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tv   Mosaic World News  LINKTV  May 3, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

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annenberg media ♪ captioning sponsored by annenberg/cpb narrator: though north america is known for its abundant natural resources, intense development often strains the balance.
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here in northeast oregon is a story about conflicting claims on water resources. we'll learn how center-pivot agriculture makes the desert bloom, how hydroelectricity fls rapid dustrial development, and how formal regions characterize the resulting human patterns. not long ago, millions of salmon returned each year to spawn in the columbia river. native americans here once depended on the fish for r survival. now their nets are often empty: the salmon have almost vanished. forming a natural border between oregon and washington state,
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the columbiaiveranch provides te along its path. the rt to restore salmonne hen e umatillaiver the columbiaiveranch provides te explain coetitionageogphy over acae source? in the early 199, io here in the mountains there is plenty of water, but mati river io hegood for minnows,ns unbut not for salmon.water, by piling up rocks like this, the tribes created deeper pools. hall: and now we have some depth and some cover for the adult salmon. wproblem is the way they nowuple travel here from the ocean.tem..
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the fishe be trap and driven s from locations downstream. here is where they are trapped, there is sufficient water here. and here, near the reservation, is where they breed. again there is enough water for the salmon. the problem is here, in the river's midsection. the fish, and even the water here, have all but disappeared. in the nearly dry riverbed, tribe member roberta joy wilson now walks where the salmon once swam. wilson: the rivers are the lifeblood of the land, and slowly that's being drained away. it's just a real devastation to our way of life. narrator: so where did the water go? this dam provides a clue.
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now, as water flows down the umatilla, instead of continuing along its orinal course, the dam diverts it into this canal. the canal flows west to dozens of places subsidized by the government. they are best seen in a satellite photograph-- hundreds of circular, irrigated fields in the lower umatilla valley. one of these farmss ow chet pryor. decades ago, the government provided water to farmers like pryor, hoping to stimulate economic development in this region. it has been a great success. with center-pivot irrigation, pryor grows carrots, wheat, alfalfa and potatoes. this is the russet burbank variety that we use for the french fry industry here. on we usthiety is because it's ideally suited variety, along with our growing conditions,
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to meet the high standards that the french fry industry demands now, not only for our domestic market, but also for our export market. narrator: pryor grows over 15,000 tons of potatoes a year. most of them are brought here to t simplot company, where they are processed before shipment to mcdonald's. in one year, the umatilla valley produces almo $100 milln worth of agricultural crops. but the salmon are also a valuable resource here. why isn't there enough water for both? ( wind roaring ) narrator: below the reservation, the umatilla river flows through a near desert. the natural vegetation is sagebrush and scrub. the lack of wateagues anev dinese western uni. inevalces ots ederalpending,
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the lack of wateagues farmers have made the desert bloom.rn uni. their success has come at the expense of the indians and the salmon. water has become a very, very valuable commodity, but the place that it's most valuae is rht where ishoulde,ery, and at's in the river itself. narrator: below the rms, uned irrigation water eventualws backo e umatil narrator: which explains why there is enough water downstream. but here in the river's midsection, two different ways of life compete over a scarce resource. the farmers' water rights go back to the 1920s, when the government funded irrigation canals like this. but the tribes' water and fishing rights are based on 150-year-old treaties that include these historic locations on the columbia. armed with the senior water rights and a desperate desire to restore umatilla salmon,
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the indians threaten legal action. if they want, they could destroy the farm economy here. pryor: without water in this area, we virtually have no way to raise any kind of a crop that we're producing now, except dryland wheat, which is not really viable in this area. its not that we will not litigate, its just that we want to tryo work it out first. but if we have to ligate then wt it say the least,want these negotiations have been tor'sargest llerster-- it say the least,want these negotiations have been there'huge u auge downs, and even upside-wn loops right now i would say that we'ren one of those ds ane tiave basically oken o. narrator as long sand the faers bot themfor compromise.ittle he the mutual solution is to find a different source of water. eventually they find it here in the columbia river.
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but it is miles away and lower in elevation. how would they get the water to the farms? with both sides yearning for a settlement, the feuding locals unite to lobby the u.s. congress. the result: $50 million federal taxpayer dollars completes a major engineering project in 1999. the plant pumps the water up the hills through a 5½-foot pipe, dumping it into this pool near the irrigation districts. from here it flows by gravity these canals and feeds the farms in three of the four irrigation districts. now more umatilla water stays in the river year round. fish bred in hatcheries upstream have returned to a river with much more water. these spring-run salmon are channeled into a special fish elevator and lifted up here where technicians count, measure and learn the sex of the fish.
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then, most of them pass out the pipes to continue up the river. the tribes are cautiously celebrating their initial success. we began releasing salmon in the early '80s, and i remember our first return of 13 fish; we were elated with the spring chinook run. here in 2000 today we're celebrating a salmon return to the umatilla basin. this year we'll probably have 5,00spring chinook salmon returning. narrator: while the proscts for salmon have improved on the umatilla, the fish are even more endangered on the larger columbia. the biggest problems are the dams themselves. there was an organized movement to actually tear some of the dams down. the western energy crisis got even worse in 2001, making hydroelectric power even more essential. these issues will have to be resolved through the political process, and a spatial perspective is key
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to understanding the past and the future. most of the electrical power comes from dams on the columbia and snake rivers in the western mountains. but the transmission lines lead to the consumers of electricity in another region, and they reveal the location of political and economic power. this is where many decisions about water use will be made. these are e growgceernearoran. the cities lie in a region this is where many decisions about water use will be made. geographers call the pacific coast, and the difference from the western mountains is dramatic: population density; the location of major manufacturing. but why are these features so unevenly distributed? the area's physical geography is revealed at a different scale. the pacific coast receives plenty of rain and snow.
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oihe pacif ocean, the cascade mountains force it higher. as it rises, the air cools and condenses most heavily in areas shown in dark blue. the east is left in an arid rain shadow. this is where geographers draw the boundary of the western mountains. it's a line we should etch in our mental maps. on one side, the growing population along the pacific coast has become more protective of its lush, natural environment, including the salmon. now, as more nets come up empty, commercial fishermen and environmentalists on the coast have formed an unlikely alliance with tndians of the western mo5ntains. however, the demand for energy by growing populations, coupled with increased environmental awareness, will force people in both regions to face some hard choices over a scarce resource.
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this area's demography and physical geography byhe cascade mountains' persistent rain shadow. formalegio reflect the human and physical geography of an area. but it is important to remember that regional characterizations are approximations, and over time they are subject to change. next we travel to the midwestern section of the u.s. an influx of japanese automakers here sforature ofutomobile macturing. we will ame the trade-offs between detroit's old mass-production syst d tota's famous lean production, and how relative location drives site selection for new faciliti. the spre of japanese prodtion methods into the north erican heartland is a striking exple of geographic diffusion. for most of the 20th century,
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automobile makers pledged allegiance to the mass-production system originated by henry ford. the main idea was to drive down the per-unit cost of production. and for decades, mass production delivered what american consumers wanted. newsreel narrator: the bold, massive grill of this mercury monterey station wagon. the bold, massive taillights of this roomy mercury monterey sedan. narrator: by the 1960s, north america's place atop the automobile manufacturing world seemed unassailable, but just around the bend waited an unimagined challenge. in the 1970s, sales of japanese cars in the north american market soared, american automaker's profits disappeared, and the red ink forced massive layoffs and plant closings. but a geographer's review of the auto industry's struggles reveals a surprising insight
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into the state of making cars in north america. in recent decades, global competition and the japanese auto manufacturers have had a tremendous impact on the industrial landscape of the american midwest. dr. james rubenstein is an economic geograer at mia unirsity in ohio. the pasten yrs, he'sn trkd of japanese automobile production techniques. rubenstein: one of the results of having a glob production system now in the auto industry-- a handful of producers working around the world-- is a diffusion of the technology from one area to another. the principal direction of diffusion has been from japan to north america, particularly in the 1980s and still continuing in the 1990s. narrator: japanese automakers owe their lasting success not to good gas mileage,
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but to a revolutionary manufacturing technology, the toyota production system, also known as "lean production." it developed in part out of the necessities of the japanese industry. the japanese industry had been devastated by world war ii. consumer demand was very small in that country, and the only way that a manufacturer was going to survive was by making small batches, being as flexible as possible, cutting overhead costs down to the bare bones. narrator: lean production combined teamwork, bottom-up engineering,work, just-in-time production and a philosophy of continuous improvement all to great advantage. but the biggest bonus of lean production was quality. japanese cars worked better and broke down less than american cars, and american car buyers loved that. ( crowd cheering )
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american car builders had a somewhat different emotional retion. rubenstein: through the 1980s even, the big three believed that-- genuinely, deep in their hets believed-- that the jese system was an aberratio and it had to do with a bunch of american consumers being unpatriotic. man ( over loudspeaker ): ladies and gentleman, here it comes: the first automobile produced at honda of america manufacturing, inc in marysville, ohio. narrator: nevertheless, market forces pushed for change, and in 1982, japanese-style lean production was literally transplanted into north america... man ( over loudspeaker ): "usa-0-0-1, ohio." narrator: ...when honda opened a plant inarysville, ohio, in the heart of the american midwest. but why here? if you draw a one-day radius around the midwest, say approximately a 500-mile radius, you've hit nearly the entire u.s. population. so if you have one plant,
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your market is the whole country and canada, and your critical geographic factor is minimizing shipping around the united states and canada, you want to be in the midwest. narrator: and so when in short order the rest of the japanese car makers drove for american soil, nissan landed in tennessee, mazda in michigan, mitsubishi in illinois, subaru and isuzu in indiana, and finally... toyota, the number one japanese car maker, picked kentucky. so here they are. gh gris we a fading memory and e japanese automakers lonbut here in the kentucky countryside, the toyota production system was outperforming traditional mass production. toyota's quality is here, everybody else is a notch below them.
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rrator: and by the 1990s, the big three-- gm, ford and chrysler-- were paying more and more attention. toyota, for their part, put lean production on display, inviting the competition, or anyone else for that matter, toth kctoyota's reci quity pru or "just-in-meoduction. -imeis a production rosystem thes its c nofrom a mag, but from the workers at the end of the line-- the poininal aem howrks. carefuy--itpensy quickl. we'll foow the production cycle
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of toyota's y,ceer conso cu. dan, our cup-holder installer, ou secono assemble aninstall his console units. he also tracks and reorderso cu. dan,all the parts he, here'sow. when dan empties one container of gray, brushed-finished cup holders, a ontadrops into place, card that'fa circing orde, dan pulls its kanb, tlewithininutese kaans froman h are picked up by shirley... who bikes them back to for sorting. ed gives them to jim, the truck driver, who trucks them 30 miles and delivers them to mary at summit polymers, an arirts sulieryo. mary puts e kaan in aemy x atk station so gail knows at sheeeds to bu 24 gray, brushed-finished cup holders.
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this made-to-order cup holder will be packed, delivered, and installed in a newoyota within aboutig hours. noomrsapade-to-order cup holder willidmapacked, delivered, annlean pron is newnewoyota here at summit polymers, and to help work out the kinks, toyota lends support thugh the toyota system support corporation. mr. ohba is the managing director. ohba: narrator: toyota offers free consulting service
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to companies who want to adapt the toyota production system. 35 companies, several outside the auto industry, are currently enrolled. mr. toake -imeasier,nsulting with summit for six months now. summitneisewtorynear the toyot. e transition fucanction farper lbig stocks of inveory assureat. than site caon just-in-time saves alispace, but there's a hidden benefit that's even more important. in mass production, a batch of marginally bad parts can work its way into the system, and by the time it's discovered, thousands of identically bad parts are waiting installaon. en, either a t par are sced, thousands of identically bad parts or rather than shut down the line to fix the oblem,
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the parts get jammed into cars, many of which don't pass inspection and wind up in an area called "reprocess." at any one time, we could have as m uto 2,000 carse needing to. well... when i went to japan for the first time with toyota, i was walking through one of their plants, and one thing i noticed was the absencof space. and i asked my guides, i said, "what about your reprocess area? what happens when you have to fix something?" and they... they talked to each other in japanese for little bit and then said, "bill-san we have reocs area fomaybe ehics. and wi my st knowledge, i told them that, well they immediately... if ty were going to build cars here, eymmiated toato 0, cause ar narrator: as jt-in-time manufactg reshaping the ftory floor, at a much larger scale it is changing the geography
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of automotive-parts supply networks. just-in-ti puts a emmrednyclosep of the pon proximity.oyotas new auto assembly plants marsleiohere athinompany don schjeldahl is a geographer and specialist in location theory. geography is this great sort of synthesizing field. it includes economics, transportation, information about the physical landscape, about the human and cultural landscape-- and a plant, a production plant or a manufacturing facility needs to consider all of those factors because they all play into the success of that facility.
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narrator: but the first factor for parts suppliers is usually travel time. schjeldahl: the assembly plant is at the center of a circle, and that circle is travel time, and that typicly would beto two. atorand so parts maa known as the "kanban highways" close to the assembly plants they service. and the success of these made-in-america japanese cars has pushed america's big three-- gm, ford and chrysler-- ce lean prucrunstein: have found religion, the g threif you will. so there's a diffusion of ideas. so it's two different kinds of diffusion: it's the relocation from japan to america of production and of methods, and then there is the diffusion of the ideas
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into the american automakers. narrator: the american car makers adopted enough of the lean production philosophy to improve their quality to the point that it satisfied the consumer and improved theirotline but every manufacting system has strengths and weaknesses. at theurof1sceury, a curious aspect of lean production came to light. rubenstein: the japanese companies found a fatal flaw in lean production and that is lean production meant lean profits, and as a result of that, during the 1990s, gm and ford, in particular, were pulling in higher profits than the japanese companies. several of the smaller japanese companies had difficulty really surviving then. narrator: by 2002, of the original 11 japanese auto companies, nine had been taken over by the likes of gm, ford and daimler-benz. only honda and toyota remained as independent companies under japanese management.
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the problem: lean production's continuous improvement led to too much quality, and that means that they were building in a level of quality that consumers were not willing to pay for. something had to be done. rubenstein: they started taking quality out of the cars, not in the ways that consumers would notice, but they took some of the nuts and bolts, some of the bits and pieces that they were doing that consumers didn't see and they were removing them from the cars. one example of the changes that have been made: toyota was painting the inside of the bumper, the bits the consumers wouldn't see unless the bumper fell off in a serious accident, in which case they've got bigger problems. but there really was no reason to paint the inside of the bumper, and so now only the outside of the bumper would be painted, and that saves a lot of money. narrator: as a result of their adaptability, profits are rising again at toyota and honda.
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rubenstein: the goal of lean production has always been improving quality; the goal of mass production has always been to reduce costs; and as a result, what we have now into the 21st century is called "optimal lean production," which is an attempt to combine the efficiency of mass production with an acceptable level of quality from lean production. naator 'vseen how ln emphasizes relative location and affects site selection for auto-part suppliers like summit polymers. over theourse of decades, enti manufacri stems like lean production can spread, traverse boundaries and adapt to changing conditions. in the end, it's a good reminder that more often than not, diffusion is a two-way street.
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captioned by media access group at wgbh annenberg media ♪ for information about this and other annenberg media programs call 1-800-learner and visit us at
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