National Geographic : 1992 Feb
On Television Nightmare in the Gulf Takes Its Toll cormorant struggles out of water black and thick with oil. It staggers onto land strewed with dead birds and marine life. Soon the cormorant too will die, its death throes illuminated by the fires of a burning oil well. A year ago the Iraqi Army re treating from Kuwait damaged near ly 800 oil wells along with huge oil tanks, thereby poisoning 300 miles of coast and 600 square miles of the Persian Gulf. Nine years before, award-winning wildlife filmmaker Michael McKin non had begun documenting the fragile landscape-the breeding grounds of cormorants and grebes, the shallow coastal realm of crabs and oysters. That footage contrasts starkly with his extraordinary im ages of the war's aftermath: The riv er of oil that crept down the coast, sinking into the sand to kill shrimp, worms, and other tidal residents; volunteers who sought to rescue fouled birds and turtles; fire fighters who battled oil well infernos ringed with unexploded ordnance. "As you looked out over the burning land under a canopy of black smoke," recalls McKinnon, "it gave a taste of what nuclear win ter might be like. It gave visual form to our worst nightmares." McKinnon's film airs as part of TBS's Save the Earth programming, a campaign to increase public awareness of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, June 1-12, 1992. "TIDES OF WAR," EXPLORER, FEBRU ARY23, CABLE NETWORK TBS, 9P.M. ET A Blending of Cultures Creates a Vibrant People Once the Olmec, the Maya, and the Aztec ruled; then came the Spanish from across the sea. From the intermingling of traditions and peoples over the centu ries has emerged the soul of today's Mexicans. Filmmaker Bill Livingston took his crew from the ancient ruins of Palenque to the modern-day barrios of Mexico City and Ciudad Juarez. A subway conductor talks about life in the crowded capital, and urban artists celebrate the vigor of a city beset with problems. One of Mexico's premier ecologists glories in the annual return of monarch butterflies to their mountain sanctu ary and welcomes the end of sea turtle slaughter along the Pacific coast. In a moving visit with Rufino Tamayo shortly before his death, the famed painter speaks of what it means to be Mexican, to be inheritors of the past, architects of the future. "THE MEXICANS: THROUGH THEIR EYES," SPECIAL ON PBS, FEBRUARY 26, 8 P.M. ET MARILYNGIBBONS, NGS STAFF NATIONALGEOGRAPHICEXPLORERAIRS ON CABLENETWORKTBS, SUNDAYS9-1 I P.M . ET. WATCHNATIONALGEOGRAPHICSPECIALSON PBS;CHECKLOCALLISTINGS.