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TV REVIEW : PBS Offers a Primer on How to Save the Rain Forests

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Why save the rain forests? That’s the subject of a new PBS science special for children, “A 3-2-1 Contact Extra, You Can’t Grow Home Again,” Sunday at 6 p.m. on KCET Channel 28 (also at 7 p.m. on KOCE Channel 50 and at 8 p.m. on KPBS Channel 15).

Except for the title song’s breathy message lyrics, the show, hosted by teen-ager Stephanie Yu, takes an unemotional, learn-the-basics approach, full of facts and figures, a horde of insects, footage of animals and input from tropical biologist Gary Hartshorn.

In terms simple to understand, we’re shown why it makes common survival sense to save what covers only 7% of the world. For instance: rain forests house half the world’s plant and animal species, many unknown, many that can benefit man medically. But “20 species a day are being wiped out” as the rain forests are destroyed for lumber, mining, farming and ranches.

The earth becomes parched and sterile; burning the trees releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

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There are alternative ways to make a living, by “using the forests instead of abusing them.” Raising iguanas for food is one way, and intrepid Stephanie tries one for dinner.

The presentation is matter-of-fact and youthfully academic, but underscoring its purpose is this poignant observation: The world is a place that’s “easy to hurt.”


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