Strange Days on Planet Earth

2005, Environment  -   29 Comments
Ratings: 6.29/10 from 17 users.

Strange Days on Planet EarthAround the globe, experts are racing to solve a series of mysteries: how could a one-degree rise in average temperature have profound effects around the globe? How could crumbling houses in New Orleans be linked to voracious creatures from southern China? Hosted by actor-writer-director Edward Norton, this award-winning series uses state-of-the-art graphics and globe-spanning investigations to understand how our environment is changing and why?

More and more plants and animals are turning up where they don't belong. The global system of transportation is carrying them around the world. Alarmingly alien species have the potential to cause damage to the health and wellbeing of our communities and need to be kept in check. At the end of World War II, American soldiers in the Pacific used wooden crates to ship equipment back to the United States. Little did they know that they were also transporting an aggressive breed of termite. They might be small but in large numbers they are destructive, bringing down the timber homes that dominate New Orleans.

In Uganda it took only a few years for water hyacinth, not native to the area, to rapidly spread around Lake Victoria, choking the banks. Diseases such as malaria and dysentery have been on the rise, and the prevalence of the plant has made it harder for fishermen to make a living. Can a small insect, the weevil, bring the water hyacinth under control? In the forests of Hawaii, a plant introduced in the 1960s, has become a new source of erosion. The invasive plant with its destabilising root system has caused an increasing number of landslides. Not only devastating to species in the forests, soils being dumped in the oceans are also damaging sea-life.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. nijjy

    i've been wondering lately. why not export some of these so called invasive species as food to places where they're eaten? for example, some species of fish are considered pests and invaders in the US but are delicacies in asia. i'm sure this is not going to solve the larger problem of biodiversity and the like, but wouldn't it go some way to solve some food problem in some parts of the world. i'm aware this might sound like naive, but maybe i'm saying it like i'm a seven year old. but still, these are my initial thoughts. please enlighten me.

  2. FiFiCB

    i keep reading comments like "It's okay, we'll find our way out to another planet.." Or other s*upid comments like "In 2055, we'll need more roads for the 5 billion extra cars that'll be needed around the world.." Do these people not see that we as humans are changing the planet to some degree, and these extra cars and roads will not exist? Probably because either we'll all be so deep in s*it that being able to drive a car or make a road will be impossible, because we will be intent on trying to survive, and find food or water for out children. I am sick to death of and ashamed of the way money and power and of course greed STILL lets millions of people die of stravation in third world countries (come on, I remember the 1980's "Feed the world record, I even bought it..") and still they starve all over the world, because their governments are draining the money elsewhere, nukes, arms, whatever you want to call it, pathetic really, but that's a good example of how the world revolves. Goes to show that even if our planet was suffering in our hands, you can bank that NOTHING will be done about it, ever.. It would take a massive wave of people all over the world to stand up, make a stand and protest to get the people to think, then we'd all be called trouble makers, or called mad and either shot, or bombed.
    I could drone on too about the extensive and needless killing, and threatening extinction of animals, that were supposedly protectived, but again, greed, power and money seem to win. I'd like to ask any one of these brain dead power mad i*iots with a gun, or sat on the bench in the House of Commons to explain, please, when is the world going to stop this sh*t and make the good happen?
    One more thing which bothers me, the population of people around the world, and the constant drain of money going into trying to find out if we can all live longer... What?? Oh right, I see, so not only is the planet falling over itself in trying to meet our daily demands through mass population, lets chuck another spanner in there too, and find a cure for all the diseases.. just like animals, humans need to die too, again it's money and greed.

    If like many say, it is the governments looking to fleece us of money, and control us, well I say, arn't they doing that already? We don't need a Gobal warming scam to do this, we have taxes to pay anyway!

  3. Thomas sadowski

    I am sorry but i don't see a future for earth. At this moment few people are aware and fewer still care to know let alone do something about it. One guy i talked to told me that all i need is the planet to stay together for 20 more years and then i will be died and the sun can hit the planet all i care. Other factors is overpopulation and radio active nukes which to this day are not disarmed.

    1. Directioner4life

      the only hope i see is through education and the right type of conditioning... just like watching such documentaries have changed my understanding - we really need to make such media more frequent and accessible to people.
      i hope that important information like this will become more widespread than the delusional tv programs that are much more popular at present.

    2. Thomas

      Directioner4life you are the 1 percent who care like me. But i don't know what to do. I had a debate about global warming last week with a few people i know well and they refuse to believe me. They still believe that its business and government controlling us. How do you change a greedy world??? I know education looks like a answer but how do you stop humen nature? how do you stop humens from doing war and making more poeple when we are over populated?

  4. Imightberiding

    Fantastic series. Thanks for making this available. Time well spent.

  5. saveria

    the me the creeps... ughhhhh

  6. Sherman Monro

    Thank you to all of those involved in making these series. Absolutely brilliant and educational. I wish more and more people start thinking about these issues rather than just, 8 to 5; eat a fast food; watch abc, cbs, football, baseball, go to bed ... and the next day the same as yesterday!

  7. Sherman Monro

    Earth will be inhabitable within two or three centuries from now and the problem is this planet is full of greedy, selfish and stupid individuals who would not even think about their own children and grand children let alone one or two centuries from now. How can we stop those greedy SOBs at Monsanto to stop their criminal practices for profit when even our government is collaborating with them?! I personally don't see any good future for life on this planet. We have screwed up water, soil, and air, three elements that our lives are depend on. We won't be stopping this because of above reasons. I am very careful to not to contribute to this mess in every day of my life, but can we convince billions of people to change their behaviors to save life on Earth? It’s impossible.

    1. Frizzle1981

      You are right.... I keep telling people that but they never seem to believe me... I don't even want to get kids because i'm affraid of what world we will leave behind for them!

  8. Laurette Bergin

    fear mongering

    1. Frizzle1981

      I wish it was just fear mongering.... In a few years you'll see

  9. Another21stCenturySlave

    wot is this most important thing tht will happen on our planet this year?..we hav a cosmic shift.. a cosmic shift tht may started years ago when our planets weather started going crazy - hurricanes, tsunami's, earthquakes, melting of ice-cap's, etc.. & so our governments came up with this idea to use it as tool to milk us for more money, global warming..u kno for every square mile of our planet tht has seen a shift in weather, where say, it has become cooler, there will be another square mile tht has become warmer...& so it brings me to this..most of us had started to doubt whether or not it was us humans tht were causing the problem & believe that it was a natural occurance of mother nature.. & this left the think tanks with a problem, as we were not they giv us edward norton..who wont listen to eddie norton?...judgin by the comments below, he's nothin short of a messiah & each n every1 of u hav sukked it up..also, at the beginning of this doc, he mentions tht man has never seen such a dramatic shift in weather tht so? myth, was the great flood & myth was the iceage...btw - why do we to believe all this when the people tht preach it continue to drop nucleur bombs around the globe?

  10. Jon Robinson

    I love this Website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love Eduard Norten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    but I am starting to hate humans??????????????

  11. g isaac

    I love it when they give you all parts of a documentary on one screen if it has to be divided into segments. This saves me so much downloading/loading time because I have to start/stop each movie to let it download fully before watching it. Otherwise, I have to open 5 or more screens just to watch each 10 minute segment. It's a shame the link to the first video is broken though :(

  12. Ray Gentile

    The Earth is an organism that we are a part of, we have no more free will then our Earth has in trying to leave the solar system breaking the laws of gravity with our sun that nature imposes. Nature governs everything. Humans and nature are not separate, we are not disjointed, we are not special, we are not different. The term "human nature" is an oxymoron. The question that science has to answer is not "what we do" but rather "why we do" ... to what purpose ... to what end.

    1. James Colwell

      That's just stupid, they are separate.

  13. DarksideMar

    @MarshalByRef.."We humans need to let go a little" ...yes we do, and stop treating the planet as if its ours alone and all other living things are in our way. Nothing happens naturally where humans are involved, in the pursuit of an easier life we kill, cull, and devastate the "natural environment" not to mention the effects of our bi-products that further pollute and destroy the natural. Should we freak out about the way things are going...definitely...if not we will end up as the next extinction.

  14. DarksideMar

    @MarshalByRef.."We humans need to let go a little" ...yes we do, and stop treating the planet as if its ours alone and all other living things are in our way. Nothing happens naturally where humans are involved, in the pursuit of an easier life we kill, cull, and devastate the "natural environment" not to mention the effects of our bi-products that further pollute and destroy the natural. Should we freak out about the way things are going...definitely...if not we will end up as the next extinction.

  15. Christian Hartmeyer

    In the first part they talk about invading species destroying the ecosystem..

    I am thinking the Human race has invaded the ecosystem all over the world at first living with it in harmony but since the Roman Empire the balance was broken by enforcing the "modern style of living" upon everyone in the world forcing all parts of humanity to abuse the ecosystem instead of using it.

    should theese scientists not study Human beeings effect before any other animal transportet by us - and in effect also are our responsibility

  16. Blacktiger

    Will a closer look make a difference?

  17. MarshalByRef

    We humans need to let go a little, we're really freaking out over the way things happen naturally. This really shows the boundary of our perception.

  18. Aziz Salam

    m very much impressed.....wana learn this art

  19. ryan g

    very nice to see Ed norton outside of a movie.... first rule of global warming is you do not talk about global warming!!!
    excellent info!!!!

  20. Big Dipper

    Thanks Vlatko. Great site. I do very much pass it along.

  21. Big Dipper

    Program 1. Disagree on one major point.

    We can all agree that species differentiation and cannibalization has occurred at rapid rates throughout time, and that the issue today is the speed at which it is happening. It is a never ending process essential to, and defined as, the continuation of life. But just because we have the mental capacity to comprehend this, does not make it wrong, or even unsustainable. Indeed, this planet is 14 billion years old. We pretend that we are the first civilization anywhere. That is so wrong, and very arrogant. That is very much our species. If there is anything we can learn from history, it is that we don't learn very much, and that the generation 200 years previously knew nothing at all. That is our true perception of reality.

    Just think on this. Of all the human beings that have ever lived, ever, in time, then 10% + are still alive today. ??????????? Really. Just think about that for a moment, and what that means. Go look at the laws of exponentiality, go look at our population today, and go do the maths. It is a scientific fact, that 10% are still alive. Today. In 2020, that will be 20%.

    Species can grow so quickly, just like ours, and yet we consider any form of animal civilization with conscious thought, capable of comprehending the concept of a God, as just a measly 30,000 years old max. From our 30,000 year old existence bubble we convince ourselves that "No-one, or nothing, could have ever had the amazing technological world that we have" That is 30,000 out of at least 7 billion possible years.

    Not much survives 350 million years.

    There are technologies yet unavailable to us, due to a lack of our own personal knowledge. And yet, these same technologies have no reason to not have been available to previous species of animal. In the same light, I am sure there is much we have today that was not utilized before.

    Why no life before 350 million plus years? Why could those millions of years not have produced a civilization, or even many. Ours is going crazy right now, dominating the planet, and from just 30,000 years ago.

    Then think of the stars. Anyone who reads, and has a curious nature for knowledge, will know that there are so many stars and universes, that we can barely find the computer to calculate it, or write it's number out. It is so big, it will have to be written as "to the power of ........... some really big number". So, what are the chances of there being life out there? Not necessarily humans (and the whole "parallel universe" nonsense), but just organic life, capable of interacting with the stimulus around it, at a conscious level? The chances are really really very high. As a species like ourselves, who can only experience a small amount of time, then for sure, it is going to be impossible for us to find out (probably). Indeed, if a species like ourself could find life in outer space, it would be so freaky as to suggest the universe is stuffed full jam packed with life everywhere and anywhere. The chances of it not are just too outrageous to contemplate.

    My point is this. Why can't there have been other civilizations that have been as great as ours, living on this earth, that we have no knowledge of. The world has suffered what we would consider, turbulent times before, through natural catastrophe and shear existence. Surely it has been through thousands of other catastrophes initiated by an animal species, progressing its way thought life. This is surely not new to the history of species .

    Finally - of all the humans that have ever lived, we can expect 8, yes, just eight, to be found as fossils, in some shape or form, in just 150 million years from now. You're not going to be able to write our great history from that. But that is what we do to others. Our existence is defined by an air of invincibility, and a refusal to look at the competing possibilities, and threatening probabilities.

    Who is to say that we have not had animals or life that has not been able to spread itself around the world so quickly as we do today? As the documentary suggests. Who?

    Life just continues. That we can be certain. It will happen in some area, in some universe. How it continues, we have no knowledge of at all. But what we think we know today, will be what we were wrong about tomorrow.

  22. Vlatko

    Thank you both Paulo and Thece.

  23. Thece

    Great documentary. Thanks, Vlatko

    It took me some time to see all parts, but it was worth it.
    It's also sad to find out how dramatic some of those changes are, especially considering the irreversibility of the continuing negative effects.

    "With the arrival of every new species it's very much like russian roulette. We spin a new species into the environment and the potential for catastrophic impact to society, to the economy, to the environment is always there".
    prof. J. Carlton

  24. Paulo Renato Souza Cunha

    Oh, my god!

    Vlatko, you are my global hero, mate.

    Thank you so much for posting knowledge to the world.

    From a Brazilian student living in Saint Petersburg, Russia.