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Ways We Live: Exploring Community

"Five directors and their crews take us on location around Canada and the United States to uncover a treasure trove of changing communities, meet local heroes and ordinary people who create them, and a new breed of thinkers who champion a return of grassroots participation in community."--Container.
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Deserts [electronic resource]: Global Environments

Global warming is bad news - unless, of course, you're accustomed to life in the desert. Arid environments, which already cover one third of the Earth's land mass, are growing at an alarming rate, which means that they could conceivably become the new normal. In the next few decades, up to 35 percent of the world's terrain faces desertification with the lives and livelihoods of millions, if not billions, in jeopardy. Examining the dramatic changes in store for our planet, this program looks at what the global community should be doing to prepare, what actions are currently being taken, and how cultures which have thrived for centuries in extremely dry locations are passing on a range of skills and traditions designed to help cope with the "arid" life. Can this undervalued knowledge e [...]

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Jonas Eliasson - How to Solve Traffic Jams

It's an unfortunate reality in nearly every major city: road congestion, especially during rush hours. In this TEDTalk, transportation specialist Jonas Eliasson reveals how subtly nudging just a small percentage of drivers to stay off major roads can make traffic jams a thing of the past.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Bobby Ghosh - Why Global Jihad Is Losing

Throughout the history of Islam, says journalist Bobby Ghosh, there have been two sides to jihad: one internal - a personal struggle to be better - and the other external. A small minority (most recently, Osama bin Laden) has appropriated the second, using it as an excuse for deadly global violence against "the West." In this TEDTalk, Ghosh suggests that now that bin Laden's worldwide organization has fragmented, it's time to reclaim the word.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Paul Gilding - the Earth Is Full

Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Writer/activist Paul Gilding suggests that we have - and the possibility of devastating consequences - in a TEDTalk that's equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Eduardo Paes - the 4 Commandments of Cities

Eduardo Paes is the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a sprawling, complicated, beautiful city of 6.5 million. In this TEDTalk, he shares four big ideas about leading Rio - and all cities - into the future, including bold (and do-able) infrastructure upgrades and how to make a city "smarter." Paes's mission? To ensure that Rio's renaissance creates a positive legacy for all its citizens.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Hans Rosling - Religions and Babies

Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others? And if so, how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, data visionary Hans Rosling graphs data over time and across religions to reach - with his trademark humor and sharp insight - a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Tristram Stuary - the Global Food Waste Scandal

Western countries throw out nearly half of their food - not because it's inedible, but because it doesn't look appealing. In this TEDTalk, author and activist Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.

The Future of Animal Care [electronic resource]

Human beings love their pets. Some people would spare no expense when it comes to health care for the animals in their lives; in fact, some animals are better cared for than humans. This film explores the advances made in the technology of animal health. Since they reflect human society, there has been an increase in the number of animals suffering from obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Modern technology has brought about new treatments for these diseases in animals just as in humans.

Globesity [electronic resource]: Fat's New Frontier

Not so long ago, countries like Mexico, India, and China counted malnutrition as a major health concern. Today, hundreds of millions of people in these countries are coping with obesity and its associated diseases, growing fatter, and at a faster rate, than Americans. This program explores the shocking explosion of global obesity and examines its links to increasing wealth and changing diets. The video travels to Mexico, where two-thirds of the population is overweight due to the popularity of soft drinks; to Brazil, where cheap, highly processed foods are found in even the most remote areas; to India, where a combination of better wages and genetic predisposition has experts predicting a diabetes epidemic; and to China, where a new middle class consumes more sugar and fat, and far m [...]

Education, Education [electronic resource]: What Does an Education Get You?

When the Chinese government privatized universities in 1997 education became a commodity, with some institutions charging the equivalent of 60 years of income in exchange for a college degree. And while many saw the steep cost as a good investment, the system now produces more than 2 million graduates every year who join the "ant tribe" - a battalion of recent grads unable to find work. This program examines trends in Chinese education that leave young people barred from good employment opportunities, or hopelessly in debt, making schooling a cause of poverty instead of a way out of it.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Daphne Bavelier - Your Brain on Video Games

How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Watch this TEDTalk featuring cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games-even action-packed shooter games-can help us learn, focus, and, fascinatingly, multitask.

This Space Available [electronic resource]: Outdoor Advertising and the Fight Against Visual Pollution

With billboards choking cityscapes around the world, a global grassroots movement has sprouted that is uniting concerned citizens with visionary politicians, enlightened business leaders, and outraged street artists in a fight against visual pollution. This Space Available explores efforts to reclaim commercially usurped public spaces as it takes an incisive look at the differences between the Baby Boomer generation, which spawned the excess in advertising, and today's young adults-the most marketed-to generation in history. Complex issues of economics, urban development, public space, aesthetics, and more are confronted as the documentary grapples with the question of who public space is for.

Skin Deep [electronic resource]: Nina Jablonski's Theory of Race

Students of evolution understand that when our ancient African ancestors lost their body hair and ventured out onto the hot savannah, their skin became dark to protect against UV radiation, while subsequent migration away from the equator yielded paler people. But in 2000, Penn State University anthropologist Nina Jablonski proposed a startling new theory as to why human pigmentation is so diverse. In this program, Jablonski suggests that skin color evolved mainly to allow for the production of vitamin D and folic acid, both necessary for reproductive success. Focusing on groundbreaking research and personal accounts of scientists around the world, the film takes a fresh look at the interplay between environmental adaptation and human skin tones.

Land of the Dogon [electronic resource]: World Heritage in Peril

With its traditional peak-roofed huts nestled along the Cliff of Bandiagara, the Dogon people's homeland looks idyllic, like something from a child's storybook. But the Dogons are facing real-world problems. Fear of al Qaeda keeps tourists away, the younger generation is bored and restless, and precious artifacts are disappearing, though UNESCO has made this part of Mali a World Heritage Site. This extraordinary program immerses viewers in Dogon village life as farmers, tour guides, and elders discuss the challenges of modernization. The film captures Dogon efforts to protect their famed wooden sculptures, with the help of a local museum; in addition, villagers open up about myths and rituals in a land where ancient indigenous beliefs, Islam, and Christianity continue to coexist.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Peter Diamandis - Abundance Is Our Future

Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism - that we'll invent, innovate, and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I'm not saying we don't have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down," says Diamandis, who runs the X Prize Foundation and chairs Singularity University.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Bryan Stevenson - We Need to Talk About an Injustice

In an engaging and personal TEDtalk - with cameo appearances by his grandmother and Rosa Parks - human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight, and persuasiveness. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Last Call Indian [electronic resource]: Searching for Mohawk Identity

By the time Sonia Boileau's grandfather Mitchell left the Shingwauk Indian Residential School in 1947 he no longer knew how to speak his native tongue. The institution had done its job well - Mitchell married and raised children, who didn't realize until they had children of their own that Mitchell was in fact Mohawk. Sonia now faces a similar stripping away of the First Nation heritage her family only recently reclaimed. According to Canada's Indian Act, any children she has will not be "officially Indian" unless their father has the requisite percentage of indigenous blood. In this powerful documentary, filmmaker Sonia Boileau returns to Shingwauk to work out the implications of her grandfather's life and of his death, especially in relation to Canada's race policies and her own cu [...]

Female Circumcision [electronic resource]

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation, as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." WHO estimates that 140 million women and girls around the world have experienced it, including 101 million in Africa. This episode explores the efforts to treat female circumcision as a human rights abuse. Pulitzer prize-winning author Alice Walker discusses her novel, Possessing the Secret Joy, about the response of an African woman to this cultural tradition. Also featured, "Diary from Hell" is a documentary about Manila's Smokey Mountain garbage dump, making the link between the environment and human rights; and a Sa [...]

Children and Human Rights: Part 1 [electronic resource]

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989 to protect the rights of children, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty ever. It encompasses civil rights and freedoms, family environment, basic health and welfare, and education. This episode gives an overview of the condition of children around the world. From a rap video created by students at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Brooklyn, to a profile of a 13-year-old African-American boy in Washington, D.C., and a 15-year-old girl in India. Also featured are reports on the brutality against Brazilian street children; commentary from Andrew Tyndall on television news coverage of children and human rights; and a performance of Judy Collins' song "I Dream of Peace.