Protecting the Planet with Earth’s Guardians

Protecting the Planet with Earth’s Guardians

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(heart beating faster and faster) (light piano music) – [Announcer] Mankind and the elements. For some, it’s an uncomfortable bond. – A tropical rain forest is unforgiving. You can die in this kinda elements. – [Announcer] For others,
when weather strikes, inspiration begins. – We can start to kind of bring together geometry and nature. – [Announcer] These are the
people who challenge nature. Seek out it’s limits. Reveal it’s secrets, and embrace it’s awesome power. In this episode, we’ll meet an artist who transforms toxic
sludge from the Ohio River into works of art. – Nature has decided it would have a choice
in what would show up. – [Announcer] A scientist
working to save the Joshua tree from warming climates. – I’m really quite shocked, honestly, to see how many small trees there are. – [Announcer] And a
passionate boar hunter, preserving tradition in
the wettest place on Earth. – Wild boar hunting, it’s not
a trophy sport in our family, it’s a way to put food on the table. – [Announcer] These pioneers
of the great outdoors ahead, on That’s Amazing. (light piano music) (fast, energetic music) – When you High Line often, you really learn to train
your fear like a muscle. Sometimes the height
isn’t the scariest part, sometimes it’s the exposure, which is how much space you
can perceive around you. (fast, energetic music) My name is Faith Dickey and
I’m a Professional Slackliner. (twangy guitar music) So Slacklining is the umbrella term for all the different facets of walking on a flat, woven band. One of these facets is Highlining, which is walking a slackline,
high off the ground. One of the best ways to
train for Highlining is setting up slacklines over water. When the current is
passing underneath you, you automatically start to
fall that same direction and it’s almost like you’re
not in control of your body. And that’s great practice for Highlining, because in Highlining, when you’re dealing with
all the fear and adrenaline, often times it feels like
you’re not in control of your own body either. (splashing) (light, energetic music) Chamonix is a town in the Alps of France. And it’s one of the places that really drives me in Highlining. (light, energetic music) Being that high off the ground, you look at the valley below and the houses are just tiny
specks, they look like toys. It’s unbelievable. One of the High Lines that I
walked recently in Chamonix was on Aiguille Du Midi,
and when we reached the top it was a totally clear blue sky, and we were surrounded by peaks. But during the process of rigging, the clouds started to roll in. It was like an acid
trip, walking the line. I was out there in space and exposure, trying to balance and the
line was swinging beneath me. Meanwhile, these huge
white clouds were passing and the line would disappear,
the anchor would disappear, and then it would reappear. And there was no way to control
it, I just had to hang on. – Yes, yee-who. The beauty of the mountains is awesome, and yet it is a landscape that
demands focus and respect. Alpine Highlining is the purest form of
the sport I can think of. (vibrating, dramatic music) – [Announcer] In the
shadow of Waialeale, Kauai one of the wettest places on Earth, a fourth generation boar hunter passes the proud tradition to his sons. – When I get to take my sons out it becomes much more than a boar hunt, it becomes an adventurists’
environmental experience. – [Announcer] But new
threats to endangered birds are disrupting the harmony
of the fragile forests, where hunters find their game. – These are very, very endangered species. Really susceptible to a new
disease called Avian Malaria, and it’s causing huge
declines in our populations. – [Sheri] These birds live
in that specific niche because that’s what they need. And when that gets changed because of a pig rooting
where mosquitoes breed, you get a chain reaction of things that ultimately impact the
birds’ ability to thrive. – [Announcer] So bird conservationists want to protect their habitats from boars, and those who hunt them. – Hunters are the only natural predators and unless we can do our job, boars will continue to multiply and threaten our native birds. – [Announcer] There’s a clash
playing out in paradise. – [Dr. Crampton] Nobody’s right or wrong, frankly we’re not gonna make
everybody happy all the time. (vibrating, dramatic music) (uptempo violin music) – Of all the US States, Hawaii has more endangered
plants and animals than any of them. And of all those in
Hawaii, Kauai has the most. – [Dr. Crampton] Waialeale, is the mountain in the center of Kauai. – [Billy] It’s the
wettest spot in the world because it has 460+ inches of rain a year. – [Announcer] Waialeale means
Overflowing Water in Hawaiian. It’s round summit is exposed on all sides, allowing for this unusual
amount of rainfall. – [Dr. Crampton] It’s situated in a way as to receive the bulk of the rainfall that comes off the Pacific
Ocean, with the Trade Winds. – We enjoy hunting in Waialeale. Home of over eight different
species of native birds. – [Announcer] Scientists estimate that the first birds to inhabit Hawaii arrived eight million years ago. – We think the wind is what brought the forest birds, enough to actually start
a whole new population, and these birds exploded to
fill all of these different niches and habitats. It’s like kids going off to college, they became their own thing. – They were here, before Man. And because of Man, their
environments have shrunk, and therefore their numbers have shrunk. (fast violin music) – [Billy] The boar got here
over a thousand years ago, by the Polynesians. They brought it as a
food source on the canoe, to be sustainable. – When you bring in feral
animals into that environment they explode. That much pressure from an animal, has a huge impact on all of these birds
that don’t have a defense. Frankly the only pressures
they have are hunting. – [Billy] Wild boar hunting, it’s not a trophy sport in our family, it’s a way to put food on the table, and help protect our forest, and I feel like I am doing justice when I am out there with the hunting dogs. I’m not only doin’ a spiritual thing, forefathers did a thousand years ago, I’m bein’ a steward of the land. The wild boar enjoys to
wallow onto the pond of mud, which becomes a mosquito bath. – When the birds came to Kauai, there were no mosquitoes, and
there were no avian diseases. The group of birds that’s
most prevalent here in Hawaii is really susceptible to a new
disease called Avian Malaria, and it’s causing huge
declines in our populations. 99% of EEB die if they
are bitten just once by an infected mosquito,
they’re that susceptible. – [Billy] These wild boars are gonna eventually run the island. Hunters are the only natural predators. – [Announcer] Kauais’ fragile forest could become a paradise lost. – Hawaii is a unique place
because of it’s people. Because of the culture that lives here. If we don’t take care,
our natural resources, it will be used up, and we
don’t want that to happen. – These birds, live in
that specific niche, because that’s what they need. And when that gets changed because of a pig rooting
where mosquitoes breed, you get a chain reaction of things that ultimately impact the
birds ability to thrive. – 99% of EEB die if they are bitten just once
by an infected mosquito. And if they go extinct here,
they’re extinct everywhere. We wanna make sure that we’re
managing all the threats. – Hunters are the only natural predators that boars have on the island. And unless we can do our job, boars will continue to multiply and threaten our native birds. (dramatic music) (dogs barking) Wild boar hunting is dangerous. There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. Although there’s more to hunting than just putting your
knife into a big old boar, it’s a way of life, passed down from many
different generations. This is a trail knife given to me from my Great Uncle down to my Dad and then to me. When I get to take my sons out, it becomes much more than a boar hunt, it becomes an adventurists’
environmental experience. Provides food for the table,
it teaches them Malama Daina, which means Love The Land You Live On. (dramatic music) (dogs barking) We enjoy hunting in Waialeale. It’s not the best place to hunt, it’s miserable, it’s raining, it’s cold. We have to travel through
treacherous terrain before we even got to an area that was decent enough to hunt. Looks like some fresh
pig digging on our trail. You can tell by the lighter colored soil has gotten the rain compared
to the darker soil, ya see it? You want to look at the diggings, with the rain happening. You can actually track the animal. The dogs have a sense,
a good sense of smell, and they’re on the track of the boar. (boar grunting) – You wanna listen to the boars’ language. It’s roar, it’s scream. (dog barking) You wanna listen for the bark, of the dog. (dogs barking) You can tell whether the dogs
have the boar pinned or not. At that point, you have a fraction of
a second to do your job or that could mean the
life of your hunting dog, your kid. You gotta get in there quick as possible and take care of business before
business takes care of you. (dramatic music) (Hawaiian drum music) (background chatter,
dogs barking and cooking) There is a big sense of pride when you harvest food from the land and put it on your table. It makes you feel like
you can sustain life. (Hawaiian drum music) A luau happens on a weekly basis, with our immediate family and friends. It is our job to still practice what our forefathers have taught us. – The Division of Forestry and Wildlife both have to protect animals and plants, and the right to hunt. And we have to do both. – If pigs are contributing
to this mosquito lifecycle, then one of our most important tools is conservation fencing. So that the areas inside the fences can be a subject to pig removal and they will help us slowly but surely reduce those populations
from within the fences. And hopefully lessen the
amount of habitat out there that’s available for
mosquitoes to breed in. All of these fences are
constructed with little gates that hunters can go in and out of. (dramatic music) – I would like to see
more, smaller enclosures, and have the boar still be able to roam and have their natural habitat. – A lot of hunters, they want
to be able to roam freely, and not have to go all
the way around the fence. – The Polynesians had
access to this island. All of a sudden now, we
have only a sliver left. Those are areas that
their forefathers went to, not only to harvest food, but to sing and dance
and praise to the AKUA. And now there’s a gate,
or a stepping bridge that takes you over a fence. Can we work together to solve the problem, which is caring for the native birds? (Hawaiian prayer of Thanks) – There’s a lot to be learned from people who come from
generations of knowledge. I would like to see our ways of life be part of the equation, to solve these environmental issues. And that’s why it hurts when we work with these
people who are textbook smart. – We really try to work with hunters and use their expertise. The fact of the matter is, you can’t save birds without fences. We’re just trying to stop extinction. We’re not succeeding. – So we lose these birds, we lose the function of the forest, we lose our connection to history. It’s a battle that can’t be lost, really. Because it would be just such a huge tragedy. – You wanna take something
back to the way it used to be, well at what point is appropriate? Before or after humans came? Which humans? Very, very debated topic throughout conservation in the world. There’s definitely a partnership. It’s a balance and
nobody’s right or wrong. – There need to be a
bridge, a common element, and if I have to go out with
just giving my son one memory, It’ll be the memory of
living a cultural lifestyle that is taught traditionally
by his forefathers. That’s my gift to my son. Let’s share out Manao, which
we Hawaiian say our knowledge, from our mind and our heart. Teach us the textbook stuff. Let’s work together to solve the problem. – [Announcer] Conservationists
continue to fight the extinction of Kauais’ native birds. With plans to erect more fencing. This vivid debate, over
conservation, culture, and history, continues to play out in
the Wettest Place on Earth. (dramatic violin music) – [Announcer] Across the Rust Belt, abandoned coal mines are leaching toxins into rivers and streams, turning them shades of dirty red. The color is disturbing. But for two men, it’s also
the tint of inspiration. One is a civil engineer, with plans to extract these
toxins from the waters. The other is a painter, who transforms that material
into acrylic paints, and stunning works of art. (dramatic violin music) (gentle piano music) – This part of Southeastern
Ohio is considered Appalachia. And we have a strong
relationship with the Ohio River. We have a strong relationship with all of the environmental
destruction that’s happened here. – [Announcer] The abandoned mines have irretrievably altered the watershed. Discharging acidic water into
nearby streams and rivers, due to a process known
as acid mine drainage. – So just in Ohio, there’s more than 1,300 streamed miles that are impacted by acid mine drainage. The mine that discharges here at this specific treatment site, it’s been abandoned for
probably about a hundred years. – Fish and other aquatic life
is really sensitive to Ph, and the streams get coated
with this iron sludge. – This is the mine that we
call the Bat Gate Mine Seep, and it had been pumping
out acid mine drainage for the last hundred years now. – [Announcer] The toxic
discharge at Bat Gate is the result of an abandoned,
improperly sealed coal mine. – It delivers about 4,000
pounds of iron every day, into this one stream nearby. That’s like junking two cars
into the stream everyday. (bouncy xylophone music) What I’m doing in my research right now is trying to come up
with a way to clean up streams in Southeast Ohio. So through our research we’ve discovered that when we remove iron
from the acid mine drainage, we can precipitate it and
settle it as a pigment. And I realized that by producing pigment, I could pay for this whole process. When I got to the dry pigment, I realized that I didn’t
have the skills to figure out what made a good pigment
and what made a bad pigment. I basically was knocking on
doors in the art department to see if I could find anyone to help me, and that’s when I ran into John. I was like “Could you tell me if this
was a good paint or not.” – And we sat down and he said
in very scientific jargon “Well, the pigment needs to be this, and it needs to be that.” And I was like “Yeah, I can do
that, but what we really need to do is make something
that visually is compelling.” We need people to look
at this and go,”What?” “What are you doing? That’s crazy!” and get on board. (snappy drum music) One of the things I really liked about getting the pigment
from these acid mine seeps is that it has characteristics of the place where you get it from. So from Guy, I would come back and say “Well, this is too orange, I
want it to be a deeper red because it’s more valuable
for these reasons.” And once I get the pigment from the lab, I put it on to a tempered glass table, I’ll add an oil-dispersant for there, which basically makes the
pigment want to stick to things so it wants to become a good paint. And then that can be scraped
up in to jars or tubes and you can use oil paint for years and years and years and years. – He makes these connections
between nature, and pollution, and science, and he put’s that in this something that is beautiful to see. – We’ve had recent interest from Gamblin Artist Colors in Portland, and we are producing a custom batch of the color, 500 tubes of oil
paint, with our name on it. The proceeds from selling the pigment will pay for the plant,
it will pay for employees, it’ll pay for the cleanup of a stream. The moment that the plant becomes viable, that is the moment that
the stream goes back to biological viability. It’s not a 10 year thing,
it’s not a 20 year thing, it’s not a 50 year thing,
it’s a tomorrow kinda thing. Artists are not people who
create from themselves, but they actually serve a roll as communicators for the
divine in the universe. I’m always thinking about these
colors and how they relate to where it came from. – [Announcer] Thanks to the teams efforts, in September of 2016, John
was invited to exhibit his art at the United Nations in New York City. – I’m very lucky to be
invited to have a show at the United Nations Headquarters. And what I’m really hoping to do is to form even more collaborations with people in many
places around the world, where we’re all working towards this goal of a more sustainable planet. (light xylophone music) – [Announcer] In British Columbia, Galyn Franklin spends
much of his free time free diving with sea lions. And it’s safe to say, he loves it. Each winter, Franklin heads
to nearby Hornby Island, to play with the curious beasts who gather to feed on the herring, that span in the cold
waters, 40 feet below. (light piano music) (sea lions barking) – I kind of compare it with
being at a giant dog park. Some of them love it,
like you start giving them armpit scratches, and
they’re just like giant dogs, they just start rollin’ around and they’re flyin’ all around your, but these animals are huge. People are intimidated by them, but once you learn their behavior, they’re just right into you, right away. They just look at you like a big chew toy. (lively xylophone music) (engine starting) (piano music) (engine purring) I could never see myself living anywhere other than
the Pacific Northwest. I could literally spend every single day of the rest of my life and never travel anywhere
other than Vancouver Island, and I would still never have enough time to see this whole place. My first introduction to the ocean would have definitely come from my mom. That’s me with the sea lion right there. Later on in life, realize it
is a pretty unique experience to get to go and spend time with these animals on a regular basis. Sea lions are a large, intelligent animal and they’re very sensitive
of what your intentions are, and how they choose to interact with you is totally their choice. But if you’re comfortable
and they’re inquisitive, they’ll come and they’ll chew on your fins or they come up and they chew
on the edge of your mask, or give you big kisses
on the lips, or big hugs, they wrap their fins around
you and give you a big hug. People get sketched out about it. Like I’ve had lots of people
contact me and be like, “Don’t you think those
things are aggressive?” Just because an animal is
putting it’s mouth on you doesn’t mean it’s doing
it in a harmful way. They don’t have hands, they
can’t explore their world with anything other than their mouth. (peaceful music & gently bubbling water) There’s people that spend a lot of money to travel to the other side of the planet to watch a group of large
migratory animals in Africa, or something, and here I
can just go out on my boat and, it’s not something I take
for granted at all anymore, having the opportunity to do this. (peaceful music) (gentle piano music) (light rain falling0 – In the Netherlands it rains a lot. Since I grew up, the
weather is really changing. It rains more, it rains more heavy, and it’s getting warmer as well. People have a tendency to
complain about the weather. I think it’s beautiful
when you hear the rain. It really changes space,
and it also sustains growth. I wanted to make something
to celebrate the weather. (light, symphonic music) (symphonic music) Made By Rain, started after I got the
heritage of my grandfather. This heritage was a
collection of calendars, where he wrote down, every
day, the weather conditions. When I was doing my Masters, I was thinking like, “How can
I actually map the weather?” And then I started to doing
the same as my grandfather but then with textiles. I made this technique Pluviography, which is drawing with rain. (deep bass symphonic music) There are two ways to make
Made By Rain textiles. One I call analog version
and one the digital version. When I am in the Hague, at my
studio and it starts to rain, I go up on the roof and
for the analog version I use two layers of textile
and of ink with paper, and when the rain hits the
surface, the paper gets wet and it starts to bleed, so that makes that the white cloth becomes black or blue or
depending on the color. The digital version is
prepared with the layer of ink already on the cloth, and
when the rain hits the surface the ink starts to bleed. (deep bass symphonic music) After I put it in the rain, I fixate the textiles
and then you can wear it. With this technique you
can see every raindrop and every little detail in the rain. (xylophone music) So after I fixate my textiles, I check the data from the weather station in order to really finalize
the moment and the data, which is silk-screened upon the textile. Weather data comes in statistics, and I wanted to make a more
visual way of archiving weather. On the textiles I note
the location, the date, the time interval, the
millimeters of rain, and the weather circumstances. And I do this because I see
the textiles as documents, so they’re all unique. Five minutes of drizzle
is very different than five minutes of heavy rainfall. (tinkling piano music
& light rain falling) The book Made By Rain, it’s in
three parts, combined in one. One part is the research,
one part is fabrics, and one part is an artistic interpretation of how the textiles can be applied. I’m very fascinated by
water in all kinds of forms. The fact that water is able to transform between
solid, gas, and liquids brings for me a lot of new
materials to investigate, and to use in my work. I traveled all around the
country, already, to map the rain. I’ve also been in Japan and in Beijing, so my dream is to make a Rain Atlas. (light piano music &
sewing machine whirring) I’ve hoped that with the
textiles that I make, people get a new awareness of rain, and a new relationship
with the environment. I hope people see the beauty as well, not only the pouring rain, and waiting for it to be dry
to continue your daily life. (light violin music) – [Announcer] In the fertile
hills of Derbyshire, England, one man is cultivating something unique. – I’m Gavin Monro, I grow furniture. (plucky sympnonic music) This is our furniture orchard. We’ve got chairs this
side, lamps over here, tables little further around that way, and all manner of things in between. The original idea came from realizing that the way that we make furniture now is that we have to grow the
trees for at least 50 years, and then we cut them down
and we make them into smaller and smaller and smaller bits, before sticking them back together again. Why bother with that at all? – [Announcer] Why indeed? Gavin trains the branches of young trees by attaching them to specially made forms. He then grafts them together
to form one solid piece. Slowly they grow into
fully-formed pieces of furniture. But exactly how slow are we talking? – For a chair to grow, that
takes five to 10 years, depending on the species. The thing is, if you’re thinking about
this in the bigger picture, then by the time you’ve
grown your tree for 50 years, we’ll have at least 10
generations of chairs rolled out. While it seems slow, in real terms of making
things out of wood, it’s actually pretty quick. (sawing & violin music) When we harvest the trees, we’re not killing them, the varieties that we use all grow back again the next year. On the environmental front,
it’s not just efficient, it’s uber efficient. We’ll, we’ve only waited
10 years for that. (both men laughing) We’ve got this lovely
curve coming up here. When we sand this down, this little triangle’s
gonna look gorgeous. – You got it, do you? – We can get them into the workshop and the fun begins on the production side and we can start to kind of bring together geometry and nature. The finishing is where we
can really let that shine. – [Announcer] And no one can deny that Gavin’s furniture is
beautiful, but is it functional? – Not only do we think
that they’ll be stronger, they’ll be way stronger because
they’re one solid piece, there’s no joints to come loose. What we’re doing here is
collaborating with the trees. It’s kind of a beautiful
way of working, really. (plucky violin music) (harmonic vibrating) – The weather is really in
your face in New Orleans. It is a character in the
play of New Orleans. – [Announcer] In the ninth ward, inventor and musician QUINTRON, is fueled by a desire to
hear things differently. That’s why he built a device
that turns weather into music. – This instrument, the Weather Warlock, is an audio mirror of
the sunrise and sunset. – [Announcer] The Weather
Warlock uses sensors to detect changes in light, precipitation, and wind, and transforms
them into a haunting drone. (haunting drone music) Which he streams to anyone wanting to rock out to Mother Nature. (haunting drone music) – My name is QUINTRON,
it’s not my real name, it’s a given, musician’s name. I definitely consider
myself first and foremost to be a musician, but I’m also a builder, and inventor of electronic
musical instruments and the device that
we’re talking about today is called the Weather Warlock, which is a weather-
controlled analog synth. It’s using the weather to create music. There’s no microphones,
it’s not the sound of rain. That puttering sound is
the sound of that sensor just starting to get enough
light to sonically activate it. (throbbing vibrations) – [Announcer] The Weather
Warlock’s outdoor sensors detect atmospheric changes. – There is a temperature sensor, there is a set of our wind
speed controlled sensors, there is a moisture sensor,
or rain, or humidity, or snow, and the last one would be the sky sensor, which is a sensor at the
top, on a little periscope that’s aiming at the sky. – [Announcer] Wires then carry all the collected data into the synth, which converts the information into sound. – So you can play it
like an instrument too. You can just let it do it’s thing, but I can also change
the timbre of the drum. Usually the most action is
during sunrise and sunset. It’s the closest thing
to an audio soundtrack because it’s moving at the same speed. It’s literally an audio mirror
of what you’re looking at. So sunrise is official over, according to the Weather Warlock. And everyone else. (haunting drone music) Check, one two. Good evening, you are tuned
in to, broadcasting as usual out
of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Weather Warlock, has become a live, 24/7
online musical feed. – [Announcer] The livestream is called Weather For The Blind. Figuratively referring to
the circadian rhythm disorder sometimes experienced by blind people, who don’t visually experience
sunrise and sunset. – Sunrise was at 5:15 this morning, and sunset happening now as you can hear, according to our UV sensors. Every moment of the day there’s something in flux in the weather, and to capture that in
audio became my intention. Our ears are always there, those of us that are fortunate
enough to be able to hear, that’s a powerful funnel
to the soul and the brain. (light, funky music) (tinkling bells) – [Announcer] Deep in the desert of Utah, thousands of rock
formations known as Hoodoos stand guard over the barren landscape of Goblin Valley State Park. Hoodoos are mushroom-shaped
sandstone, and Goblin Valley has the highest occurrence
of them in the world. Typically found in dry, rocky areas, these unusual shapes are the
result of wind, and water, breaking down the soft sandstone. Rainwater removes the weaker rock. Windblown sands and dust carve the stone into
eerie goblin silhouettes. (pulsating light rock music) Other vegetation rarely
inhabits Goblin Valley, due to the lack of water
and sweltering conditions. Goblin Valley has often
been compared to Mars. (tinkling bells) (action symphonic music) – [Announcer] Scientists say that Joshua trees are disappearing. – At low elevation and in the south, Joshua trees are not making it. – [Announcer] Across the
Southwestern Mojave Desert. – [Professor Smith] The only places where we find seedlings, are up at higher elevation, like here. They’re facing increasing and new threats to their existence. The combination of increasing
temperature and drought, alongside increasing frequency of fire. – One lightning strike in a dry storm and the whole thing goes
poof, and that’s not good. – [Announcer] Professor
Chris Smith and his team are on a multi-year mission to map the genome of Joshua trees, in the hopes of saving the
species from total eradication. – And the idea of losing that species, affects people in a really personal way. – [Announcer] By unlocking
the plants’ genetic code, they hope to reveal it’s
best chance for survival in the face of rising
temperatures in the west. (action violin music) (western music) – [Professor Smith] According to legend, Mormon settlers saw in Joshua trees the image of the Prophet Joshua, pointing the way towards
the Promised Land. – Joshua trees are odd looking, with their branches that
stick up in all directions with spines sticking up towards the sky. – [Professor Smith] They’re
technically a kind of Yucca, some people call them
the Dr. Seuss plant. (twanging guitar music) They are this important
symbol of Mojave Desert, emblematic of the people
that live in the desert. And the idea of losing that species affects people in a really personal way. – They’re many other organisms
that depend on Joshua trees for food and habitat, and shelter, and if Joshua trees go extinct, those other organisms are also doomed. If we could identify the
exact genes that are involved in adaptation to climate change, potentially we could breed Joshua trees that could survive into the future, even as the climate changes around them. (light, dramatic piano music) – [Professor Smith] We’ve
been able to bring together an enormous number of
people who are cooperating. We have ecologists, we
have genetic scientists, we have government agencies, and we even have citizen scientists, all coming together to solve this problem. – So we’re gonna measure
the width of the leaves. We measure from the mid-point and you read it by looking
at where the zero lines up, which is about 11.4 millimeters. – When you think about all of
the things that it requires for a Joshua tree to
actually make it from a seed to an adult plant, the challenges that they
face seem insurmountable. Each fruit contains a
hundred to 200 seeds, maybe one of those
might ultimately make it to grow up to be a Joshua tree. (light, dramatic piano music) We’re collecting leaf tissue, and that tissue we’re
gonna take back to the lab and extract DNA, and by comparing different
parts of the desert, we can start to identify genes that are involved in
adaptation to climate change. (melodic music) – When we get the material from the field, we grind it up in liquid nitrogen and liberate the DNA from the
rest of the cell material. After extracting the DNA, we’re
sequencing it in small bits and trying to stitch those pieces together just like putting together a very complicated, massive puzzle. The genome really offers us a
blueprint of the Joshua tree to better understand which genes might be allowing it to live under drier or hotter conditions. What we need to do is choose individuals that seem to be best able to deal with increasing temperatures
or reduced water availability. Those are the ones that we’ll
focus on trying to propagate in face of this changing climate. – This is the pure gold. This is how we’re gonna connect back the patterns that we’re
seeing on the landscape, to the genetic data
into the genome project. This is the most important part. (gently strumming guitar music) – [Dr. Esque] We’re right in the middle of what was a fairly large fire, – I’m really quite shocked, honestly, to see how many small trees there are. – [Dr. Esque] We’ve got a
lot of really good recovery in this old burned area. It’s pretty exciting to see it, it really makes you feel good when you see something like this. – You can see many young
Joshuas, a foot and a half high, maybe smaller, which is a
sign that the populations are doing fine here. I can’t imagine the desert without them. So I hope they’re doing as well
as they look like they are. – I definitely have days when I’ve been walking
around for 12 hours, lugging a ladder through the desert and I wonder why the hell I’m doing this. What we saw today, gives me hope. Joshua trees re-sprouting
from root stalks, and it makes me think,
“Okay, it is possible that we could figure
out ways that organisms could adapt to climate change.” That’s kind of it for me. That’s the dream of a lifetime. (pinging)

75 thoughts on “Protecting the Planet with Earth’s Guardians

  • Dylan Applegate Post author

    Yooo I have no life to get here in 27 seconds

  • Fruit Post author

    That IS Amazing! 😀

  • fruitoson Post author

    This is so cool!!

  • I Live Post author


  • The other Alys Post author

    I love this. So interesting. The rain textiles and tree furniture are awesome too!

  • Ben Mercer Post author

    I love this channel, so interesting and well… amazing

  • Kelly Gregg Post author

    yea you Billy D!!!

  • Ligm Post author

    it sucks how good channels like this get so little views

  • Nero Pop Post author

    This is awesome and inspiring its so sad how little views go into this channel when its sooo good! i would defiantly recommend this channel

  • Rolande Sowers Post author

    I am addicted such interesting programs thanks

  • Ashley Grant Post author

    These people are amazing. They are changing the world in such a positive way and it really is inspiring.

  • Danielcooks Post author

    This is so cool I'm speechless just a great place to get inspired!

  • Cakepop and friends Post author

    Uncle Billy has a point,when you go in one mountain you no like see a fence just saying

  • Obama Bin Laden Post author

    love the channel BUT …the Wettest place on Earth !!!! its a wrong information. Tiny piece of info ruined the mood

  • time management ? Post author

    This channel is so amazing, it needs millions of views!

  • CP-285 E N D Post author

    Great big story: road to one million subscribers

  • woomy sauce Post author

    Its bootyful

  • lolwhoyou? Post author

    Amazing documentary, keep up with the great work guys! Though, you deserve way more subs..

  • Gurnoor Singh Post author

    one of best YouTube channels

  • Gurnoor Singh Post author

    I'm surprised on these many less likes

  • cesar el pro el mejor Post author

    this will be a youtube red series

  • Hitsuku Post author

    Get a TV channel!

  • MartMart Post author

    roses are red.
    violets are also red.
    the grass is hot and red.
    my garden is on fire.

    and now everything is dead.

  • Rex Xavier Buatag Post author

    40 minutes well spent

  • Sanwich 121 Post author

    What do you want from me?!

  • ArthurKal Post author

    You want to know something?? Thats amazing

  • misocat Post author

    When I grow up I will help the planet like these lovely people ??????

  • UwU Post author


  • B Post author

    We studied these topics in biology and ecology at school and I really wished they showed us this. Its just so amazing to see how its actually applied in real time. Makes me wanna go back and study it with full interest.

  • Weeaboofuck Post author

    Im not even mad this was an ad

  • QueenSahara Ice Post author

    Why the fuck am I Just learning about this amazing channale?! Just subscribed 😀

  • Will Post author

    The Art one inspired me

  • P A N S H E E Y T Post author

    amaze ??

  • saint augustine Post author

    i check out this channel everyday

  • Yo boiii Diamond Post author

    This Channel Should Be On TV

  • Connor J Post author

    I was 1k like!! Woop woop

  • God Riolu Post author

    Best channel.

  • God Riolu Post author

    10:58 clap

  • bruno hall Post author

    That picture in the top-left of the thumbnail looks like Donald Trump

  • 박찬린 Post author

    This channel is a blessing to our world

  • Marc R6 Post author

    he sounds like connor mc gregor

  • Green Dino Post author

    This is so beautiful

  • Chou Chou Chung Post author

    this chanel always bring me positive energy 🙂

  • Nora B Post author

    how could we buy these colors ???

  • Rakesh karunaad Post author

    the channel deserves lot infinite subscriber like stars they are not less than any national geographic in their quality and output hit like if you agreee

  • Edwin Oliveros Post author

    .! .ss

  • Crystal Elk Post author

    Fantastic Stories! Keep up the great work!

  • Susan Kerkhoff Post author

    ..this is weird.. I think euthanasia takes care of animal overpopulation.. ..vets can do it.. the girls look cool and the spiritual circle is moving.. namaste and from the universe, too.

  • Cat the Horse Post author

    Omg I am only 8 and I LOVE this channel soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much

  • Joyce Chiang Post author

    love it love it love it!!!

  • K. K. Post author

    Hey, Uncle Billy, how you get on YouTube.

  • YakuzaVince Post author

    "Lets work together."
    "Nope more fences!"

  • nomnomnugget Post author

    I honestly feel like the only people who should be living in Hawaii are indigenous people. We know how to care for our land.

  • Katie Kat Post author

    I feel bad for the wild bores too. They aren’t trying to make trouble. Kill the damn mosquitos. It’s this horrid life set up of which everything must eat other living thing to survive. What a shitty set up. Life eating life and no way around it. That’s just one reason why I don’t believe if this God everybody is so into. What a flawed system.

  • Katie Kat Post author

    The Joshua trees you have to love just because of how ugly they are. So ugly that they are interesting.

  • Michael Kidera Post author

    it was like Acid Trip walking the lines, hmm great… so I gotta go do some Acid now…

  • Clover Post author

    38:36 awesome view

  • Lili Tañeza Post author

    holy goodness I know billy decosta (the first one)

  • CosmicHearts Babe Post author

    I know Billy Decosta (We call him Uncle Billy) me and my class are going camping tommorow at Koke’e Kauai

  • lip lock Post author

    My old teacher was here

  • Marten Dekker Post author

    25:15 the 2nd method isn't Digital ! They're both analog.

  • JT Post author

    Yay i live on kauai the man in that video actually gave my 4th grade class a lesson

  • Diana SUNSHINE Wulf Post author

    Fukushima is still leaking into the ocean oil and gas pollutes the globe and the gm mosquito will rule the world I bet conservation funding ecocide for genocide has a vaccine for that too / CLEAN SAFE WATER IS A LUXURY

  • Christina Penner Post author

    Finally a channel specifically designed for my thirst for knowledge, love of visual stimulation, inpatients and a lack of time. Thank you Great Big (little) Story. I love it!!!

  • miki toh Post author

    Love it!!! Great program

  • Lisa Cowan Post author

    what a great series – thank you to all involved – interestingly unusual selection of features within each topic – truly impressed and will recommend without reservation to all my mates, especially those with children! Blessed be!

  • Tom A Post author

    I am not saying anything specific, but to blame pigs that they make puddles of water that mosquitoes breed in so all these birds are dyeing is kind of stretching it. I am sure the mosquitoes are breading in other puddles of water.. it is a rain forest like area .. I mean really to blame it on the pigs and say that is the reason your killing them is kind of bull-crap really. I don't really care if they hunt them.. but to say your doing it for that bull-crap reason is stretching it really.

  • fergal farrelly Post author

    He kills with a knife! Not a gun or bow. A frickin knife!! He stabbs the pig to death. I guess on the farm they did that too.

  • Julia York Post author

    that sea lion guy sounds textbook canadian, and I'm canadian like damn

  • Christine Still Post author

    The BIRD DEPLETION is just tragic! Any restorative programs? Those dogs are absolutely fearless Amazing! I got my own dolphin alone in the ocean once for an hour. Best experience (besides petting a Humpback Whale once) of my life.

  • AkariGabrielle Post author

    This channel is really cool, a lot of good videos of true Earth's stewards, but, the boar hunting one was kind of stupid with very stretched reasoning. People brought over the pigs, the mosquitoes, diseases, and took a large portion of the bird's habitats, but are now putting all the blame on the pigs and justifying killing them cruelly. Then, they're arrogantly pretending as if they're some sort of heroes. The pigs have been around for over a thousand years, and the birds didn't have issues until recently.

    All the people and dogs stomping around also disturb the water and soil, and possibly introduce other pathogens or parasites into the area. If they really needed to get rid of boars, they could do it more quickly, instead of the cruel drawn out dog mauling and stabbing. They aren't even 100% sure if the boars are the problem. If the tradition people truly cared, they would fight to return land back into natural habitats, and find other solutions. Instead of blindly following and justifying old traditions, why not create new, more intelligent and hopefully kinder traditions and ways of dealing with issues?

    It is good other people are trying to save the birds though. Fencing seems like a good idea for now. But, it's a very wet area, and anywhere water can gather and be still, there will be mosquitoes. Spraying toxic chemicals won't help, there have to be other solutions. It's kind of like the white nose syndrome in bats (also spread quickly by people going in and out of bat habitats and not being clean enough). It's been killing a lot of bats, and it's hard to control or create any sort of vaccine for. Some natural resistance is starting to show though. Hopefully it will spread in time to save them.

  • Daniel Gutierrez Post author


  • B J Post author

    great stories! thanks for being such a great channel.

  • scroeffie Post author

    they need to breed if possible dragonflies because they eat mosquitoes

  • John Amaru kmcc Post author

    The way he say "You have to take care the business before the business take care of you" It seems like they were hunting Tigers, lion etc not the boars.. Lol i guess he is a preacher. Btw i really love this channel.. so interesting and Always brought something that i dnt know.

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