For many of us in the Western world, the impacts of climate change are theoretical. We hear frightening statistics and witness policy debates in Washington, but the effects of global warming are by and large removed from our daily lives. But for the dozens/hundreds of indigenous peoples around the world whose cultures, belief systems, and livelihoods are inextricably intertwined with the natural world, climate change is a daily reality that threatens everything.
Ridge to Reef is a docu-drama that follows three main characters with three very different points of view as they explore a different location and culture with every episode. Jeremy McKane is an underwater cinematographer and fashion photographer who believes in the power of art as a universal connector of humans. Our expedition leader is Markus Reymann, executive director of conservation organization The Current, who approaches this examination with a journalistic focus on pinning down the why and the how of each storyline. Mike ‘Doc’ North of the Discovery Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science is obsessed with the technological side of conservation efforts, applying indigenous approaches to nature to Western science to develop new ways to combat climate change—on top of being scary smart.
The show is Anthony Bourdain meets Top Gear with an ecological spin. Our characters explore different cultures through their approach to nature, using conversations with locals and indigenous wise men to add color and emotion to the narrative: An ayurvedic doctor working medical miracles in Kerala, India. A wandering monk in Northern Thailand who started an orphanage. An inuit fisherman in Alaska using ancient technology to sustainably harvest salmon. Along the way, the small expeditionary force talks art, exploration, and sustainable technology (with no small part of fun and comic relief thrown in the mix). For audiences, it’s a way of traveling vicariously to remote locations, learning about the emerging science of conservation, and connecting real people and personal stories to the issue of climate change.