Civilizations: Introduction (02:31)
Less than 1% of Earth's surface water is fresh; it has shaped humankind's destiny. Kelly McEvers works with scientists and filmmakers to create this documentary.
Chapter One: First Steps (06:02)
Bonobos are unique to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The evolution of bipedalism has been hotly debated. Richard Wrangham studies bonobos and discusses the wading hypothesis.
Chapter Two: Rivers (07:29)
Cairo's management of the Nile River is essential to survival. McEvers and Giulio Boccaletti discuss floods in Ancient Egypt, the Nilometer, and the end of the civilization.
Chapter Two: Rivers—Yellow River (09:23)
World civilizations began along four major rivers. Qinglong Wu finds evidence in Jishi Gorge that proves the reality of the Great Flood. Controlling water is at the heart of Chinese civilization. Dams around the world have social and environmental impacts.
Chapter Three: Ground Water (06:51)
Ancient Maya attribute ground water to the gods; cenotes are a portal to another world. Freediver Camila Jaber dives into a toxic cloud at the bottom of a cenote. A stepwell in India contains 3,500 steps.
Chapter Three: Ground Water—Irrigation (07:49)
In the 1700s, the Newcomen engine allows access to ground water. In Phoenix, AZ, farmers use pumps to access deep reservoirs. Irrigation practices are shrouded in secrecy; a sophisticated farm owned by a Saudi Arabia company has a gated entryway.
Chapter Four: Virtual Water (07:22)
Holland is committed to sustainable agriculture. Arjen Hoekstra discusses climate-controlled greenhouses and water use. Virtual water flows can have devastating consequences; the Aral Sea disappeared.
Chapter Five: Cracks in the System (04:58)
Water diversion diminishes the Colorado River. Depleted aquifers cause large cracks in the ground; fresh water demand outstrips supply. Human ingenuity and better water management can reverse ecological trends.
Credits: Civilizations (00:37)
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