Segments in this Video

Introduction: Rivers of Destiny (01:08)


Rivers are delicate ecosystems. This film examines patterns of environmental change in four great river systems.

Grafton, IL (03:44)

The Illinois and Mississippi Rivers converge at the waterfront town. High waters in spring are common, but in 1927, floodplain cities become inundated. The Army Corps of Engineers builds locks, dams, and levees.

Mississippi River (04:40)

Jim Beasley hopes his children will continue the tradition of fishing. In 1993, a series of storms hits; waters rise, the levee system struggles, and volunteers sandbag. Levees fail and the river consumes floodplain cities; Grafton recovers.

Amazon River System (04:41)

Sao Miguel fishermen attempt to catch pirarucu. Three Amazon tributaries are larger than the Mississippi River. Yearly floods create an underwater forest; the Amazon houses over 3,000 fish species. Satellite images reveal deforestation and human activity along the flood plains.

Manaus, Brazil (03:20)

The economic capital of Amazonia is a free trade zone. Mismanagement of natural resources creates extreme economic pressure. Families and businesses struggle in Novo AirĂ£o.

Sao Miguel Freshwater Fisheries (03:54)

Resource management skills improve fishing along the lower Amazon. Toby McGrath visits the Community of Ile de San Miguel. Once a month, community leaders gather to discuss issues.

Jordan River (05:10)

The Jordan is almost 700 feet below sea level when it reaches the Sea of Galilee; the reservoir supplies one third of Israel's water. A threat to divert river water is one reason for the Arab-Israeli War. Ein Gev citizens learn to manage water and resources.

Jordan Population and Water (04:30)

Desert covers nearly 90% of the Middle East. Thousands of years ago, the Nabateans learn how to support their population with little rainfall. The city of Amman thrives, but the countryside reveals a water crisis. Shimon Peres discusses politics and water.

Jordan's West Bank (02:56)

The area is home to 750,000 Palestinian refugees and water is a source of conflict. Jericho depends on springs and underground water; the Ayn Sultan spring is one of the most ancient sources. Equitable water distribution may be vital to lasting peace.

Mekong River Delta (04:33)

Dao Hanh carries commuters across the river. Approximately 15 million Vietnamese live in the delta. The Mekong sustains six nations. In Can Tho, thousands gather to buy and sell goods. The river is important for development.

Mekong Floodplains (04:45)

Deforestation makes monsoon floods severe. River flow reduction introduces saltwater from the South China Sea. Fresh water pumped from upstream helps fish farms in the lower delta; Ha Hei Oanh and her family raise catfish. Prosperity results in environmental threats.

New Orleans, Louisiana (04:30)

The city's levee system has been under construction for nearly 300 years. The Army Corps of Engineers prevents the Mississippi River from changing course. Levees are causing the destruction of Louisiana's coastal wetlands.

Louisiana Bayous (04:23)

Cajun culture has a direct link to the Mississippi River Delta and is currently under threat. River channeling removes nutrient rich water from fishing grounds. The management of the Mekong, Mississippi, Jordan, and Amazon rivers dictates quality of life.

Credits: Rivers of Destiny (02:01)

Credits: Rivers of Destiny

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Rivers of Destiny

Part of the Series : Journey to Planet Earth, Season 1
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This program journeys to four major river systems of the world to investigate the environmental problems of those whose lives depend upon the health of their river. Locations include the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Jordan and the Mekong Rivers.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL210595

Copyright date: ©2004

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Only available in USA and Canada.