with Yvonne Lai
The forces that shape the face of the Earth are hurricanes/typhoons, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, right? Well, partly.
Not content just to ride the highs and lows of global investment markets, large financial institutions seem eager to leave their mark on the natural, physical world. The folks at Bank of America may currently be celebrating the acquisition of former Wall Street giant Merrill Lynch, but last year it engaged in a different kind of buyout - insurance against global warming and its potentially devastating effects on the planet.
The US-based bank is a sponsor of Discovery Channel's ambitious Project Earth - a big-budget science experiment-cum-reality show, which uses the Earth's melting glaciers and receding forests as a laboratory for global warming solutions.
The main assets of Project Earth (Discovery Channel; Wednesdays at 11pm) are the sheer audacity of the proposals and the team's commitment to realising the experiments. Some of the ideas are a little hard to swallow, such as covering 10,000 square metres of Greenland with reflective synthetic material to slow melt, or shooting trillions of small (60cm) lenses into space to create a 260,000 sq km diffractive shield against the sun.
While hotshot scientists and the money men who love them burn through millions trying to save us from rising temperatures, we of the humble households will be happy to know that living a greener life will actually save cash. Wa$ted (TVB Pearl; Wednesdays at 8pm) follows two 'eco-crime-fighting' hosts as they tsk-tsk about wasteful housekeeping habits and implement energy and money-saving tricks - one New Zealand family at a time. Some of the shock tactics - dumping a week's worth of a household's waste into a trough on their dining table (above right) - are cringingly disgusting, but at heart Wa$ted is a do-good, feel-better programme for the whole family.
Lastly, for a little escapism, the Winchester brothers are back for the third season of Supernatural (AXN Beyond; Fridays at 10pm). Driving a Chevrolet Impala, demon hunters Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) are the Dukes of Hazzard of the paranormal world. In the last season's finale, Dean made a deal with a demon to bring back the murdered Sam in exchange for his own soul within a year's time. This season, it is Sam's turn to find a way to break Dean's damning contract.