Costing the Earth-logo

Costing the Earth


Fresh ideas from the sharpest minds working toward a cleaner, greener planet

Fresh ideas from the sharpest minds working toward a cleaner, greener planet


London, United Kingdom




Fresh ideas from the sharpest minds working toward a cleaner, greener planet




Maritime Nation

How well protected is Britain's coast and its wildlife after Brexit? Chef and fisheries campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall joins Peter Gibbs to examine the health of our seas. Can our network of Marine Protected Areas be strengthened and expanded? What impact is climate change having on our waters? How can we lift the curse of plastic pollution from our beaches? Surfers, fishermen, campaigners and conservationists join Peter and Hugh to consider the issues. Producer: Jonathan Wiltshire


Costing the Earth: Maritime Nation

How well protected is Britain's coast and its wildlife after Brexit? Peter Gibbs reports.


Gene Editing Nature

The powerful gene editing technique CRISPR that allows us to rewrite DNA may soon provide a tool to help save our planet’s biodiversity. CRISPR has been described as ‘molecular scissors’ and is used to make targeted, precise changes to the DNA of plants and animals, with all the ethical questions it raises. Since it was developed by scientists 9 nine years ago, research into uses of CRISPR has been increasing in medicine and agriculture, as well as entering the fields of public health and...


Killer Kitties

Realising your pet cat has brought home a 'gift' or perhaps a snack they plan to eat in front of you is never pleasant. Many owners will scramble to intercept and release the poor prey but that may be too little, too late. Cats have been blamed for an estimated 100million wildlife kills in the UK each Spring and Summer but it's hard to know what really goes on when they're out on the prowl at night. Birds, mammals, insects, amphibians...and sometimes the odd snake in some cases...but others...


The New Environmental Sheriff in Town

Dame Glenys Stacey is charged with the job of keeping the government on track toward a greener future. She talks to Tom Heap in her first interview as the head of the new Office for Environmental Protection. If public bodies in England such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and local authorities fail to keep rivers clean and city air breathable then it will be Glenys Stacey who will try to make them to do better She was a well respected regulator of examinations at Ofqual and has...


The Lorax

Dr Seuss' fable of needless consumerism and environmental ruin, The Lorax, is half a century old this year. The 'shortish, brownish, oldish and mossy' character who 'speaks for the trees' increasingly features on placards at demos. Michael Rosen looks at the book's influence on the modern environmental movement and charts its journey from ignored to censored, embraced by the mainstream and inevitably turned into a Hollywood movie and used to sell SUVs. With Children's Laureate Cressida...


Lockdown Planet

How has one year of lockdown changed our environment in the UK and around the world? Tom Heap is joined by air quality expert, Ally Lewis, psychologist Lorraine Whitmarsh and the BBC's South Korea correspondent, Laura Bicker to find out how we- and the natural world- have been changed by the pandemic. Producer: Maggie Latham


How to Halve Emissions by 2030

The COP26 conference in Glasgow in November is going to be a very important moment in tackling climate change. We are currently not on track to meet the goal of limiting global temperature rise to between 1.5 and 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we need to halve total emissions by the end of 2030 if we’re to be on track to hit the 1.5 degree target and avoid the worst effects of a changing climate. To close the gap between...


China 2060

In September at the UN General Assembly China announced that it will aim for carbon neutrality by 2060. Celia Hatton and guests discuss how China might meet this target, and what this means for the world. With Barbara Finamore, Senior Strategic Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sha Yu, Co-Director of the China Program at the Centre of Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland, and Steve Tsang, Director of China Institute at SOAS University of London. Producer: Toby...


Too darn hot

As some places in the world become too hot for humans to live, Tom Heap explores the cost to the environment of air conditioning. Air conditioning is one of the fastest growing sources of energy consumption, but it's already placing enormous strains on power grids, while also contributing to climate change. Across the world, building codes are making it virtually impossible to build new offices without it, and are setting "comfort standards" that don't take account of geography, climate or...


The Future of Environmentalism

As our planet continues to warm, and climate issues move rapidly up the political agenda, the environmental movement itself is also changing shape. In the second of a two-part series looking at the past, present and future of the environmental movement, Journalist and Black and Green Ambassador Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley looks to the future. Speaking to academics, futurologists, and the activists and campaigners on the front lines, she asks how things are changing, who is changing them, and what...


A short history of environmental protest

It's fifty years since the first blossoming of environmental campaign groups. Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the organisation which was eventually to become the Green Party were all set up in the early 1970s - all within just a few years of each other. In part 1 of this two-part series, Tom Heap takes a look back over the last half century of environmental protest. He talks to some of the big names involved in green campaigning - from the early days up to the present and the rise of...


World on Fire

Last year wildfires in the Amazon made headlines news. This year we've hardly heard about them - but that doesn't mean they're not happening. In fact the number of rainforest fires in Brazil rose by almost 20% in June, reaching a 13 year high, according to government data. Some estimates now point to 2020 being an even worse year for forest destruction than 2019. Meanwhile, from California to Siberia, fires have been devastating landscapes and throwing more greenhouse gases up into the...


Bushfire Animal Rescue

Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought fuelled a series of massive bushfires across Australia last winter. Dozens of people died and millions of hectares of bushland and forest were burnt. Australia's plant and animal life are well adapted to natural fire but the additional burden of climate change ensured that many of the fires were more intense and widespread than ever before. Much of the country's unique fauna had nowhere to hide. Peter Hadfield travels through the...


The Great Leaky Loo Scandal

Do you know how much water you use? Despite campaigns to reduce our personal water usage from around 143 litres each per day to closer to 100, it's not improving. Meanwhile Tom Heap has discovered that an innovation to a product we use every day, an innovation which promised to save water is actually making things worse. Billions of litres are being wasted every week – enough to supply the cities of Edinburgh, Cardiff, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Belfast combined – welcome...


Swimming in Superbugs?

Ellen Husain investigates the presence of pathoghens in the marine environment. She learns how surfers and regular sea swimmers may be more likely to have anti-microbial resistant bacteria in their bodies, and finds out about the ways in which antibiotics find their way into our oceans. Is the way we manage our seas actually fuelling the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and increasing the risk of untreatable disease in future? Producer: Emma Campbell


Build, Build, Build

With an ever greater demand for more housing, and Boris Johnson calling for the country to "build buld bulid" post lockdown, Peter Gibbs looks at current trends in house-building. Are the government's plans for "garden communities" as environmentally-friendly as they sound? And how could developers be encouraged to build in a way which incorporates nature rather than squeezing it out? Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Emma Campbell.


Autopia to Utopia? Car-Free Cities

Lockdown saw many more people jumping on bikes and walking - as much as a way to get out of the house as get around - but pollution levels dropped and nature could be heard without the background roar of traffic. Jheni Osman asks if this the way it could or should be? Has this given us a new way of thinking about how we get around and can city leaders bank on this to change the infrastructure to be 'car free'? After 100 years of city design being built around the private car, this is a rare...


Forests of the Future

Just a few months ago politicians across the spectrum were promising trees, glorious trees, in abundance. In an unlikely game of Top Trumps the numbers of trees promised reached into billions, ultimately settling at an ambitious promise of 30,000 hectares a year by 2025. So, how are we going to reach this target over the next 5 years and is it even the right goal? Things have not begun well with thousands of saplings left to rot after they could not be planted due to coronavirus restrictions...


Flooding Britain

What's the best way to prevent flooding? Caz Graham finds out whether there might be environmental alternatives to building ever-higher flood defences. She talks to a campaign group in Kendal in Cumbria, where there are multi-million pound plans to build flood barriers through the town centre, and asks the Environment Agency whether there could be more imaginative alternatives. Is Natural Flood Management the answer? Caz talks to academics and experts to find out what new solutions there...