Tag Archives: The Nature of Things

Preview: The Nature of Things “I am the Magpie River” spotlights a waterway with personhood rights

Can nature have rights? That’s the question at the heart of Thursday’s new episode of The Nature of Things.

In “I am the Magpie River,” airing Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, filmmaker Susan Fleming answers the question with a resounding yes. The 200-kilometre river, in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec, flows from the Labrador Plateau into the north shore of the St. Lawrence River near Sept-Îles, Quebec.

The waterway is sacred to the Innu First Nation, who call it Mutuhekau Shipu, and they’ve depended on it as a major highway and food source for centuries. And that’s why, as of 2021, the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit and the Minganie Regional County Municipality had the river declared a legal person. The result? The river has nine rights, including the right to flow, to be free from pollution, and to sue.

Gorgeously filmed, with aerial drone shots capturing the rugged river in its savage glory through the seasons and up-close footage of the area’s unique flora and fauna (including herds of caribou), Fleming shows the awesome strength of the waterway during the spring melt. And it’s the power of the Magpie that Hydro Quebec—which is the fourth largest producer of hydropower on the planet—would love to have a piece of. And that’s the point of personhood: to protect the river from being changed, being taken advantage of, and being tamed.

The Magpie River may be the first in Canada to be granted personhood, but it is just the latest in many around the world. Indigenous-led campaigns like that done by the Innu in Canada have saved the Klamath River in the U.S., the Whanganui River in New Zealand, and the Amazon in Columbia.

The Nature of Things, “I am the Magpie River,” airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Image from “I am the Magpie River.


TV, Eh? Podcast Episode 254: Production on Murdoch Mysteries spinoff, Run the Burbs and The Hardy Boys

Welcome back to another bi-weekly (ish) chat about the latest news in Canadian TV! First, Greg and Amy go through debuts and returns on the Canadian TV calendar.

Then, we cover the latest Canadian TV news, which includes production beginning on a Murdoch Mysteries spinoff; Season 2 of Run the Burbs; the final season of The Hardy Boys; casting for CBC’s new series, Essex County; and David Suzuki retiring from The Nature of Things. We finish the podcast by getting into the Halloween spirit with Are You Afraid of the Dark?

This podcast brought to you by Candy Corn Cocktails and Pommies Cider.

[Editor’s Note: Greg erroneously said that Anthony Q. Farrell was the showrunner for Diggstown. Anthony Q. Farrell was the showrunner for Overload and the Underwoods, The Parker Andersons/Amelia Parker and the upcoming Shelved. He apologizes for the error.]


David Suzuki announces retirement as host of CBC’s The Nature of Things

From a media release:

World-renowned environmentalist and science broadcaster David Suzuki will retire next spring after 43 years as host of CBC’s THE NATURE OF THINGS, which he has hosted since October 24, 1979. Suzuki announced his decision tonight during an interview with Ian Hanomansing on The National, discussing his legacy, meaningful moments and hopes for the future. TV’s longest-running science series, The Nature of Things’ 62nd season will launch on Friday, January 6, 2023, with Suzuki’s final episode set to air in the spring. New hosting plans for the series after Suzuki’s departure will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

“I have been fortunate to have been endowed with good health which has enabled me to remain the host of the series long after my ‘best before date’,” said Suzuki. “Aging is a natural biological process that creates opportunity for fresher, more imaginative input from younger people and for years, I have warned that to ensure the continuation of The Nature of Things, we must prepare for the transition when I leave. That moment is now.”

“I am so grateful to Canadians who have kept us on air and to the CBC for sticking with me,” added Suzuki. “The Nature of Things is a unique series that stems from an ecocentric rather than anthropocentric perspective, a critical understanding of how we got into the mess we are in and how to move out of it.”

“David has made science more accessible to countless viewers in Canada and around the world, finding new ways to demystify our complex world and illustrate how the future of humanity and the natural world cannot be separated — long before climate change became a hot topic, “ said Barbara Williams, Executive Vice President, CBC. “We thank David for challenging and inspiring so many of us to look at ourselves and our planet in new ways, and look forward to celebrating his indelible legacy and final season next year.”

Before his life as a broadcaster, Suzuki was a distinguished professor and geneticist. He has authored more than 50 books, received several honorary degrees and awards, and has been recognized by the UN for his environmental leadership. Suzuki is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Companion of the Order of Canada. He also founded the non-profit David Suzuki Foundation.

THE NATURE OF THINGS presents dramatic and insightful stories that are driven by a scientific understanding of the world. THE NATURE OF THINGS continues to inspire and entertain audiences by engaging with the people and personalities behind the science and phenomena that shape our world. From the search for other life in the universe to the psychology of babies, and from the furry animals that invade our backyards to the consequences of human progress, THE NATURE OF THINGS throws open the door to the wonder and accomplishments of science, making it accessible to viewers of all ages.

The 62nd season of THE NATURE OF THINGS will broadcast Friday nights at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) starting January 6 on CBC TV and CBC Gem. More information about the lineup of documentaries this coming season will be available here closer to the premiere.


Preview: TNoT’s “Nature’s Big Year” explores what happens when a pandemic sends humans inside

Do you recall those first few weeks into the pandemic, when humans were told to stay home and animals were seen more frequently outside? I remember the cellphone videos posted on social media of coyotes trotting down residential streets and sheep galloping around neighbourhoods overseas amid jokes of nature taking the land back.

Were these just a handful of coincidental instances, or something that was really happening while we sat inside, looking out the window? And, was nature better off?

“Nature’s Big Year,” airing Friday as part of The Nature of Things, aims to find out.

Writer, director and producer Christine Nielsen and producer Diana Warmé tell an incredible story spanning 11 locations around the globe—during the pandemic—of nature doing a reboot.

In Bighorn Backcountry, Alberta, wildlife ecologist Jason Fisher and his colleagues were delayed by COVID-19 from accessing trail cameras they’d set up before the world shut down. What they saw in the footage was surprising.

Meanwhile, in Juno Beach, Florida, research manager Sarah Hirsch relates how the lockdown helped loggerhead turtles nest more successfully in an area humans usually trampled around in. And, in Nottinghamshire, UK, wildlife biologist Lauren Moore investigates whether or not a drop in traffic during the pandemic would cause the endangered hedgehog to rebound.

And, not surprisingly (I know this first-hand from observing my feeder), birds were more plentiful during the lockdown. What was a surprise for researchers was that birdsong became louder, more varied, and birds were attracted to areas where there were stricter lockdowns.

Beautifully filmed, “Nature’s Big Year” is the well-told tale of what happens to nature when we interact with it less.

“Nature’s Big Year” airs as part of The Nature of Things, Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Preview: The Nature of Things goes “Inside the Great Vaccine Race” for Season 61 return

Happy Season 61, The Nature of Things! The series, hosted by David Suzuki has always been timely in its nature, covering top-of-mind topics in an interesting, down-to-earth way that even I can understand.

Returning Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC, The Nature of Things is never more relevant, tackling COVID-19 with “Inside the Great Vaccine Race.” As the title suggests, this is an exhaustive peek at the people who worked tirelessly to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and continue to do so.

The episode begins with Dr. Alyson Kelvin (above), a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon, who left her family in Halifax for five months to work on a vaccine. While most people, in the early days of the vaccine, expressed curiosity at what was going on in Wuhan, China, Dr. Kelvin knew that—within months—the disease could be worldwide.

“Despite the sacrifices that I made to come here, I would have felt useless being at home,” she says.

Meanwhile, in China, it takes less than two days for the virus to be mapped and identified as related to SARS. And, able to spread without obvious symptoms by the carrier, it can move undetected around the world.

The Nature of Things also visits Cambridge University, Germany’s BioNTech lab and China’s CanSino Biologics as part of its storytelling, outlining what was being done in each location as the sprint to creating vaccines increased.

Made by Infield Fly Productions (who had their own challenges filming a documentary during a pandemic) in association with the CBC, “Inside the Great Vaccine Race” is tough to watch simply because it’s showing a worldwide event we’re still in the midst of. Those that have lost family members or friends to COVID-19 are going to have a particularly difficult experience. And it’s an excellent education into how science can provide a relatively quick solution to a worldwide catastrophe.

“Inside the Great Vaccine Race” kicks off Season 61 of The Nature of Things, Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC.