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Greenlit: Avoiding Apocalypse, Discovery Science, Canada

Avoiding Apocalypse (6 x) – How will humanity survive in a world that is over-exploited, over-populated, and ravaged by human activity? How would society fare in a catastrophic event like the ones that decimated millions of species in the past? And how will Canada, in particular, be affected?  This series offers answers to these questions, and shows how humankind can survive the threatening dangers. The series estimates the risk, effects on humanity, and probability of worst-case scenarios; and reveals how science and technology will help society avoid – or at least learn to live with – the worst.

 Due to geographic location and size, Canada will suffer less than its neighbours from global warming, overpopulation, and depletion of natural resources, but the country is still at risk. The change in the intensity of rainfall and the melting of glaciers are raising Atlantic waters to dangerous levels; increasing temperatures could cause big cities like Toronto to “overheat”; the eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano is not far away; and, as was shown with the rapid spread of the H1N1 virus, a pandemic would particularly affect Canada and its major cities as a result international trade and the population’s multicultural face. So how will the country be saved?

Highlights from the first episodes include:

A Few More Degrees… The Earth is heating up and this climate change will have cataclysmic consequences for humanity – namely the desertification of agricultural lands and submersion of some of the planet’s most populated zones. This episode explores the best scientific solutions to rescue the climate and humanity, including carbon capture, artificial trees, production of Earth-cooling clouds, artificial volcanoes, mirrors in space, and giant dikes to hold back rising water.

 To the Last Drop – More than ever, humanity is dependent on fossil fuels, with world consumption of petroleum, natural gas, and coal rising a little every year. Inevitably, reserves are going to give out, and humanity isn’t ready. But scientists are already working to find substitutes, such as power plants in space and on the ground, thermal energy from oceans, generators on giant kites, fuel from algae, fusion energy, underwater windmills, and wave generators.

Ten Billion People – The world’s population has surpassed 6.7 -billion today and will reach nine-billion individuals by 2050. But can the planet supply food, water and shelter for an unlimited number of people? With signs that resources and natural spaces are running low, scientists are working on solutions to avoid human catastrophes and bloody conflicts; including genetic engineering and colonization of other planets, to factory farming and desalination of seawater.

Our Fragile Bodies – In the past, humanity has found itself at the mercy of a catastrophic epidemic. Today, globalization of trade permits a virus or bacteria to cover the globe without being detected. Additionally, male fertility is dropping sharply, affecting population growth. Will human progress be cut short by a pandemic, or be betrayed by the fragility of the human body?

Channel: Discovery Science, Canada

TX: 14th November 2012

Source: Discovery Science press release

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