Every Thursday, a new episode of Living Planet brings you environment stories from around the world, digging deeper into topics that touch our lives every day. The prize-winning, weekly half-hour radio magazine and podcast is produced by Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster - visit dw.com/environment for more.
From species extinction to waste, land degradation to climate change and pollution, from Kenya to Australia, India, and France, this two-part special explores some of the most urgent environmental problems facing the planet — and how they might be solved. In part one, we hear about the struggle to save a native Tasmanian species from extinction, plus: French solutions to a sickening waste pile.
In the Global North, clean water is taken for granted — but in some places it means the difference between life and death. "Water wars" are taking place as people fight failing systems, and combat climate change, to access enough clean water for all. From Chile to South Africa, India to the Caribbean, we hear about those water conflicts that are flowing beneath the surface.
Trees are often seen as something to be chopped down for economic gain or cleared to make way for development. But without them, scientists warn, humanity loses an important lifeline. These carbon sinks can be thought of as giant air conditioners that cool the planet — a powerful tool in mitigating climate change. From Costa Rica to Brazil, Rome to Madrid, we hear about the state of our trees.
We depend on farming — and farmers — to grow the food we need to survive. Agriculture can be environmentally damaging — yet there are alternatives. From adjusting our avocado consumption, to a sustainable (and underrated) crop of the future: beans. And finally, restoring rivers to boost harvests in India.
As more countries seek to phase in renewable energies, coal retains a firm grip in many parts of the world. In India, the picturesque state of Goa is set to become the country's new coal hub. China's plans to cut back on carbon emissions don't line up with its dependence on coal. And in London, activists can't agree on the best path to net-zero emissions.
This week on the show, we're taking a look at our cities. From our food systems to transportation and urban planning to our waste streams, we dive into the ways in which urban life can be environmentally-friendly. We also get to hear from some little critters who are taking unwelcome refuge in cities.
As our planet faces unprecedented environmental crises, it's becoming clear that piecemeal solutions can't fix the problem. We hear about transformational change, and how we might get there. UNDP chief Achim Steiner speaks to whether it's possible to decouple progress from environmental damage, and we look at "degrowth" as an alternative. Plus, the trees of Philadelphia.
Whether you consider yourself a birder or find the avian kind tend rather to ruffle your feathers, there's no denying birds are a critical part of the natural world. But in too many cases, birds are under threat. We visit the moors of Scotland, where eagles get illegally killed; and Kenya, where vultures and the African crane are in decline. Plus: Storks in Spain addicted to junk food.
Is it possible to fly with a clear environmental conscience? And, if not, what is being done to make this a reality? We follow one couple's journey to find out where carbon offsetting donations from flights actually end up. We also get into the nitty-gritty of a new United Nations emissions deal for flying that has been criticized as being too weak to make a difference.
We find out how we can feed forests so they can sustain us. Forest defenders in Romania are standing up to the so-called "wood mafia"— and paying a high price for that. We hear about a unique method to regenerate "underground forests" in Africa's Sahel. And helping salmon in Scotland recover — by planting trees.