Road Stories: Ready or Not
The National looks at adapting to climate change
Last Updated April 5, 2007
April 5, 2007
We had a chance to view last night's program this morning. It's the first we've seen all week. It was quite a moment.
It's a bit of a strange process pulling these Road Stories together. Elements were spread out all across the world when we set out last weekend. That was a particularly anxious time. Some of the reports were finished, but others were still in editing and we hadn't even heard from Sasa Petricic in days. Would he be able to hitch a ride out of Antarctica in time to hit his deadlines?
The National's executive producer, Jonathan Whitten, at the bathroom work centre in Alexandria.
There are so many bits and pieces that have to fit together to make the programs and it doesn't take much to turn the doable into the impossible. It never goes according to plan and we've had our usual share of curveballs in the last few days. There were some last-minute difficulties getting clearance to broadcast from the Thames Barrier, equipment has failed, and an airline overbooked the flight to Cairo and gave one of our seats away to someone else. By and large, though, the pieces have come together. Sasa even made it out of Antarctica.
Left to right, Zouheir Bizri, the CBC's camera/editor in Beirut, Peter Mansbridge with interview guest Guy Jobbins of the International Development Research Centre, and CBC special events producer Tom Dinsmore in the foreground.
Here are a couple of photos from the Alexandria leg of the trip. One shows our bathroom work centre. We had blown the fuse in our hotel room, so the show's executive producer, Jonathan Whitten, is using the shaver outlet in the bathroom to load scripts into the lineup.
The other is a picture of our location on top of a dive club at a marina. Originally, we had planned on using another spot, but it was too close to the streets, and the unending chorus of car horns in this bustling city made it impossible, from an audio standpoint.
How Holland dealt with rising tides
The land famous for building dikes and reclaiming land has also faced devastating and deadly floods. The National looks to the past to see what Holland may be facing in the future.
Holland prepares for the future
How is Holland going to live with even more water? The National visits a community designed to cope with persistent flooding, looks at buildings that are being built in the middle of the sea, and explores towns that have been designated to "disappear" as Holland looks for places to put its rising waters.
Farmers in Peru
Climate change is melting glaciers in the Andes, and there isn't as much rain in the high plateaus. A one-of-a-kind ecosystem in Peru is in danger of disappearing.
April 4, 2007
Alexandria, Egypt, is one of the great cities of the ancient world, a cultural centre and home of wonders. But now it is dealing with a changing climate and must find ways to adapt.
A problem in many parts of the developing world is the steady encroachment of salt water into farming lands. In Bangladesh, they're adapting by raising shrimp instead of growing crops. How are the farmers in the Nile delta adapting to an aggressive Mediterranean Sea?
Climate change and rising temperatures can lead to drought and the loss of farmland to the desert. The world is looking to Israel, renowned experts at reclaiming the desert, for help in stopping the sands from spreading.
Farmer Andrew Higham stands in a dry riverbed at Gunnedah, Australia, in this Oct. 14, 2006 file photo. (Peter Lorimer/Associated Press)
Video: Saša Petricic reports.
Sydney, Australia, is facing a water emergency and learning to cope with less and less rain.
April 3, 2007
The Thames Barrier (Steve Parsons/PA/Associated Press)
Video: Peter Mansbridge reports (Runs: 3:58)
The "Thames Barrier" was opened with much fanfare and a promise to keep London safe from the surging sea. But the gates are closing twice as often as was originally intended, and it's now clear they won't be enough to keep the water out. We look at the plans to keep London dry.
There are a variety of ways to try and hold back the water, but an important part of adapting to a warmer climate will be knowing when it's just not worth the flight. We visit Happisburgh, on the British coast, where the government has decided there's nothing it can do to stop the town from sliding into the North Sea. Residents, not surprisingly, don't agree.
(Yann Moaligou/Associated Press)
Video: Patrick Brown reports (Runs: 6:42)
Nobody has to tell the residents of the Maldives that it's time to act. They've already abandoned one of the islands in their low-lying chain, and are building a rectangular artificial island called Hulhumale to give the Maldivian capital room to expand onto higher ground.
Nomads no more
The Turkana in Northern Kenya have been nomadic cattle herders since the beginning of time according to their legends, but now some communities of Turkana are turning to farming due to the increasing cycle of drought that has devastated their cattle herds. With help of aid agencies, they are now growing drought-resistant crops like sorghum and developing better water management methods to preserve the rains when they come.
April 2, 2007
Climate Change is one of the top priorities for news stories and special programming on The National.
In 2006, our journey through the Northwest Passage on the icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent was one of the high points. We were able to show viewers how climate change is already affecting Canada's Arctic.
We have also taken The National on the road to see how Canadian families are responding to climate change in their homes and communities. Okotoks, Alta., is one example. It's one of the fastest growing centres in the country, but it has tied that growth to a sustainability plan.
The idea developed out of one of the many sobering details in a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February. The summary for policymakers (PDF file) said that even if greenhouse gas levels are held at year 2000 levels, the planet is expected to keep warming for many years to come. That makes adaptation critical and that's what these Road Stories are all about.
Lives are already being altered by climate change. Global warming may be happening on a vast scale, but adaptation happens at the local level. The effects on individuals and communities can vary widely within countries. This project looks at all seven continents.
We've had a bit of luck with the timing of the project. While we didn't know it at the outset, the IPCC is releasing a special report on adaptation at the end of the week. We have been told it will have a lot to say about Canada. Truth be told, we had chosen this week because of the parliamentary break for Easter.
Computer projections for a low-lying city
Using state of the art computer graphics and surround screens, a group from the University of British Columbia is set to begin showing residents of low-lying Delta, B.C., what their community could potentially look like in 2100.
The changing climate brought a "red tide" to Prince George, and now this city in the forest is on the front lines of adapting to a warmer world. After watching their lumber livelihood destroyed by the pine beetle, residents are looking at ways to adapt and survive. The rest of Canada looks to Prince George for answers, because the beetles are on the move.
- In Depth: Pine beetles on the move
In 2003, a heat wave in Europe killed 35,000 people. As summer temperatures rise, public health and safety authorities are being forced to adapt. The effects of global warming are magnified in cities because of the population density, air flow and microclimates. Some U.S. cities have already learned some difficult lessons and are making changes now to save lives in the future.
- In Depth: Forces of nature: extreme heat
- Kyoto Protocol FAQs
- Trading carbon
- Ottawa: Effective at combating climate change?
- Looking for solutions to climate change
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