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Fighting the Tide
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Human Ecology
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1.

Malawi [electronic resource]: Nation Going Hungry

Poverty, unstable government, and disadvantages in trade have virtually eliminated food security in Malawi. This program explores the African country's struggles on both a personal and national level, interviewing frustrated civil servants and impoverished citizens, and reflecting widespread despair over WTO policies and the government's inability to subsidize the agriculture of its own people. Highlighting the additional problems of environmental degradation and AIDS, the program offers a moving glimpse into human lives that revolve around one constant challenge: getting something to eat.
Online
2006; 2004
2.

Nicaragua [electronic resource]: Turning Away From Violence

In Nicaragua, a growing awareness of domestic violence and its consequences has spurred grassroots activism. This program documents the efforts of two groups, the Xochitl-Acatl Center and the Association of Men Against Violence, both of which confront gender and sexual abuse. Arguing that economic and political oppression influence male tendencies to exercise physical authority within the home, the video describes educational campaigns that build financial self-sufficiency and self-esteem in both men and women. Interviews with participants feature more than one success story.
Online
2006; 2004
3.

India [electronic resource]: Working to End Child Labor

This program examines India's immense child labor problem and the fight against it. The video contrasts this nation's status as the world's largest democracy with the fact that, inside its borders, 80 million children work physically exhausting jobs for minuscule wages. Incorporating interviews with Shanta Sinha, founder of the organization known as MVF, the video illustrates how the group coordinates community action against the exploitation of young people and creates bridge schools that help children with the transition from work to education. It also makes a strong case that child labor increases poverty levels.
Online
2006; 2004
4.

Guatemala [electronic resource]: Human Price of Coffee

Coffee is second only to oil as the world's most valuable traded commodity, but small-scale producers rarely profit from it. This program reveals the hardship and uncertainty faced by coffee farmers in Guatemala, and how many are taking steps to obtain better prices and build better lives. Analyzing the country's traumatic history and the lingering effects of its civil war, the video sheds light on the reluctance of some citizens to organize for fear of persecution and murder. The video clearly demonstrates that behind every pound of coffee lies a story of human struggle.
Online
2006; 2004
5.

Mongolia [electronic resource]: Wrestling With Change

Close to the Russian border, far removed from Mongolia's polluted and overcrowded capital city of Ulaanbaatar, an ancient herding culture fights to maintain its identity-and its survival. This program examines the nomadic communities of the Mongolian plains and their resistance to change, despite growing pressure on many herders to modernize and migrate to urban areas. Viewers meet some who hold fast to the old ways and some who have already moved to the city, even though they long for the open landscape and acknowledge that "a Mongolian without a horse is like a bird without wings." Scholar Tsedev Dojoo further explores the impact of Mongolia's new emphasis on commercial agriculture, mineral extraction, and other industries.
Online
2010; 2009
6.

Niger [electronic resource]: In the Shadow of Noma

Noma is an acute oral infection that attacks young, malnourished children. If left untreated-which, tragically, is often the case in Africa-it devours bone tissue and permanently disfigures its victims. This unflinching program studies the impact of the pitiless disease and will help viewers assess the ability and readiness of the international community to combat the suffering. Graphic scenes of school-age noma patients are interwoven with commentary from medical experts and heartbreaking accounts from family members who have watched as sons, daughters, and grandchildren succumb to the sickness. The film also describes low-cost interventions that could keep noma from spreading, if resources are made available.
Online
2010; 2009
7.

Paraguay [electronic resource]: Soya and Pesticides

When an 11-year-old Paraguayan boy named Silvino Talavera died from pesticide poisoning in 2003, his name became a rallying cry in the fight against intensive soya production. This program recounts the tragedy and the legal, political, and economic impact of "agritoxins" in Latin America. Opening with a poetically filmed reenactment and moving on to feature key players in the story, the film includes an interview with Fernando Lugo-a Catholic priest whose election to Paraguay's presidency shifted policy away from large-scale agricultural interests toward more populist causes. Land redistribution and genetic modification emerge as central topics in this look at a controversy that is far from over.
Online
2010; 2009
8.

Colombia [electronic resource]: Flowers for the Gringo

As in the case of coffee, sugar, and other cultivated products, the floral industry would collapse without a steady supply of cheap labor. This program goes inside the world of Colombia's flower growers, in particular those who work the hardest for the lowest pay. Profiling two women with varying experiences, the film reveals both the tenuous nature of life on the industry's bottom rung - Hilda was fired after injuring her shoulder in the workplace - and the occasional ray of hope, as evidenced by Gloria's employer, who pays above the minimum wage. The program also features a union activist fighting an uphill battle to improve worker conditions, reminding viewers that human and corporate interests can rarely be tied into a pretty bouquet.
Online
2009
9.

Laos [electronic resource]: So You Think the War Is Over

Due to its entanglement in America's Vietnam war, Laos is frequently cited as, per capita, the most bombed country in the world. This program shows how a conflict that officially ended over three decades ago still kills and maims innocent civilians. Viewers meet several families decimated by unexploded munitions, or "bombies" in the local vernacular, that were dropped between 1964 and 1973. As the film demonstrates, these explosives are often accidentally detonated in the course of agricultural work and have brought many family farms to the brink of ruin. Bounpone Sayasenh, director of UXO Lao, further illuminates the grim legacy of American air power - a legacy made more visible with every deadly harvest.
Online
2009
10.

Mali [electronic resource]: Message From the River

As climate change lays waste to the Niger River, the great Malian city of Timbuktu increasingly resembles a desert landscape. The same is true for much of land-locked Mali, which could, in a worst-case scenario, find itself without water altogether. Incorporating discussions of poverty, population growth, and other issues, this film examines the impact of desertification on two of the nation's indigenous peoples - the fishing-dependent Bozo, who have plied their trade along the Niger for centuries, and the Tuareg, an equally nomadic, pastoral culture threatened by the depletion of desert wells. A Malian environmentalist and a Timbuktu historian both share their expertise.
Online
2009