Earth Focus: Mining Battles
Meeting Renewable Energy Needs In Southern Africa

The people and technologies shaping Africa's energy future. Correspondent Jeff Barbee reports from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Malawi on how energy from the sun, wind, water and even garbage not only helps the environment is good business.



Upcoming Airdates

Canada's Rush for Gold

(Earth Focus: Episode 34) Canada may be one of the world's largest gold mining nations, but both its overseas and domestic mining activities are controversial. In this Earth Focus report, Human Rights Watch looks at the allegations of gang rapes and other violent abuses at the Pogera Mine in Papua New Guinea, which is operated and 95%-owned by Barrick Gold--a Canadian company that is the world's largest gold producer.

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Meeting Tomorrow's Food Needs

(Earth Focus: Episode 48): With a changing climate, a growing population and anticipated fresh water shortages, our food production must evolve. In this episode of Earth Focus, a look at innovative research that is helping develop new and improved root systems for agriculture in stressed conditions, a new Swedish model for urban agriculture, the use of solar energy to power food production in the Himalayas, and an innovative truck farm in New York City.

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Maritime Pollution Exposed

(Earth Focus: Episode 46) Between 70-210 million gallons of waste oil are illegally dumped at sea by commercial ships each year. In fish, marine oil pollution is linked to cancers, tumors, reduced growth rates, genetic side effects, and death. It is also toxic to seabirds and marine mammals including whales, sea otters, and dolphins. The new film "Oil in Our Waters" exposes this practice. Film director Micah Fink shares his findings with "Earth Focus" and explains new ways citizens can now help stop illegal oil dumping.

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Fracking Goes Global

(Earth Focus: Episode 52) U.S. domestic gas production is on the rise because of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock by pumping millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals underground at high pressure. Environmentalists say this gas boon threatens water supplies and pollutes air. Now, as fracking expands around the world, so does growing resistance. "Earth Focus" looks at three countries on the new fracking frontline: South Africa, Poland, and the UK.

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Restoring The Earth

(Earth Focus: Episode 53) It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems, to improve the lives of people trapped in poverty and to sequester carbon naturally. John Liu presents "Hope in a Changing Climate," which showcases approaches that have worked on the Loess Plateau in China, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Produced in collaboration with the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP).

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Illicit Ivory

Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world – organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. Ivory buys guns and ammunition for Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army and Sudan's Janjaweed, both linked to mass atrocities and supports al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate behind the attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University.

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Can Religion Save The Environment?

Led by Buddhist monks, Cambodia's indigenous Chong people protest the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The dam, to be built by the Chinese company Sinohydro, would displace the Chong and destroy their ancestral forest home. Kalyanne Mam documents their plight in her film "Fight For Areng Valley." China is beginning to draw on its religious traditions -- Tibetan Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism -- to help address serious environmental challenges as profiled in Gary Marcuse and Shi Lihong's film "Searching for Sacred Mountain".

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Unsafe: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals

(Earth Focus: Episode 59) There are tens of thousands of chemicals in our air, water, and in the everyday products we use. They are largely unregulated and few are adequately tested for safety. They contribute to disease and are linked to conditions such as asthma, autism, ADHD, diabetes, cancers, infertility, cognitive disorders, obesity, reproductive disorders and birth defects.

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Climate Change: The Rising Cost

(Earth Focus: Episode 70) The cost of climate change is rising and its consequences are increasingly threatening our national security. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and severe weather cost lives and livelihoods when they damage property, crops, and infrastructure. Communities in Texas, Iowa, Colorado, Alaska are already struggling with the impact of climate change and coastal cities face expensive consequences within a couple of decades. The high price we are paying today is a harbinger of what the future may hold. How will the US economy and national security be affected?

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Exposed: The Ugly Side of Food Production

(Earth Focus: Episode 37) Food and social justice. Human rights abuses, rape and corrupt practices in the Bangladesh shrimp industry. A report by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation uncovers the human and environmental cost of shrimp farming and shows why buying shrimp from Bangladesh where they are exposed to pesticides and injected with dirty water may be hazardous to your health. UK's The Ecologist investigates the plight of African migrant workers in Italy and looks how financial speculation is threatening the livelihood of Mexican farmers.

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Toxic Futures: Untold Stories of Chemical Pollution

(Earth Focus: Episode 56) Exposure to toxic chemicals affects people in both the industrialized and developing world. Earth Focus looks at how Toms River, a New Jersey town, fought back to save its drinking water from toxic waste dumping by dye manufacturer Ciba Geigy and by Union Carbide. Then, a look at the new film Amazon Gold, which addresses illegal gold mining in Peru and its tragic impact on human health and the environment.

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Asian Elephants In Peril

Asian elephants, already endangered in Indonesia and Thailand,are threatened further by human encroachment and illegal trade. In Indonesia, just 2,500 Sumatran elephants remain. As their last great forest habitat is being logged to make way for palm oil plantations, elephants are pushed into conflict with local people. In Thailand and Myanmar, an illegal and brutal trade in wild baby elephants is contributing to declining elephant populations.

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