Know your Mushrooms (2008)
Suggested By: confusedmime Ron Mann investigates the miraculous, near-secret world of fungi. Visionaries Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans lead us on a hunt for the wild mushroom and the deeper cultural experiences attached to the mysterious fungi. The oldest and largest living organisms recorded on Earth are both fungi. And their use by a new, maverick breed of scientists and thinkers has proven vital in the cleansing of sites despoiled by toxins and as a "clean" pesticide, among many other environmentally...
The Cove
The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.” But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful...
Lord of the Ants
Every so often a giant emerges on the stage of science, someone who transcends the narrow boundaries of a particular line of research and alters our perspective on the world. E.O. Wilson is such a man. Ant expert E.O. Wilson has spent his career studying tiny creatures. Yet what sets him apart is his ability to step back and see the grand scheme of things. Newly appointed to Harvard, Wilson ignores charges by molecular biologists that his work with ants is mere “stamp-collecting.” He goes on to discover...
Posted in: Environment, Society
Flotsam Found
What 29,000 Lost Toys Have Told Us About Our Oceans? Our oceans sure look pretty from afar, but if you take a closer look, you’ll find plenty of gross stuff lurking around. There are as many as 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of ocean, threatening the health of our seas, especially the marine wildlife inhabiting them. But there is at least one good thing scientists can get from all this junk: a better understanding of the behavior of complicated ocean currents, which are shaped by a number...
Garbage Warrior
What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you're renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of "Earthship Biotecture" by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy state...
EP 6/6 The Private Life of Plants
Broadcast 9 February 1995, the final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found. Algae and lichens grow in or on rock, and during summer, when the ice melts, flowers are much more apparent. However, they must remain close to the ground to stay out of the chilling wind. In the Tasmanian mountains, plants conserve heat by growing into ‘cushions’ that...
EP 5/6 The Private Life of Plants
Broadcast 2 February 1995, the fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. Attenborough dives into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and contrasts the nocturnal feeding of coral, on microscopic creatures, with its daytime diet of algae. Some acacias are protected by ants, which will defend their refuge from any predator. Besides accommodation, the guards are rewarded with nectar and, from certain species, protein for their larvae as well. Fungi feed on plants but also provide...
EP 4/6 The Private Life of Plants
Broadcast 26 January 1995, this episode examines how plants either share environments harmoniously or compete for dominance within them. Attenborough highlights the 1987 hurricane and the devastation it caused. However, for some species, it was that opportunity for which they had lain dormant for many years. The space left by uprooted trees is soon filled by others who move relatively swiftly towards the light. The oak is one of the strongest and longest-lived, and other, lesser plants nearby must wait until the...
EP 3/6 The Private Life of Plants
Broadcast 19 January 1995, the next instalment is devoted to the ways in which plants reproduce. Pollen and a stigma are the two components needed for fertilisation. Most plants carry both these within their flowers and rely on animals to transport the pollen from one to the stigma of another. To do this, they attract their couriers with colour, scent and nectar. It isn’t just birds that help pollination: some mammals and reptiles also do so. However, it is mostly insects that are recruited to carry out the...