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Natural Heroes

Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (#408)

Cuban communities created solutions and thrived in spite of decreased dependence on imported energy. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
6-8, 9-12
Curricular Areas
Science & Technology
Social Studies
Series Length
52 episodes
Average Episode Length
26 minutes
Record Rights
unlimited for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
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Series Description: Natural Heroes focuses on people making a positive difference for the environment and enhancing the world around us. Each episode of Natural Heroes is created by different independent filmmakers, making each episode quite unique. These are diverse, inspiring stories featured within an eclectic program unlike any other.

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  • Protecting America (#201)

    Protecting New Orleans: Dr. John Day predicted in July 2005 that the New Orleans levees would break any minute. This well-known expert on Mississippi delta restoration is researching those wetlands, and proposing the most effective ways to rebuild. Caretaker at the Park: An urban park caretaker shows what a difference keeping a big city park clean can make for a community. Wild Horse Spirit: Brief history and a current update exposing a new bill which gutted the protection that wild horses were granted in 1971.The "Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act" was unanimously passed by Congress as a result of American citizens sending more letters to Congress over the threats to these wild animals than over any other domestic issue in U.S. History. Narrated by Viggo Mortensen. [26 minutes]

  • It's Not Just Empty Space, with David Suzuki (#202)

    Earth + Air + Fire + Water = Life. In a time when people are thirsty for honesty, inspiration, meaning, and global change, renowned scientist and visionary Dr. David Suzuki, delivers the most important message of his career: what it means to be fully human in our interconnected universe. The film's stunning motion graphics weave a tapestry that transforms Dr. Suzuki's wisdom into a complete sensory experience, literally creating new worlds and new ways of seeing. Features music of Leonard Cohen. [27 minutes]

  • Justice for Bhopal: 20 Years Later (#203)

    More than 20 years after Union Carbide's industrial disaster in Bhopal (India), people still have to fight for the cleaning of contaminated zones, the supply of drinkable water, and medical research. Justice for Bhopal is a glimpse into the courage and tenacity of exceptional citizens of the world. [27 minutes]

  • East and West (#204)

    Winnemem War Dance: A proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam near Redding, CA, threatens to flood Winnemem Wintu sacred sites on the McCloud River. The Winnemem responded with a four-day war dance to unite the people spiritually in their struggle for sovereignty and religious freedom, and their efforts to protect the water, salmon, and ceremonial sites. Features Julia Butterfly Hill. Damming the Angry River: Chinese environmentalists fight the seemingly inevitable fate of the beautiful Nu River in China. Building One House: Redfeather Development Group helps Native American tribal members build each other's straw bale homes on their reservations: one small grassroots organization making a big difference. Narrated by Robert Redford, music by Pearl Jam. [27 minutes]

  • Building Community with Greenspace (#205)

    Yale University students work together with many different urban New Haven, CT, neighborhoods to create green spaces, urban rehabilitation, safety, and pride. [27 minutes]

  • Last Journey for the Leatherback (#206)

    Scientists predict the giant Pacific leatherback sea turtle, which has survived unchanged for over 100 million years, could vanish in the next 5 to 30 years if threats from wasteful industrial fishing are not curtailed. [27 minutes]

  • Napo Wildlife Center: Para Los Futuros (#207)

    People of Amazonian Ecuador have saved 82 square miles of rainforest by building an eco-tourism lodge. Reacting to the rampant deforestation in the region, these people realized the innate value of their intact lands and the importance of preserving their traditions and way of life. [27 minutes]

  • International Animal Rescue (#208)

    China Bear Rescue: Animals Asia Foundation signed an agreement with the Chinese government to free moon bears from the worst bear bile farms in China, where their bile is extracted for use in traditional medicine. Many bears now live in peace in the Animals Asia sanctuary after rescue and recovery. Love of Sloth: A sloth rescue center in Costa Rica teaches children to appreciate sloths and their forest ecosystem. As the species is pushed ever closer to the brink of extinction, this knowledge is critical. [27 minutes]

  • Richard Nelson's Alaska (#209)

    Richard Nelson has spent years with the Alaskan Eskimo, learning how to subsist on the Arctic ice. Nelson will leave you more curious about our Earth and motivated to find your own way to participate in preserving America's wild places. [27 minutes]

  • Natural Balance (#210)

    Sweet Soil: Four family farms and a natural foods store shows why fresh, local food is important. Wishing the Salmon Home: A young naturalist educates himself and others about salmon. Rock on: What's environmental art? Meet a balance artist who uses our natural surroundings to create art. [27 minutes]

  • Returning Home (#211)

    Bringing the Common Murre back to Devil's Slide Rock: When an oil spill wipes out a seabird colony, biologists hatch an innovative plan to bring the birds back to a challenging location. [26 minutes]

  • A Child's Garden of Peace (#212)

    Brazilian children plan an environmental project cleaning up their community and creating a community garden. They celebrate life and their success with a grand carnival dance. [27 minutes]

  • Saving Our Oceans (#213)

    Excerpts from "Farming the Seas" and "Empty Oceans, Empty Nets'" A documentary that looks at the state of our seas and the issues of disappearing fish. Scientists estimate that 70% of the world's commercially fished species have been fished to, or beyond, the brink at which their populations can sustain themselves. It will help in understanding what's happening and why, and what you can do to stop the drastic decline in fish populations. [27 minutes]

  • Power Shift (#301)

    Cameron Diaz hosts this exploration of the abundant possibilities of clean, renewable energy. [26 minutes]

  • Fruit Tree Tour (#302)

    Earth educators teach students about sustainable ecology throughout the entire state of California. . [26 minutes]

  • Coffee to Go: A Fair Trade Story (#303)

    Coffee lovers and coffee farmers discuss the differences between Free Trade and Fair Trade. [26 minutes]

  • Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness (#304)

    This author is noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. [26 minutes]

  • Texas Gold (#305)

    Diane Wilson uses civil disobedience to battle the giants of the petro-chemical industry. [26 minutes]

  • Wings Over The Wild (#306)

    Pilots fly volunteer missions over the vibrant and threatened landscapes of Central America. [26 minutes]

  • Watershed Heroes (#307)

    From grade schoolers to fishermen, people are taking environmental stewardship seriously. [26 minutes]

  • South Central Farm: Oasis in a Concrete Desert (#308)

    Covers the high profile controversy over the largest urban garden in the country. [26 minutes]

  • Big Apples, Big Ideas (#309)

    The future looks grim in Washington, where apple growers by the thousands are going out of business. [27 minutes]

  • Oceans of Conservation (#310)

    The Titan people of New Guinea struggle as the global marketplace affects their fishing industry. [26 minutes]

  • Traveling Our Natural World (#311)

    New Zealanders turn to the wilderness to fathom their deep, personal connection with the land. [26 minutes]

  • Mama Earth: Ecoecon 101 (#312)

    Another gloom and doom film? No! This film revels in innovation, invention and creativity. [26 minutes]

  • A School in the Woods (#313)

    Outdoor learning centers such as IslandWood in Washington provide exceptional learning experiences. [26 minutes]

  • Brower Youth Awards (#401)

    Six young people are recognized for achievements in environmental and social justice advocacy. [26 minutes]

  • The Good Fight (#402)

    Martin Litton, now 92, prevented dams from being built that would have flooded the Grand Canyon. [26 minutes]

  • Oil + Water (#403)

    Two men travel from Alaska to Argentina on a petroleum-free road trip in a retro-fitted fire truck. [26 minutes]

  • Global Oneness (#404)

    Four inspiring short films from across the globe encourage harmony and connectedness between people. [26 minutes]

  • Voyage of the Vezo (#405)

    Explore this coastal society of southwest Madagascar and their delicate relationship with the sea. [26 minutes]

  • Eat at Bill's (#406)

    Bill Fujimoto's Monterey Market is a family-owned produce market phenomenon in Berkeley, CA. [26 minutes]

  • Sea Animal Rescuers (#407)

    Saving the Lora turtle from the edge of extinction and sick birds in the Salton Sea are showcased. [26 minutes]

  • Teachings of the Tree People (#409)

    Documents a Skokomish tribal leader's race against time to pass on the knowledge of his ancestors. [26 minutes]

  • The Sea and Me (#410)

    A little girl breaks a spell that caused everyone to forget about the importance of the ocean. [26 minutes]

  • Ray Bandar, A Life with Skulls (#411)

    The man known as Reptile Ray is a fixture at the California Academy of Sciences and local beaches. [26 minutes]

  • Cascade of Light (#412)

    Follow a river to the Arctic Ocean to discover perpetual light and the spectacle of arctic life. [26 minutes]

  • The Story of Stuff (#413)

    A fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. [26 minutes]

  • In The Wake of Giants (#501)

    When humpback whales migrating between Alaska and Hawaii become entangled in marine debris, a small network of brave volunteer rescuers risk their lives to save them. Packed with action, beauty and compassion, In the Wake of Giants puts you in the rescue boats with the experts as they free the struggling whales. [26 minutes]

  • A Simple Question: The Story of Straw (#502)

    An inspiring film about Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW). Starting as a fourth grade class project and one child's question, "What can we do to save an endangered species?" STRAW evolved into a remarkable program that has restored over 20 miles of habitat, galvanized the local community, and led to significant educational innovation, illustrating the power of a child's curiosity and a teacher who honored it. [26 minutes]

  • New Shepherds of the Farm (#503)

    New Shepherds of the Farm is a beautiful, heartfelt film that takes a realistic look at how animal farming is done today and considers the cost to the animals and the planet. Meet "cattle whisperer" Temple Grandin and the intrepid individuals who are transforming the North American animal farm. Temple, who is autistic, and highly sensitive to cattle has transformed the entire industry into a more humane place for animals. Compassionate people working with pigs, cows and chickens share a philosophy of a world without unnecessary cruelty to animals. [26 minutes]

  • Brower Youth Awards 2009 (#504)

    Meet six extraordinary young people who were recognized in 2009 for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy. The Brower Youth Awards honor founder and legendary environmental activist, David R. Brower, and call forth a new generation of leaders. He urged environmentalists to heed the words of the German poet Goethe, "Anything you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." [26 minutes]

  • The Edge of the Sea (#505)

    Since the late 1960's, Puerto Rico's small fishing villages have undergone expansive coastal development, driven by tourism and the growing demand for beachfront property. The Edge of the Sea follows a third generation fisherman in his battle against a developer planning to build a mega condo project on one of Rincon's most popular public beaches. This film explores both sides of the privatization of public areas, and the sensitive social and environmental consequences of excessive coastal development. [26 minutes]

  • The Story of More Stuff (#506)

    Three short animated documentaries change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever. The stories of BOTTLED WATER, COSMETICS and ELECTRONICS expose the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. This is a fast-paced, fact-filled look that will teach you something, make you laugh, and have you thinking twice about "more stuff." [26 minutes]

  • Watershed Revolution (#507)

    Watershed Revolution asks the question "What is a Watershed?" The answer is explored through interviews with concerned citizens working to protect and preserve southern California's Ventura River watershed while stunning high definition cinematography highlights the beauty of the river. It emphasizes the need for open space and floodplain protection, sustainable agriculture, and community awareness of our most precious resource: water. [26 minutes]

  • Brower Youth Awards 2010 (#508)

    From Alaska, to Puerto Rico, to the Bronx, get to know the young winners of the environmental award. [26 minutes]

  • Living Lightly (#509)

    A magical glimpse into a world where one 21st century family lives with the land in its seasons. In a corner of New Brunswick, Canada, the craft of scything is practiced as meditation in action. This poetic film is a study in how we might heal our relationship with planet Earth. [26 minutes]

  • Nora! (#510)

    Nora Pouillon, an influential pioneers in the organic and local-food movement, is profiled. [26 minutes]

  • Napo Wildlife Center: Para Los Futuros (#511)

    A community in Ecuador has saved 82 square miles of rainforest by building an eco-tourism lodge. [26 minutes]

  • Richard Nelson's Alaska (#512)

    The cultural anthropologist studies wild places and the connections between people and nature. [26 minutes]

  • It's Not Just Empty Space with David Suzuki (#513)

    The renowned scientist reveals what it means to be fully human in our interconnected universe. [26 minutes]

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