How can one keep up with the latest in science and technology? With exponential new knowledge appearing every day, even the most ardent professional or amateur among us is hard pressed to keep track of discoveries.
This challenge presents a leadership role for the national public broadcaster. CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate, as specified in the Broadcasting Act, is to inform, enlighten and entertain. And when it comes to the natural sciences, CBC/Radio-Canada creates a wide variety of programs designed to delight and educate audiences about nature, the environment, science, and technology — programs rooted in the public broadcasting tradition that encourage viewers to remain curious, question their perspectives and perhaps consider intelligent change in their everyday actions.
Amongst CBC/Radio-Canada’s stable of weekly science shows are some very long-running, celebrated programs, such as The Nature of Things, Quirks & Quarks, La semaine verte, and Découverte.
The Nature of Things, on CBC Television, has brought in-depth stories about nature and the environment to its audiences for over 50 years. The program is now eponymously named The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, for the renowned Canadian geneticist who has hosted the show for the past 30 years. This program helps audiences in more than 80 countries to understand pressing issues such as climate change, nuclear power and AIDS.
Quirks & Quarks celebrated its 35th anniversary on CBC Radio in 2010. Hosted originally by David Suzuki and now by Bob McDonald, Quirks & Quarks interviews scientists at the heart of the latest in science, technology, medicine, and the environment, and examines the political, social, environmental, and ethical implications of new developments. Along with its large radio audience are thousands worldwide who enjoy its podcast.
Spark, hosted by Nora Young, is a more recent weekly CBC Radio and Web program that looks at not only trends in technology, but also at how technology affects us all.
In October 2008, CBC and Cisco launched One Million Acts of Green on CBC Television’s The Hour. The goal was to help Canadians examine and modify their daily behaviours in order to reduce their impact on the production of greenhouse gases. Helping to spread the word during the campaign, host George Stroumboulopoulos invited key guests to discuss environmental issues. The result? In slightly over 100 days, thousands of fans from more than 50 countries joined with our employees to record over one million environmentally smart acts on The Hour’s website — an average of 9,345 acts per day, or seven acts per minute, representing a total reduction of 52 million kilos of greenhouse gases.
This campaign exemplified the role and capacity of the national public broadcaster to not only inform but also inspire audiences to think and act for the betterment of the environment and people. The partnership between Cisco and CBC/Radio-Canada was also a fine example of how the national public broadcaster and a like-minded private entity can work together for a common and responsible goal.
La semaine verte, on Radio-Canada’s television and radio networks and on its website, looks at contemporary challenges and developments across the country in the rural, agricultural, fishing and oceans, flora and fauna, forestry and environmental sectors. On air since 1971, and hosted currently by Errol Duchaine, this weekly program puts audiences in touch with those who inhabit these worlds and helps to elucidate the issues that affect everyone.
Les Années lumière, on Radio-Canada’s Première Chaîne since 1994 and hosted by Yanick Villedieu, covers diverse stories about biology and chemistry, genetics, the environment, space exploration and astronomy, science and technology, and the history and philosophy of science. Each week, listeners learn about new discoveries and their applications, and take in reflections on the impact of science on our society.
L’épicerie, with hosts Johane Despins and Denis Gagné, looks at all things related to food, agriculture, and health as it relates to food, as well as stories concerning the politics of food, its production and distribution. This popular weekly program began its successful run on Télévision de Radio-Canada a decade ago.
Découverte: is hosted by Télévision de Radio-Canada’s Charles Tisseyre. Since 1988, Découverte has delivered science reporting that provides its audiences with a better understanding of our universe. Topics covered include recent scientific research, the evolution of technology, health, the environment, space exploration, and the oceans.
EXPLORA: Radio-Canada’s new specialised HD television channel, created to respond to consumer demand for more, excellent programming dedicated to exploring and understanding science, the environment, nature, and health issues. This channel is well-aligned with the public broadcasting ideals embodied in the Corporation’s recent five-year strategic plan, 2015: Everyone, Every way.