BBC World News TV is now showing "Hot Cities," a new series about the effects of global warming around the world. If you can’t catch the segments on television, you can watch them on your computer. Each runs about 45 minutes.
Bursting at the Seams Episode 1, Lagos Nigeria, 24 October 2009, by Producer/Director Joe Loncraine
“Hot Cities” begins in Lagos, one of the toughest and the fastest growing mega cities in the world — and a place very vulnerable to the threat of climate change. Large areas of the Lagos could be swamped by sea level rises. The city, one of the worlds fastest is a magnet for migrants across the whole of West Africa hoping to find a better life.
During preproduction of this film it soon emerged that our crew would need to be split across the three locations in the film. Since I was flying to Lagos, for the Nigeria section of the film, I would not be travelling to the two other locations, Alaska and the Maldives. Two countries considered some of the most beautiful places on earth and Lagos often branded as one of the world’s worst cities — I have to confess to a little disappointment. But, how wrong I was. Whilst Lagos is tough, dirty and over crowded, a little like my home city of London, it really feels like an exciting place to be and is a great place to film. A man on the street described it as the African New York and that is exactly what it feels like. Lagos is going through some major improvements in preparation to become the third largest city in the world. If developed in the right way, it could be an example to the rest of Africa’s rapidly growing cities. The excellent footage returned by the other crews from Alaska and the Maldives also differed from my expectations. In the Maldives I expected to see families living on the shores of idyllic beaches when in fact a huge proportion of the country live on a city island more densely populated than Manhattan. In Alaska there was little of the snow covered mountain ranges I expected, rather a massive expansive of flat muddy tundra. Overall the biggest surprise of making the film was learning how these three vastly different locations all face such a similar and present threat from their changing climates.
Water, water everywhere Episode 2, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 31 October 2009, by producer/Director Cassie Farrell
Bangladesh is one of the countries most seriously affected by climate change. It is constantly battered by cyclones, coastal surges, overflowing rivers and violent downpours. Climate refugees from across the country are pouring into the capital, Dhaka. But Bangladesh is fighting back. In rural areas communities are developing new and ingenious ways of coping with climate change to help people survive, easing the pressure on the country’s capital.
Torrential rains, bursting rivers, cyclones, coastal surges - Bangladesh is at the sharp end of climate change.

People from rural areas pour into the capital Dhaka escaping flooding that has destroyed not only their homes but their livelihoods too. A population of 14 million is expected to increase to 50 million … miles of slums are home to these refugees who live quite literally piled on top of each-other.Whilst we’ve all seen pictures of Bangladeshis knee deep in water none of the film crew were prepared for the scenes of families living for weeks in stinking water, and mothers unable to find clean water for their children. This city is submerged - the slums are scenes from ‘Inferno’.

And yet, despite everything, people seem to have clung onto their spirit. Kushta, a mother of 4 works a ten hour shift laying bricks. She has a good idea of what global warming has done for her ‘my home is flooded, my husband cannot work on his land.’ She waves her fists in the air demanding the government find help for families like hers’. An old man driven from his home by floods is clear about where the fault lies ‘the rich nations have taken too much for too long, if they continue to ignore our rights we will take to the streets and fight for what is ours’

There are hundreds of voices like theirs’. They are loud and clear. We left feeling quite certain that the time has come for governments around the world to listen and to act.
Climate Bites Episode 3, Jakarta, Indonesia, 07 November 2009, by Producer/Director Mallary Gelb
The impact of climate change on the spread of disease and the affect on world health could be dramatic. In this episode of “Hot Cities” we go to Jakarta, a sprawling city of 12 million people. It’s also under threat from a new increase in dengue fever, for which there is no cure. Even rich countries are vulnerable. A deadly heat wave hit Chicago in 1995 killing hundreds of people. “Hot Cities” looks at the adaptation strategy Chicago has introduced to make sure it does not happen again.
The team of young men dressed in military style overalls and facemasks loaded their weapons and stood ready for action. This was Jakarta’s answer to climate change and we were there to follow them. Known simply as ‘foggers” these men use their “guns” to fire giant clouds of insecticide smothering entire neighbourhoods. The bewildered homeowners simply stand by and watch helplessly, inhaling the pungent fumes. This is Jakarta’s response to the extremely worrying increase in the painful and sometimes deadly mosquito borne disease, Dengue Fever. Everyone in this Asian city seems to have his or her own Dengue story; it’s so ubiquitous these days. Even our invaluable “fixer”, Dewa, was summoned back to his day job because so many of his colleagues were in hospital with the disease. It’s a looming crisis for the city. And everyone in Jakarta seems to agree on what’s to blame: climate change. The city’s scientists and the public alike all say it’s raining more and raining when it used to be dry. They say Jakarta’s traditional dry season has vanished allowing Dengue-carrying mosquitoes to flourish all year round. The authorities hope that “fogging” and other measure they are introducing will keep the disease under control. But it’s a big wish.
Meltdown!… Lima, Peru, Episode 4, 14 November 2009, by Producer/Director Amanda Burrell
I lost track of how long we trudged through the snowstorm. All I could keep count of were my footsteps, as a way of pushing myself on. Every time I reached 100 I allowed myself to look up, exposing my face to the freezing wind to see if there was any sign of our destination. But, for what seemed like hours on end, there wasn’t. All I could see was a never-ending expanse of swirling white.
We were 5400 metres above sea level, on a glacier in the Peruvian Andes, heading towards a research camp where Lonnie Thompson, the world’s preeminent glaciologist, and his team were drilling into the ice core. Lonnie’s discovered that glaciers are melting at a rate which was previously inconceivable. As they disappear they will take most of the world’s fresh water supply with them.

Hard to imagine an ice-free world when you are traversing a glacier. Sometimes the only thing that kept my legs moving was the rope attaching me to the mountain guide, Americo. He walked ahead, prodding the snow with an axe. Often it would give way to reveal a deep crevasse. The more regular appearance of new ones is an ominous sign of global warming.
I felt so insignificant and small up on that massive glacier. But now, it too is helpless in the face of climate change. Up on it, there were times when I felt as if we were literally on top of the world. But with every crevasse that Americo uncovered I was reminded of how fragile things are and how quickly we could fall to the bottom.
Water security is going to be one of the most pressing issues as the world faces the challenge of climate change. If average global temperatures rise by only a few degrees most of the world’s glaciers will all but disappear, leading to floods and severe water shortages for millions of people. “Hot Cities” goes to Lima in Peru, one of the driest cities in the world, which relies heavily on the water from three rivers fed by glacial melt.
Feed the World Dakar, Senegal, Episode 5, 21 November 2009, by Producer/Director Jago Smith
Half the world’s population face severe food shortages by the end of the century as climate change takes its toll on the global harvest. Drought in the Sahal, which runs through Senegal, means many climate migrants are flocking to the capital, Dakar, to find work to feed their families. “Hot Cities” follows migrants from their villages, where farming has almost been wiped out, to the city. This film also looks at what is being done to feed Senegal in the future.
Dusty, barren, desert. These are the words that entered my head as we trundled towards our location - the village of Diagle in Senegal. Our main interviewee Keba had taken us back home to where he used to farm before the droughts. He was one of many Climate Change refugees who have fled to the overstretched capital city of Dakar to feed his children. Once he met his family and spent time in his village we really saw him smile for the first time in our presence - it was like the huge weight of city-living had been lifted off of his shoulders. Next we found his fellow villager Ousmane who was due to leave for the capital next day. We felt privileged to witness Ousmane’s last remaining moments with his three year old son Ada before he left. Ironically in the developed world too - New South Wales, Australia - we met people who complained about younger farming generations leaving to find work in the city. What struck me making this film was the human cost of climate change - not only the obvious risk of starvation but how families and communities are being torn apart daily by this global phenomenon.