Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

sailboat and wildlife

"1000 Days For The Planet" explores our planet's biodiversity and the fact that life on earth is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. In Season 2, the oceanographic schooner Sedna IV travels to the heart of the Pacific Ocean to investigate the major environmental issues facing the region.

Follow the voyage and meet island dwellers who depend on nature for their livelihoods, as well as the scientists working to protect the environment.

A fascinating scientific exploration, "1000 Days For The Planet" has 12 episodes, starting with "Global Climate Disruption." Other episodes cover species such as Komodo dragons, sperm whales, Sumatran elephants, and gibbons - and the threats they are facing.

Illegal and destructive practices such as blast fishing and cyanide fishing, climate change, and the destruction of tropical forests are some of the topics covered.

"1000 Days For The Planet" is the project of world-renowned scientist and UN Ambassador for the Environment, Jean Lemire, who explores the world from his 50-foot sailboat, the Sedna IV, revealing to viewers the beauty and challenges of our world.

Approx. 45 minutes each

Show descriptions:

Episode 1: Global Climate Disruption

The Galapagos Archipelago is a model of conservation in the Pacific Ocean. Its remarkable diversity of marine species is explained by the upwelling of cold ocean currents. But an increasingly common climatic anomaly occuring far out to sea is killing life. It's El Niño. Scientists believe that climate change could cause the frequency and severity of this climatic phenomenon to double threatening native species that are unique in the world. In French Polynesia, biologists are studying corals and working to predict the impact of climate change on the future of our oceans and on global food security.

Episode 2: Cyanide-laced Fish and Other Tasty Hazards

The waters of Indonesia teem with a huge variety of fish but the rapid degradation of coral reefs is threatening many species that are unique in the world. Illegal practices such as blast fishing and cyanide fishing are enormously destructive. The demand for live capture of exotic fish is a real threat to the future of many species. Exported for aquariums and for human consumption, fish caught using cyanide represent more than 40% of Indonesia's exports. Fortunately, a few fishermen have adopted methods that respect the environment but they are in a very small minority.

Episode 3: The Victims of Palm Oil

Large-scale deforestation of tropical forests for palm oil production is a growing problem that threatens the survival of huge numbers of animals and plants, many already on the verge of extinction. In Indonesia almost two million hectares of forest disappear every year. That's equivalent to six football fields being flattened every minute. Oil from plam trees is currently found in over half of all processed foods. At the current rate nearly 98% of Indonesia's rainforests will be gone in 20 years. For orangutans, elephants, and gibbons, the future is increasingly uncertain.

Episode 4: Anuta: Hidden Paradise

Far off in the South Pacific is a tiny island: Anuta. It may be the most remote inhabited island on the planet. To survive, islanders have had to make careful use of any and every resource in their environment. The crew of Sedna IV is offered the rare privilege of sharing the daily lives of this unique community, welcomed into the heart of ancestral traditions and rituals that exist nowhere else on earth. This exceptional encounter of two groups with vastly different ways of being and points of view creates a bond of friendship, unshakeable and profound. It is an historic encounter, astonishing and deeply moving that makes a lasting impression on the heart of the adventurers. And it is a powerful demonstration of what is possible for the future of the planet.

Episode 5: Komodo Dragons

The island of Komodo in Indonesia looks like a lost paradise. But watch your step! A strange animal that can dispatch a goat or a person in two seconds flat is the dominant predator: the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on earth. Incredibly, they live in close proximity to the islanders who subscribe to an ancient legend that says the dragons share family ties with people and are, in fact, members of the community. The crew of Sedna IV shares daily life with these islanders who have learned to live with one of the fiercest predators on the planet— one that has already claimed its share of victims.

Episode 6: Hunting the Sperm Whale

The village of Lamalera in Indonesia is one of the last places on earth where whaling is allowed. For over 600 years, villagers have hunted whales and dolphins. It is subsistence hunting, authorized by the international community because it has always been done in the traditional manner in rowboats. But in recent years the outboard motor has altered their hunting methods and dramatically increased the pressure on threatened marine species. How far are we prepared to tolerate hunting endangered species in the name of tradition? A challenging and disturbing adventure that poses difficult questions.

Episode 7: Gibbon Rescue

Gibbons are small tree-dwelling monkeys with no real predators. But in Indonesia where the native forests are being ravaged by oil palm production, young gibbons are often captured and kept as pets. When they reach sexual maturity, at around 7 years of age, and become aggressive they are either killed or caged in deplorable conditions. A remarkable young Frenchman, Aurélien Brulé, moved to Indonesia to save the gibbon. His breathtaking courage and determination are an inspiration. He is winning a pitched battle with the authorities that has left many others in the dust.

Episode 8: The Last Orangutans of Sumatra

On the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, an iconic species is barely hanging on. Orangutans are considered critically endangered. The massive wave of deforestation for oil palm production shows no sign of slowing down. Theoretically protected, the island's precious peatlands are being chewed up. Whole forests are set on fire killing every living thing in this paradise of biodiversity. But scientists have mobilized to save the remaining orangutans. In the heart of the tropical forest they do what they can to halt the carnage and rehabilitate the last few survivors of an uneven fight against a corrupt and merciless authority.

Episode 9: Sumatra's Elephants

The Indonesian island of Sumatra is home to one of the most critically endangered animals on the planet: the Sumatran elephant. But the wholesale destruction of tropical forests has wiped out their natural habitat. Even National Parks, created to protect the few remaining elephants, tigers, and orangutans, are overrun with poachers. In a move to prevent their extinction, the World Wildlife Fund created a team of forest rangers who patrol on elephant back to intervene in conflicts between wild elephants and humans: conflicts that often end in death for one of the last remaining Sumatran elephants.

Episode 10: The Blue Whale: The Long Road

An extraordinary journey to the heart of the great whales of the Gulf of St. Lawrence! Jean Lemire and the crew of the SEDNA IV sailing ship accompany scientists in their research to better understand the movements of whales in the St. Lawrence. After more than 30 years of dedication and research, the researchers managed to follow the first migratory routes of the largest animal in history, the blue whale.

Episode 11: The Arctic: The Sinking Of Traditions

A voyage through breathtaking images in the depths of the Arctic! Jean Lemire and the SEDNA IV crew return to the Arctic to document the devastating effects of climate change. Almost 15 years after the successful crossing of the Northwest Passage, the famous sailing ship sails in the wake of that first major expedition to see the environmental transformations that now threaten all inhabitants of the Far North.

Episode 12: The St. Lawrence: A Fishing Story?

Fishing has long been at the heart of maritime traditions for the many fishing villages in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While overfishing has destroyed one of the largest fish stocks in the Atlantic, it has also undermined traditions. Today, new threats prevent the growth of groundfish populations, such as cod.