Los Angeles River

Saving The Rivers of the American West

"Earth Focus" speaks with Jeremy Monroe about his film "Willamette Futures," which documents the effort to restore the watersheds of Oregon's largest river system. Satirical writer George Wolfe's controversial act of civil disobedience, leading a kayaking expedition down the cemented Los Angeles River, is the focus of Thea Mercouffer's film "Rock the Boat." The expedition sought to have EPA declare the river navigable so that it could gain protection under the Clean Water Act. The boating trip down the L.A. River became a political movement which led to changes in federal policy and opened up public access to a long-neglected waterway. The Colorado River is the most dammed, and diverted river in the world. It struggles to support thirty million people across the western United States and Mexico and is reaching its limits. James Redford and Mark Decena talk about their film "Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West," which looks at how we balance the competing interests of cities, agriculture, recreation, wildlife and indigenous communities with rights to the water.

 

Photo: Joe Linton / Streetsblog L.A. / Creative Commons

Full Episodes

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Biodiversity and Health

(Earth Focus: Episode 41) What do plants, snakes, molds, marine sponges, and cone snails have in common? They have helped develop medicines that save human lives. Biodiversity -- the variety of life on Earth -- is key to human survival. But plants, animals, and microorganisms are disappearing at unprecedented rates. What impact will this have on human health? Find out in this Earth Focus special report produced in collaboration with the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School.

  • 2018-11-20T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-11-24T03:30:00-08:00
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Toxic Futures: Untold Stories of Chemical Pollution

(Earth Focus: Episode 56) Exposure to toxic chemicals affects people in both the industrialized and developing world. Earth Focus looks at how Toms River, a New Jersey town, fought back to save its drinking water from toxic waste dumping by dye manufacturer Ciba Geigy and by Union Carbide. Then, a look at the new film Amazon Gold, which addresses illegal gold mining in Peru and its tragic impact on human health and the environment.

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Nuclear Power: America Goes Naked

"Going naked" is how the insurance industry describes not having insurance. And when it comes to the worst hazards of nuclear power — America is going naked. Correspondent Miles Benson investigates why the U.S. nuclear power industry is underinsured by hundreds of billions of dollars. He also speaks with Australian physician, author and nuclear industry critic Dr. Helen Caldicott on the health effects of nuclear radiation including cancers, fetal damage and genetic mutation.

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Meeting Tomorrow's Food Needs

(Earth Focus: Episode 48): With a changing climate, a growing population and anticipated fresh water shortages, our food production must evolve. In this episode of Earth Focus, a look at innovative research that is helping develop new and improved root systems for agriculture in stressed conditions, a new Swedish model for urban agriculture, the use of solar energy to power food production in the Himalayas, and an innovative truck farm in New York City.

  • 2018-11-26T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-01T03:30:00-08:00
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Restoring The Earth

(Earth Focus: Episode 53) It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems, to improve the lives of people trapped in poverty and to sequester carbon naturally. John Liu presents "Hope in a Changing Climate," which showcases approaches that have worked on the Loess Plateau in China, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Produced in collaboration with the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP).

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Chesapeake: Can Oysters Save the Bay?

After centuries of over-harvesting and bouts of disease, oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay plummeted along with profits for the oyster industry and the health of the Bay. In some areas, native oysters are becoming more abundant. But culture and ecology clash as watermen, who depend on harvesting oysters for income, are at odds with scientists and conservationists who want to restore oyster populations. Filmmaker Sandy Cannon-Brown looks at oysters and the people behind them in her documentary "Spat! Bringing Oysters Back to the Bay."

  • 2018-12-03T23:30:00-08:00
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Shades of Gray: Living with Wolves

Gray wolves once ranged across North America. But by the 1930s, they were nearly extinct — trapped, poisoned and hunted by ranchers, farmers, and government agents. With protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the wolf population rebounded. But wolves lost federal protection in 2011. Now, with hunting permitted in many Western states, the future of this once endangered species may again be in question. Can we live with wolves? "Earth Focus" travels to Montana and Wyoming to find out.

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Climate Science In Action

Whether they are researching the pace of Alaskan glacier melt or measuring the impact of Arctic sea ice changes on our our weather, climate scientists go to some of the most remote areas on Earth to help us understand our environment. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) brings scientists and students together annually to study glaciers. Jeff Barbee reports on the 2013 JIRP expedition. Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center looks at the impact changes in Arctic sea ice may have on weather patterns.

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Illicit Ivory

Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world – organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. Ivory buys guns and ammunition for Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army and Sudan's Janjaweed, both linked to mass atrocities and supports al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate behind the attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University.

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