H2O: The Molecule That Made Us

(Rochester, NY) – As we usher in the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a new documentary dives deep into one of the most critical issues affecting our planet: our supply of fresh water. At once indispensable and invisible in daily life, water is often taken for granted. Yet, competition for, and the cost of, water is rising to epic levels, as filmmakers show us in H2O, The Molecule That Made Us, a special three-part broadcast premieiring Wednesday, April 22 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV and continuing, Wednesday April 29 and Wednesday May 6, 2020.

A decade from now, the World Economic Forum projects we’ll need 40 percent more water than we do today. “Water is our most fundamental resource, yet we don’t really understand it,” observes narrator Kelly McEvers, the award-winning NPR journalist and host of the popular podcast, Embedded. “Over the course of three episodes, viewers learn to think completely differently about our water supply.”

In the emptiness of outer space, Earth is alive because of water. Humanity’s relationship with this simple molecule is everything.  H2O, The Molecule That Made Us dramatically reveals how water underpins every aspect of our existence. Segments from across the planet, intimate documentary and natural history cinematography combine to uncover dramatic discoveries and compelling characters and deliver important stories about this mysterious molecule.

H2O, The Molecule That Made Us documents the impact of a shrinking water supply in locations spanning South Africa, Gaza, the U.S. and other parts of the world. In California, extreme droughts have contributed to more frequent and devastating wildfires and the once popular resort community of Salton Sea is a ghost town as a result of its water supply running dry.

H2O, The Molecule That Made Us Series Highlights:

  • Episode 1: PULSE opens on the distant rock and ice of Greenland, where Geologist Stephen Mojzsis reveals a new theory on how water first arrived on Planet Earth. We see a dragonfly’s incredible journey from India to Africa – the world’s longest insect migration. We meet the Munoz family, ‘bloom chasers’, who use cutting edge time-lapse photo rigs to show the rare spectacle of deserts around the world exploding from barren wastelands into rich carpets of flowers. But the pulse of water is under threat.  
  • Episode 2: CIVILIZATIONS turns our ‘water lens’ on human history. In the jungle of the Congo in Africa, we see a hint of one provocative theory of evolution – Did we learn to walk in water? Starting in Ancient Egypt, it charts the critical role water plays in history, and around the world we see the birth of civilizations on the banks of the great rivers: Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Indus and Yellow. The question is raised, can we guarantee water supplies that are needed for future existence?
  • Episode 3: CRISIS examines how the planet’s changing water cycle is forcing us to change our relationship with water. An increasingly, globalized agricultural industry has become expert at turning precious water reserves into profit, “mining” water faster than it can be replaced. In its conclusion, the series visits locations such as New York City, a surprising model for sustainable water infrastructure, and hope emerges that the water crisis is solvable.

Photo: Key Art
Credit: Provided by PBS

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