuse trucks deal with 85,000 tonnes of waste everyday.

0:31:490:31:53

And most of it is food.

0:31:550:31:57

Rubbish doesn't simply vanish when it is thrown away.

0:32:000:32:03

We often transport this waste to the edges our cities.

0:32:030:32:06

In this film, we travelled to the Southern Hemisphere

0:32:090:32:12

to the continent of Africa.

0:32:120:32:14

With over a billion people,

0:32:150:32:16

Africa accounts for about 14% of the world's human population.

0:32:160:32:21

It has 61 countries - one of which is Kenya.

0:32:210:32:26

Currently, Kenya has a lucrative tourist industry,

0:32:260:32:29

but still deals with high levels of unemployment,

0:32:290:32:32

crime and poverty, and the city of Mombasa is no different.

0:32:320:32:37

Like the Western world, waste also occurs in many of the world's LEDCs,

0:32:380:32:42

which is short for Less Economically Developed Countries.

0:32:420:32:47

On the outskirts of Mombasa, there is a massive rubbish dump,

0:32:470:32:51

known as Kibarani.

0:32:510:32:53

It's in this man-made environment

0:32:560:32:59

that all the rubbish from Mombasa ends up

0:32:590:33:01

and among the mountains of waste,

0:33:010:33:03

thousands of people survive trying to make a living.

0:33:030:33:07

Tonnes of fuming refuse from more than four million city dwellers

0:33:090:33:13

is discarded daily, creating a toxic and hazardous environment

0:33:130:33:18

exposing the Kibarani residents to persistent illness and danger.

0:33:180:33:23

Most Kibarani people end up living here

0:33:230:33:26

after migrating from surrounding rural areas and not being able

0:33:260:33:29

to find a job in the city.

0:33:290:33:32

Penniless, Kibarani becomes their only option.

0:33:320:33:37

There's no clean water,

0:33:370:33:39

sanitation, schools or houses. Life here is pretty grim.

0:33:390:33:44

Every day, trucks dump Mombasa's rubbish here

0:33:470:33:50

and the people pick through the waste looking for plastic

0:33:500:33:52

or metal, which they can either use for themselves

0:33:520:33:57

or sell on for money to buy food and fresh water.

0:33:570:34:00

Some are so hungry that whenever something edible is found,

0:34:000:34:04

it's eaten.

0:34:040:34:05

It's very hot and humid along on the coast of Kenya.

0:34:090:34:11

As a result,

0:34:110:34:12

the rubbish rots quickly leaving an indescribable stench in the air.

0:34:120:34:17

How anyone can live here is difficult to imagine.

0:34:170:34:21

Yet, for Asha and her family, the dump is home.

0:34:210:34:25

They are modern day hunter gatherers who have adapted to survive

0:34:350:34:40

this unique man-made environment.

0:34:400:34:43

A refuse truck arrives and the race is on.

0:35:140:35:17

Asha's husband, Ali, has to be quick in order to get the best scraps.

0:35:180:35:23

There's a lot of competition.

0:35:250:35:28

You need to be fast and nimble to get there first.

0:35:280:35:32

It's every man for himself.

0:35:320:35:34

This really is life in the extreme.

0:35:480:35:52

Finding food for your children

0:35:520:35:53

in and around a city's discarded rubbish.

0:35:530:35:56

And yet, bizarrely, the poor can be the rest recyclers in the world.

0:35:560:36:02

Nothing is wasted. But surely they should have some alternative?

0:36:020:36:06

A cleaner way of earning a living without having

0:36:060:36:09

to endanger their lives?

0:36:090:36:11

With so many of us rich and poor living in the urban environment,

0:36:120:36:16

if we continue to use up the Earth's resources and generate

0:36:160:36:19

the waste as we do, the future for the human planet is bleak.

0:36:190:36:23

Here in the urban jungle, humans are the masters.

0:37:000:37:03

In towns and cities across the world,

0:37:040:37:07

we drive out what we don't want and ship in what we need.

0:37:070:37:11

We don't have to hunt or grow our own food

0:37:110:37:14

and we demand fresh or out of season produce right away.

0:37:140:37:18

We've been clever at using nature, but as modern consumers, buying

0:37:200:37:24

and enjoying such produce - are we really aware of the consequences?

0:37:240:37:28

In order to satisfy the demand,

0:37:280:37:31

some foods are travelling thousands of miles.

0:37:310:37:34

This is known as food miles.

0:37:340:37:37

The larger the distance,

0:37:370:37:39

the greater the damage caused to the environment.

0:37:390:37:42

Fossil fuel transport running on petrol, diesel or gas, contributes

0:37:420:37:46

to a product's carbon footprint and is gradually warming our planets.

0:37:460:37:51

However, in some of the world's major cities,

0:37:520:37:54

people are reconnecting with nature in more traditional ways.

0:37:540:37:58

5,500km from the UK across the Atlantic Ocean

0:38:010:38:05

is the United States of America.

0:38:050:38:08

To the north, it borders with Canada. To the south - Mexico.

0:38:080:38:12

New York State lies in the north-east

0:38:160:38:19

and a largest city in this state - New York.

0:38:190:38:22

This is Union Square Market in New York.

0:38:250:38:28

It sells produce that's grown locally,

0:38:280:38:31

often on the roof tops of New York's tower blocks.

0:38:310:38:34

Andrew is a guru of high-rise bee keeping

0:38:360:38:40

and a third generation bee keeper.

0:38:400:38:42

Until recently,

0:38:430:38:45

keeping bees was considered too dangerous in a built-up area.

0:38:450:38:49

The practice was illegal. But that didn't stop Andrew.

0:38:490:38:53

Yes, Sir, 10.

0:38:530:38:55

Would you like a bag?

0:38:550:38:57

'The problems that we encountered were keeping our bees

0:38:570:39:00

'out of the public eye.

0:39:000:39:01

'We didn't want to be found out and caught.

0:39:010:39:04

'Mostly because we didn't want to lose our bees.'

0:39:040:39:08

Andrew's mission is to bring New Yorkers back to nature.

0:39:080:39:11

Over in Long Island City, one of the roughest neighbourhoods

0:39:160:39:19

in New York, Stefanos is on the same assignment.

0:39:190:39:22

I think one of the last things you'd expect to see is some semblance

0:39:280:39:33

of nature and perhaps least of all, beehives.

0:39:330:39:38

When this was illegal, rooftops like this one were the only place

0:39:380:39:42

bee keepers could keep bees and not get caught.

0:39:420:39:46

It's no longer illegal to do this in New York!

0:39:520:39:56

Call off your men!

0:39:570:39:58

At least the New York Police are now on their side.

0:40:000:40:02

This one is perfect. Couldn't be better.

0:40:040:40:06

Look.

0:40:060:40:09

Today is a special day for Stefanos

0:40:090:40:11

because he's harvesting his first batch of honey.

0:40:110:40:14

Oh, man, this is going to be so good.

0:40:140:40:18

Oh, my God.

0:40:230:40:25

That's just quality control.

0:40:250:40:27

It's been a small step to legalise bee keeping in New York,

0:40:270:40:32

but with big results.

0:40:320:40:34

There are now near ten million bees kept on New York's rooftops

0:40:340:40:39

and it is not just about the honey.

0:40:390:40:42

Bees pollinate the flowers of New York's many urban parks and gardens.

0:40:420:40:46

They are essential to the future of the city's plant life.

0:40:460:40:50

But more importantly, they keep New Yorkers in touch with nature

0:40:500:40:54

whilst producing food that has almost no carbon footprint.

0:40:540:40:58

The bee keepers are contributing in their own small way

0:40:580:41:02

to the city's green revolution.

0:41:020:41:05

The Earth is a place of limited room and resources.

0:41:070:41:11

We can't survive without nature providing for the inhabitants

0:41:110:41:15

of the urban jungle.

0:41:150:41:16

So the challenge for the future is to design cities that are more

0:41:160:41:20

sustainable and in balance with the natural world.

0:41:200:41:23

The bees of New York City are a small step in that direction.

0:41:230:41:27

The rainforest is nature at its most mysterious, intense and competitive.

0:42:150:42:22

It may appear plentiful as plants grow well in the damp heat,

0:42:220:42:25

but for humans, this can be a very hostile environment.

0:42:250:42:29

The jungle refuses to be tamed

0:42:300:42:32

and it will punish those who don't live by its laws.

0:42:320:42:36

Yet, even today, there are people who call these unforgiving forests "home".

0:42:360:42:41

12,500km from the United Kingdom is the Indonesian Archipelago.

0:42:450:42:49

The largest province in Indonesia is West Papua

0:42:500:42:53

also known as Irian Jaya.

0:42:530:42:56

It is an island that was divided in two for political reasons.

0:42:560:43:00

It is habited chiefly by Papuans living in hundreds of tribes

0:43:000:43:05

each with their own language and customs.

0:43:050:43:07

One of the tribes is the Korowai.

0:43:070:43:10

The West Papuan jungle - hot, humid and inaccessible.

0:43:130:43:19

But the Korowai tribe who live in the Island's low lands

0:43:190:43:22

are one of the very few communities in the world

0:43:220:43:26

that truly understand how to live in such challenging surroundings.

0:43:260:43:29

Today, the Korowai are busy cutting

0:43:310:43:33

and collecting wood for a very special reason.

0:43:330:43:37

It will ultimately allow them to survive in an environment

0:43:370:43:40

vulnerable to flooding and full of unfriendly plants,

0:43:400:43:43

animals and insects.

0:43:430:43:45

The Korowai understand that building a house on the jungle floor

0:43:470:43:51

isn't the wisest move, so the tribe build their homes high up

0:43:510:43:55

in the trees in the jungle's canopy.

0:43:550:43:58

The first step is to assemble a ladder leading

0:43:580:44:01

to the top of a tree or crown.

0:44:010:44:02

The Korowai display great resourcefulness as all the materials

0:44:050:44:08

they use to build their tree houses are found

0:44:080:44:11

in and around the surrounding jungle.

0:44:110:44:13

It's a very sustainable way to live.

0:44:130:44:16

Even the raffia rope is made from palm trees.

0:44:170:44:21

The Korowai are exceptionally strong

0:44:230:44:25

and possess incredible climbing skills, but in other ways,

0:44:250:44:29

people are the same all over the world.

0:44:290:44:32

As one of the group's strongest climbers,

0:44:370:44:39

Wyo is the foreman overseeing the most dangerous jobs.

0:44:390:44:43

Wyo's right, it's a long way down.

0:44:500:44:53

Falling 30 metres to the ground would mean certain death,

0:44:530:44:57

but teetering in the tree tops is second nature to the Korowai.

0:44:570:45:02

Thinning the branches ensures that the house

0:45:020:45:05

won't shake apart in strong winds.

0:45:050:45:07

As the house gradually takes shape, more trees come down,

0:45:070:45:11

but they have to make sure that the trees fall in the right direction.

0:45:110:45:15

Again, the Korowai's understanding of the environment

0:45:150:45:17

is second to none.

0:45:170:45:20

WHOOPING

0:45:200:45:22

The whooping is to warn other people that trees are falling.

0:45:220:45:26

These tree houses are built around the strongest trees in the jungle -

0:45:300:45:34

Ironwood trees.

0:45:340:45:36

The tallest trees in the rainforest are called emergents.

0:45:360:45:40

Building tree houses is not only a way to protect themselves

0:45:400:45:45

but is a symbol of the mastery over the environment.

0:45:450:45:48

The higher the house, the greater the prestige

0:45:480:45:50

and with this one, they're really making a statement.

0:45:500:45:54

The roof is made of sago palm leaves,

0:45:540:45:57

while rows of tree bark are used to make the floor and walls.

0:45:570:46:02

The floor needs to be strong as a family of up to a dozen

0:46:020:46:07

will live here.

0:46:070:46:08

In 2 weeks with 42 workers, countless felled trees,

0:46:080:46:13

30 bundles of palm leaves, 16 rolls of bark and 5km of twine,

0:46:130:46:18

the new house is complete and all sustainably sourced from the forest.

0:46:180:46:22

It's time to move in.

0:46:220:46:23

Everything has to be carried up, even the family pets.

0:46:260:46:29

And it's a long way back down if you forget something.

0:46:290:46:33

The first fire is ceremonially lit.

0:46:380:46:41

It's an interesting way to bless a wooden tree house,

0:46:410:46:44

but health and safety regulations have yet to reach these parts.

0:46:440:46:48

Incredibly, parents seem very relaxed as their children

0:46:520:46:55

explore the limits of their new home.

0:46:550:46:58

This fantastic towering piece of architecture is a perfect

0:47:000:47:04

illustration of the Korowai's incredible knowledge,

0:47:040:47:08

skill and ingenuity, demonstrating their unique ability

0:47:080:47:11

in adapting to a demanding jungle environment.

0:47:110:47:14

Forests contain a unique and rich range of plants and animals,

0:47:570:48:01

but it's the trees themselves that are most in demand

0:48:010:48:04

all around the world.

0:48:040:48:06

Consequently, these biodiverse ecosystems are under

0:48:070:48:12

significant threat due to heavy logging.

0:48:120:48:14

Yet, there are a few places where its effects

0:48:170:48:19

are far less destructive.

0:48:190:48:21

India lies in South Asia, bordering with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

0:48:230:48:30

It has a population of one billion,

0:48:300:48:32

making it the second most populous country in the world.

0:48:320:48:36

North-east India is home to the last remaining rainforests

0:48:390:48:42

of the country.

0:48:420:48:44

The forests here include one of the most valuable resources

0:48:530:48:57

known to man - timber.

0:48:570:48:59

The demand for timber throughout India

0:49:000:49:03

and neighbouring Bangladesh is relentless.

0:49:030:49:06

The wood here is predominantly teak, one of the strongest

0:49:060:49:09

and most valuable hardwoods in the world

0:49:090:49:12

and is mainly used to build homes, doors and furniture.

0:49:120:49:16

To meet this demand for teak, the forests have been heavily logged

0:49:160:49:20

over the years and have steadily deteriorated.

0:49:200:49:23

This commercial exploitation of trees is one of the greatest threats

0:49:240:49:27

facing the world's rainforests,

0:49:270:49:30

but it doesn't always have to lead to their total destruction.

0:49:300:49:35

The indigenous people who live in this jungle are attempting

0:49:410:49:45

to control some of the environmental devastation caused by logging.

0:49:450:49:50

It's a very sustainable, forest-friendly solution

0:49:500:49:53

and done by harnessing the raw power of one of nature's

0:49:530:49:57

mightiest animals of the jungle.

0:49:570:50:00

It's all about elephant power.

0:50:000:50:02

This is Rampresad.

0:50:020:50:04

A six-tonne Asian bull elephant and its handler, Samir.

0:50:050:50:09

Elephants are perfectly adapted to this landscape.

0:50:120:50:17

With incredible strength and surprising agility, they can drag

0:50:170:50:21

huge logs through dense undergrowth, over steep hills and across rivers.

0:50:210:50:27

They are an environmentally friendly alternative to logging machines.

0:50:270:50:32

They can reach places other machinery can't.

0:50:320:50:35

This allows the loggers to fell selected trees without

0:50:350:50:39

completely clearing the jungle.

0:50:390:50:41

Elephant power is far more sustainable.

0:50:500:50:53

There's little pollution, no need for expensive spare parts

0:50:530:50:56

and elephants run on 100% green fuel.

0:50:560:51:00

But unlike machines, elephants have minds of their own

0:51:030:51:06

and must be treated with respect.

0:51:060:51:09

That responsibility falls on the people who train

0:51:090:51:12

and look after them.

0:51:120:51:13

These are known as mahouts, like Samir.

0:51:130:51:17

Samir steers him by using over 100 different commands.

0:51:170:51:20

He can be operated in a number of languages

0:51:200:51:23

and even understands English.

0:51:230:51:26

And Samir's pretty good in elephant.

0:51:270:51:29

Along with many other elephants and their mahouts, Rampresad and Samir

0:51:370:51:41

reach the collection site in plenty of time to load the trucks.

0:51:410:51:45

Transporting logs to the sawmill is the only mechanised part

0:51:480:51:53

of the entire process.

0:51:530:51:55

But they're not out of the woods yet.

0:51:570:52:01

The truck is stuck in the mud.

0:52:010:52:03

Once again, elephant power proves superior.

0:52:060:52:10

Job done, it's time for a well-earned wash.

0:52:100:52:14

This way of logging is sustainable as long as the forests

0:52:160:52:19

are allowed to regenerate by quickly replanting the chopped felled trees.

0:52:190:52:23

Managing the forest in this way is done by the indigenous communities

0:52:250:52:30

that live in them and leads to a secure source of income.

0:52:300:52:33

It's through these partnerships with nature that people can better

0:52:330:52:36

protect ecosystems.

0:52:360:52:39

At the top of our planet lies one of the most remote places on earth -

0:53:300:53:35

The Arctic.

0:53:350:53:37

In winter, the region is frozen with little daylight for six months

0:53:370:53:40

of the year.

0:53:400:53:42

In the far north, there are no plants and no trees.

0:53:420:53:46

Humans weren't really made to withstand a landscape

0:53:460:53:50

as hostile as this and yet, four million people live here.

0:53:500:53:54

Humans can only survive here if they live sustainably using skills

0:53:550:53:59

that have been passed down from generation to generation.

0:53:590:54:03

These are the Inuit and they're pretty tough.

0:54:030:54:07

Over 3,000km from the UK is Greenland - a mountainous country

0:54:090:54:14

and the majority of the people who live here have a strong connection

0:54:140:54:18

with the Inuit in Canada, Alaska and Siberia.

0:54:180:54:21

Siorapaluk is a small settlement on the west coast

0:54:250:54:29

and most of the community here leads a traditional way of life.

0:54:290:54:33

The Arctic is the coldest place on earth

0:54:430:54:46

where humans live permanently

0:54:460:54:48

and Siorapulik is the most northerly settlement on the planet.

0:54:480:54:52

The Inuit people are able to survive here

0:54:520:54:55

because they've developed an intimate knowledge

0:54:550:54:58

of how animals in this unique environment exist and behave.

0:54:580:55:03

This is Magssannguaq Oshima

0:55:030:55:05

and every summer, he's treated to a spectacle.

0:55:050:55:09

Millions of birds called little auks are migrating.

0:55:090:55:14

They come to here to breed on the cliffs.

0:55:140:55:17

For Magssannguaq, it's good news - this is a summer feast.

0:55:190:55:24

But how will he catch them?

0:55:250:55:27

Thousands of years ago,

0:55:290:55:32

his ancestors worked out how to make nets out of sinew and driftwood.

0:55:320:55:36

They created the same hiding spots that Magssannguaq uses today.

0:55:360:55:41

On a good day, he can gather up to 500 birds.

0:55:450:55:49

But he won't eat them now.

0:56:080:56:10

Following ancient traditions,

0:56:100:56:12

he buried the birds underground ready for the winner.

0:56:120:56:15

The birds can be used to make kiviaq -

0:56:240:56:28

a dish to save for a rainy day.

0:56:280:56:30

The recipe is thousands of years old and it goes like this.

0:56:300:56:34

Take one seal skin.

0:56:360:56:37

Stuff as many little auks as you can inside - at least 500,

0:56:370:56:40

sew it up.

0:56:400:56:42

Make sure that you press all of the air out...

0:56:430:56:45

..And coat it with seal fat to keep out flies.

0:56:470:56:51

Finally, use a large rock to make sure that no more air gets in.

0:56:540:56:58

It won't be ready for three months,

0:57:020:57:04

but the frozen ground is a natural refrigerator.

0:57:040:57:06

Come winter, Magssannguaq and his family

0:57:060:57:10

will have a vital supply of food.

0:57:100:57:12

Later in the winter, Magssannguaq and his father are already breaking

0:57:180:57:21

into the stores of little auks they caught during the summer.

0:57:210:57:25

The birds have now fermented and have become the inuit delicacy

0:57:250:57:30

known as kiviaq.

0:57:300:57:31

It's easy to tell if it's ready by the smell.

0:57:340:57:37

It should sting the nostrils.

0:57:370:57:39

This is why it is always polite to serve kiviaq outdoors.

0:57:410:57:44

The flavour should resemble extremely intense gorgonzola cheese.

0:57:470:57:51

Nothing is wasted.

0:57:510:57:53

Everything is edible.

0:57:530:57:55

The Inuit of North Greenland love kiviaq so much

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that it is the dish of choice for birthdays and weddings.

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And it is nutritious.

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Full of vitamins and minerals that will sustain people over

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the very cold and dark winter months.

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By using such ancient and sustainable hunting techniques,

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the inuit are ensuring that their people can eat all year around

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whilst maintaining sufficient food stocks for the future.

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Linked to the KS3 geography curriculum, this programme looks at how humans have learnt to live with extremes and covers five themes: sustainable waters, sustainable pastures, sustainable cities, sustainable forests and sustainable arctic.


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