CBC's Doc Zone examines risky techno-fixes for cooling the planet and delves into our digital addictions

Can re-engineering the climate save us from global warming? That’s one of the intriguing questions DOC ZONE explores Nov. 18 and 25, on CBC Television, while THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI investigates the imminent risk of earthquakes on the Pacific Rim, and visits some very angry volcanoes—including Merapi, the most active in Indonesia.

As the threat of climate change grows more urgent, scientists are considering radical ways to avert a planetary meltdown. Premiering on DOC ZONE, Thursday, Nov. 25 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), Playing God With Planet Earth explores such controversial ideas as salting the ocean with iron particles to trigger plankton blooms, genetically engineering “robo trees” to suck carbon from the air, and mimicking the effects of a volcanic eruption. These extraordinary schemes just might work…or, they could lead to drought, mass starvation and even war.    

The week before, on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), DOC ZONE asks Are We Digital Dummies? This provocative documentary explores how our love affair with technology is overloading our ancient brains. In becoming information rich, we’ve become attention poor. The defining condition of our age may well be chronic distraction. Can we manage the technology around us—or will we let it manage us?

In the five-part documentary series Geologic Journey II, THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI has followed some of the world’s leading geologists around the globe, as they decipher the mysteries of the Earth’s evolution. Now, in the series’ final two episodes, the story of where the earth has been and what the earth shall be—a whole new world we’ll barely recognize—concludes.

Episode 4, The Pacific Rim: Americas, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), takes viewers to one of the most unpredictable regions in the world—along the western shore of North and South America, from Alaska to California to Chile—discovering how tectonic rhythms threaten the people living along the two continents’ coastlines. Chile was the site of this year’s largest reported earthquake, and is the site of the world’s largest reported earthquake ever, in 1960. And according to a recent study, Chile’s Chaiten volcano, also featured in this episode, is growing at a rate of 60 cubic metres every second—it began to erupt again in 2008 after being dormant for nearly 9,000 years.

Episode 5, The Collision Zone: Asia, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), travels to the peak of Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia. Geologist Nick Eyles says, “We climbed to the top of Merapi, and the signs were obvious… a very angry volcano.” Within the last week, Merapi eruptions have forced evacuations of nearly 75,000 people. The final episode in the series also explores the fractured history of the Eastern world’s geological battleground: the fiery unpredictability of Indonesia’s volcanoes at one end, the massive Himalayas at the other, and millions of years of tectonic tension in between.

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