260 episodes

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

Costing the Earth BBC

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 5 Ratings

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

    Bushfire Animal Rescue

    Bushfire Animal Rescue

    Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought fuelled a series of massive bushfires across Australia last winter. Dozens of people died and millions of hectares of bushland and forest were burnt.

    Australia's plant and animal life are well adapted to natural fire but the additional burden of climate change ensured that many of the fires were more intense and widespread than ever before. Much of the country's unique fauna had nowhere to hide.

    Peter Hadfield travels through the fire-ravaged regions of New South Wales to discover how local people are working to return injured animals to the wild and prepare habitats for a future that can only get hotter.

    Producer: Alasdair Cross

    • 27 min
    The Great Leaky Loo Scandal

    The Great Leaky Loo Scandal

    Do you know how much water you use? Despite campaigns to reduce our personal water usage from around 143 litres each per day to closer to 100, it's not improving.

    Meanwhile Tom Heap has discovered that an innovation to a product we use every day, an innovation which promised to save water is actually making things worse. Billions of litres are being wasted every week – enough to supply the cities of Edinburgh, Cardiff, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Belfast combined – welcome to the Great Leaky Loo Scandal.

    We reveal how this is happening and what can be done. Tom gets a revealing look behind the scenes at a plumbing manufacturer where flushing systems are tested and the science of 'solids discharge' is analysed.

    When water is being abstracted from rivers and being treated to meet our demands we ask if we need to take the resource more seriously.

    Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock for BBC Audio in Bristol

    • 27 min
    Swimming in Superbugs?

    Swimming in Superbugs?

    Ellen Husain investigates the presence of pathoghens in the marine environment. She learns how surfers and regular sea swimmers may be more likely to have anti-microbial resistant bacteria in their bodies, and finds out about the ways in which antibiotics find their way into our oceans. Is the way we manage our seas actually fuelling the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and increasing the risk of untreatable disease in future?

    Producer: Emma Campbell

    • 27 min
    Build, Build, Build

    Build, Build, Build

    With an ever greater demand for more housing, and Boris Johnson calling for the country to "build buld bulid" post lockdown, Peter Gibbs looks at current trends in house-building. Are the government's plans for "garden communities" as environmentally-friendly as they sound? And how could developers be encouraged to build in a way which incorporates nature rather than squeezing it out?

    Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Emma Campbell.

    • 27 min
    Autopia to Utopia? Car-Free Cities

    Autopia to Utopia? Car-Free Cities

    Lockdown saw many more people jumping on bikes and walking - as much as a way to get out of the house as get around - but pollution levels dropped and nature could be heard without the background roar of traffic. Jheni Osman asks if this the way it could or should be? Has this given us a new way of thinking about how we get around and can city leaders bank on this to change the infrastructure to be 'car free'?

    After 100 years of city design being built around the private car, this is a rare opportunity to bank on the behaviour change to reduce pollution, improve air quality and get more of us active. Temporary moves to give over more road space to public transport, bikes and pedestrians may give way to more permanent measures and has accelerated plans for 'Car Free Cities'. Jheni explores models that have been applied elsewhere, looks at changes coming in across Milan, Bristol and Birmingham and asks what's needed to make them work? Will we be zooming about on e-scooters and goods transported underground instead? Plans aren't without cost or controversy but is this a rare moment to make a radical change the new normal?

    Presented by Jheni Osman
    Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock for BBC Audio in Bristol.

    • 27 min
    Forests of the Future

    Forests of the Future

    Just a few months ago politicians across the spectrum were promising trees, glorious trees, in abundance. In an unlikely game of Top Trumps the numbers of trees promised reached into billions, ultimately settling at an ambitious promise of 30,000 hectares a year by 2025.

    So, how are we going to reach this target over the next 5 years and is it even the right goal? Things have not begun well with thousands of saplings left to rot after they could not be planted due to coronavirus restrictions and campaigners condemning the government targets as ‘inadequate’. At the same time many experts urge caution as the current push for more trees could result in trees being planted on land which should be used for agriculture or on landscapes which are important carbon stores such as peatland.

    Even if we can find the space we may not have the tree stocks or the skilled workforce to create sustainable woodlands. The current coronavirus crisis has highlighted just how vulnerable the UK nursery industry is without long term planning. We need a trained workforce to plant and care for trees as well as plans for the trees grown to be used sustainably.

    However, there are other ways. Natural regeneration and nurturing existing woodlands could be a better way to capture carbon long term and improve biodiversity. What we plant and how will have a huge affect on how much carbon the tree absorbs depending on how long they will be left standing but landowners will want to see some return on land used for tree planting.

    Peter Gibbs delves into the detail behind the mantra of ‘right tree, right place’ to find out what we should be planting, where we should plant and how to create a forest fit for the future.

    Producer Helen Lennard

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

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