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BBC Radio 4 - Costing the Earth

Costing the Earth

Exploring man's effect on the environment and how it reacts, questioning accepted truths, challenging those in charge and reporting on progress towards improving the world.

Costing the Earth

  • Ending the Plastic Age
    How do we solve the plastic crisis? Tom Heap is joined by an expert panel to find fresh ways to cut down on plastic waste. It's become the environmental crisis that's caught the imagination. Since Blue Planet 2 broadcast heart-rending images of albatross and turtles tangled in plastic waste enormous pressure has been exerted on government and retailers to reduce the flow of plastic into landfill and the oceans. But what's the best way to dispose of plastic? How do we reduce our consumption of such an incredibly versatile material? Are there future plastics that will degrade and disappear without a cost to the planet? Lucy Siegle, BBC 'One Show' reporter and author of a new book, 'Turning the Tide on Plastic' joins Tom alongside Richard Walker, MD of Iceland supermarkets who has pledged to remove plastic packaging from own-label goods by 2023. Bath University's Janet Scott discusses plant-based alternatives to plastic and Dustin Benton of the Green Alliance explains how campaigners are keeping up the pressure on government to improve the treatment and recycling of waste. Recorded at Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.

  • Verity and the Bees
    Verity Sharp wants to keep bees. She already grows her own organic fruit and vegetables. To pollinate her garden and provide delicious honey, bees seem like the perfect addition. And then there's the warm glow of righteousness to look forward to- bees are in trouble and she'll be doing her bit. Or will she? As Verity seeks out the best advice on beekeeping she quickly discovers moral, philosophical and environmental problems to swerve, alongside the practical issues she'd been expecting. Could honeybees be in competition with hard-pressed wild pollinators? Will her hive actually reduce the insect diversity of her corner of the British countryside? Producer: Alasdair Cross.

  • The Future of the Countryside
    What do we want from our countryside and how much are we willing to pay for it? Tom Heap chairs a debate in response to the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan focusing on "Public Money for Public Goods " and asks what are public goods? Is food a public good? Should public money be used to support food production or conservation and the environment? How can environmental enhancement be measured? What will the landscape of the future look like? Producer: Sarah Blunt.

  • Disappearing Alps
    The permafrost is thawing, the mountains are crumbling and the glaciers retreating. What will be left of the Alps? Peter Hadfield reports from Switzerland. Producer: Alasdair Cross.

  • Run Rabbit
    When was the last time you saw a rabbit - dead or alive? Despite its reputation, a BTO survey suggests European rabbit numbers in the UK have declined by around 60 per cent over the last 20 years. In turn, other species from birds to invertebrates are also suffering as a result. Tom Heap tracks down the story. Myxomatosis wiped out the majority of the population in the 50s and 60s and can still affect the young but now scientists are concerned about Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Ironically this is deliberately released in some countries as a deliberate way to control the population but is thought to be behind large-scale declines in the UK through spreading naturally. He visits areas which have seen numbers disappear, to hear what they're doing about it and concerns it may pass on to other species. Now groups are asking walkers and cyclists to log rabbit sightings to get a broader picture of numbers but should we really be working on an antidote? http://www.mammal.org.uk/volunteering/mammal-mapper/ Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock.