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"Global Warming: The Signs And The Science"

Our first PBS documentary on an environment-related topic, hosted by Alanis Morissette.

Climate change, ranked by History Channel's special Seven Deadly Threats to Humanity as the number one threat, has begun to plague our minds frequently. It is all caused by the term that shouldn't be new to you: global warming.

The feature movie is split into three, breaking down and providing an analytical look at global warming. First is The Evidence, where unstable seasons and an increase in temperature between four to seven degrees have occurred—a huge difference in the past fifty years. Another feature familiar, to most of you at least, is the break down of the Greenhouse Effect and the role of CO2 emissions. As for energy consumption contributing to the warming and the pollution, it's no surprise that by 2050, China will surpass the US in that department, despite their rapid development.

"The reason why most humans aren't environmentalists is because they don't feel like they are part of the environment, and they are." -Nia Robinson

Yet all this has wrecked havoc with the climate affecting the health of many and several many diseases to show up, many of which science is finding a cure for.

The second part is The Investigation, where a graphical animation of El Niño is shown and the likelihood of places like New York's subways being hit by flood. Another quick mention was New Orleans having been struck by Hurricane Katrina, despite its lower land level. So with weather, diseases and the shortage of food supply, Alanis Morissette then asks, "so what can we do?"

The third and final part is The Next Step, featuring our adaptation to such change (as the great Charles Darwin stated way before). Electric hybrid cars are all the rave, a more green and environmentally friendly architecture are being built and solar energy. The amusing part was the brief glimpse at New Hampshire unveiling the rehearsal for Climate Change - The Musical. This part closes with Alanis' final words being, "There's much more to global warming than just the heat."

What was clever about the DVD, firstly, was the implementation of the sponsors for this DVD. You see it immediately after watching the very first part of the film, making this feel like an authentic, live broadcast as if you were watching it on TV. Because this is a documentary film, it does impart in feeling like a news broadcast. The interviews, the shots and the sound levels were very good but the progress of the film made it seem like breaking news. It was more of an update of what's going on in the world, sort of. And with Morissette stating her parts and informing viewers about global warming, that's what made me feel and believe I'm watching the news. It could've been done much better, I think. As for the information, they were there and all has been said with enough to inform the viewer(s). However, I would've liked to have seen more graphical animation and diagrams about the science of the carbon behaviors in relation to the atmosphere, the winds and more. Overall, it was okay but more could've been done.

The Special Features show close to an hour filled with extra interviews with the scientists you just saw on the feature film and interviews with others that were never featured. It also includes a deleted scene about downtown Madison, Wisconsin which, having watched that, I'm glad was deleted from the film.

It was fine given the information and causes of global warming were there. The editing was fluid and well done. However, more could have improved the quality of this film as opposed to composing the entire film as a news-like program. Diagramming more of the science and cause(s) for global warming would have been great too. As for the video, it's crystal clear and looks excellent. It is presented in true widescreen format, and isn't letterboxed.

If you want extra inputs on the issue of global warming, this isn't a bad pick up. However, if you're looking for one with a more beefy take and solid breakdown with all the bells and whistles, then I'd completely recommend something else. Or if you're hot for Alanis Morissette, then don't miss this DVD.

Lastly, I was to finish this review with this: GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE. There, I said it. Lots of political junkies are going to email me about it but believe me, it's not. The reason is obvious as said by author Guy P. Harrison:

"Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck are climate science experts—not even close—so it makes no sense that they should be trusted as leading minds on this [global warming] issue by millions of Americans. Regardless of political party, everyone should be paying attention to what credible scientists are saying. It's really not that difficult: expert opinion should be sought from experts. Relying on politicians who are shackled one way or the other by their tribe is a foolhardy way to go about figuring out a science issue. Their goal on most days is to defend and promote their position—whether it's right or wrong. It's even worse to rely on professional rabble rousers on radio and TV for the final word on important scientific matters. Have no doubts, their primary concern is advertising revenue, certainly not scientific accuracy or even the state of our planet. They succeed through controversy, mistrust, and division. They are not scientists. They do not do science. They do not know science. Scientists know science."

- (Quoted on ch.18 "Global Warming is a political issue and nothing more." from the book 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True by Guy P. Harrison. Our book review can be read and found here.)





  • One of the few documentaries opened and presented by Alanis Morissette.
  • Documentary plays like a news broadcast (closely resembling "PBS Frontline").
  • Documentary drags past mid-way.
  • Nothing new presented on the feature presentation.
75% (C)
Fan Rating
Title Global Warming: The Signs And The Science
Description Over the last million years there have been countless successive ice ages and warming periods. So what's different now? The answer is: for the first time in Earth's history there are humans, and we are making a natural situation worse.

Human activities are provoking an unprecedented era of atmospheric warming and climatic change. We're seeing more drought, more wildfires, more flooding, bigger storms and more variable weather. Tropical diseases are moving north, childhood respiratory illness is skyrocketing, and in the last three decades over 30 diseases new to science have emerged.

Global Warming: The Signs and The Science takes viewers across America to meet people from every walk of life...their words and stories uncover the reality of climate change. And we'll meet fascinating scientists, working at the edge of climate science. Their latest findings are unsettling...and indisputable. Because global warming is much more than "just the heat."

As we start to face our vulnerability to a changing climate—people across the USA and around the world have decided to do something. They are determined to be part of the solution to this issue, and have launched all kinds of initiatives aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change.
ISBN / Bar Code number 0-7936-9075-7
Video Format 1.78:1 (16:9) / Widescreen
Audio Format Stereo
Disc Count One (1)
Language(s) English
Genre Documentary
Subtitles --
Rated Not Rated
Region Region 1 - NTSC
Specification Color
Features Play Movie, Scene Selection, [SPECIAL FEATURES] Additional Interviews: Climate Change, Impacts of Climate Change, Dealing with Climate Change, Deleted Scene: Madison, Wisconsin — A Cheerful Anomaly, [PBS ONLINE]
Production South Carolina Educational Television
Company PBS (www.pbs.org) - Public Broadcasting Service
Item / Product Number #GWSS601
Closed Captioning Yes
DVD Release January 17, 2006
Run Time Approx. 60 minutes (actual time 56 minutes, not counting Special Features being 49 minutes total)
Copyright © 2005 South Carolina Educational Television. © 2005 Artwork PBS
Other Formats ????
Quoted Reviews --
Other --
Producer for SCETV
David Kennard

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor and David Kennard

Scott Mason

Original Music
Walter Rathie

Supervising Producer
Lynn Trout

Additional Direction
Michael Morein

Production Team
Lisa Taylor
Tom Puchniak
Kathryn Kearns
Johanne Caporicci
Ruth Kleinman C.A.
Bob Mason
Danielle Russell
Jennifer Cunningham
Jody Murch
Marcee Rondan
David Dunn
Joy Cheng Yu Lin
Kevin Brennan
Dino Congonidis

Camera Work
Michael Ellis
Rich Lerner
Doug Weisman
John Wyler
Gonzalo Accame
Bryan Duggan

Sound Recording
John Martin
Gregg Hinnen
Drew Livenson
Thomas Coleman
Bill McIntyre
James Fitzgerald
Rob Maerz
Yuri Raicin

Original Computer Visualizations
Kai Whittaker
Daniel Tremblay

Lance Webster

Audio Postproduction SPR
Jean Pierre Bissonnette
Benoît Dame

Archival Materials

BBC Motion Gallery, Canamedia/ITN,
CTV Television Inc,
Eve Morgenstein, Greenpeace,
Louisiana Dept of Natural Resources
NASA/USGS, NBC News Archives,
Prairie Pictures/Stormstock
Tampa Electric, UN Video Library
US Department of Commerce NOAA

Based in part on the work by
Lydia Dotto entitled
"Storm Warnings:
Gambling wih [sic] the Climate of our Planet"

Executive Producers
Karen Coshof
Polly Kosko

This program was produced by South
Carolina ETV which is solely responsible
for its content

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