246 episodes

Series focusing on foreign affairs issues

Crossing Continents BBC

    • News

Series focusing on foreign affairs issues

    Ayahuasca: Fear and Healing in the Amazon

    Ayahuasca: Fear and Healing in the Amazon

    Growing numbers of tourists are travelling to the Peruvian Amazon to drink ayahuasca, a traditional plant medicine said to bring about a higher state of consciousness. Foreigners come looking for spiritual enlightenment or help with mental health problems like trauma, depression, and addiction.

    But not everyone is happy about Peru’s booming ayahuasca tourism industry. A group of indigenous healers are fighting back against what they see as the exploitation and appropriation of their cultural heritage by foreigners - who run most of the ayahuasca retreats popular with tourists. This coming together of cultures has thrown up another serious problem too: vulnerable women being sexually abused while under the influence of charismatic healers and this powerful psychedelic.

    Reporter: Simon Maybin
    Producer: Josephine Casserly
    Editor: Bridget Harney

    If you would like information and support with sexual abuse, details of relevant organisations are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 0800 077 077.

    • 28 min
    Belarus: The Wild World of Chernobyl

    Belarus: The Wild World of Chernobyl

    Ninety year old Galina is one of the last witnesses to the wild natural world that preceded the Chernobyl zone in southern Belarus. 'We lived with wolves' she says 'and moose, and elk and wild boars.' Soviet development destroyed that ecosystem. Forests and marshland were tamed and laid to farmland and industrial use. But when the Chernobyl reactor exploded in 1986, the human population was evacuated; their villages were buried beneath the earth as though they had never existed. A generation on, it seems that the animals Galina knew are returning. But how are they are affected by their radioactive environment? And what can we infer about the state of the land? Monica Whitlock visits the strange new wilderness emerging in the heart of Europe.

    Produced and Presented by Monica Whitlock
    Editor, Bridget Harney

    • 28 min
    Sierra Leone - The Price of Going Home

    Sierra Leone - The Price of Going Home

    Fatmata, Jamilatu and Alimamy all see themselves as failures. They’re young Sierra Leoneans who risked everything for the sake of a better life in Europe. Along the way, they were imprisoned and enslaved. They saw friends die. Eventually, they gave up. Now, they’re home again - facing the devastating consequences of what they did to their families before they left, actions that have left them ostracised by their nearest and dearest. Who will help them to survive back home? Can they rebuild their lives, and achieve any reconciliation with their parents? And if they can’t, will they be tempted to set off again, to seek their fortunes abroad?

    Produced and presented by Tim Whewell
    Editor, Bridget Harney

    • 28 min
    Iceland: The Great Thaw

    Iceland: The Great Thaw

    Iceland's glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate, with scientists predicting that they could all be gone 200 years from now.

    How is this affecting the lives of local people, and the identity of a nation that has ice in its name?

    Maria Margaronis talks to Icelandic farmers and fishermen, scientists and environmental activists about their (sometimes surprising) responses to climate change, and asks why it’s so difficult even for those who see its effects from their windows every day to take in what it means.

    Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith
    Editor: Bridget Harney

    • 31 min
    Finland's Race to Go Carbon Neutral

    Finland's Race to Go Carbon Neutral

    How do you achieve net-zero carbon emissions in just fifteen years? In Finland, a fisherman-turned-climate scientist believes he has part of the answer: re-wilding the country’s peat fields. Gabriel Gatehouse travels to the country's frozen north to meet Tero Mustonen, as he battles lobbyists and vested interests in government and the peat industry, in a race to mitigate the consequences of climate change. Michael Gallagher producing.
    Editor, Bridget Harney.

    • 28 min
    A Fight for Light in Lebanon

    A Fight for Light in Lebanon

    Life in Lebanon is a daily battle to beat the power cuts caused by the country's chronic electricity shortage. If you live in a block of flats, you have to time when you go in and out to avoid getting trapped in the lift. Food goes bad because fridges don't work, families must often choose between air-conditioning and watching TV, and those on life-support machines live in constant fear of a switch-off.
    But if it's hell for citizens, it's heaven for operators of illegal private generators who profit by filling the gap left by the failures of the national grid. Some are former warlords who led militias in Lebanon's civil war. They're given an unofficial licence to operate, often in return for favours to the authorities in Lebanon's chaotic and often corrupt sectarian system.
    Now a huge protest movement is demanding change in Lebanon - and a constant power supply is one of the demonstrators' main demands. They want to break the power of the "fuel mafia" that imports diesel for the generators and has close links to the country's leading politicians. For them, the fight for light is a fight against corruption. But can Lebanon's feeble state ever manage to turn all the lights on?
    Reporter: Tim Whewell
    Producer: Anna Meisel

    • 28 min

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