Barbara Pyle travels from Easter Island to Thailand and then back to Atlanta to see how real people are exploring and finding solutions to the complex issue of climate change. This half-hour special begins with a look at the ancient civilization of Easter Island, a symbol to some scientists of our current global problematique. The islanders, the Rapa Nui, had lived sustainably by using the gigantic trees to build canoes for deep-water fishing. Dr. John Loret believes a collision between population growth, destruction of natural resources, and a change in climate could have led to an environmental meltdown.
The ancient Rapa Nui built giant statues called Moi as a tribute to their ancestors. In the final hours of their civilization, many Moi’s were damaged as warfare erupted. Evidence exists that the people turned to cannibalism due to depleted resources.
Sergio Rapu, a Rapa Nui archaeologist, is working with Dr. Loret exploring the island’s past, rebuilding its future, and attempting to save its culture. They are restoring the Moi with artist Eric Cossell.
Pyle asks Rapu what the Moi would say if they could speak . . . “why did you cut down all the trees on this island?”
In Atlanta, Ray Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Interface, Inc., is taking climate change into his own hands with a top-down vision of environmental responsibility, involving every one of his 7,500 employees. Innovative corporate policies, like dramatically reducing the greenhouse gases, that Interface plants emit and attempting to achieve zero waste, are all part of his long-term strategy.
In Thailand, Pyle visits one of Anderson’s factories and worker Prapa. Anderson uses the same principles of sustainability and corporate responsibility there as he does in the United States. See how Prapa’s new found job at Interface has changed her life from barely surviving under terrible working conditions to being able to support her family while her husband is on a leave of absence to become a monk.
Alice Keung, head of operations for the Asian Pacific region of Interface, recognizes the importance of creating jobs for women and is extremely sensitive to the Thai devotion to Buddhism. Prayers, and ceremonies, are common events at the factory. Keung strongly believes in Anderson, “I think Ray is a visionary. I think he is inspirational teacher. He is our Buddha.”
Produced for the Buenos Aires Climate Change negotiations