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Journey to Planet Earth
Rivers of DestinyUrban ExplosionLand of Plenty, Land of WantOn the BrinkSeas of GrassHot ZonesFuture ConditionalState of the PlanetState of the Planet's WildlifeState of the Ocean's Animals


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Land of Plenty, Land of Want


Although separated by distance and culture, the world's farmers face a common crucial issue: how to feed more and more people without impoverishing their land.

Journey to Planet Earth visits a remote corner of Zimbabwe where an extended drought threatens to bring disaster to the farms and villages. The country's white-owned commercial farms occupy 80 percent of the most fertile soil and are well irrigated; but, for the small-scale farmers struggling to make do on what is left, changes in the climate can mean starvation. The film looks at communities trying to break free from this cycle of poverty.

Video Excerpt: In an isolated corner of Zimbabwe, the inhabitants pray for rain. Watering holes and grasslands are disappearing. Thirteen million people face possible famine.
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Auvergne region, FranceIn the rugged Auvergne region of central France, families are abandoning their ancestral homes as others struggle to hold on. With its remote location, harsh climate and short growing season, the Auvergne region is hard put to compete in an increasingly international agricultural market. Picturesque villages are becoming ghost towns. Meanwhile Brittany's agricultural boom pits the desire for higher yields against the need to preserve the environment.

Video Excerpt: In the picturesque region of Auvergne in central France, farmers try to prolong a time-honored agricultural tradition, but a harsh climate, rising costs and dwindling population pose a threat.
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Intensive cultivation of the fertile Yangtze River Delta has brought abundance to the nearby city of Shanghai, but China's rapid industrial development is engulfing the countryside at an alarming rate. The country's farmers face the problem of producing more and more food on a dwindling supply of land, and pollution becomes a growing threat as they rely more heavily on the use of chemical fertilizers.

Video Excerpt: The food stalls of Shanghai are bursting with goods today, but less than four decades ago, the people of China faced starvation. But the land is paying a price for today's abundance. As more land is swallowed up for development, the remaining farmland is intensely cultivated. Land and water resources are beginning to suffer.
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Harvesting soybean crop in IowaIn the United States, once a nation of farmers, only two percent of the population still works the land. The production demands on them are enormous. Journey to Planet Earth visits the Horan brothers in Iowa, who experiment with the latest satellite technology to increase their yields. Next stop is the Groff family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, whose main concern is preserving some of the richest topsoil in the country through no-till farming.

Video Excerpt: From September through November, Iowa's cycle of harvest never seems to end. In an effort to supply a global market, are America's Midwest farmers in danger of depleting the fertile soil of the nation's heartland?
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Rivers of Destiny | Urban Explosion | Land of Plenty, Land of Want | Seas of Grass
Hot Zones
| On the Brink | Future Conditional | The State of the Planet
State of the Planet's Wildlife
| State of the Ocean's Animals

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