Channel 4 environmental documentaries

In: Uncategorized

26 May 2008

Tonight watched the Life after people documentary on Channel 4. It was based on an interesting thought experiment: what would happen to the earth if humans suddenly disappeared. The documentary looked at the Earth at different time periods of humanity’s disappearance to see how long signs of humanity would survive. No doubt many environmentalists would see it as showing that humanity is simply a thin veneer on the surface of the earth – nature would quickly reclaim the planet. But it would also be possible to wonder at how much humans have reshaped the planet in their relatively short time on Earth. Josie Appleton also wrote a review article on the same subject for spiked last year.

Last night I watched the 11th Hour, a 2007 environmentalist documentary presented and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, on Channel 4. The programme was predictably awful but at least it had the virtue of spelling out some of the misanthropic (and often absurd) premises of environmentalist thought. For example, the view that humans are simply part of nature, the hostility to attempts to control nature, the idea that nature should somehow be endowed with rights and the notion of eco-systems services.

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