America is one of the greatest nations in the world. The infrastructure on which this nation runs is a big part of what makes it so great. But as amazing as our nation’s infrastructure is, it isn’t without its problems. As the country gets older and its population continues to grow, there are increasing problems with the nation’s food production, transportation systems, and even its power grid and general goods production system. This is the basis for PBS’ mini-series, “America Revealed.”
“America Revealed” takes audiences on a cross country trip, examining the aforementioned aspects of the nation’s infrastructure and how each one evolved from its infancy to what it is today. At the same time, it offers an unbiased look at the other side of the coin; the problems that have become increasingly evident as the nation’s population has grown. On the set’s first disc, it ties together the country’s growing population to the equally growing problems with its food and transportation industry. Both have their positives. But as with anything that changes, so do the associated growing pains. Host Yul Kwon explains the good and the bad with each one. For example, he explains with the country’s “Food Machine” that while the growth of the food industry has been a boon for America, it has also become a burden. That’s because increased population has put increased pressure to produce food. So, more and more companies are producing more processed foods, thus contributing to the current obesity epidemic. That demand for food plays a direct role in the strain on the nation’s transportation industry. As Kwon explains, the increased population and related demand for food and goods in general has put massive strain on the nation’s railway system. That’s because both freight and passenger trains are forced to share the same railways. This leads to a slowdown in transportation on both ends.
On a different note, the increased population has also put equal strain on the country’s highways. The circular causality between population and the strain on highways is eye opening. Kwon explains that the building of roads (and subways) has helped our nation’s communities to grow. The problem is that as more roads are built, urban sprawl has vastly increased in turn. And as more homes and communities are built, so are more roads, creating a very difficult predicament for transportation officials. Kwon explains in one example that in Los Angeles, officials are actually rebuilding old streetcar routes in hopes of alleviating at least some of those problems.
Our great country’s food and transportation systems are just the tip of the iceberg in PBS’ examination of the link between the growing population trends and the problems associated with them. The special also looks at how America’s population growth is putting an increasing strain on the systems that power the country, and on the general goods production and distribution systems. The visuals and the simplistic explanation of each system’s interconnectivity make this perfect both for the classroom and for the casual viewer. It teaches and makes audiences aware of what’s really going on without being too preachy at the same time. Both on blu-ray and DVD, this double disc, four-part mini-series is a great watch for any audience. It can be ordered direct via PBS’ website, http://www.shoppbs.org.
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