Earth ailment documentaries

Is anyone else noticing the increasing frequency of “Earth ailment documentaries”? It seems like almost every Nat Geo, or Discovery documentary these days deals with some new insidious emanation of planetary illness. Chesapeake Bay stripers’ bacterial infection, albatross chick bellies full of plastic (mistaken for fish by the parents), an Exxon Valdez worth of oil leaking from cars in the world — every 8 months! The list is growing, diverse and often strange. Years ago there were mostly documentaries on new technological, biological or astronomical discoveries. These days it’s nothing but problem after problem.

And it’s not like these shows are repetitive or obscure. The incidents and evidence generally shown is convincing and for the most part, alarming. Alarming as the areas affected, the ecosystems are vast. Am I just tuned more acutely to the planet’s problems these days or are we simply entering into a phase of escalating biome degradation that may simply never stop?

For instance, I recently read that the World Health Organization has claimed that the advanced evolution of crippling bacteria may soon shadow the AIDs epidemic. That the lack of new and effective antibiotics, and the dearth of pharmaceutical companies willing to forgo profits for the sake of humanity, are going to allow simple infections, a scrape or a cut, to kill us.

Bisphenol.A, a plastic chemical, leaches from many plastics and emulates estrogen in vertebrate animals. Plastic is a compound built to last nearly forever, yet most plastic we use owe use for only minutes and then we dispose of it. You’d think we should find better purposes for such compounds.

Massive algae blooms caused by fertilizer and sewage outflows creating deadzones of oxygen depleted water.

Huge schools of massive jellyfish eating everything it their path.

 

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