Strange Environmental Issues

Unsettling transformations are sweeping across the planet. Crumbling houses in New Orleans are linked to voracious creatures from southern China. Vanishing forests in Yellowstone are linked to the disappearance of wolves. An asthma epidemic in the Caribbean is linked to dust storms in Africa. Scientists suspect we have entered a time of global change swifter than any that humankind has ever witnessed. Where are we headed? What can we do to alter this course of events?

National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth, a four-part documentary series that aired on PBS, explores these questions. Drawing upon research being generated by a new discipline, Earth System Science (ESS), the series aims to create an innovative type of environmental awareness. By revealing a cause and effect relationship between what we as humans do to the Earth and what that in turn does to our environment and ecosystems, the series creates a new sense of environmental urgency. Each of the four one-hour episodes is constructed as a high-tech detective story, with the fate of the planet at stake, revealing the way that seemingly distant events are connected, and how they are affecting our individual health and well-being.

A co-production of Vulcan Productions, National Geographic and Sea Studios Foundation). Premiered Wednesday, April 20 and 27, 2005 on PBS.

Vulcan Productions developed an activity guide for middle school-aged students, in accordance with national science education standards, that further explores environmental issues and brings the viewer deeper into the topics covered in the documentary series. Using lesson plans and video content, students and teachers are able to delve into issues surrounding the changing state of our planet and talk about creating change in our world.

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