Saturday, December 04, 2010

Making Scotland's Landscape

I previously recommended a five part BBC documentary series by Prof Iain Stewart called How Earth Made Us. Unfortunately, I only got around to mentioning it when it just about to disappear from BBC iPlayer. So this time, I would like to recommend a five part BBC documentary series by Iain Stewart with a little more time to spare (it's available for the next three weeks). Called Making Scotland's Landscape, it is a fascinating look at Scottish history through the human fingerprints all over Scotland's famed "natural" beauty. The first four episodes have already screened and are available on iPlayer: Trees, The Land, The Sea and Water. The final episode Climate is coming soon. I particularly enjoyed the second episode and the fourth was obviously shot during the cold snap last winter. Unfortunately, BBC iPlayer is only available to UK residents.

The central idea of the series is nothing new, being but an application of Bill McKibben's thesis in The End of Nature: that human activities have so colonised the natural world that "untouched" nature no longer exists. But it is beautifully shot, coherently narrated and brought home to landscapes with which I am increasingly familiar and of which I am increasingly fond.

This series may be of particular interest to those who think that it is arrogant to believe that our puny species could possible affect something as robust and enormous as the planet.

3 comments:

Plessey said...

Byron, Iplayer is restricted to the UK. How come you can see it in Australia.

byron smith said...

Plessey - I've been living in the UK for the last two years while working on my PhD.

byron smith said...

I've just found the final (and most interesting) episode of the previous series here.