Brilliant solutions to the world’s problems. We meet people with ideas to make the world a better place and investigate whether they work.
The tiny satellites changing how we see Earth
CubeSats are small but mighty. They started as an educational toy in 1999, but now help people tackle issues from deforestation in Brazil to modern slavery in Greece.
Cheap to make and launch, these tiny satellites’ biggest role is in remotely scanning the Earth. Thousands are whizzing over our heads right now tracking a huge range of stuff - including herds of elephants, coral reefs and volcanic ash clouds.
We look at how CubeSats have opened up space to nations and start-up companies and helped usher in a new, commercial, space age.
Produced and presented by Claire Bates.
Image: A CubeSat (Nasa)
The 15-minute city
Everything you need on your doorstep: a radical plan to improve our cities.
Imagine if everything you needed - your work, leisure and essential services - was just a 15-minute walk or cycle from where you live.
With no need to drive, there’d be less time sitting in traffic jams, the air would be less polluted and maybe we would all be a bit less stressed.
That’s the vision that many cities around the world are now trying to achieve - a new concept called the “15-minute city”.
As more and more of us join the urban sprawl, the aim is to make city life healthier, happier and better for the environment.
We visit Paris to see the plan in action.
Produced and presented by Richard Kenny.
Image: Getty Images
COP26: The tech helping you to help the planet
Climate change is set to alter our planet and human beings need to change the way we live and work. But how do we know exactly what changes to make?
New technology could help us make informed choices - from sensors counting pollinating insects in fields, to power sockets that tell us how green our energy is, to apps that enable communities to discuss change in their local area.
These ideas are part of the Tech for Our Planet challenge, which is being run by the UK government as part of the COP26 summit. We check out the three projects and explore how new technology has the potential to change our behaviour.
Produced and presented by William Kremer from COP26.
Image: The COP26 summit in Glasgow (Getty Images)
Ways to save the planet: Ancient solutions
Sixteen percent of greenhouse gas emissions could be saved by using biochar, a simple fertilising technique adopted by tribes in the Amazon thousands of years ago. If produced on an industrial scale, scientists say biochar could be as powerful as renewable energy in the fight against climate change.
Picture Credit: Carbofex and Puro.earth
How to spot fake drugs with a mobile phone
Fake medicines are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide each year. But inventors around the world are coming up with ways to spot the fakes.
In Nigeria, pharmacists are using a pocket-sized nanoscanner and mobile app to analyse light shone through a pill, powder or liquid.
A Ghanaian entrepreneur has developed a way to verify a barcode or a series of numbers on a box of medicine, using a mobile phone.
And in Finland, you can take photos of your medicine and get a detailed analysis of the packaging, pill or powder, to find out if it’s authentic or not.
Presented and produced by Hannah Gelbart
Image: Fake medicine
Talking signs, amazing peas and planes mapping fires
Signs that connect to a mobile phone app, which then reads the information out loud, are appearing in some cities. The technology is designed to help blind and visually impaired people find their way around more easily.
People Fixing the World puts the system to the test to see how well it works and finds out what else they’re being used for.
There’s also a clever solution to single-use plastics from a company who’re turning the proteins in peas into a biodegradable type of packaging. Plus, how pilots taking aerial pictures of forest fires in California are helping to tackle the flames.
Producer: Nick Holland
Presenters: Emma Tracey and Nick Holland
Image: A NaviLens code on a street sign
In a world that is so full of problems, this is such a refreshing podcast. Every week it outlines amazing solutions that innovative people are coming up with, a perspective that is rarely reported in the media. Truly inspiring!
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It was a good ending to a bad day.