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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 : 2015-03-31

Agriculture: When farms turn into factories

It's time to end the myth once and for all. The farms in children's books are history. Today's agriculture is increasingly industrial and only those who adapt will survive. In this episode we investigate the environmental effects of "mega farms". Are these large-scale enterprises more polluting than the smaller variety? The answer is not as obvious as one might think.

Reducing the farming footprint

Across the planet, livestock breeding is responsible for 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Research is underway to bring this down.

In Italy, a mineral buried in the hills of Tuscany has shown promising results. Chabazite is found in rock left over from volcanic eruptions. When added to animal feed, it can reduce ammonium in manure by up to 40 percent and slash atmospheric emissions by one fifth.

Another project funded by the European Union is looking at insects as a more sustainable source of protein for animal nutrition. Before being trialled in Europe, the programme needs to usher in a change in the law as well as overcoming consumer resistance to eating livestock fed on a bug-based diet.

Meat free, not taste free

One seemingly simple way to reduce the impact of farming is to eat less meat. The Belgian city of Ghent was the first in Europe to introduce a "veggie day", a day when people are encouraged to swap their steak for a stack of vegetables.

The idea has since been exported to ten other cities around the world as more people change the way they eat in the name of the environment and animal welfare. 

With the support of the European Union / Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development

By Alice CAMPAIGNOLLE , Georges YAZBECK , Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Yara JAMALI ELO

Archives

2018-07-13 Molly HALL

Portugal: Eucalyptus trees under fire

Join us on Down To Earth as we return to the scene of Portugal's deadliest wildfires. Last year, 115 people were killed and 500,000 hectares of land scorched. The poor emergency...

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2018-06-29 Molly HALL

Menstruation: Green is the new red

Menstruation is a natural part of every woman's life. The average woman will use some 10,000 single-use pads and tampons in her lifetime. They may be disposable, but they’re not...

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2018-06-15 Molly HALL

Iran's water crisis

It's an environmental issue that's become a thorny political problem. Iran has been experiencing severe drought for several years. A growing population, increased water...

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2018-06-01 Marina BERTSCH

France’s disappearing birds

Across France, fields have gone quiet… In 20 years, one-third of the country’s birds have disappeared. Meadow Pipits and Partridges have nearly been wiped out. It’s a...

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2018-05-18 Florence VILLEMINOT

Could thawing permafrost unleash long-gone deadly viruses?

In the remote town of Longyearbyen, in Norway’s Arctic region, the ground is permanently frozen. As temperatures rise, the thawing permafrost could open a Pandora's box, with...

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