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tv   Earth Focus  LINKTV  April 7, 2022 1:30am-2:01am PDT

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♪♪ ♪♪ -many of us are trying to find ways to build a more sustainable world for future generations. we're concerned that our planet's well-being isn't as secure as it once seemed. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -the people of south africa have to be consulted. -but on every continent there are new environmentalists who are committed to change.
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whether it's an individual, small group, or a grassroots organization... -get your water tested. -...they've made personal sacrifices that st of us couldn't even imagine. ♪♪ -that river has been an industrial dumping ground for 75-plus years. -in a world which has often been led by men, this was a space where two women could actually work together. -the future is in our hands. we are going to enforce that this government invest more in renewable energy. -we had a petition against deep-sea bottom trawling, and it flew to 900,000 signatures. all we need is political will. -"the new environmentalists" -- ordinary people affecting extraordinary change. ♪♪
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in 2001, environmental filmmaker claire nouvian got a glimpse of a world she had never imagined -that was a life-changing experience. and i thought, "i have to share this wonder with everyone. everyone has to know that this lives on our planet." -the deep ocean, with an average depth of almost 2.5 miles, is the largest habitat on earth. it's also home to some of the oldest living creatures on the planet. [ horn blows ] but this fragile environment is being devastated by an industrial fishing practice known as deep-sea bottom trawling. -it's basically a bulldozer, so it destroys absolutely everything. -the trawlers in the north atlantic were targeting just three species of fi for the consumer market. -there are 100 other species which are going to be
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thrown back dead at sea. it makes absolutely noense. ♪♪ -with her ngo, bloom, claire began a campaign to protect the deep ocean. ♪♪ -you need education. you need awareness. but then you need to make sure that there's a bridge to the real policy world. -in 2012, claire saw a chance to make real change. the european union had proposed legislation to ban deep-sea bottom trawling. -this was a great opportunity to join forces with other ngos and to push really hard for a deep-sea bottom trawl ban. we are working towards the protection of the deep ocean from desuctive fishing practices. these are industrial ships that have political reach, so they were blocking the whole legislative evolution of europe on this specific issue.
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-the french fleet was primarily owned by supermarket giant intermarché. their ships were hauling up over 6 million pounds of fish from the deep sea every year. -intermarché was an easy target because they were well-known. they were also the biggest fisher in the deep sea. -claire launched an all-out assault against the supermarket chain. first she waged and won a legal battle against intermarché for false advertising about their sustainable fishing practices. then she ranked supermarkets according to their commitment to sustainable fishing. intermarché came in dead last. -we found out that deep-sea bottom trawl fleets were all losing money, but they were subsidized with public money. so taxpayers understood that we were all funding the destction of the deep ocean. [ speaking in french ] -in an effort to publicize this information, claire
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and a popular french cartoonist llaborated on a comic strip explaining the true environmental and economic cost of bottom trawling. the strip went viral. -people were outraged. we had a petition against deep-sea bottom trawling, and it flew to 900,000 signatures. -intermarché bowed to the pressure. -and all of a sudden, france as an entity was being completely ridiculed by the fact that the private sector had moved more ambitious. that led to a policy change. -in november of 2015, claire's dedication finally paid off. france agreed to support a ban on deep-sea bottom trawling below half a mile. as a result, all eu member states adopted the ban. today claire is working to end subsidies that encourage destructive fishing practices
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around the world. -we know what to do. we have all the solutions ready. they're right there. all we need is political will. ♪♪ ♪♪ -the isolated village of la toma is comprised mostly of descendants of africans who were forced into slavery centuries ago. they've maintained a fiercely independent living here by farming and by panning for gold in the ovejas river. ♪♪ -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translati ] we as a people came to have lan that were fought for by our ancestors. we have been in this territory as a black community since 1636. i grew up along the shore of the ovejas river --
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swimming, fishing, mining. the river was everything to me. -francia márquez began fighting for her community as a teenager. in her 20s, as a single mother of two, she found herself in the middle of a campaign to sp the government from evicting e people of la toma from s to make way for mining and agricultural development. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] in the name of development, most of the rivers in this territory fish rot in half an hour because the fish is heavily contaminated. i had to study law to be able to better defend the rights of my community. i had a lot of trole paying for college, but i decided that ademia can't just be for people who have the financial means. -francia's education was abruptly interrupted
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when dozens of illegal backhoes began tearing up the mountainside, scouring for gold in the hills surrounding the village. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] i was just a mining woman, and i didn't understand the legal language. i didn't know what a right to petition was, or a writ to protect constitutional rights. but having gone to college allowed me to acquire knowledge that i didn't have before. -francia organized the women of la toma to march 350 miles to bogotá to protest the mining. many of the women had never left their mountain homes, but they were inspired by francia's courage. 80 women marched for 10 days anthen camd outsidcongress until they were invited to a meeting with the vice minister of the interior. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] when i speak, it is from a place of justice --
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not only for black people whose rights have been violated but also for indigenous communities, women, and nature itself. -francia navigated her way through the un high commission for human rights, colombia's high court, and congress until the government finally agreed to banish mining operations from la toma. when the illegal miners didn't obey the government's order to remove the backhoes, security forces were sent in to destroy the heavy equipment. ♪♪ the price for francia was high. her every move now is taken under careful supervision of armed security guards. -[ laughs ] [ singing in foreign language ] -i have lived here all my life until i had to leave because of threats against me and my family. but this is my land,
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and i love it and its people with all my het. this fight has been the entire community's fight. -[ singing in foreign language ] -i was the one who gave it a voice, gave it a face, but we have done all of this together. [ applause ] -[ singing in foreign language ] ♪♪ -hanoi is one of the most rapidly developing cities in asia, and also has some of the poorest air quality on the continent. khanh nguy thi was already keenly aware of the city's pollution problem, but a study from harvard university brought the issue into sharper focus for her. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] previously, there were very fepeople who believed that air pollution in hanoi was primarily caused by the 20 coal-fired power plants surroding the cital.
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however, we learned from a harvard university study and from our own research how coal-fired power was impacting the air quality of the capital. -khanh nguy thi and her organization, greenid, begin to compile data about air pollution and other environmental issues in her homeland. as she and her team formulated reports, khanh was constantly being reminded of the dangerous levels of pollutants in her everyday life. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] air pollution has a direct effect on people's health. as air conditions get worse, we start coughing and have difficultreathing, and even dizziss. i would always monitor their quality and remind my children to wear their masks to protect themselves. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -khanh and greenid travel through vietnam's urban and rural areas to educate communities through workshops, media,
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and social networking, as well as building relationships with government officials. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] our organization develops recommendations to foster change. -i work for greenid. -we build relationships with international partners who support the growth of sustainable energy and also encourage vietnam's economic development. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] we share information directly with ministries and other relevant corporate partners, as well as with local governmental and nongovernmental agencies. that fostered activities ranging from energy-saving programs to neighborhood cleanup and water purification. as a result, the vietnamese government began to engage
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greenid to help to inform decisions on major policies regarding energy solutions in the government's power development plan. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] we implemented a public opinion poll and compiled that feedback for a congressional committee and other major stakeholders. we were enlisted by the government's economic commission to help analyze how renewable energy development can contribute to the national security and energy safety in vietnam. -when the government announced an energy plan that would significantly increase the use of coal power, greenid proposed a plan that would increase energy efficiency, expand renewable solar and wind energy, and reduce the number of coal plants. after fourears of collaboration, the prime minister announced a plan that would eliminate dozens of coal plants from the proposed energy plan. -[ speaking in foreign language ]
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-[ translating ] when we heard the decision, we shouted and even cried, because we were proud that we had contributed to a better future for vietnam. the current prime minister has emphasized many times that the priority is not to sacrifice the environment for economic development. -[ speaking in foreign language ] translating ] i'm encouraged for everyone who is working to help protect our environment and also provide a model for other developing countries in asia. ♪♪ ♪♪ -south africa was the home to the grassroots movement that confronted apartheid and all of its horrendous consequences. -[ singing in foreign language ] ♪♪ -another powerful movement was born here
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recently that took on president zuma and his plan to construct one of the most elaborate and expensive nuclear power projects in history at a cost of $76 billion. -this deal was going to bankrupt the country. challenging the abuse of power and protecting our constitutional right -- this is fundamental to the struggle we're raising against nuclear energy. -when makoma lekalakala, the coordinator of earthlife africa, learned from her counterparts in russia that the south african government was planning a mega nuclear project, she decided to take the issue to the streets. -[ singing in foreign language ] -we want justice! renewable energy! freedom of speech and freedom of association -- it's one of the things that we fought for during apartheid. so we've got all the right to be there. we've got all the right to raise issues.
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-[ singing in foreign language ] -makoma knew that earthlife would need a strong partner to confront the highest levels of government. ♪♪ she reached out to liz mcdaid, a woman with whom she had a long history. -in a world which has often been led by men, this was a space where two women could actually work together. and we have the same sort of energy, same attitudes, and the same value system, so we worked very well together. every wednesday morning, there's a cabinet meeting inside parliament, and the minister and the president drive into the gates. -we pray for honesty and integrity... -so we decided that we would stand outside, speaking truth to power. and we've done it since the announcement
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of the nuclear deal in 2014. [ siren chirps ] [ car horn honks ] -liz and makoma soon agreed that they had one viable plan to try to derail the ml that was already signed between the russians and the south african government. -we filed a case against the president of south africa, department of energy, and parliament to say no nuclear energy should proceed without having satisfied all the legislative processes. what they're doing now is not an isolated incident. -it was quite scary because this is the russians and the president of south africa. but that just makes me think, "okay, i'm more stubborn, and i'm going to fight it." if it's ming at us, then we're going to beat them. -in 2017, after two years of ongoing protests, vigils,
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workshops, lobbying, and educational outreach, liz and makoma were successful in the south african high court, with a verdict that nullified the contract for the entire $76 billion project. -victory to the people! as a result of this court case, the people of south africa have to be consulted. the russian agreement has been set aside. -the future is on our hands. we are going to enforce that this government invest more in renewable energy. that's the energy that is going to make sure that we don't destroy this planet. ♪♪ ♪♪ -nestled in the tropical seas of the western pacific, the philippines is a rapidly developing island nation. -[ speaking in foreign language ]
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-[ translating ] the filipino culture is colorfuand vibrant. our country is very rich in natural resources. at the same time, we face major environmental challenges. -for over 30 years, manny calonzo has been fighting for a toxic-free philippines. so, when studies revealed that decorative paints contain dangerous levels of lead, manny knew he had to take action. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] i was shocked and outraged. paint may seem harmless, but when it deteriorates, the lead turns into dust, which children ingest through normal hand-to-mouth contact. -lead from lead paint, or lead fromny other means, damages a child's brn. once the damage is done, you can't really recover from it. -in 2008, through the ecowaste coalition, manny launched a nationwide lead-safe paint campaign. -[ speaking in foreign language ]
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-[ translating ] public awareness about the hazards of lead in paint was extremely low, so we went to schools and communities to get the word out. -ecoste also tested paints commonly used on homes, schools, and daycare centers. they found lead levels ov 1,000 times higher than what's allowed in the united states. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] we used the results of these studies to galvanize our campaign. we held large demonstrations in the streets. attention from the media led to government talks about banning lead in paint. -but some paint manufacturers weren't ready for the change. manny knew he'd need to get them on board. -there was simply a lack of knowledge and awareness, strange as that might sound. manny brought people here to talk to us about why lead paint was dangerous. i think it was very helpful
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in galvanizing action in the industry. -five years after manny launched his campaign, the philippines adopted some the strtest glol limits for lead in paint. -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] having a lead paint regulation was on of the importt step we still needed to do more work to ensure compliance. -over the next four years, ecowaste actively nitored lead levels in paint and dust. manny published the data in hard-hitting reports that call for lead-safe paint certification anlabeling. that these companies do not have ad in their paint. ♪♪ -the tide finally turned. public concern and consumer demand convinced the paint industry to adopt the certification program. it was a hard-won victory.
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by 2017, 85% of decorative paints had been certified lead safe. ♪♪ -[ speaking in foreign language ] -[ translating ] our lead-safe paint ogram coinues to grow in the philippines and across asia. there are already certified paint brands in bangladesh and sri lanka. it's so rewarding to think that, in coming years, paint will no longer harm children. ♪♪ -in 2014, as flint was facing a massive budget crisis, city and state officials saw their local river water as a way to cut costs. ♪♪ after 50 years of buying water from detroit, they flipped the switch, and flint river water began
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flowing through the city's aging pipes. -the river has been an industrial dumping ground for 75-plus year zip it up. after the switch, my family started experiencing rashes. we started noticing some hair loss. my oldest son, they thought he had cancer. -10 months after the switch, leeanne finally convinced the city to test her water, which had begun flowing brown from the tap. they found lead levels as high as 700 parts per billion. the maximum allowed by the epa is 15. -who has the keys? -lead is a dangerous neurotoxin that can lead to profound developmental disorders in children. -didn't i already give you one? -when my children were finally tested and it came back that my son had lead poisoning, my legs gave out. i had to grab my kitchen counter.
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and then it was like -- li a nervous breakdo in my kitchen. risk from the michigan deq. -other pple in the community were having similar health issues, but the city insisted the problem was isolated to leeanne's home. -it was very obvious that we were being lied to. we as a group started organizing to let people know what was going on. anybody with discolored water, get your water tested. thank you. my husband had said, "there's all this physical evidence. nobody's doing anything to help us. how do we make them hear us?" and so we decided to get to the science of it, because you can't argue with science. -leeanne began researching water chemistry and communicating with the epa regulation manager miguel del toral. what they uncovered was stunning. flint wasn't using federally mandated corrosion controls that prevent lead from leaching off pipes into the water supply. -miguel was like, "oh, my god, they're breaking a federal law.
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there are no corrosion controls." and i said, "well, that's what i thought." -okay. -my family and i drink the water every day, so... -but city, state, and federal officials continued to deny that flint had a citywide lead prlem. -where do you go when the federal government is no long helping protect people like they should? here's where the filter is. -miguel put leeanne in touch with virginia tech professor marc edwards, a top lead expert. -i had called marc edwards in tears, saying, "we can't sit by and watch everybody's children be poisoned. we can't allow this to happen." and from that, marc came up with us doing a citizen testing. -hi! how are you? -good. it's good to see ya. -in a community-wide effort, the residents of flint set out to test their water, with a goal of collecting 75 to 100 samples. -and marc never dreamed we would get him back 277 kits,
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but that's just the nature of me. [ laughs ] -the tests showed that 1 in 6 homes had lead levels exceeding epa standards. the water in leeanne's home tested as high as 13,000 parts per billion. that's two timesazardous waste levels. ur worst fear became the reality, that flint was experiencing one of the worst environmental crimes in us history. -what do we want? -in response, the city switched back to detroit water, and michigan's governor declared a state of emergency. -...residents to have a good, safe, clean source of water. oday leeanne is working to change the epa's federal lead and copper rule to improve testing standards. -...never allowing this to happen again. need th to happen now, not 10 years from now. -thank you. -where's it going to? that is my personal mission, to make sure that this gets changed so what happened to my family
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and my community never happens to anybody else again. ♪♪ -each of these stories is another indication that individuals can make an important difference. it's inspiring to see what one person armed with courage and commitment can accomplish. i'm robert redford. thank you for watching "the new environmentalts." was provided by the goldman environmental prize, an award to honor and inspire grassroots environmental activism around the world. learn more at ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
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