The Climate Connection: journeys into the heart of the climate change debate
TX from 30 November, BBC World Service
The Climate Connection follows five people as they embark on a journey of self-exploration – each championing an issue that they believe is at the centre of climate change debate. Produced in partnership with The Open University, in each programme one person from a different part of the world explores a topic, which they believe offers potential ‘solutions’ to some of the issues being debated in the public domain. They embark on a journey of self-exploration as they meet a range of experts and find out if their ideas stand up to this scrutiny.
Dr Joe Smith, senior lecturer in Environment who is the academic advisor to the series, said: “‘So much media coverage of climate change leaves us feeling despairing. The stand out feature of this fascinating series is that it focuses on the search for answers to the challenges climate change poses. We test a body of proposed solutions through the eyes of young professionals in some key areas. From family planning to designing cities to rethinking diet, these stories will resonate with so many of us, the world over.”
The Open University will be making the Climate Connection series available on its new website Creative Climate, which will be documenting individual stories throughout the next decade. Creative Climate will create a global diary of environmental issues and offer learning resources – free, online and globally. It is set to be a groundbreaking longitudinal record of how societies learn about, respond to, and learn to live with global environmental change. By engaging with these issues with a fresh tone that emphasises curiosity, ingenuity and creativity rather than crisis and fearfulness the project promises not just to track change but also to unlock new ideas and energies.
The Climate Connection: Are there too many people on the planet?
Monday 30 November 8.30pm
As the global population approaches 7 billion, concerns are growing that our population may soon reach an unsustainable level, with questions being asked about whether growth could be managed if consumption and emission levels were significantly reduced.
Katie Chau, a consultant for the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, embarks on a journey from London to Kenya to meet with expert witnesses and debates the issues surrounding the ever-increasing global population. She speaks to a range of people including: John Guillebaud from the Optimum Population Trust; Ben Oghre, a blogger and one of sixteen children, who is in favour of a two-child policy for many African nations; and Kenyan Nobel Laureate Grace Akumu, a lead negotiator on climate change who thinks the industrialised world needs to change its ways - and now. If the West insists on waiting to 2050, Grace predicts Armageddon for Africa.
The Climate Connection: Does the world need meat?
Tuesday 1st December, 8.30pm
Rebecca Davies, a student from the Earth Institute at Columbia University explores the suggestion that significantly reducing the amount of meat we consume would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore minimise the effects of global warming.
Rebecca meets with cattle farmers and their unions to raise her concerns around the mass-produced meat industry and the power of the beef and grain lobbies in the US. She meets Dr Nevin Cohen, an expert on food systems in NYC, who tells her that ‘Cows are the SUV of the Farm’. She also visits some butchers in Brooklyn who are working on bringing sustainable meat production into an urban environment.
The Climate Connection: It’s Big Energy, Stupid!
Thursday 3rd December, 8.30pm
Hita Unnikrishnan, a Masters student in Life Sciences at the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore and a British Council Environmental Champion, believes that climate change has to be addressed at the individual level.
Hita is a strong believer in local, renewable ways of producing energy and has worked on decentralised models of waste management and power generation. She takes us to the thriving Indian industrial cities of Bangalore and Chennai, where she encounters significant opposition to her views but is determined to prove that localised solutions can work in the cities and not just in rural villages.
The Climate Connection: Travel: Good for Humanity; Bad for the Planet?
Friday 4th December, 8.30pm
The travel industry – and air travel in particular – is at the sharp end of the emissions debate. This programme explores the pros and cons of cheap air travel.
Laila Al-Hassan, an Emirati woman who works for state environmental agency in Abu Dhabi, represents a small but growing lobby, who are urging their fellow citizens and the rest of the world to rethink attitudes to tourism and travel. She is in Dubai to interview key players in the environmental debate. She speaks to the Head of Dubai International Airport, the UAE Minister for Culture and Tourism, hotel developers and members of the local environmental lobby.
The Climate Connection – Can we build a better future?
Monday 7th December, 8.30pm
In many parts of the world, homes and buildings produce around half of all carbon dioxide pollution. The UK government has set targets to make all new homes zero-carbon by 2016.
Alex Solk is an architect at Sheppard Robson, a long-established practice, with innovation, sustainability and social conscience at its core. He thinks you can have your cake and eat it – with clever design and new technology, homes can have a reduced carbon footprint, but we can still keep all the benefits of modern 21st century life. He was involved in designing the prototype for the UK’s first zero carbon emissions house. In this programme, he visits the building site of what is planned to be the world’s first totally zero carbon city in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Masdar City will not only be zero carbon once it’s built, but the construction of the city will have a zero net carbon dioxide output as well. This is something that’s way beyond the attempts of the small rural community of Tinker’s Bubble in Somerset in the south west of England, whose philosophy to help reduce climate-changing carbon dioxide output is to sacrifice modern technology, get closer to nature and live off the land.