March 21, 2009
Darwin's Dangerous Idea Part 3: Life and Death
Darwin's Dangerous Idea
BBC2 Thursday 19th March 2009
In the final episode of this ground-breaking series about Charles Darwin's legacy, Andrew Marr discovers how Darwin's ideas are helping us to save ourselves and all life on earth from extinction. Marr argues that Charles Darwin is the father of ecology. The modern environmental movement was built upon his insight that all life on earth is linked by a delicate web of connections. He also discovers that Darwin's dangerous idea is inspiring scientists to create a 'flotilla of Darwinian Noah's Arks' to help save life on earth from disaster.
Exploring the impact of industrialisation, intensive farming and our growing hunger for meat, Marr tells the story of our slow awakening to the full implications of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and our own destructive powers as a species. After showing how Darwin developed his ideas by digging up fossils, exploring coral reefs and studying the habits of the humble earthworm, Marr explains how Darwin's dangerous idea was launched into the space age. He discovers the mysterious movements of the 'mouse society', snorkels over a coral reef and visits a 'boiling cauldron of evolution' - the tropical rainforest - which is now threatened by the shadow of mass extinction.
Over the last 150 years, the combination of Darwin's ideas with politics has often had disastrous social consequences. In this programme, Andrew Marr argues that our failure to combine politics with Darwin's insights into the delicate connections between all life on earth could be accelerating the countdown to our own extinction.