The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
A conversation with Greta
The world’s most famous climate activist has just turned 18 and is as uncompromising as ever.
In an extended interview, Justin Rowlatt asks Greta Thunberg how she intends to continue campaigning, now that she is back in school and living under lockdown at her family home in Stockholm.
Before the pandemic, the Swedish environmentalist had spent several months travelling around America in an electric vehicle lent to her by Arnold Schwarzenegger. A TV documentary crew shadowed her as she visited scientists, entrepreneurs and victims of wild fires, while also attending climate conferences and protesting.
She tells us what she learned, and why she believes the climate emergency is more dire than ever before.
Producer: Laurence Knight
(Picture: Greta Thunberg at home in a video conference with Justin Rowlatt)
Telegram in the spotlight
After becoming the most downloaded non-gaming app earlier this year, Telegram messaging app has amassed half a billion users – a quarter of WhatsApp’s and rising. Owned by the elusive Russian exile Pavel Durov, Telegram has been used to coordinate global protest movements - from Belarus to Iran and Hong Kong. It’s also been accused of tolerating the extremist channels behind ISIS and the Capitol Hill riots.
But in its home country, Russia, misogyny appears to be permitted on the platform. Ivana Davidovic hears from women who worried for their safety when their personal information, including addresses and workplace details, were posted on Telegram channels, subjecting them to threats.
Professor Megan Squire from Elon University in the US tells how she also received threats following her research into far-right groups on the platform, and about her fears that those groups might only get bigger if Telegram proceeds with plans to pay content creators.
Digital security expert Raphael Mimoun looks under the app’s bonnet, explaining whether its privacy promises to users are up to scratch. And journalist Max Seddon profiles the founder and CEO Pavel Durov.
Voters in Greenland have backed a party which opposes a rare earth mining project. On Business Weekly, we ask what this means for the security of the global supply of rare minerals and hear why this project was so controversial. From the ice to the ocean, where the race to extract minerals is on. But environmentalists are concerned that deep sea mining could hurt the world’s oceans, even if they are being mined to help the environment in other ways. You may have heard of the term non-fungible token, but do you know what they are and how they work? We look at whether they are just another crypto craze or an amazing financial opportunity for digital artists. Plus, how to learn the art of complaining. The show is presented by Lucy Burton and produced by Matthew Davies.
After the Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal last month, we ask: are container ships too big? How much bigger can they get? To answer those questions we speak to Aslak Ross, head of marine standards at the world’s largest container shipping line, Maersk. Jan Hoffman, head of trade and logistics at the UN's Conference on Trade and Development, explains that economies of scale have led to the ships getting bigger and bigger. And Evert Lataire, head of maritime technology at Ghent University, describes how he assesses whether a mega ship can fit into a port, or through a canal.
Picture: the Ever Given container ship lodged sideways in the Panama Canal. Credit: Getty Images.)
Mining the ocean
How rocks on the ocean floor could be key to the transition to electric cars. Justin Rowlatt speaks to Gerard Barron, boss of DeepGreen, a company that wants to gather rocks from the ocean floors rich in the metals essential for making electric car batteries. He tells us why this kind of mining is crucial to transitioning away from fossil fuels. Louisa Casson, senior campaigner with Greenpeace, warns of the environmental devastation this could cause. And zoologist Adrian Glover tells us how mining could take place alongside conservation of the deep seabed.
(Photo: A sunset over an ocean, Credit: Getty Images)
Tracing cotton’s DNA
Can technology help eradicate forced labour from global cotton supplies? A confrontation continues to rise between Western powers, global brands, and the Chinese authorities over the use of forced labour and human rights abuse in cotton production in the western region of Xinjiang. Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, explains why transparency from the Chinese authorities over the whole cotton supply chain is unlikely to be forthcoming. With that in mind, some technology companies are volunteering their services to mark or trace the DNA of cotton, so apparel companies can be sure that it's not from a region with suspected forced labour. Jim Hayward, CEO of Applied DNA Sciences, explains how their particular cotton tagging technology works. But John Gapper, business columnist at the Financial Times, cautions that without larger industry willingness to uproot their business models, at considerable cost, the tech can only go so far to solve the problem.
Presenter: Tamasin Ford
Producer: Frey Lindsay
(Picture: Cotton from fields in Xinjiang, China is displayed in the palm of a cotton-picker's hand. Picture credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)