Tag Archives: Conservation

Science: Biofuels For Planes, Biodiversity In Ecosystems, Conservation

On this week’s show: Whether biofuels for planes will become a reality, mitigating climate change by working with nature, and the second installment of our book series on the science of food and agriculture.

First this week, Science Staff Writer Robert F. Service talks with producer Meagan Cantwell about sustainable aviation fuel, a story included in Science’s special issue on climate change. Researchers have been able to develop this green gas from materials such as municipal garbage and corn stalks. Will it power air travel in the future?

Also in the special issue this week, Nathalie Seddon, a professor of biodiversity at the University of Oxford, chats with host Sarah Crespi about the value of working with nature to support the biodiversity and resilience of our ecosystems. Seddon emphasizes that nature-based solutions alone cannot stop climate change—technological approaches and behavioral changes will also need to be implemented.

Finally, we have the second installment of our series of author interviews on the science of food and agriculture. Host and science journalist Angela Saini talks to Jessica Hernandez, an Indigenous environmental scientist and author of Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science. Hernandez’s book explores the failures of Western conservationism—and what we can learn about land management from Indigenous people.

This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

[Image: USDA NCRS Texas; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

[alt: cows in a forest]

Authors: Meagan Cantwell; Robert Service, Sarah Crespi, Angela Saini

Preservation: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

“When it comes to climate change, scale is essential. We need to be scaling up our work and being really bold and ambitious, and that’s exactly what Cairngorms Connect is.” Find out how Scotland’s largest landscape-scale restoration project is fighting back against climate change in our new film for Cairngorms Connect.

Cairngorms National Park is a national park in northeast Scotland, established in 2003. It was the second of two national parks established by the Scottish Parliament, after Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, which was set up in 2002. The park covers the Cairngorms range of mountains, and surrounding hills. Already the largest national park in the United Kingdom, in 2010 it was expanded into Perth and Kinross.

Roughly 18,000 people reside within the 4,528 square kilometre national park. The largest communities are Aviemore, Ballater, Braemar, Grantown-on-Spey, Kingussie, Newtonmore, and Tomintoul. Tourism makes up about 80% of the economy.[4] In 2018, 1.9 million tourism visits were recorded. The majority of visitors are domestic, with 25 per cent coming from elsewhere in the UK, and 21 per cent being from other countries.

Zero Waste: Trash Turned Into Cash (The Economist)

The world is facing a growing waste problem, with 2bn tonnes produced last year alone. Is it possible to clean up this mess by turning trash into cash? 00:00 – The world has a huge waste problem.

Video timeline: 00:45 – Upcycling to reduce waste 02:46 – Building offices from recycled products 03:46 – The problem with traditional recycling 04:59 – Waste reduction relies on a circular economy 05:38 – Taiwan’s waste management success 08:20 – The problem with incineration 09:55 – Is the future zero waste? 10:43 – Consumption attitudes are changing Read our special report on waste here https://econ.st/3JrlD6y

BBC Earth: The Movement To Protect Pangolins

In China, Maria joins forces with Angelababy, one of the country’s biggest megastars. She is taking a bold approach to addressing the demand for pangolin products.

Pangolins, sometimes known as scaly anteaters, are mammals of the order Pholidota. The one extant family, the Manidae, has three genera: Manis, Phataginus, and Smutsia. Manis comprises the four species found in Asia, while Phataginus and Smutsia include two species each, all found in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Nature View: Bald Eagles Soar In New York City

Bald eagles were nearly extinct in New York City due to environmental factors such as pollution and pesticides. Michael George spoke to an urban park ranger sergeant who participated in the two-decade effort to bring the birds back to the city.

The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle, which occupies the same niche as the bald eagle in the Palearctic. 

Wildlife: The Alpine Ibex – Return From Extinction

The ibex is the king of the Alps, famed for its curved horns and extreme climbing skills. But for centuries, these mountain goats were hunted by humans – to the very brink of extinction. A royal hunting reserve in Italy saved the Alpine ibex, but is climate change now threatening them all over again? We tell the story of their remarkable comeback and ask what the future might hold.

The Alpine ibex, also known as the steinbock, bouquetin, or simply ibex, is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps. It is a sexually dimorphic species: males are larger and carry longer, curved horns than females. Its coat colour is typically brownish grey. 

Views: Saving The White Rhinos Of South Africa

Poachers kill at least one rhino a day in South Africa. Their horns are in huge demand on the black market, and are worth more than gold. Anti-poaching squads are now increasingly better equipped: with night-vision equipment, drones and thermal imaging cameras.

Covering some 20,000 km2, Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It’s home to the biggest population of white rhinos in South Africa – and also the highest number of rhinos killed by poachers. One major problem for ranger teams is their small size in comparison to the vast area of territory involved. Another is the widespread poverty in the many villagers bordering the park – and it’s here that you ultimately have to begin if you want to win the battle to save the rhinos.

Vince Barkas has 30 years’ experience working in wildlife conservation, and little confidence in the current system’s effectiveness in protecting rhinos. In 1992 he founded the anti-poaching unit “Protrack”. Its teams operate in the Greater Kruger, which includes private wildlife reserves neighboring the national park.

Over the decades he says he’s seen no change, despite rangers being better armed and equipped, and wants to see new options: “We’ve shot poachers, arrested poachers, beaten up poachers. Everything. But we’ve never sat down and spoken.” Vince Barkas believes in the power of dialog rather than violence. He and his son Dylan made their way to Mozambique – where many of the poachers who kill rhinos in the Kruger National Park hail from.

Their journey takes them to the town of Massingir, where Barkas Snr. first began talking to poachers a number of years ago. The problem, he says, is rooted in the very concept of wildlife conservation: “We’ve made wildlife a rich white man’s thing – where white people hunt and benefit from it, and go to lodges etc. And we’ve kept black people out of it – behind a fence. We’ve got to change that approach.”

Architecture: Protecting Modernism (The Getty)

“You look at the thinking behind the creation of the building, but then also at the material needs. And you merge the two to really build an in-depth understanding of the building, and a path forward to preserving it.”

From the sculptural curves of the Sydney Opera House to the sliding walls and windows of the Eames House, the hallmarks of modern buildings make them easy to spot. Modernist architecture—with its signature use of industrial materials and innovative, sleek designs—emerged in the early 1900s and dominated the post–World War II building boom. Unfortunately, many of the iconic buildings from this period are now in serious need of repair but lack clear conservation plans due to the use of untested building methods and materials. How do you fix concrete that’s been damaged by ocean water, or remove graffiti to preserve stainless steel? In response to such dilemmas, the Getty Foundation created the Keeping It Modern initiative, an international grant program focused on the conservation of significant 20th-century architecture. Launched in 2014, Keeping It Modern has to date supported a total of 77 projects in 40 countries.

Preservation: Mangroves National Park In Congo

This Wednesday is International Wetlands Day. Worldwide, wetlands cover 12.1 million km². But more than 30 percent have been lost over the past 50 years, despite them playing a crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change. One example is the Mangroves National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s the only marine park in the country and it’s home to a wide variety of plants and rare animals, including sea turtles. But the park is increasingly threatened by poaching and illegal logging. The construction of a deep water port in the vicinity has also sparked controversy. Our correspondents report.