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NATIVE PLANET 2: The Fight for Mother Earth (6 Programs)
1. RESPECTING THE "MAOL"How Tourism is Changing Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Host Simon Baker travels to the remote south pacific island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to see how the recent growth in tourism is threatening the sanctity of its ancient Polynesian treasures, the indigenous Rapa Nui people and the environment.
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is one of the most remote inhabited Islands in the world. Lying 3500km’s off the coast of Chile, who annexed the Island in 1888, Rapa Nui is famous for its ‘Moai’, ancient stone statues its ancestors carved and moved throughout this remote south pacific island. Today, Rapa Nui has become a bucket list destination that each year draws more foreign tourists. The roughly 3500 indigenous Rapa Nui living on the island now worry about the impact increasing tourism, immigration, and commercial development is having on their culture and the legacy of their ancestors.
2. CHILE - The Fight for One of the Last Rivers in the Driest Place on Earth
Simon travels to the top of the Andes in northern Chile where a massive new mining project threatens the sacred glaciers of the Colla people, the only source of water in one of the driest paces on earth. Travel to the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, one of the most mineral rich regions in the world. Centered around Copiapo, a town made famous in 2010 for the 33 miners who were rescued after a world record 69 days trapped underground, Simon learns how a more recent extreme weather event exposed the delicate balance between water and mining in the driest place on earth. Now, a massive new mining project at the top of the Andes threatens the prehistoric rock glaciers that give birth to the rivers that provide the only source of water.
3. CANADA / LAKE WINNIPEG - Is it too Late to Save Lake Winnipeg, the World’s 10th Largest Lake? Host Simon Baker travels to Manitoba, in the heart of the Canadian Prairies, to see why the world's tenth largest lake is dying and how indigenous knowledge can provide a means to ensure its survival. In Winnipeg, government, scientists and business leaders have come together to share their concerns about the future of Lake Winnipeg, the world’s tenth largest lake. For decades, the run off of fertilizers from agricultural production, sewage and commercial phosphates have flowed into Lake Winnipeg, creating huge algae blooms that are slowly sucking the life out of the lake, threatening the tourism and fishing industries that rely on it.
4. NAMIBIA: Conserving Culture for the Oldest People on the Planet
Host Simon Baker travels to Namibia to learn why the San people, the oldest culture on the planet, have created a vast conservation area to protect themselves from the outside world. Namibia is one of Africa’s newest countries. When Namibia gained its independence from South Africa in the late 1990’s, the government created vast conservation areas called ‘conservancies’ that allowed its indigenous peoples to return to their homelands. From the capital city of Windhoek, Simon ventures north to visit the San people of Tsumkwe, descendants of some of the first people to have walked our planet. The San people created the Nyae Nyae Conservancy a vast protected area in their traditional territory that allows them to conserve their culture and big game..
5. LOUISIANA - Meet America’s First Climate Change Refugees
Host Simon Baker travels to the Bayous of southern Louisiana to see how three indigenous tribes are adapting to rising sea levels that are slowly sinking their communities. Travel to the gulf coast of Louisiana to visit three Native American tribes struggling to maintain themselves against more frequent hurricanes, rising seas levels and the fallout of oil production. Beginning in Pointe au Chien, Simon sees how the canals dug out by oil companies to ferry oil-drilling platforms to the Gulf of Mexico are dramatically eroding the shoreline and shrinking their land base. Combined with more frequent hurricanes and storm surges, However, for the neighboring tribe of Isle de Jean Charles, the sea level rise has already overtaken most of their territory and a recent federal government grant has given this Choctaw tribe the dubious distinction as ‘America’s first climate change refugees’.
6. MEXICO - For Mexico’s Forgotten People, Violence is Now an Environmental Issue
Host Simon Baker travels deep into the remote Mezquital region of Northern Mexico where once forgotten indigenous communities are now caught in a battle between drug cartels and Mexico’s military police.Deep inside Mexico’s Durango State, meet indigenous communities still practicing their traditional justice systems, largely independent from the Government of Mexico. Long before the Spanish came to colonize the country centuries ago, the Mezquital, a remote part of the Sierra Madres Mountains, was home to the indigenous O'Dam, Mexicaneros and Wirrarika people. For generations, Mexico largely ignored these indigenous people who successfully carved out their own existence, culture, identity and social justice system. However, recent events have impoverished their agrarian communities and made them easy targets for the cartels, which coerce them into growing illegal crops.