The Americas with Simon Reeve episode 3: in this third leg of the journey Simon travels down the length of California. In northern California he explores the land of the giant redwoods, where he learns that only a fraction of old growth forest survives.
Climbing 250 feet into the canopy of a giant redwood, Simon joins a team of arborists who are cloning the world’s biggest and most successful trees in an attempt to replant the forests that they hope can help to tackle climate change. California has recently suffered from severe droughts that have helped to create the ideal conditions for wildfires. After visiting the devastating aftermath of the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, Simon joins the elite fire fighters who are working 24/7 to prevent a similar catastrophe happening again.
The Americas with Simon Reeve episode 3
Travelling south, Simon arrives on the beautiful west coast where most Californians live. But behind the glamorous Hollywood image, Simon soon discovers LA’s dark underbelly when he joins street medics who provide healthcare to the city’s 45,000 homeless. In the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains, Simon lends a helping hand to the California Conservation Corps, a group that traces its origins to the 1930s New Deal. He works alongside young people who have struggled with drug addiction, mental health problems and homelessness, who have found purpose and employment in protecting California’s threatened environment.
Simon ends the third leg of his journey close to the Mexican border, where the man-made Salton Sea is now drying up, and a once fashionable resort has fallen on bad times. In scorching desert temperatures some hardy Americans have still found a place to live off grid here, escaping the rat race and the huge costs and challenges of living in the wealthiest state in the US.
Author and broadcaster Simon Reeve is one of the BBC’s most popular presenters and this series marks his biggest project yet. Meeting engaging and colourful characters along the way, Simon’s adventure uncovers a side to the Americas we rarely see, highlighting serious social and political issues alongside the epic landscapes and sheer fun of an endlessly fascinating part of the world. This series of five 60-minute programmes takes Simon from Alaska to the tropical jungles of Costa Rica.