YEAR: 2012 | LENGTH: 5 parts (60 minutes each)

DESCRIPTION: Our planet has amazing power, and yet that’s rarely mentioned in our history books. This series tells the story of how the Earth has influenced human history, from the dawn of civilisation to the modern industrial age. It reveals for the first time on television how geology, geography and climate have been a far more powerful influence on the human story than has previously been acknowledged. A combination of epic story telling, visually stunning camerawork, extraordinary locations and passionate presenting combine to form a highly original version of human history.

Discover why societies have succeeded or failed, and how the environment has influenced every aspect of our history from art to industry, religion to war, world domination or collapse. Visiting some of the most iconic places on Earth, How Earth Made Us overturns preconceptions about our civilisations and our cultures to offer a new perspective on who we are today. – source

01. Deep Earth

Iain Stewart tells the epic story of how the planet has shaped our history. With spectacular images, surprising stories and a compelling narrative, the series discovers the central role played in human history by four different planetary forces.

In this first episode, Iain explores the relationship between the deep Earth and the development of human civilisation. He visits an extraordinary crystal cave in Mexico, drops down a hole in the Iranian desert and crawls through seven-thousand-year-old tunnels in Israel.

His exploration reveals that throughout history, our ancestors were strangely drawn to fault lines, areas which connect the surface with the deep interior of the planet. These fault lines gave access to important resources, but also brought with them great danger.

02. Water

This time he explores our complex relationship with water. Visiting spectacular locations in Iceland, the Middle East and India, Iain shows how control over water has been central to human existence.

He takes a precarious flight in a motorised paraglider to experience the cycle of freshwater that we depend on, discovers how villagers in the foothills of the Himalayas have built a living bridge to cope with the monsoon, and visits Egypt to reveal the secret of the pharaohs’ success.

Throughout history, success has depended on our ability to adapt to and control constantly shifting sources of water.

03. Wind

Iain sets sail on one of the fastest racing boats ever built to explore the story of our turbulent relationship with the wind. Travelling to iconic locations including the Sahara desert, the coast of West Africa and the South Pacific, Iain discovers how people have exploited the power of the wind for thousands of years.

The wind is a force which at first sight appears chaotic. But the patterns that lie within the atmosphere have shaped the destiny of continents, and lie at the heart of some of the greatest turning points in human history.

04. Fire

Professor Iain Stewart continues his epic exploration of how the planet has shaped human history.

Iain explores man’s relationship with fire. He begins by embarking on an extraordinary encounter with this terrifying force of nature – a walk right through the heart of a raging fire.

Fire has long been our main source of energy and Iain shows how this meant that the planet played a crucial role in Britain’s industrial revolution, whilst holding China’s development back.

Along the way he dives in a mysterious lake in Oregon, climbs a glacier of salt, crawls through an extraordinary cave in Iran and takes a therapeutic bath in crude oil.

05. Human Planet

Series in which Professor Iain Stewart looks at how four geological forces have shaped human history.

He explores the most recently established force, humans. It’s easy to think of the human impact on the planet as a negative one, but as Iain discovers, this isn’t always the case. It is clear that humans have unprecedented control over many of the planet’s geological cycles; the question is, how will the human race use this power?

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