A woman cleans her pen at a sea cucumber reserve in Madagascar. | Nicky Milne/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Urban Habitat: Cataloging Species

As urbanization creates a variety of vectors for non-native species to find their way into Los Angeles, scientists work to catalog the city's evolving biodiversity.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct made the region more attractive non-native species introduced by human activity. Species now common in the city include animals from tropical places, including anoles, geckos and the infamous coqui frog. Biologists are finding the best way to research biodiversity in urban areas and to gain access to the species living on private property throughout the city, is to enlist he help of citizen scientists.

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Climate Migration

Populations are dramatically shifting as climate change drives migration. Droughts and floods are driving many people away from their rural, farming communities into big cities. We see how this is manifesting in Mongolia and examine the factors leading to the new community of Haitian people living in limbo at the border between Mexico and the U.S.

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  • 2018-09-05T22:30:00-07:00
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Shades of Gray: Living with Wolves

Gray wolves once ranged across North America. But by the 1930s, they were nearly extinct — trapped, poisoned and hunted by ranchers, farmers, and government agents. With protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the wolf population rebounded. But wolves lost federal protection in 2011. Now, with hunting permitted in many Western states, the future of this once endangered species may again be in question. Can we live with wolves? "Earth Focus" travels to Montana and Wyoming to find out.

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Inside The Climate Wars: Conversation with Michael Mann

The debate over climate change remains polarized. Efforts to discredit the science of climate change by fossil fuel interests are a large part of the reason why says Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University. "If there was a huge industry that would stand to profit greatly if the theory of gravity were wrong you would see the theory of gravity being contested in our US Senate," he tells "Earth Focus" correspondent Miles Benson in an exclusive interview. Mann on the politics of climate change and the impact it has had on both science and policy.

  • 2018-08-22T00:30:00-07:00
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Urban Habitat

Los Angeles is one of the biggest biodiversity hotspots in the world, despite its smog, urban sprawl and snarling freeways. At least 20,000 native and non-native plant and animal species are thriving despite human interference, and in some cases because of it. How can people help make urban habitats more welcoming to non-human urban dwellers?

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Future of Food

Communities and innovators all over the world are creating new sustainable food sources that are resilient to climate change and growing populations. In Madagascar, we see how villagers are closing off marine areas to allow the fish supply to replenish at a natural pace. In San Diego, California, aquaculturists are exploring open ocean farming as a more sustainable model for the fishing industry.

  • 2018-08-22T18:30:00-07:00
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City Planning

Two cities, San Francisco and Freetown, brace for climate change using vastly different methodologies. San Francisco's developers are building expensive real estate on floodplains as officials try to heed expert projections on future sea levels. On the other side of the world, a deadly mudslide caused by torrential rains and deforestation in Sierra Leone shows the consequences of city planning that doesn't take climate change into account.

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Sea Level Rising: Living With Water

Louisiana still is learning from Hurricane Katrina. Forecasts are dire for Louisiana to experience the second-highest sea level rise in the world. There is a big movement brewing in New Orleans to build adaptive "resilience zones." In Southeast Louisiana, the native peoples of the Isle de Jean Charles have become the first U.S citizens moving within their homeland displaced by climate change.

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Shrimp and Smart Phones: The Toxic Side of Profit

(Earth Focus: Episode 50) This episode of Earth Focus looks at the dark side of shrimp and smart phone industries. Reports from Thailand, Bangladesh, and Indonesia uncover the brutal exploitation of people and the environment for profit.

 

Photo:  M. Yousuf Tushar / Flickr / Creative Commons

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Food Heroes

"Ground Operations," a new film by Dulanie Ellis and Raymond Singer, shows how farming provides both employment and therapeutic recovery for America's combat veterans. Then, meet organic pioneers from Minnesota and Maryland. Also in this episode, a segment showing how California's Pie Ranch develops an innovative way to bring healthy food to a high tech giant while saving a small family business in the process.

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Adaptation to Global Water Shortages

Anticipating future water needs, two regions on opposite sides of the world turn to technology for answers. Western Morocco, near the Sahara Desert, is currently facing unprecedented drought and groundwater mismanagement. But an ancient method of gathering moisture from fog is being taught to 13 villages, allowing people to have a level of local control over their most basic need. In Central Valley, California, the food basket of the world uses nearly 80 percent of the entire state's water supply.

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Young Voices for the Planet

This episode features author and illustrator Lynne Cherry's film series "Young Voices for the Planet" about young adults making positive environmental change.

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Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world. But they've been linked to the decline of honeybees, which pollinate many food crops. And scientists now say neonicotinoids also harm many terrestrial, aquatic, and marine invertebrates. These pervasive insecticides damage sea urchin DNA, suppress the immune systems of crabs, and affect the tunneling and reproductive behavior of earthworms. They kill off insects that many birds, amphibians, and reptiles rely on for food.

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Sweden: Gateway to Green Innovation

(Earth Focus: Episode 45) The future -- Swedish style. Stockholm's Royal Seaport, a rundown district in Sweden's capital, is set to become a model of energy efficiency. Plantagon, a leader in vertical urban agriculture, has an answer to feeding the mega cities of tomorrow -- urban skyscraper farms. The Stockholm eatery Nyagatan, cuts carbon emissions by going local and organic. Solvatten, a Swedish water purification system that uses sunlight is now being used around the world.

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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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Saving The Rivers of the American West

"Earth Focus" speaks with Jeremy Monroe about his film "Willamette Futures," which documents the effort to restore the watersheds of Oregon's largest river system. Satirical writer George Wolfe's controversial act of civil disobedience, leading a kayaking expedition down the cemented Los Angeles River, is the focus of Thea Mercouffer's film "Rock the Boat." The expedition sought to have EPA declare the river navigable so that it could gain protection under the Clean Water Act. The boating trip down the L.A.

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Vanishing Coral

“Vanishing Coral” presents the personal story of scientists and naturalists who are working with local communities to protect coral reefs that are being destroyed by warming seas, pollution, and destructive fishing practices. Featured in the documentary is the President of the Biosphere 2 Foundation Abigail Alling, marine biologist and coral expert Phil Dustan, captain of the Mir research sailing vessel Mark Van Thillo, and Nono Suparno, a leading conservationist in Bali.

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