Tag Archives: DW Documentary

Tourism & Climate Change: The Future Of Air Travel

Exotic destinations, or staycations? As we make choices like these, we ask ourselves: Will we ever be able to fly without feeling guilty again? This film examines the tourism business today, and asks how the industry envisages the future.

The pandemic brought the tourist industry to a standstill. But it also highlighted something we have long suspected: Namely, too much travel is bad for the environment.

Not only that, but tourism transforms entire regions – not always for the better. It profoundly impacts communities and often brings benefits for only a very few. But our wanderlust remains. So, do travelers have to decide between the two extremes: exotic destinations (and high carbon footprints) or holidays at home? Given the climate emergency, can we fly without feeling guilty? How environmentally damaging are cruises? And what does it mean to have a sustainable holiday?

This documentary examines an industry that had gotten ahead of itself, even before it was hit by the pandemic. We hear from mayors, tourism managers, a climate expert, an internet activist and a sociologist. The film travels to the European tourist hotspots of Barcelona, Venice and Dubrovnik. The tiny island of Palau in the Pacific Ocean demonstrates how sustainable travel can be sensibly organized, and a Parisian start-up develops a concept for virtual travel experiences.

Views: Snowdrops From The Caucasus, Georgia

Khatuna Jakeli loves snowdrops. Not only because they’re pretty, but because they provide her with an income. Every year in April and May, she treks through the Caucasus mountains of Adjara and collects the wildflower bulbs. The bulbs are then sold to the Netherlands, from where they are shipped to flower stores throughout Europe.

The Caucasus delivers 22 million snowdrops to the Netherlands every year, including 15 million wild snowdrops. A lucrative business, from which little remains for Khatuna Jakeli. Yet it is her most important source of income. A report by Juri Rescheto.

Celebrity Culture: History Of The Côte d’Azur, France

The Côte d’Azur stands for glamour and luxury, for film festivals and stars, for yachts and villas. The most famous personalities of the last century met here. The Côte owes its unique mythos to their loves and passions.

The Côte d’Azur boasts a breathtakingly gorgeous landscape. But its mythos is more than the sum of it beautiful parts. The whole world associates the narrow coastal strip on the French Mediterranean coast with sun, stars and scandals. In Saint Tropez, a former fishing town, a new and newly sensual art of living was popularized thanks to the young Brigitte Bardot.

On the eastern part of the coast, Oscar winner Grace Kelly conquered the principality of Monaco with her marriage to Prince Rainier. The matchmaker? The Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis, who wanted to burnish the dwarf state’s image. One of the most glamorous film festivals in the world was established in Cannes. After that, it seemed everyone came to the Côte. At the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, the paths of the famous crossed again and again.

For 150 years the hotel has been home to artists, queens and kings, divas and stars. Since 1969, the hotel has been owned by the German industrialist family Oetker. Maja Oetker describes her personal memories of the past 50 years. To this day, the Côte d’Azur has lost none of its appeal. It is more than just a place: it is an entire mythos.

Views: The Seychelles – Paradise Under Threat

Dream vacation or destination wedding – where better than Seychelles? The archipelago is especially popular with German tourists. But despite the island nation’s unique approach to nature conservation, this paradise is in danger.

This documentary showcases the archipelago in all its beauty, with rare animal species, white sand beaches… and the conservationists who are working hard to protect it all. Although Seychelles has just 0.13 percent of the land area of Germany, its new protected marine area is larger than the whole country. But climate change has severely impacted the archipelago, as it is often the smallest islands that are first to feel the consequences. Storms and waves damage turtle nests and corals, while further eroding the islands’ coastlines.

The country’s president Wavel Ramkalawan is also concerned. An ordained minister in the Anglican Church, Ramkalawan still preaches to this day. He tells us of the message he draws from the Bible in his fight to save the islands. We also learn about the various initiatives to rescue this tropical paradise. Coral nurseries help to revive damaged reefs. And seagrass plays a major role in combatting rising CO2 levels, as it stores more carbon than a forest of the same area.

Seychelles and Mauritius share an expanse of seagrass larger than Switzerland. The president is calling on the international community to help cover the costs of all this, because revenue from tourism isn’t enough. And many tourists care too little about it. At their wedding photoshoot, a couple from Austria explains how beautiful and easy it is to get married in paradise. But for how much longer will this paradise exist?

Analysis: Drinking Water – Is The World Drying Up?

Only 0.3 percent of the Earth’s total water supply is suitable for human consumption. Ominously, this precious resource is beginning to shrink. Natural water reservoirs are drying up due to climate change.

Glaciologist Daniel Farinotti surveys melting glaciers in the Swiss Alps. If glaciers continue to melt at the current rate, he says, there will be no ice left by the end of the century. The disappearance of glacial meltwater would have fatal consequences. From the heights of the Swiss Alpine glaciers, the documentary travels down to the seafloor, off the coast of Malta. Here, the crew of the German expedition ship “Sonne” wants to track down mysterious freshwater deposits in the Mediterranean.

Next up is Peru where, in a bid to counteract the threat of water shortages, work is underway on projects that use ancient Incan methods.

Africa Views: ‘Safari Train’ From Tanzania To Zambia

1970 marked the start of construction work on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, or “Tazara” for short. Some 1,860 km of tracks were laid through thick forest, uninhabited savannah and mountainous terrain as part of one of Africa’s boldest infrastructure projects.

The route was inaugurated in 1976. It links the coastal city of Dar es Salam in northeastern Tanzania with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia. Local people have an affectionate nickname for it – “Uhuru” or freedom, symbolizing the people’s hope for a more self-determined life.

But some of the stations along the line have been out of operation for years. Drivers always need to be on the lookout for monkeys, elephants, lions, hippos and giraffes. For passengers, the ticket includes a free safari. Leaving the Selous Game Reserve behind, the Tazara enters the most dangerous and spectacular section of the route.

Drone footage shows dramatic images of a largely unknown area sliced through by the railway line.

Rainforests: Indigenous People Struggle In Brazil

“They used to kill us with guns, now they kill us with deforestation and dams.” The Brazilian government’s failure to protect the Amazon forest is forcing the Munduruku indigenous people to take action against land grabs and illegal logging – and try to save the rain forest on their own.

In an unprecedented movement led by Chief Juarez Saw Munduruku, for the last six years indigenous people have been fighting the theft and destruction of their forest home. Since 1970, 20% of the Brazilian Amazon has been deforested. Logging and forest fires are threatening a further 20%. Scientists say that at 40% deforestation, we will reach the point of no return. The forest will be lost forever, replaced by savannahs – and the environmental consequences will be catastrophic.

The Amazon is often known as ‘the lungs of the planet,’ producing 6% of the world’s oxygen. It is no secret that the rainforest has been losing a dramatic fight against an array of threats, encouraged by capitalism, consumerism and greed – both legal and illegal.

In today‘s Brazil, some 600,000 square kilometers of land – an area about the size of France — are farmed by farmers who don’t officially own it. The military dictatorship (1964-1985) encouraged them to settle on state-owned land, but the farmers never became legal owners. As a result, speculators now seize the areas, clear the forests, then resell the plots with forged title deeds. This land grab, known as “grilagem” in Portuguese, has led to uncontrolled forest clearing and fierce conflicts.

The documentary was shot from 2014 to 2020, under three different Brazilian governments. It provides deep insights into the drama of the illegal occupation of state land and forest areas by organized crime groups. Several indigenous peoples have united under Juarez Saw Munduruku, leader of the Munduruku people, in a last-ditch bid to save the planet’s most important forest.

Microbes: A Microscopic View Of The Human Body

Among the unknown worlds in the universe, we can count our very own bodies. Like planet earth, each of us is made up of fascinating landscapes that are home to all kinds of wildlife.

The film takes the viewer on a unique microscopic safari, where we encounter some of the myriad creatures that live, thrive, compete, feed, are born and die on or inside our bodies. In fact, microscopic creatures play a more powerful role than we know: These life forms impact our health, our life expectancy, our physique and even our behavior.

The film renders these hidden worlds visible with the help of special effects: Combining cinematic electron microscopy with a super macro film technique. The documentary explains cutting-edge scientific findings, by turns surprising, enlightening and amazing. It raises questions about who we are, and how we exist in the unexplored, complex ecosystems that help constitute us.

We are born 100% human, but will die 90% microbial. Between these two points in our lives lies the unexplored terrain of ‘Life on Us’.

Views: Saving The White Rhinos Of South Africa

Poachers kill at least one rhino a day in South Africa. Their horns are in huge demand on the black market, and are worth more than gold. Anti-poaching squads are now increasingly better equipped: with night-vision equipment, drones and thermal imaging cameras.

Covering some 20,000 km2, Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It’s home to the biggest population of white rhinos in South Africa – and also the highest number of rhinos killed by poachers. One major problem for ranger teams is their small size in comparison to the vast area of territory involved. Another is the widespread poverty in the many villagers bordering the park – and it’s here that you ultimately have to begin if you want to win the battle to save the rhinos.

Vince Barkas has 30 years’ experience working in wildlife conservation, and little confidence in the current system’s effectiveness in protecting rhinos. In 1992 he founded the anti-poaching unit “Protrack”. Its teams operate in the Greater Kruger, which includes private wildlife reserves neighboring the national park.

Over the decades he says he’s seen no change, despite rangers being better armed and equipped, and wants to see new options: “We’ve shot poachers, arrested poachers, beaten up poachers. Everything. But we’ve never sat down and spoken.” Vince Barkas believes in the power of dialog rather than violence. He and his son Dylan made their way to Mozambique – where many of the poachers who kill rhinos in the Kruger National Park hail from.

Their journey takes them to the town of Massingir, where Barkas Snr. first began talking to poachers a number of years ago. The problem, he says, is rooted in the very concept of wildlife conservation: “We’ve made wildlife a rich white man’s thing – where white people hunt and benefit from it, and go to lodges etc. And we’ve kept black people out of it – behind a fence. We’ve got to change that approach.”

Climate Change: Flooding Rivers Ravage Bangladesh

Bangladesh is struggling just to stay afloat. Literally: By 2050, it’s estimated that climate issues will displace one in seven of the country’s inhabitants.

This film takes the viewer on a journey through Bangladesh, exploring why overflowing rivers flood three-quarters of the country every year. We see how flooding threatens the country’s food security, how soil erosion thrusts thousands into homelessness, and how climate refugees are forced to flee their homes in a desperate act of survival.

Along the way, we meet communities adapting to rising sea climate change by growing food on water. This is a strategy which could prove very useful in the near future, as rising sea levels threaten to inundate 11% of the country’s land in the next 30 years.

This documentary brings us to the front lines of the battle against catastrophic climate change in Bangladesh. It also tells the stories of activists who are bringing the dangers posed by man-made threats to light.