Return of the Plagues
The authors of the Old Testament resorted to divine wrath to explain a devastating series of natural disasters, which actually did hit the densely populated area along the Nile in those days. These disasters marked the defeat of a highly developed civilization in its daily struggle with nature a defeat that they could not explain in any other way. Three and a half thousand years later: disastrous storms and floods, epidemics, epizootic diseases and plagues of locusts, poisoned lakes and dying rivers it might appear as if the Biblical plagues were returning in the twenty-first century.
S01:E01 - Deadly Waters
With water pollution and temperatures on the rise, toxic algae cause serious problems nowadays for inland waters and for the oceans. Increasing algal bloom is poisoning fish and shells, and it has become a health hazard for human beings as well: toxic algae are responsible 60,000 cases of food poisoning worldwide every year. The documentary, Return of the Plagues, takes a closer look at the effect these poisonous microorganisms have today.
S01:E02 - Mosquitoes
Even today, two million people die every year from malaria transmitted by mosquitoes, mainly in Africa. But even in the Upper Rhine valley, where malaria was still rampant only a century ago, people have to watch out with globalization and international travel, the cause of malaria, the so-called plasmodia, may return at any time, encouraged by the rise in average temperatures and the reproduction of the right type of mosquito.
S01:E03 - Hailstorms
The documentary, Return of the Plagues, follows individual researchers in Germany, Austria, and Colorado who are trying to determine the conditions that cause these disasters, laying the groundwork for possibly controlling them in the future, or at least making more reliable predictions. Scientists study the dramatic sequence of events in a landslide or a flood, and they test man-made structures that are meant to withstand the enormous power of these mountains. In Styria, hail pilots fly small propeller aircraft into menacing thunderclouds, in order to manipulate the weather.
S01:E04 - Locusts
Swarms of locusts are still a very real plague today. They afflict drought areas, especially after a rare rainfall, leaving a trail of destruction behind. In Africa, this regularly leads to disastrous famines. Fighting the locusts with crop dusters is too costly for many of the poorer countries, and classic insecticides take an extremely high toll on the environment and the remaining plants.
S01:E05 - Sandstorms
The documentary series, Return of the Plagues, follows desertification fighters to buried villages, where they plant kilometer after kilometer of new vegetation on sand dunes, fighting pests and looking for plants that are best suited to retain humidity in the soil.
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