Shipping may seem an outdated mode of transportation, but it's still by far the most efficient way to transport bulk material. Each year, over 100 million tons of iron ore, coal, limestone and other products travel through the Great Lakes navigation system by boat. Last November, radio producer Allison Swaim spent nine days aboard a bulk ore ship called the Calumet.
The new documentary Pushing the Elephant is part of the PBS series “Independent Lens.” The film tells the story of Congolese refugee Rose Mapendo and her daughter Nangabire. They were separated during the ethnic violence that plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s.
In Naples, Italy, the mafia syndicate known as the Camorra controls neighborhoods, the garbage industry, even the local music scene. They fund musicians dubbed "neomelodics," mostly male artists who sing in the local Neapolitan dialect.
One of the documentaries considered for an Oscar on Sunday, Feb. 27 was Waste Land. The film documents a project to turn trash from a landfill on the outskirts of the Rio de Janeiro into art – and perhaps create social change as well.