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Cool Earth - Carte Blanche Print E-mail
Reviewed by Harmonious Living   
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cool Earth - Carte BlancheThis DVD contains a collection of inserts from Carte Blanche’s ‘Cool Earth’ episodes that were broadcast on MNET at the end of last year. Each investigative story showcases some of the crises that we face regarding climate change and global warming.

There are six stories on this DVD each ranging from 10 to 25 minutes in length, and the topics include;

Africa Burning - which focuses on a South African satellite imaging project that is helping to control wild fires across Southern Africa, which incidentally can contribute to as much as half of a country’s CO2 emissions.

Earthworm Farming - was an excellent slot highlighting the amazing ability of earthworms to convert the organic waste of the Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town into powerful fertilizer.

Global Dimming - looks at the little-known effect of the reduction of global temperatures due to the release of air particles from activities such as air travel.

Global Warming - presents evidence and eyewitness accounts of the climate change threat and also features an excellent interview with the scientific advisor to the British Government, Sir David King. We were particularly pleased to see that the Carte Blanche production team had for this episode decided to film the majority of it on set with blue screen backgrounds rather than flying all around the world to film on location, which reportedly saved 30 tones of carbon!

Hollywood Going Green - discusses the growing eco-celebrity trend and in particular Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film “The 11th Hour”.

The final episode, The Writing’s On the Wall, looks at the Sudwala Caves in Mpumalanga which, due to a lack of water, are drying up and causing it to become a ‘dead cave’.

We had caught most of the episodes on Carte Blanche last year but enjoyed them so much that we were looking forward to watching them again on this DVD. It’s certainly refreshing to have a local view on climate change and explore some of its potential and current impacts upon South Africa.

But despite this being a local production and that it takes a fresh approach to a very hot topic there seems to have been very little effort put into producing the DVD itself. The episodes, rather than running in the order in which they were shown on MNET are shown in alphabetical order which makes for very disjointed viewing (‘Global Warming’, the episode that should have been shown first on the DVD actually came fourth).

Each of the episodes also ends with the full run of credits and sponsors messages and gives the whole DVD a rather ungainly feel. Would it have been that difficult to bring in Derek Watts and film an intro and some links to connect each of the episodes and then have the credits roll only at the end of the film? We certainly feel that it would have vastly improved the quality of this product.

It also frustrated us that on the DVD case there were two misleading quotes by George Mazarakis (the Executive Producer of the show), “A few small lifestyle changes can improve our environment” and “There are so many elementary things people can do to reduce their carbon footprint”, which suggest that this DVD is going to present solutions to climate change and lifestyle changes that we can make, but this wasn’t the approach that was taken at all.

Despite our criticisms this is a worthwhile DVD to add to your collection and we hope will prompt a few more South Africans into reducing their own carbon footprint.
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