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National Geographic: Human Footprint DVD

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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  • Narrated by Elizabeth Vargas
  • What's Your Footprint?
  • Outlines easy and not so easy changes that you can make to change the world
  • Widescreen format
  • DVD Special Feature - Behind the Scenes
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Product Description

The National Geographic Human Footprint DVD will make you realize just what it takes to be you everyday. Have you ever thought about how much food, everyday products, and fuel you've consumed during the course of your life? In National Geographic's new program, HUMAN FOOTPRINT, you'll find out that it's a lot. From our cars to our clothes dryers to our disposable toothbrushes, our impact on planet Earth is astonishing. Whether you're a child who drinks milk or an adult who enjoys a bottle of wine, HUMAN FOOTPRINT takes a phase-by-phase journey through life to illustrate the enormous imprint every American makes during his or her time on Earth. Incorporating surprising facts with playful visuals, this enlightening portrait reveals our level of consumption and the simple changes we can all make to reduce our negative impact on the world. Narrated by Elizabeth Vargas. Featuring eco-friendly packaging - Made of 100% recycled fiber, 55% post consumer waste. Plastic film 100% compostable.Produced by National Geographic.1 disc.Run time - 90 minutes.2008.English.DVD's are not returnable once the package is opened.

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  • ASIN: B00G2ULFBK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
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By Raiven E. Trantham on May 14, 2008
Color: DVD Verified Purchase
I teach high school science and 100 level science classes at the local university. I showed the dvd for both groups with a worksheet I made up for them (anyone in education knows that you must give the students something to work on relating to the movie they're watching, or else they won't pay attention). It was visually impressive to see the amounts of "stuff" we go through in a lifetime, and it's a good movie because students have no idea what these amounts really are; they cannot fathom how immense 43,000 soda cans is. However that's really all there was to this dvd-they show a product (or activity), explain (briefly)how it is constructed, or shipped, and then they actually display the amount with the number (literaly they laid out 43,000+ soda cans in a parking lot). There was no explanation of the impact or problems associated with the levels of consumption or waste. And after 30-40 minutes (the dvd is 1.5hrs) it gets well, kind of boring. So good for providing the visual concept, poor in terms exploring the underlying cause and consequences.
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The "Human Footprint" was first aired on the National Geographic Channel earlier this year. It is a graphic portrayal of the quantities of stuff that an average American consumes over the course of a lifetime.

The criticism of our lifestyle is implicit. No one says what all this is doing to the planet, but it quickly becomes obvious that enormous quantities of stuff must be manufactured, consumed, and discarded in order to support the high standard of living that we enjoy. You only have to look at the herd of pigs, tons of potatoes, or football field expanse of bread to be amazed at what we consume.

The story is told with a sense of humor. The kitchen filling with fruit is funny. However, the question that comes to mind is whether we will always have the resources to keep this up. The inventory shown by National Geographic is food for thought.

Another interesting video on the subject of the consumer economy is the 20-minute "The Story of Stuff." It does not seem to be available on Amazon, but can be found for viewing on the web. "Stuff" is more direct in its point of view.
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This film tracks the life of a boy and girl from childhood through old age.

At various stages of life their consumption of various resources is examined in great detail.

The early displays of actual counts of what they use are at first fascinating and impressive. Gee...I thought... someone went to lot of effort to assemble and set up over 43,000 soft drink cans.

Then as the statistical bombardment continues, one begins to wonder are these numbers really correct. Each stat is accompanied with yet another visual display of what the number means. OK...I get it...I don't need to see the actual number of toothbrushes I will use in a lifetime.

Finally, the whole experience becomes irritating, if there is a point here the film is not making it clear (at least for me). Even small uses become large values over the 77 years of the average lifespan.

Are we supposed to apologize for being alive? That was the way I felt a few times. Apparently you are really not a good person if you eat cheeseburgers.

I would certainly agree that there are waste and excesses that need to be curbed especially here in America, but the film seems to imply that consumers are to blame for all of it.

There is nothing in the film about the endless marketing and advertising that drive all of us to over-buy and over-use. Consumption and more consumption is just what corporations want and their role in driving that to excess is never explored.

The planned and engineered obsolescence of many products that requires us to re-buy the same items that fill up the landfills is also never considered.
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Episodes in Human Consumption—A Teacher’s Review

Approximately 17 dramatic vignettes are used to impress viewers with how much one American consumes in a year or a lifetime. The strategy is to line up, stack, pile, and otherwise overwhelm the viewer with the quantity of items a person consumes. Since this same theme is driven home again and again, the effectiveness relies on a teacher breaking the video into segments and placing it in context. Unfortunately, there is virtually no recognition given to the concept of “renewable” resources, which is critical in appraising sustainability, i.e. milk and plant products, etc. are renewable while mined products are non-renewable. The items discussed move in order from our needs as babies through old age.

1. Diapers are produced at the rate of 3,796 over 2.5 year’s requiring 1898 pints of crude oil, 715 pounds of plastic, the pulp of 4.5 trees and total 18 billion in use per year. Washing cloth diapers uses water (but again, water cycles which is not emphasized).

2. Usage is converted to massive CO2 production which becomes the coin of the ecological realm.

3. Milk from 65,000 U.S. dairy farms with 9.2 million cows averaging 168 pints per year.

4. Meals require beef, pork, chicken and eggs (one year’s worth of eggs for a person are
dumped); 19,826 eggs per average lifetime; 20,000 potatoes/person; wheat for pizza and bread, etc.; hot dogs and hamburgers; fruits and veggies; 14,000+ candy bars; 1,056 pounds fo sugar; 5,067 bananas...all per one person’s average lifetime. Includes 12,888 oranges, 262 pineapples/person/lifetime as well.
5. 15 tons of plastic packaging per person; 43,371 aluminum soda cans per person per lifetime average.

6.
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