Cairo's Zaballeen—Arabic for "garbage people"—recycle nearly all the trash they collect, maintaining what could be the world's most efficient waste disposal system. Foreign competition is threatening this community of ecologically minded trash entrepreneurs, which has a lot it could teach the rest of the world about waste management.
Stephan Fayon, director of an international seed bank in Auroville, India, explains how preserving the diversity of seeds insures against the breakdown of large-scale industrial agriculture. Today the supermarkets in the developed world are full -- but if unsustainable systems of agriculture collapse, will we know how to nourish ourselves?
Lack of toilets is a serious problem in India. Human excrement pollutes fields and rivers, causing disease and even death. But the Sulabh Sanitation Movement is helping to change that, with cheap, eco-friendly solutions that already benefit more than 10 million people every day.
Solid waste management is a serious problem in developing countries like Nepal, as dumping garbage in open spaces can cause disease and environmental pollution. One Nepalese woman, Tulasa Gyawali, has developed a practical and innovative way to deal with household garbage. Her kitchen compost nourishes her beautiful garden, and she earns additional income from selling reusable material like paper.
In Uganda, conservationists and local people are discovering that tourism can help preserve gorilla habitats and create sustainable jobs.
People from wealthy industrialized nations see flip-flops as cheap and disposable. But in Kenya, much-loved "pata-patas" are repaired, reused, and recycled—but never wasted. The film follows the long life cycle of this colorful footwear, a story full of resourcefulness, enterprise, and creativity.