ABC of Ecology or Life’s Wake up Call

Acting: Miroslav Vladyka a Petr Vacek
Screenplay: Martin Slunečko, Eva Hauserová
Directed by: Martin Slunečko
© NIKÉ TV production Martin Slunečko, Česká televize 2001, 2003

The author received an award at the International Festival EKOFILM 2001
The series on VHS and DVD is distributed by the Centre of Ecological Education and Etiquette.

1. “Chemical Warfare” around us

Today’s environment is no longer destroyed by big power stations and factory chimneys but mainly by road traffic and domestic heating. Some people, in order to save money, burn plastic bottles or other plastic items in their stoves, burn tyres and
therefore creating dangerous by-products that are life threatening and which composition is similar to gasses used in chemical warfare. These in turn threaten the health of inhabitants of towns and villages.

2. How to save money on water

This is not only about dripping taps and leaking toilets. In households, the largest quantity of water is wasted in bathrooms, especially in baths. It doesn’t take much to save – have a shower instead of a full bath, and you can save up to three
quarters of your hot water supply a day.

3. Plastic Bottles versus old fashion glass bottles

In recent years, the old fashioned glass bottles have all but disappeared from our shops. The supermarket chains have intentionally reduced the deposits on returnable bottles so that it is no longer worthwhile for the shopper to return them. And from
this point it was only a small step to their “extinction”. But the plastic bottles have their advantages too – among others, if you throw them somewhere in the forest, you can be sure that in a 100 years’ time your descendants will find them
intact….

4. The cheapest energy is saved energy

What is the biggest “consumer” of electricity in a household? Electrical heating, then electric cookers and third come fridges. The fridges are on 24 hours a day, for months and years. Although ecologists do not promote consumerism, they
encourage people to exchange their old appliances for new ones and make their choices based on the energy rating of the products.

5. Rubbish mountain

Recycling plays a major part in the disposable economy. The coloured recycling containers have become part of our world. However, recycling is often an expensive solution and it can only lessen the “evil” of growing mountains of rubbish. The basic
question remains – are we willing to limit our consumption?

6. Soya or bio-pork steak

If all people stopped eating meat, the food shortages would disappear and the huge areas dedicated to growing animal feed could be used for growing bio-fuels. And if some people can’t live without their bit of meat, then they should eat organic meat
from organic farms where the livestock is properly cared for.

7. The end of boxer shorts in Bohemia

It looks like the era of wearing just boxer shorts in overheated flats is heading towards its end. If we don’t want to give up this “Czech tradition”, we should be prepared to pay for it. So what to do to avoid paying most of one’s salary on
heating that in any case escapes through windows or heats the outer wall?

8. A Tree – the cheapest air conditioning

The decline in green spaces has not been stopped in recent years. Slowly but surely the scattered greenery in the countryside and trees in our towns are disappearing. Leaves are an excellent filter that collects tons of dust particles, trees bind
carbon that is contained in the air and function as superb air-conditioning units….

9. Rivers flow thorough your home

How to make your washing sparkling clean? It’s got one problem – after each wash, water flows to drains or even better, into sewage plants. Do we really need to be so afraid of harmful bacteria? Does the washing need to be whiter then white? So
what to use in order to have a clean wash and spare our rivers at the same time?

10. Pets in towns

Man’s best friend – dog or a cat – is no longer enough for some. People keep exotic animals that never used to belong among pets. In order to create the right environment for them, the running of the entire household could be affected.
A number of parents wrestle with a problem of which animal to give their children for their birthdays or Christmas…

11. A Time Bomb – harmful waste

Modern technology brings more and more substances that harm our health and our environment. We buy many of such substances in chemists, pharmacies and at the petrol stations. When we finish with them, we simply throw them out, even though these days
almost every town has a recycling centre where we can deposit them for free.

12. Don’t leave old things for new

Do you also belong to those who buy things based on promotional leaflets? Do you prefer to buy what you fancy or do you buy what you really need? A free glass with a purchase of a packet of biscuits or carton of beer can be expensive. Over
consumption puts pressure on natural resources and if one cares about this planet, one should start thinking why and what he buys….

13. Ecological lifestyle

Ecologist Petr Vacek’s endless advice and everyday effort is starting to bear fruit. Miroslav Vladyka is going green. In this part of the TV series “ABC” of Ecology, Miroslav Vladyka is starting to change his consumer habits and decides where he
and his family will spend their holidays. He slowly discovers that to think ecologically, all you need is common sense…..

14. Do we have a chance against floods?

Floods of 2004 reminded us that we can’t give orders to wind or rain. In recent times the number of flash floods has risen. The solution against floods is not easy – the only thing is clear – we need to increase the retentive ability of the
countryside

15. Last Hallali for nature ?

Which animals are happier? Domestic ones that after a short life in a cage or on battery farms are slaughtered, or wild animals that are everyday endangered by man made chemicals and his passion for hunting?

16. Eco friendly products

If somebody boasts to produce a product that does not harm the environment, he is not telling the whole truth. The eco friendly products that minimise damage to the environment and are energy efficient receive awards by the Czech Ecological Institute
every year….

17. What can we do for countryside?

In comparison to the rest of Europe, we can be proud of our picturesque and varied countryside with its large variety of fauna and flora. This high degree of biodiversity is secretly envied of the “immaculate” Western Europe….

18. Need a fur coat for your house or flat?

Most of heat escapes through badly insulated windows, through roof and cavity walls… Better insulation of a house is an expensive affair and it takes time before getting any return on the investment. Despite this, it is one of the best investments
you can make….

19. How to substitute domestic chemicals?

We can’t imagine our household without chemicals. However, there is quite a wide selection of products in the shops that are more eco friendly. How to find them?

20. More harm than good

Sometimes what man thinks is good for nature is quite the opposite, like the old custom of burning dry grass in spring, filling in wetlands or removing organic material from the forests. Our today’s view of nature is different than …

21. Best for the children

Sometimes we don’t realise that our efforts to give our children the best, is in fact harming them. Things like letting them watch TV for hours, eat sweets, giving them fizzy drinks, chips or hamburgers, in other words, giving them fast food.

22. Cars versus Pedestrians

Only a few of us are willing to part from their cars voluntarily. The catalytic converter does hardly function for the first 4 km so it would be good to avoid short journeys round town. Can drivers be more considerate towards the environment?

23. Plastic packaging will survive us

Despite the fact that fly tipping in the countryside is against the law, illegal dumps are springing up regardless. It only takes a short trip outside Prague or big housing estates. The main part of the discarded items is plastic packaging that covers
ditches next to forests and roads. Today we can recycle most of these things…

24. Swimming at own risk

Recently the surfaces of our ponds are greener than ever. Carp farming is bringing results: mud, manure and sludge. The water is intentionally polluted and subsequently a pond that is suitable for bathing is only a distant memory.

25. A Bio-garden for everyone

If you don’t use chemical fertilizers or sprays, you are on the right track to bio-garden. However, there are ways how to increase garden productivity using natural products. And what about “habitat garden” where you create a new home for a
number of animals?

26. Our carbon footprint

We all leave a carbon footprint on this planet. The biggest footprint is left by USA, followed by the EU. There are thousands of ways how to reduce this. Which way we choose is up to us…