The Nature Of Things: Arctic Meltdown 3 Part Series

Narrated by David Suzuki, the three-part series Arctic Meltdown—beginning Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), on CBC Television—documents the drastic changes the Arctic has seen over the last few years. From new companies rushing to claim the Arctic’s plentiful resources to the effect climate change has had on animals as well as plant life, the documentary, directed by Kristina Von Hlatky, asks the big question: as the Arctic meltdown continues at an ever accelerating pace, who will protect it?

In Arctic Meltdown: A Changing World, airing Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), we see the changes that are upsetting the scientific predictions of the impact of climate change on the Arctic. Now, one sobering forecast is that the Arctic Ocean will be seasonally ice free by the summer of 2013. This possibility is what drives environmentalists to identify ways to minimize the changes affecting this snowy land. But for prospectors like Gordon McCreary, climate change brings new opportunities. He is part of the rush to claim the riches beneath the Arctic’s ice: deposits of metals, gold, diamonds, and oil and gas.

Episode one will showcase how Arctic nations are racing to claim control over the Arctic’s resources and shipping routes. Dr. Ruth Jackson, from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia, leads the Canadian team racing to map the seabed to support Canada’s claim. Scientists too are now becoming victims of the Arctic’s icy politics. A Canadian-led, international team of researchers is thwarted on camera when their deal to hire a Russian nuclear icebreaker falls through.

Episode two, Arctic Meltdown: The Arctic Passages, airing Saturday, June 27 at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), explores the Northwest Passage and how these dangerous waters are suddenly becoming accessible to businesses and shipping. Ports like Churchill, Manitoba and Murmansk, Russia expect to see business grow in years to come. Until recently, only a few ships braved travel through these ice-strewn waters. More and more ships cross these seas each year and with more traffic come higher risks—in particular, for the Inuit who worry about the lack of ports and emergency support. 

Arctic Meltdown: Adapting to Change airing Saturday, July 4, at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), tracks two different Arctics—one that is the storybook land of ice, snow and polar bears and the other that is covered with petroleum plants and pipelines carrying fossil fuels. Bylot Island is a national park, and for 20 years a team of Canadian scientists have come every summer to measure the impact of climate change on snowy owls, lemmings, snow geese and Arctic foxes. Here they have discovered that even tiny, hardy plants are being affected, causing a cascade of changes through the ecosystem.

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