Geologist Stephen Mojzsis visits the Krafla Lava Fields, in Northern Iceland, and Isua, Greenland, and explains why life cannot exist without water, but he also shows us that the interplay between life and the atmosphere keeps earth at the perfect temperature – just right for liquid water. So, life has perpetuated the liquid water on the surface of our planet for geologic time.
Camilla Jaber, a free-dive champion, dives in a cenote, in the Yucatan, Mexico. A cenote is a small opening of underground water in the jungle. Here, where there is not a lake, river or stream for hundreds of miles, the water from a cenote could support whole cities.
Ecologist Greg Asner chases droughts, measuring the effects using 3-D maps. All over the Western Amazon, he's seeing huge loss in tree canopy. The mega-droughts in Brazil are damaging the rivers that fly above the forest and causing problems elsewhere. Because of the drought, there was not enough water to flush pollutants, like this toxic foam, out of the Rio Tiete.
Watch the story of the “wandering glider” dragonfly. These tiny two-centimetre long insects, begin their journey in India. They fly thousands of feet in the air and ride the rain clouds all the way to Africa. Not only is this the greatest migration of any insect -- even longer than the Monarch butterfly -- it has profound consequences for both continents.
Geographer Troy Sternberg followed an unprecedented series of droughts that rippled across the globe from 2006 to 2011. From Australia to China to Russia and the Middle East, these droughts devastated farmers. And they directly impacted the price of wheat, which began to skyrocket. Follow the water to see the role drought can play in war, and in politics around the world.
Resurrection plants aren’t dead; they just look dead. But add water, and these plants completely transform. There are 135 species in the world that can do this, and plant biologist Jill Farrant believes these plants could be the key to producing food security in the face of drought.
How much water does it take to get a tomato to your plate? Arjen Hoekstra calculates the water footprint of the products that you consume at home. The effect of the water footprint can be out of place out of mind, because the water comes from somewhere else; but, as this clip reveals, ignoring the impact we have on our water supplies can result in environmental disasters.
Extreme rain and flooding today is four times more likely than it was forty years ago. Photographer Gideon Mendel has spent 12 years documenting floods all over the world. In this clip he travels to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, in the Carolinas. Gideon hopes that through his work he’ll make climate change more personal and make an impact on the conversation about the climate crisis.
For tens of thousands of years, underground reservoirs across the world have been collecting water. In recent decades, humans have been pumping this groundwater far faster than it can possibly be replenished. Now, our demands on underground freshwater are outstripping supplies. The ground is sinking in places all over the world, and huge cracks in the earth’s surface are cropping up.
H20: The Molecule That Made Us is a 3-hour series from WGBH Boston premiering on PBS on April 22. The film dramatically reveals how water underpins every aspect of our existence. Segments from across the planet, intimate documentary and natural history cinematography combine to uncover dramatic discoveries and compelling characters and deliver important stories about this mysterious molecule.
Episode 3: Crisis examines how the planet’s changing water cycle is forcing us to change our relationship with water. An increasingly, globalized agricultural industry is turning precious water reserves into profit, “mining” water faster than it can be replaced. As Chairman Emeritus of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe says, “.... the water issue is more urgent than the climate issue."
Episode 2: Civilizations turns our ‘water lens’ on human history. Starting in Ancient Egypt, it charts the critical role water plays in history, and around the world we see the birth of civilizations on the banks of the great rivers: Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Indus and Yellow. We end by asking if we can guarantee water supplies of the future?
In Episode 1: pulse, segments from across the planet, intimate documentary and natural history cinematography combine to uncover dramatic discoveries and compelling characters and deliver important stories about this mysterious molecule. The Molecule That Made Us is a 3-hour series from WGBH Boston premiering on PBS.