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DOWN TO EARTH

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

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ENCORE!

Rhiannon Giddens strikes out on her 'Freedom Highway'

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DOWN TO EARTH

We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2015-02-16

Forests worth more alive than dead

We are Down to Earth in Peru on a police patrol to La Pampa, a wasteland on the outskirts of the Amazon. In the last six years 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated in this region, most of it due to illegal gold mining. Today the authorities are clamping down.

Despite efforts to halt deforestation, the number of trees being cut in Peru has jumped 80% since the start of the century. NGOs such as Rainforest Alliance are working with local communities to prove that protecting the forest - and adding value to existing renewable resources - offers a more lucrative and sustainable income over the long term. Tourism could be the most promising. If visitors are willing to pay large amounts to see unspoiled virgin rainforests, it may be the most powerful evidence that trees in the Amazon are worth more alive than dead.

‘‘Trees are as alive as us but the problem is we don't feel attached to them’’
 
French director Luc Jacquet’s film ‘Once Upon a Forest’ tries to elicit an emotional response in the audience, using animation to convey that trees and humans are surprisingly similar. Scientists, too, are studying how to make people care. At the University of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory researchers say they’ve found a way to reduce paper consumption by turning participants into virtual tree-cutters.
 
Biotechnology: making it impossible to cheat the system
 
Back in Peru, Dennis del Castillo is an agronomist looking for a global solution to the illegal trafficking of timber. Over the next three years he’ll create a DNA bank of trees eligible for exportation, making it possible to trace the precise origin of wood bound for customers in Europe, the United States or Asia.

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Marie SCHUSTER , Julie DUNGELHOEFF , Alice CAMPAIGNOLLE , Yara JAMALI ELO

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Archives

2017-12-15 Natural disaster

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Floods, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires: 2017 stood out for both the number and intensity of extreme weather events. But were the last twelve months more catastrophic for the...

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2017-12-01 Fossil fuels

Oil industry: Is green the new black?

The world will pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2017 than in any other year in recorded history. With doomsday scenarios on the horizon, there's growing pressure...

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2017-11-17 Fishing

The tiny parasite threatening your salmon sushi

Marine parasites known as sea lice are threatening the world's salmon supply. Today we eat three times more of the high-protein fish than in the 1980s, but the proliferation of...

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2017-11-02 nuclear power

A nuclear waste dump for eternity

France has found a €25 billion solution to the unanswerable question of what to do with its high-level nuclear waste - bury it deep underground.

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2017-10-19 China

Is China exporting its pollution?

China may be the world's champion of renewable energy, but its actions abroad are not always in line with a country truly committed to fighting climate change. With the United...

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