276 episodes

Fresh ideas from the sharpest minds working toward a cleaner, greener planet

Costing the Earth BBC

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 30 Ratings

Fresh ideas from the sharpest minds working toward a cleaner, greener planet

    New Grid for the New Age

    New Grid for the New Age

    How will Britain's power system need to change for a zero carbon world? Tom Heap investigates.

    Producer: Alasdair Cross

    • 27 min
    The South Australian Miracle

    The South Australian Miracle

    Australia's government is famous for its lack of interest in climate change. Despite increasing problems from bushfires and droughts, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Liberal-led coalition government continue to promote coal-mining and dodge efforts to reduce the country's carbon emissions. It's all the more extraordinary then that one Australian state, governed by Mr Morrison's party is streets ahead of most of the world in its conversion to renewable energy.

    Peter Hadfield reports from Adelaide on the South Australian miracle.

    Producer: Alasdair Cross

    • 27 min
    Shipping

    Shipping

    When a cargo ship blocked the Suez canal for nearly a week, the eyes of the media focussed on shipping. Hundreds of vessels were stuck as tailbacks built up at the entrance to what is one of the world's busiest trade routes. What effect does the sheer quantity of goods which we routinely move around the globe have on the environment? Are there ways of 'greening' shipping and lessening its environmental impact? In this programme, Lucy Siegle chairs a panel discussion which aims to find out.

    Producer: Emma Campbell

    • 27 min
    Landfill Legacy

    Landfill Legacy

    The UK has dramatically reduced the amount of waste which goes into landfill over the last 25 years, but there are are still decades worth of rubbish underground, buried by generations gone by. Until the 1970s there were almost no rules about what could be put into landfill and very few records were kept before the 1980s, so no-one really knows what's lurking underground. The 1990s saw a change of attitude, with the EU landfill directive and the introduction in the UK of the landfill tax. But coastal erosion means that some our old landfill sites are now disgorging their contents, and leaking rubbish from half a century ago back into the environment. Tom Heap visits a site on the Thames estuary, and sees bin bags, old tyres, broken glass, corroded batteries and bits of asbestos spilling out onto the shore. With more than a thousand UK landfill sites now believed to be at risk from erosion or flooding, Tom learns that the ghosts of our old disposal habits are coming back to haunt us - and asks what can be done about it.

    Producer: Emma Campbell

    • 27 min
    Maritime Nation

    Maritime Nation

    How well protected is Britain's coast and its wildlife after Brexit? Chef and fisheries campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall joins Peter Gibbs to examine the health of our seas.

    Can our network of Marine Protected Areas be strengthened and expanded? What impact is climate change having on our waters? How can we lift the curse of plastic pollution from our beaches? Surfers, fishermen, campaigners and conservationists join Peter and Hugh to consider the issues.

    Producer: Jonathan Wiltshire

    • 27 min
    Gene Editing Nature

    Gene Editing Nature

    The powerful gene editing technique CRISPR that allows us to rewrite DNA may soon provide a tool to help save our planet’s biodiversity. CRISPR has been described as ‘molecular scissors’ and is used to make targeted, precise changes to the DNA of plants and animals, with all the ethical questions it raises. Since it was developed by scientists 9 nine years ago, research into uses of CRISPR has been increasing in medicine and agriculture, as well as entering the fields of public health and environmental conservation, where genetic engineering had previously not been a realistic possibility. With the threat of climate change and the loss of species and habitats worldwide, gene editing has the potential to be able to help revive endangered species, and help them adapt to changing temperatures. And by combining CRISPR with a ‘gene drive’ – a technique that forces genes to spread through a population, we now have the ability to bend the rules of natural selection and control populations of invasive species or a pest that carries disease. But what are the risks and potential consequences of meddling with the complex processes of the natural world?

    Jheni Osman talks to scientists currently researching potential uses of gene editing for environmental conservation, including combining it with a gene drive to control grey squirrel populations, using CRISPR to find the genes responsible for heat tolerance in coral, and editing genetic diversity into species on the brink of extinction. At this early stage of the development of the science, Jheni hears about the particular ethical and practical considerations of altering the genomes of wild species and releasing them into the wild. Should we use this power to edit nature, and if so, how should it be controlled?

    Producer: Sophie Anton

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

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BBC Earth podcast

Have only listened to the one episode on octopuses and soundscapes and it was the best thing I’ve ever listener to. Please don’t stop producing this podcast. The world desperately needs it 🙏

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