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TV Junkie: 'Great Migrations' Could Inspire

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National Geographic's "Great Migrations" premieres on Sunday at 8pm followed by another new program at 9pm (see the promo vid above). Perhaps the most recent example of such stunning nature photography would be the BBC's "Life" which aired on Discovery earlier this year. I haven't seen the entire series but I was completely bowled over by the footage of everything from wildabeests to penguins. What I do hope to see is some discussion about how humans have affected these ancient migratory paths and to the detriment of these animals.

This summer I drove across the country for the first time, taking the Interstate 80 route from San Francisco to Chicago then 90 to Massachusetts. Upon entering southern Wyoming we entered the gasfields and were shocked not only by the stench of fumes that made it into the car but literally the hundred of gas condenser tanks and drilling rigs as far as the eye could see. This was federal land handed over to Halliburton by the Bush-Cheney regime, land that was an established part of the pronghorn antelope migration route. Sure enough, we saw pronghorn antelope, in twos and threes, literally standing among these condenser tanks, trying to avoid the endless streams of trucks on the access roads that criss-crossed what must have been a gorgeous landscape. According to the documentary "Gasland", the birthrate of the pronghorn has declined by over 60% since these lands were opened up for gas production.

If "Great Migrations" is truly a great series, it will provide not only stunning footage of these animals, but it will inform us about how we are adversely affecting their existence, inspiring us to do something about it. Since I saw what was happening to the pronghorn I've upgraded all of my thermostats, I turn off my boiler for 6 months out of the year, and have found a contractor to implement solar hot water for my house within the next 2 years.