plan b: Naturally beautiful – cosmetics rethought

Cream, deodorant, lipstick: hardly anything comes closer to us. This is one of the reasons why consumers increasingly value natural ingredients, less packaging and fair production conditions.

Our cosmetics often contain controversial mineral oils or aluminium salts. They are packaged in disposable plastic. Good reasons to look for alternatives. For example, a deodorant that is 100 per cent natural and without waste. Good for consumers and the environment.

Fewer and fewer consumers want to put just anything on their skin. Instead, less chemicals and plastic in the bathroom. Marina Zubrod, who founded Matica in 2019, is also aware of this. That’s Croatian for queen bee. The name says it all, because the basis of all Matica products is beeswax. “I had major skin problems myself a few years ago, that’s when I started looking into the ingredients in my skincare products and wasn’t exactly “amused”.” The start was brilliant. Within the first six months, the company went through the roof so much that Marina Zubrod’s husband Jan quit his job and joined her company full-time. Marina provides the ideas, Jan tries to put them into practice in their own small laboratory. Their latest idea: a 100 per cent natural roll-on deodorant that still works and comes in refillable packaging. Can it work?

Good viruses, bad viruses

In the current Corona pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is killing a great many people and limiting life around the globe. But viruses also have good sides that we can use.

According to the common definition, viruses do not count as living beings. Nevertheless, they have a great influence on evolution and are even a part of us humans. Some virus building blocks have anchored themselves in our genome and reproduce with us.

They help us to survive. Viruses built into the human genome – so-called endogenous retroviruses – contribute to the formation of the placenta, for example.

Other viruses attack bacteria, preventing them from spreading and thus creating space for further life. This is also the case in the depths of the sea. There, viruses ensure the ecological balance. For example, they curb the growth of algae by attacking them. Or they infect disease-causing bacteria that target marine animals. So soon, viruses could be used instead of antibiotics in fish farming.

At the Bernhard Nocht Institute in Hamburg, viruses are examined, catalogued and archived. Bird flu, Zika, Ebola – a total of several thousand viruses have been completely sequenced, the actual number is probably many times higher. The Ebola virus is one of the most dangerous viruses worldwide, with a mortality rate of up to 90 percent.  However, the head of virology, Stephan Günther, sees the danger for humans rather in more harmless pathogens: “Actually, one has to say that the more successful viruses are influenza, Spanish flu or now Covid – the well-transmissible viruses.” Because of their much lower mortality rate, they spread much further and thus end up killing more people than those viruses that, when infected, kill almost every infected person.

But viruses can also help heal us: Near Rome, 40 scientists are developing a vaccine against SARS-Cov-2. The researchers are using the shell of a virus they found in the faeces of gorillas as a transport capsule for the vaccine. In this way, they transform a pathogen into an effective drug. Vaccinations against black skin cancer, for example, are also already being carried out – based on viruses that attack cancer cells. The documentary “Good Viruses, Bad Viruses” shows that viruses are much more than disease-causing pathogens. They determine our existence and we can make use of their properties.

Northern Germany by night

Wie verändert sich Norddeutschland, wenn das Leben zur Ruhe kommt und sich die Dunkelheit über das Land legt? Der Film „Norddeutschland bei Nacht“ zeigt uns was passiert, während die meisten von uns schlafen.

Mit dem Hubschrauber und besonders lichtempfindlichen Spezialkameras an Bord fliegen Autor Marcus Fischötter und sein Team über blinkende Windparks, Krabbenfischer im Mondschein und Bauern, die im Scheinwerferlicht ihrer Mähdrescher Felder pflügen. Hinweg über die Häfen von Rostock, Kiel, Hamburg und vorbei an Ölplattform, Raffinerie und hell leuchtender Industrie. Überall ist nächtliches Leben. Der Norden bei Nacht ist ein schillerndes Lichtermeer.

Nacht in der Schweiz

In our 3-part journey through a night in Switzerland from dusk to dawn, we take viewers on helicopter and drone flights across the country to visit people who are still working then. Spectacular aerial shots lend the country a mysterious beauty. Images emerge that we have never seen before. And different people who are active at night tell their stories: We are present at night ski tours, piste preparations and dog sled races in winter, accompany border guards, bird ringers, film shoots, heavy transports and street artists in summer and autumn. A high-quality series with interesting stories and great pictures.

On 27.12.2020 on SRF:
Episode 1 – Wintry Switzerland from 20:05 to 21:00
Episode 2 – Summer Switzerland from 21:00 to 21:55
Episode 3 – Autumnal Switzerland from 21:55 to 22:50

The Druids – mysterious priests of the Celts

For a long time, only what ancient authors from Greece and Rome reported about the religious dignitaries of the Celts, the Druids, was known. Fascinating archaeological finds from recent years offer new insights into the cultic practices of the Iron Age. They allow us to draw conclusions about the importance of the druids in Celtic society. With their rituals involving mistletoe, oak woods, magic potions and human sacrifice, they still exert a great attraction on many people today. But what about this image is historically verifiable? What is pure projection? Who were the Druids really? What role did they play in Celtic society and how much truth is there in the image of the wise bearded man in a light-coloured robe with a sickle in his hand cutting mistletoe? Archaeological sites and finds in France, Germany and England reveal a new picture and even allow the assumption that not only men were druids.

Fairy Tales for the World – Hans Christian Andersen

Generations of children have grown up with his stories. All over the world, Hans Christian Andersen is known and loved as a fairy tale author. On 2 April, his birthday is celebrated as Children’s Book Day.

In doing so, he wrote for children and adults: “I tell the children while I remember that father and mother often listen, and they must be given something for the mind.” He did. His tales, unlike the Grimms’ fairy tales, are often deeply sad and without happy endings. The mermaid who transforms herself into a human being for her prince does not get him in the end. The stalwart tin soldier, after a mad odyssey, ends up back in his sheltered home, but unfortunately also in the oven in the end. And The Girl with the Matchsticks, who freezes to death on a cold winter’s night, reads like a bitter social critique. The fairy tales often reflect Andersen’s own experiences.

For the Danish fairy-tale poet did not have an easy life. He grew up in poor circumstances in the small town of Odense. To escape the misery, he set off for Copenhagen at the age of just 14. Here he seeks his fortune and wants to become famous. After numerous disappointments and the search for his destiny, he becomes a successful writer. Of course, he only writes the fairy tales out of financial necessity. From being a lucrative source of income, they become his most important literary works.

The documentary tells of the eventful life of the Danish national poet and delves into the exciting world of his fairy tales.

The 2000s – Decade of Division

The first decade of the 21st century is drawing new divides. In Germany and the world. Terror and war characterise the decade just as much as the growing gap between rich and poor, winners and losers of globalisation. On the other hand, the digital revolution is turning our everyday lives upside down. The internet is becoming commonplace, the smartphone our constant companion.

While the 90s were a decade of German navel-gazing, the noughties bring us back to the political world stage. From the attacks on the World Trade Center to the war in the Hindu Kush and the great stock market crash.

2000-2001 Terror War and TV Trash

The feared millennium bug does not materialise. The start of the new millennium is rather leisurely. The CDU, shaken by a donation scandal, treats itself to a woman as its new chairperson, Angela Merkel, and Berlin gets a gay mayor. Klaus Wowereit is one of the first prominent politicians to admit his sexual orientation. The feuilleton works off the RTL container show “Big Brother” and the sports world works off the designated national football coach Christoph Daum. He resigns because of his cocaine use. The big bang comes in 2001, when the terrorist attacks of 11 September mark a historic turning point.  From then on, war and terror dominate the decade and bring Germany back onto the world political stage.

2002-2004 Force of nature and Nipplegate

The Bundeswehr fights alongside America in Afghanistan against the Taliban, but Germany does not take part in the war in Iraq. Dictator Saddam Hussein is toppled in the process. Nevertheless, peace does not come to the Middle East. Janet Jackson’s bare breasts arouse America more than the torture pictures from the US prison in Abu Ghraib. And after the CDU/CSU finally found a candidate for chancellor in Edmund Stoiber, the search for Germany’s superstar began on TV. In 2002, Stoiber loses his composure against incumbent Gerhard Schröder and national football coach Rudi Völler in an interview with sports reporter Waldemar Hartmann. The flood of the century in Saxony and Bavaria is followed by the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. Mourning clouds Christmas in Germany in 2004.

2005-2007 – Summer fairy tale and chancellor’s riot

Hartz IV is the big domestic issue in the middle of the decade. It tears the SPD apart and ends the Red-Green era. In autumn 2005, Angela Merkel becomes Chancellor for the first time. We are already Pope by then. But what is still missing is another World Cup title. In 2006, a new, young team is to win the World Cup in its own country under the direction of Jürgen Klinsmann. Germany is experiencing a black-red-gold summer fairy tale, which not even the missed final can spoil in the end. However, anyone hoping that the great jubilation will continue at the Tour de France will be disappointed. The German Telekom star Jan Ulrich is convicted of blood doping and it soon becomes clear that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The big innovations come from overseas. The first smartphone is made in the USA. In 2007, the iPhone begins its triumphal march around the globe and fundamentally changes our communication behaviour.

2008-2009 – Obama frenzy and banking crash

The fat years are over. Organic is the new magic word and becomes the trademark of urban lifestyle at the end of the decade. In any case, healthy and cultivated food is booming. After the casting shows, the cooking shows conquer the German screens. Completely against its will, the global economy also goes on a diet in 2008. A huge real estate bubble bursts in the USA. First the banks are hit, then the real economy. Short-time work and scrapping premiums are supposed to slow the downturn in Germany. But the end of the decade also brings new hope. Helene Fischer gives German pop music a new lease of life. And after George W. Bush, Barack Obama is the first African-American to enter the White House. With Obama – and not only the Nobel Prize Committee hopes so – the decade marked by terror and war might find a peaceful end after all.

Regina Halmich, Sönke Wortmann, Barbara Hahlweg, Sarah Wiener, Jakob Augstein and the front women of the bands “MIA” and “Juli” accompany us on this equally entertaining foray through the 2000s.

Broadcast date of all 4 episodes on 29.11.2020:
20:15 – 21:00: 2000-2001 – Terror War and TV Trash
21:00 – 21:45: 2002-2004 – Force of nature and Nipplegate
21:45 – 22:30: 2005-2007 – Summer Fairy Tale and Chancellor’s Riots
22:30 – 23:15: 2008-2009 – Obama frenzy and banking crash

The forest rescuers

250 years ago, the forest was still healthy in most European countries. But that is over. The habitat for countless animal and plant species is in danger. Yet we need it. It provides us with valuable raw materials, stores water and ensures a good climate.

For some years now, drought and heat have been taking their toll on the trees, pests are multiplying rapidly, illegal logging is lining the pockets of criminal organisations – and even state-subsidised clear-cutting is increasing the profits of industry. That is why there are more and more people fighting for their forests. In our series “The Forest Saviours” we meet people of conviction who are closely connected to the forest and do everything they can to preserve it. We meet the Counts of Bernstorff, who are using innovative methods, courage and experimentation to transform their forest so that it can survive the climate crisis. In Finland, we meet activists who are fighting against deforestation for the paper industry and for the last reindeer herders. We show what Susanne and Pierre are doing in the French Massif Central to fight monoculture and accompany Knut Sturm, who shows what a healthy forest can look like in the Lübeck city forest. And finally, we accompany people in Romania who have declared war on the timber mafia.

Sick from the heat? How the climate is changing our health

Climate change is the big issue of our time. It is omnipresent, present in the media and part of our everyday lives, because it poses a high risk to the current and future health of the population. According to forecasts, the average temperature in Germany alone will rise by 1.0 to 1.3°C by 2050 and by 3.7°C by 2100. The frequency and intensity of heat waves will increase in Central Europe. If nothing is done, five more annual heat waves are expected in northern Germany by the end of the century, and as many as 30 in southern Germany. This has consequences for us: because climate change alters our entire ecosystem; and that affects our health. Rising temperatures, for example, promote the spread of the Asian tiger mosquito and other vectors of infectious diseases that were previously unknown here. They also change the biology of allergenic pollen, lengthening the duration of pollen flights and increasing the amount of pollen, which increases asthma and allergic reactions. Higher temperatures can lead to algal blooms by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in lakes and the Baltic Sea, which can cause skin irritation. In addition, warming of the Baltic Sea is expected to increase the risk of Vibrio infections. – In the meantime, it is no longer just schoolchildren worldwide who are protesting for effective measures to protect the climate. People are concerned: because it is no longer just about changing our environment, it is directly about our health.

But: To what extent does the environment make us sick and what developments must we expect in the future? – The 45-minute documentary “Is our climate making us sick?” asks questions and provides answers. It shows what effects climate change is already having on human health, what problems and risks we are confronted with in central Germany. But the documentary also wants to show opportunities and solutions to problems; ways to stop climate change and adaptation strategies to the consequences of the changed climate. We talk to scientists and researchers; to people who work every day to better adapt themselves and ourselves to the changed environmental conditions.

plan b: The good milk – benefit for cows, climate and customers

Cappucino, butter, cheese sandwiches: milk is in everything. It can cost a bit more: consumers are increasingly attaching importance to fair wages for farmers, animal welfare and the eco-balance. 

Farmers can hardly live off the low milk prices. Factory farming is cruelty. Cattle are considered climate killers. Good reasons to look for alternatives. “You’re the boss here” is the name of an initiative in which everyone decides for themselves how much a litre of milk should cost.

Consumers were able to vote on this in an online survey. Every click had consequences for production: more animal welfare, more regionality, more money for the farmer – all this was immediately reflected on the price tag. Result: an above-average price for high standards. “We are prepared to pay more for our milk if we can be sure that it contains what it says,” says Barthelmé.Now his milk is on the first supermarket shelves, and it will be exciting: do consumers really buy the milk they have chosen online?

Almost every day a baby calf is born on the farm of farmer Lenz in Saxony-Anhalt.

A high-performance farm with 350 cows. And yet: seeing mother and calf take their first steps together is always a moment of happiness for him. “We farmers don’t want to keep our cows badly. It’s just that we often lack the money for a good life,” says Frank Lenz. Nevertheless, the forty-year-old wants to keep going, and he has big plans for the conventional dairy farm, which he is running in the eleventh generation. His first step: The calves stay with their mother after birth and are not separated from her immediately, as is usually the case. They are then allowed to drink from udders for a whole three months – instead of from buckets in calf pens. Milk that the farmer can no longer sell. But he is determined to prove that it is possible: more animal welfare, even on a large farm. 

Mudar Mannah was on his way to becoming a successful surgeon when he decided to dedicate his life to another task after all: as a climate saver. He wants to help reduce the emission of climate-damaging gases – especially methane, which is many times more harmful than CO2. Cattle produce huge amounts of it. Mannah was therefore looking for a plant-based alternative to cheese. “One that tastes good,” he says. That’s how he came up with the cashew nut. He now makes vegan Camembert from it, and with a good eco-balance, despite the transport of the nuts from Vietnam. “We simply have to rethink,” he says on the subject of climate change, “our planet resents us. We can’t go on like this.”

Produce and consume more consciously – not at the expense of the environment, animals and farmers: That’s what it’s all about. Good milk, that’s what makes it!