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TV Review: Big Ideas For A Small Planet: Create

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The Sundance Channel continues its "The Green" series with Create on Jun 5 at 9pm. This week the program explores the world of creativity in an environmentally friendly format. Yes, even for artists and craftspeople, there are eco-friendly ways to approach problems. I am becoming a big fan of the Big Ideas series, they find some truly unique solutions to problems. This week's program follows the standard format of three 10-minute segments.

In segment one we meet Subhankar Banerjee, a world renowned photographer of the Arctic. In a segment that is both light and uplifting, he shows us some of the unique solutions that the Arctic people have found to some of their problems.

On a much darker note Subhankar also explores the effects of pollution and global warming on this fragile ecosystem, and even more fragile culture. The ice is no longer where it was, the lakes that sustain the animals have become marshland, and the entire culture has reached a state of imbalance that not only affects the native population, but also the animal and sea life that they are so dependent upon. The eternal thirst for oil is also a cause for concern. Our drive for "black gold" is also producing potentially horrendous problems at the roof of the world.

The second segment is much more upbeat; we meet the delightful and slightly eccentric artist Alyce Santoro. Ms Santoro has found a great way to recycle all of those cassette tapes from that bygone era that are piled up in all of our basements. She created a method of weaving the tapes into material for clothing or decoration. In a unique TV experience she produces a cassette recorder that has undergone some slight modification, so that you can "hear" the fabric! I loved that, I want one!

The final segment introduced me to a new word, "upcycling". This is taking something that has outlived its useful life and finding a new and more important use for it. Architect David Hertz explains that a Boeing 747 when new costs tens of millions of dollars, but when it has outlived its airworthiness it is just a pile of scrap.

But just because it can no longer fly does not mean that it is useless. It was designed to exacting specifications, it was built using very high quality materials designed to withstand any environment, and, it is esthetically pleasing to the eye. David takes us on the ultimate 747 adventure — he turns one into a house! Now that is what I call  upcycling!

Sundance is not available on all cable systems, but don’t worry, they have a great website that contains the segments. I do hope that one of the mainstream media outlets picks this gem up — great ideas, great people, and a riveting 30 minutes. Big Ideas For A Small Planet is well worth checking out.

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