This episode sees Michael revisit his fourth, and in some ways most personal, travel series. Inspired by the apparent emptiness of the desert as seen from a flight, and by boyhood dreams of exploration, Michael sets off to find out what this 'blank space' contains. He is delighted and inspired by the societies he encounters there - nomads, refugees, artists. He also confronts some harsh realities - the effects of war, the migrant crisis, and the rise of militant Islam.
While forests only cover 16 percent of Australia's land area, they harbour a higher concentration of animal species than anywhere else on the continent.
These sets of islands are some of the most far flung territories of Australia, but they possess captivating natural beauty and a surprisingly rich and diverse past, with a multicultural heritage like no other. Charles Darwin spent time on Cocos Island developing his theory of coral atolls - a beautiful spot for some theorising, and now as one of Australia's most north easterly points it is of huge military significance. HMAS Sydney sunk the German destroy SMS Emden in World War I not far from Cocos as a German raiding party was attempting to sever Australian communication lines, Neil discovers the story of how this party - the only survivors of the Emden - 'borrowed' some local boats and made the long journey back to Europe. Have you heard the one about the wasp that kills the bug that feeds the ants that kill the red crabs that keep the forests healthy on Christmas Island? Emma has, and lets us in on the ecological battle for equilibrium on the jungle floor. And Dave joins the forensic hunt for the identification of an unknown soldier, washed up on Cocos island in Australian Navy uniform in World War II.
Craig talks with an expert from the Bureau of Meteorology about the rise in temperatures in Australia and how this leads to more extreme weather. Does warm air hold less or more water than cooler air? What is a monsoon?
How long has the burning of the land been practised? Give two reasons why the Numurindi people burn the land. What time of year do they conduct these burns? Why?
Share our Carbon and Water Cycles in the Rainforest video with your students and then test your students on how much they know about the important role trees play in our environment.
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