This episode explores the new movement to regenerate the planet with "Ecosystem Restoration Camps", where groups of people set up temporary camps on degraded lands for education and implementation of ecological rehabilitation and permaculture. The first camp is now up and running in Spain, with many more in the works. John D. Liu, one of the ideas inspirations, shares much about his vision of the camps and movement to restore the planet's degraded lands and stabilize climate change through a massive social and ecological movement.
John Dennis Liu full bio:
John Dennis Liu (born 1953 in Nashville, Tennessee) is a Chinese American film-maker and ecologist. He is also a researcher at several institutions. In January 2015 John was named Visiting Fellow at Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. John is also Ecosystem Ambassador for the Commonland Foundation based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Liu was born in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, as the son of a Chinese father and American mother. He spent most of his youth in Bloomington, Indiana. Liu studied journalism. In 1979 he went for the first time to China, after being pushed by his father to see his grandmother before her death. In China Liu helped set up the CBS News bureau in Beijing in 1981, at a time when tensions between the United States and China were lessening. He worked for CBS for more than ten years as a producer and cameraman. Liu has said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union he grew tired of journalism and wished to make films. He started working for European media as RAI, SRG SSR, ZDF For RAI, ZDF, BBC World and National Geographic Channel he produced nature documentaries. In 1995 he filmed the Loess Plateau in China, which was being transformed from a barren and eroded ground into an oasis by the government. At this point Liu noticed the possibility of humans restoring ecosystems, rather than only destroying them.
Ecological recovery and ideas
Liu retired from journalism in 1997 and became the director of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP). With the EEMP he uses television to provide information about ecology, sustainable development, public health in China and other countries. Liu emphasizes that the harmful effect of humans on the world is not only caused by greenhouse gasses, but is to a great extent caused by the destruction of biomass, organic matter and biodiversity. Liu claims that the decline in these factors has led to higher temperatures and loss of arable soil, in the end leading to desertification. Liu sees a solution for these problems in the way people look at money, as people currently value the products and services derived from ecosystems higher than the ecosystems themselves. The episode, Regreening the desert / Green gold of the show Tegenlicht, was aired by Dutch public broadcaster VPRO and co-produced by Liu. The episodes sees Liu traveling the world to countries as Jordan, China and Ethiopia and shows the possibilities in re-greening areas turning into desert. At the 65th Prix Italia, in September 2013, the episode won the Special Prize Expo 2015. Since 2009, Liu is working together with Willem Ferwerda, former director of the Dutch office of IUCN, executive fellow business and ecosystems at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and founder of the Commonland Foundation an organization that works on large scale landscape restoration projects with a business approach, based on the 4 returns from landscape restoration framework developed by Ferwerda.