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The Nature of Things

Season 52 2012

  • 2012-10-18T21:00:00-03:00 on CBC (CA)
  • 45 mins
  • 12 hours, 0 mins
  • Canada
  • English
  • Documentary

The Nature of Things is one of the most successful series in the history of Canadian television. Hosted by the world-renowned geneticist and environmentalist, David Suzuki, the program is in its 57th season, a landmark by any standard.

Every week, the influential program presents stories that are driven by a scientific understanding of the world. Stories full of adventure, drama and insight. Our programs entertain and inspire audiences by engaging with the people and personalities behind the science.

From the search for other life in the universe to the psychology of babies, from the furry animals that invade your backyard to the consequences of human progress, The Nature of Things throws open the door to the wonder and accomplishments of science.

18 episodes

52x01 The Buffalo Wolves

  • Season Premiere

    2012-10-18T21:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Wolves and Buffalo follows the fortunes of one pack of wolves, the Delta Pack. Will the pups survive their first year? Will the packs alpha animals retain their pack position to breed again next year? As they try to bring down the buffalo to keep themselves and their new pups alive what will the future hold for these ancient warriors?

52x02 Babies: Born to be Good?

  • 2012-10-25T21:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Psychologists have made breakthroughs in our understanding of what babies might be thinking, and what they could possibly know about justice, helping, honesty, fairness. Even before they learn to talk!

52x03 Nuts About Squirrels

  • 2012-11-08T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Through the use of robotic squirrels, GPS tracked acorns and scientists, the world of urban squirrels is revealed.

52x04 Planet Hunters

  • 2012-11-15T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Are we alone in the universe? We may be very close to finding out. The Holy Grail of space science is the discovery of a planet just like ours: the right size, the right orbit around its sun, not too hot, not too cold – in the area dubbed the Goldilocks Zone. For millennia humans studying the stars had no idea if there were any other planets outside our solar system, let alone ones similar enough to ours to sustain life. The first extra-solar planet – or exoplanet – was only discovered in 1995. Now, a new space-based telescope has discovered thousands more, and some of them may be just like Earth.

52x05 The Norse: An Arctic Mystery

  • 2012-11-22T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Buried under the tundra on a windy cape of Baffin Island lies one of the most important archeological finds in Canada. An untrained eye would miss it—but not scientist Pat Sutherland. Her new work here at the place they call Nanook will likely change history. This new documentary film reveals an archeological site that proves Europeans made contact with Native North Americans centuries before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

52x06 Lights Out!

  • 2012-12-06T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

How the light between dusk and dawn cancels the healthy benefits of the absence of light.

52x07 David Suzuki's Andean Adventure

  • 2013-01-10T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

In unexpected places, David Suzuki finds radical new ideas about energy, the environment, and doing things differently. Will they catch on? UPDATE: Unfortunately in August 2013, Ecuador cancelled the pioneering conservation plan that attempted to raise funds from the international community instead of drilling for oil in a pristine corner of the Yasuni national park. Drilling is set to commence in 2016.

52x08 Zapped: The Buzz About Mosquitoes

  • 2013-01-17T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

People struggle to combat a blood-sucking little insect that is both delicate and deadly.

52x09 Shattered Ground

  • 2013-02-07T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Fracking, while a bonanza for gas and oil production, is caught in a backlash of suspicion and alarm. What’s happening underground it seems can shatter more than just rock.

52x10 Meet the Coywolf

  • 2013-02-14T22:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

There is a new hybrid species which is part wolf, part coyote.

A journey through nature, commerce and adventure, The Fruit Hunters takes us from the dawn of humanity to the cutting of edge of modern agriculture — a series that will change not just the way we look at what we eat, but what it means to be human. The Fruit Hunters' first episode, "The Evolution of Desire," explores the origins of fruit's diversity and tells the story of humanity and fruit's intimate co-evolution. Every variety of fruit has a story, the story of the person who cultivated an individual plant, and then shared something wonderful with the world. To preserve this diversity is to retain this living memory. A passionate few, the fruit hunters, fight to preserve this diversity in a world increasingly dominated by economically driven monoculture. Richard Campbell and Noris Ledesma, the "Indiana Joneses of fruit," travel around the world searching for exotic fruit at their source: the local's market. We follow them on a mission to Bali, in search of the elusive white-fleshed mangoes, which they hope to preserve before it is erased by industrialization and urbanization. Meanwhile, in the picturesque hills of Umbria, Italy, Isabella Dalla Ragione, an arboreal archaeologist, searches for heirloom varieties of fruit by investigating Renaissance paintings for clues. We also discover the underground network of the Rare Fruit Council International and meet Ken Love, Hawaii's fruit guru. Fruit hunting with Ken Love in Hawaii is like getting a tour of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. In this episode, we'll meet the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving fruit's vital genetic diversity for coming generations.

A journey through nature, commerce and adventure, The Fruit Hunters takes us from the dawn of humanity to the cutting of edge of modern agriculture — a series that will change not just the way we look at what we eat, but what it means to be human. Supermarkets are stocked with fruit year round in a global permanent summertime, but despite its accessibility, have we lost the diversity that makes it so special? The second episode of The Fruit Hunters will look at what happens when we abandon the Garden of Eden for an industrialized monoculture. In lush jungles of Borneo, Bala Tingang, an elder of one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes, lives of the wild fruits that are the key to his tribe's survival. And yet, all around the world, natural diversity is being replaced with monocultures, plantations of only one variety, bred for long shelf life and transportability rather than their taste or health properties. Not only is this lost of diversity impoverishing our taste buds, but it has catastrophic implications for our food security. In the vast uniform banana fields of Honduras, Juan Aguilar, a banana scientist, frantically tries to breed a banana resistant to a deadly fungus. The common export banana now has so little genetic variety that it is extremely susceptible to disease. Yet with the help of fruit hunters around the world, perhaps we can reintroduce some of that diversity in a world increasingly dominated by economics. Searchers and explores such as Richard Campbell and Noris Ledesma scour the globe for rare exotic fruit with the hopes of broadening our selection at home. We also meet creators and inventors such as Floyd Zaiger and Bob Bors who use traditional breeding techniques to patiently create wondrous new fruits. Though their methods may vary, all of the fruit hunters share one thing — an obsession and love of fruit, and diversity.

52x13 Billion Dollar Caribou

  • 2013-03-21T21:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

The conservation of the caribou and their environment is much-contested territory.

52x14 The Beaver Whisperers

  • 2013-03-28T21:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

The national symbol has a new role as an ecological superhero.

52x15 The Beetles Are Coming

  • 2013-04-04T21:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

In the wake of global warming, a beetle apocalypse is unleashed in the forests of western Canada.

52x16 The Man Who Tweeted Earth

  • 2013-04-25T21:00:00-03:00 — 45 mins

Through pictures, music and poetry, Canadian Commander Chris Hadfield brings us a view of earth from space that we’ve never seen before. Chris Hadfield made us love space again. Tweeting, snapping photos and regularly connecting with folks back home as he hurtled around the earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Hadfield is the first Canadian commander ever of one of the most complex and sophisticated examples of human technology ever built. From the moment Hadfield arrived at the ISS for his five-month mission, he transformed the way we connect to space. Millions followed his every move. His YouTube videos were instantly viral. The Queen and Captain Kirk sent him messages. But even though Hadfield made it look like fun, a whole lot of serious science happened up there. Equipment on the ISS measures solar matter to further our understanding of space. Research that can only be done in zero gravity could radically change how medical diagnoses happen on earth. And tests to figure out how to make space travel safer and more efficient (with a view to making it to the red planet one day).

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