Category Archives: Conservation

The 11th Hour re-up: Human Impacts on Ecosystems

In 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio released his environmental call-to-arms, The 11th Hour. And it’s very good. It really knocks home the old proverb that we are not inheriting the Earth from our ancestors, but borrowing it from our children.

Update 2009: the whole film is available on GoogleVideo (as all good documentaries should be):

The movie contains contributions from the likes of Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winner Wangari Maathai and David Suzuki. Particularly useful is Gloria Flora‘s sentiment that we all vote, every day – even those who are too young to cast a ballot – by making informed choices about what we consume, spend our money on and throw away.

Watch It!

Watch It!

The first half of the movie is a talking-heads and imagery look at our impacts on the Earth, with plenty of soundbites and starting-points for further discussion. The political middle section describes how economic growth and interests are driving destruction. The final act is a great collection of ideas and hope – a call to arms and a realisation that the environmental movement is growing quickly and strongly. But is it going to be in time to save our species and the thousands that we drive to extinction each year?

Now here’s Leo’s video message (including the ‘vote’ quote from Gloria Flora):

For some further reading, go to the 11th hour Action website.

IB Biology students:

Here is a quick question sheet for the movie, linking some of the topics to the Ecology and Conservation option.

Higher Level students: pay attention to the parts about the role of trees in the environment, in particular through water-uptake. Also, do you understand how mycofiltration (using fungal mycelia) could be used to clean polluted soils?

For good measure, here’s Linkin Park’s accompanying music video, What I’ve Done :

Inside Nature’s Giants

Channel 4’s fantastic series has just ended in the UK (I’m back for a holiday), and I can’t wait for the DVD. This is the kind of natural history quality that the BBC normally has a monopoly on, but C4 have presented something outstanding here.

Fin Whale Dissection

Fin Whale Dissection

Over the four episodes, Mark Evans presents dissections of four giants of the animal world: elephant, whale, crocodile and giraffe. On hand is the expert anatomist Joy Reidenberg, who does a great job of taking apart and explaining their findings. Richard Dawkins takes the opportunity to point out some of the wonders of evolution in the animals, using anatomical and computer-graphic explanations. It’s great.

Embedded below are part one and part two of the second episode: fin whale. Rather than dissect at the Royal Veterinary College as normal, their challenge was to dissect this whale which washed up on the coast of Ireland before it exploded with decomposition.

If you can get 4onDemand, all four episodes are available online for a month. They are not available for download, but to really get the full effect, you need a high-quality image – so fingers crossed for the DVD!

For now, visit the official website for some clips and animal autopsy games.

Microdocs: Stanford’s reef sustainability documentaries

Stanford’s Microdocs project is a well-presented set of video and pdf resources for learning about sustainability and the coral reef ecosystem. Each video is a few minutes long and accompanied by a short article or links to useful sources.

It’s divided into useful topics and easy to navigate (and looks good, too).

And while we’re on the theme of the oceans (again) there’s a brilliant student activity resource centre at the UCLA’s OceanGlobe centre. Everything you could ever need to study marine science.

The 11th Hour – Leo Dicaprio gets his Gore on…

Following on from Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, Leonardo DiCaprio last year released his environmental call-to-arms, The 11h Hour. And it’s very good. It really knocks home the old proverb that we are not inheriting the Earth from our ancestors, but borrowing it from our children.

Here’s the trailer:

The movie contains contributions from the likes of Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winner Wangari Maathai and David Suzuki. Particularly useful is Gloria Flora‘s sentiment that we all vote, every day – even those who are too young to cast a ballott – by making informed choices about what we consume, spend our money on and throw away.

The first half of the movie is a talking-heads and imagery look at our impacts on the Earth, with plenty of soundbites and starting-points for further discussion. There’s a poitical section in the middle that’s probably worth skipping, but the last section outlining some of the achievable solutions to our problems is excellent.

Now here’s Leo’s video message (including the ‘vote’ quote from Gloria Flora):

For some further reading, go to the 11th hour Action website, or check out An Inconvenient Blog.

For good measure, here’s Linkin Park’s accompanying music video, What I’ve Done (which was also used for Transformers):

Meet The Greens

Meet The Greens is a collection of animated webisodes featuring the Green family dealing with environmental Issues. Granny Green says blog it, so here we are! Go have a look.

Here’s their official blurb:

MeetTheGreens.org is a new kids’ guide to looking after the planet. Kids can watch The GREENS’ cartoon adventures and discover related green games, news, downloads, a blog, action tips, links, and much more. This innovative, Web-only project comes from WGBH in Boston, the producer of shows like ZOOM, ARTHUR, Frontline & NOVA.

The Great Turtle Race

Sea turtles make huge journeys across the Pacific, to and from egg-laying sites. Turtles laying eggs  in Indonesia paddle (and use currents) all the way to California to forage for jellyfish, and leatherbacks from Costa Rica travel right down to the south Pacific.

Some researchers have been using GPS technology to track migrations to see if their route is the same each year:

There is even an annual event called The Great Turtle Race (this year is the second – The Olympiad!)

Head on over to their website to find out more about sea turtle conservation and visit some of their links.

There’s even a flash game or two to play, or a sea turtle survival lesson from Bridge: National Marine Educators Association

And, of course, there is a facebook group devoted to the race.

This is all organised by the leatherback trust.

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