Living On The Edge [world Service]

Episodes

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01Sea Levels Rise - The Compass2018040420180408 (WS)

Moving on from uninhabitable land and building state-of-the-art sea defences

The Compass - exploring our world.

Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming uninhabitable. For Kerry and Sally, climate change is not a theory - it is what has made them abandon their island and the graves of their ancestors. They see themselves as lucky - they had family land to move to and the skills to build new homes on stilts - but they are resigned to moving again.

Award-winning journalist Didi Akinyelure visits her home city of Lagos to find out the latest solution to sea level rise in West Africa. The glass towers of the new financial district of Eko Atlantic are protected from the waves by state of the art sea defences. The residents of the luxury apartments should keep their feet dry whatever the climate throws at them. That may be small comfort for their unprotected neighbours in the shanty town on the lagoon, Makoko, but they’re experts in survival against the odds.

(Photo: The sea encroaches on a tropical island. Credit: Getty Images)

01Sea Levels Rise - The Compass20180404

Moving on from uninhabitable land and building state-of-the-art sea defences

The Compass - exploring our world.

Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming uninhabitable. For Kerry and Sally, climate change is not a theory - it is what has made them abandon their island and the graves of their ancestors. They see themselves as lucky - they had family land to move to and the skills to build new homes on stilts - but they are resigned to moving again.

Award-winning journalist Didi Akinyelure visits her home city of Lagos to find out the latest solution to sea level rise in West Africa. The glass towers of the new financial district of Eko Atlantic are protected from the waves by state of the art sea defences. The residents of the luxury apartments should keep their feet dry whatever the climate throws at them. That may be small comfort for their unprotected neighbours in the shanty town on the lagoon, Makoko, but they’re experts in survival against the odds.

(Photo: The sea encroaches on a tropical island. Credit: Getty Images)

01The Compass2018040420180408 (WS)

Moving on from uninhabitable land and building state-of-the-art sea defences

The Compass - exploring our world.

Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming uninhabitable. For Kerry and Sally, climate change is not a theory - it is what has made them abandon their island and the graves of their ancestors. They see themselves as lucky - they had family land to move to and the skills to build new homes on stilts - but they are resigned to moving again.

Award-winning journalist Didi Akinyelure visits her home city of Lagos to find out the latest solution to sea level rise in West Africa. The glass towers of the new financial district of Eko Atlantic are protected from the waves by state of the art sea defences. The residents of the luxury apartments should keep their feet dry whatever the climate throws at them. That may be small comfort for their unprotected neighbours in the shanty town on the lagoon, Makoko, but they’re experts in survival against the odds.

(Photo: The sea encroaches on a tropical island. Credit: Getty Images)

Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming uninhabitable. For Kerry and Sally, climate change isn’t a theory, it’s what’s made them abandon their island and the graves of their ancestors. They see themselves as lucky - they had family land to move to and the skills to build new homes on stilts - but they’re resigned to moving again.

In Didi’s home city of Lagos she visits the latest solution to sea level rise in West Africa. The glass towers of the new financial district of Eko Atlantic are protected from the waves by state of the art sea defences. The residents of the luxury apartments should keep their feet dry whatever the climate throws at them. That may be small comfort for their unprotected neighbours in the shanty town on the lagoon, Makoko, but they’re experts in survival against the odds.

Image: The sea encroaches on a tropical island, Credit: Getty Images

02Encroaching Deserts - The Compass2018041120180415 (WS)

Yin Yuzhen has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert

The Compass - exploring our world.

An arranged marriage brought Yin Yuzhen to Inner Mongolia’s Ordos desert. Depressed by the sandstorms and poor productivity of the region, Yuzhen began to plant trees. Over 30 years she has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert. Those trees improved the soil and served as a barrier, blocking the sandstorms. She’s transformed the region, allowing a whole community to thrive in once uninhabitable conditions.

Didi Akinyelure travels to the Maowusu Desert to meet Yuzhen and the local farmers and officials who see her work as an example to the rest of China, a nation threatened by encroaching deserts and land degradation.

If we’re to feed a growing population then it’s vital that the deserts aren’t just held back but shrunk or adapted to make food production feasible. Didi also talks to the proponents of Africa’s Great Green Wall, designed to battle the march of the Sahara, and to researchers who believe that deserts can be turned into friends for mankind.

Image: Yin Yuzhen

02Encroaching Deserts - The Compass20180411

Yin Yuzhen has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert

The Compass - exploring our world.

An arranged marriage brought Yin Yuzhen to Inner Mongolia’s Ordos desert. Depressed by the sandstorms and poor productivity of the region, Yuzhen began to plant trees. Over 30 years she has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert. Those trees improved the soil and served as a barrier, blocking the sandstorms. She’s transformed the region, allowing a whole community to thrive in once uninhabitable conditions.

Didi Akinyelure travels to the Maowusu Desert to meet Yuzhen and the local farmers and officials who see her work as an example to the rest of China, a nation threatened by encroaching deserts and land degradation.

If we’re to feed a growing population then it’s vital that the deserts aren’t just held back but shrunk or adapted to make food production feasible. Didi also talks to the proponents of Africa’s Great Green Wall, designed to battle the march of the Sahara, and to researchers who believe that deserts can be turned into friends for mankind.

Image: Yin Yuzhen

02The Compass2018041120180415 (WS)

Yin Yuzhen has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert

The Compass - exploring our world.

An arranged marriage brought Yin Yuzhen to Inner Mongolia’s Ordos desert. Depressed by the sandstorms and poor productivity of the region, Yuzhen began to plant trees. Over 30 years she has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert. Those trees improved the soil and served as a barrier, blocking the sandstorms. She’s transformed the region, allowing a whole community to thrive in once uninhabitable conditions.

Didi Akinyelure travels to the Maowusu Desert to meet Yuzhen and the local farmers and officials who see her work as an example to the rest of China, a nation threatened by encroaching deserts and land degradation.

If we’re to feed a growing population then it’s vital that the deserts aren’t just held back but shrunk or adapted to make food production feasible. Didi also talks to the proponents of Africa’s Great Green Wall, designed to battle the march of the Sahara, and to researchers who believe that deserts can be turned into friends for mankind.

Image: Yin Yuzhen

Didi Akinyelure meets the people on the frontline of the planet\u2019s rapidly changing environment.

03Glaciers - The Compass2018041820180422 (WS)

Fresh ideas to stop the damage caused by melting glaciers

The Compass - exploring our world.

Life in the Himalayas is tough at the best of times. Crops are dependent on the seasonal melt-water from the mountain glaciers. If climate change wipes out the glaciers then the people will be forced to move.

As the global population increases and climate change tightens its grip the struggle for land intensifies. The tension over the ownership and the use of land creates new conflicts and inflames existing struggles. It also inspires creative thinking and fresh approaches to agriculture, development and conservation.

Nigerian journalist, Didi Akinyelure meets the innovators determined to maintain their traditional ways of life in the face of the worst that the climate can throw at them. In the Himalayas the locals are building their own artificial glaciers. Known as ice stupas, these mounds of ice modelled on Buddhist meditation structures can hold water for agriculture right through the summer.

Meanwhile, in the Alps, villagers are determined to save the glaciers that provide their groundwater and attract tourists. They have hired a scientist who plans to spray the glacier with artificial snow in order to deflect the heat of the summer sun.

(Photo: Didi Akinyelure on a glacier in the Swiss Alps)

03Glaciers - The Compass20180418

Fresh ideas to stop the damage caused by melting glaciers

The Compass - exploring our world.

Life in the Himalayas is tough at the best of times. Crops are dependent on the seasonal melt-water from the mountain glaciers. If climate change wipes out the glaciers then the people will be forced to move.

As the global population increases and climate change tightens its grip the struggle for land intensifies. The tension over the ownership and the use of land creates new conflicts and inflames existing struggles. It also inspires creative thinking and fresh approaches to agriculture, development and conservation.

Nigerian journalist, Didi Akinyelure meets the innovators determined to maintain their traditional ways of life in the face of the worst that the climate can throw at them. In the Himalayas the locals are building their own artificial glaciers. Known as ice stupas, these mounds of ice modelled on Buddhist meditation structures can hold water for agriculture right through the summer.

Meanwhile, in the Alps, villagers are determined to save the glaciers that provide their groundwater and attract tourists. They have hired a scientist who plans to spray the glacier with artificial snow in order to deflect the heat of the summer sun.

(Photo: Didi Akinyelure on a glacier in the Swiss Alps)

03The Compass2018041820180422 (WS)

Fresh ideas to stop the damage caused by melting glaciers

The Compass - exploring our world.

Life in the Himalayas is tough at the best of times. Crops are dependent on the seasonal melt-water from the mountain glaciers. If climate change wipes out the glaciers then the people will be forced to move.

As the global population increases and climate change tightens its grip the struggle for land intensifies. The tension over the ownership and the use of land creates new conflicts and inflames existing struggles. It also inspires creative thinking and fresh approaches to agriculture, development and conservation.

Nigerian journalist, Didi Akinyelure meets the innovators determined to maintain their traditional ways of life in the face of the worst that the climate can throw at them. In the Himalayas the locals are building their own artificial glaciers. Known as ice stupas, these mounds of ice modelled on Buddhist meditation structures can hold water for agriculture right through the summer.

Meanwhile, in the Alps, villagers are determined to save the glaciers that provide their groundwater and attract tourists. They have hired a scientist who plans to spray the glacier with artificial snow in order to deflect the heat of the summer sun.

(Photo: Didi Akinyelure on a glacier in the Swiss Alps)

04Dams - The Compass2018042520180429 (WS)

Meet the communities living in the shadow of hydro-electric dams

The Compass - exploring our world.

Half of the world’s river systems host hydro-electric dams. They offer reliable electricity but their construction forces people from their homes and disrupts the natural life of the river.

Scores of dams already span the Mekong River, the great waterway linking China to Vietnam. They’ve brought power and jobs to some of the most undeveloped parts of South-East Asia and the building boom shows no sign of ending. But the impact of the massive building programme on those living in the Mekong Delta and along the river is immense: silt deposits are disrupted and fish populations are displaced, as are many of the millions of people that depend on them.

Reporter Peter Hadfield sails up the Mekong to meet those communities living with the dams on their doorstep and discover how their lives are impacted.

Meanwhile, presenter Didi Akinyelure is in western Europe to find out why the countries that pioneered hydro-power are now turning their backs on it. In Switzerland they are releasing floodwater from their dams to bring life back to a tamed mountain wilderness. In France dams are actually being dismantled to revive fish life on Normandy’s rivers.

So how should we feel about dams? Do developing countries need the reliable low-carbon electricity they provide? Can they be built in less damaging ways or should we call a halt to the age of the mega-dam?

(Photo: Ota Khami, 55, stands where his home use to be before it was bulldozed to make way for the Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. Credit: Getty Images)

04Dams - The Compass20180425

Meet the communities living in the shadow of hydro-electric dams

The Compass - exploring our world.

Half of the world’s river systems host hydro-electric dams. They offer reliable electricity but their construction forces people from their homes and disrupts the natural life of the river.

Scores of dams already span the Mekong River, the great waterway linking China to Vietnam. They’ve brought power and jobs to some of the most undeveloped parts of South-East Asia and the building boom shows no sign of ending. But the impact of the massive building programme on those living in the Mekong Delta and along the river is immense: silt deposits are disrupted and fish populations are displaced, as are many of the millions of people that depend on them.

Reporter Peter Hadfield sails up the Mekong to meet those communities living with the dams on their doorstep and discover how their lives are impacted.

Meanwhile, presenter Didi Akinyelure is in western Europe to find out why the countries that pioneered hydro-power are now turning their backs on it. In Switzerland they are releasing floodwater from their dams to bring life back to a tamed mountain wilderness. In France dams are actually being dismantled to revive fish life on Normandy’s rivers.

So how should we feel about dams? Do developing countries need the reliable low-carbon electricity they provide? Can they be built in less damaging ways or should we call a halt to the age of the mega-dam?

(Photo: Ota Khami, 55, stands where his home use to be before it was bulldozed to make way for the Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. Credit: Getty Images)

04The Compass2018042520180429 (WS)

Meet the communities living in the shadow of hydro-electric dams

The Compass - exploring our world.

Half of the world’s river systems host hydro-electric dams. They offer reliable electricity but their construction forces people from their homes and disrupts the natural life of the river.

Scores of dams already span the Mekong River, the great waterway linking China to Vietnam. They’ve brought power and jobs to some of the most undeveloped parts of South-East Asia and the building boom shows no sign of ending. But the impact of the massive building programme on those living in the Mekong Delta and along the river is immense: silt deposits are disrupted and fish populations are displaced, as are many of the millions of people that depend on them.

Reporter Peter Hadfield sails up the Mekong to meet those communities living with the dams on their doorstep and discover how their lives are impacted.

Meanwhile, presenter Didi Akinyelure is in western Europe to find out why the countries that pioneered hydro-power are now turning their backs on it. In Switzerland they are releasing floodwater from their dams to bring life back to a tamed mountain wilderness. In France dams are actually being dismantled to revive fish life on Normandy’s rivers.

So how should we feel about dams? Do developing countries need the reliable low-carbon electricity they provide? Can they be built in less damaging ways or should we call a halt to the age of the mega-dam?

(Photo: Ota Khami, 55, stands where his home use to be before it was bulldozed to make way for the Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. Credit: Getty Images)