environment

#397      29 min 10 sec
Embracing the finite: Making our way in an era of dwindling natural resources

Prof. Peter Vitousek

Ecologist Prof. Peter Vitousek explores how living in the Anthropocene, a time in which human activity has become the key driver of planetary health, will force us to make our way with diminished natural resources. Peter also asks what we can learn from the historical experience of Pacific Islanders, whose cultural and agricultural practices were shaped by a profound understanding that their immediate horizons were in fact the very limits of their worlds. Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

#396      36 min 57 sec
Rivers as persons: What it means to give legal rights to nature

Erin O'Donnell
Julia Talbot-Jones

Environmental law researcher Erin O'Donnell and economist Julia Talbot-Jones explain what's behind recent moves to give legal personhood to rivers in India, New Zealand and elsewhere. With philosophical roots going back decades, new legal and legislative developments granting personhood to nature seek both to recognise indigenous or religious claims as well as provide new avenues for environmental protection. But what does this mean, and how will giving rights to nature be enforced? Can rivers now bring lawsuits, and can we, in turn, sue them? Presented by Lynne Haultain.

#395      35 min 05 sec
China in Africa: Who benefits?

Dr Lauren Johnston

Economist Dr Lauren Johnston examines the evolving political and economic relationships between China and Africa, and how the East Asia giant is adapting its own model of aid, trade and investment to grow regional African markets and economies while securing a rising supply of energy and mineral resources for itself. Presented by Peter Clarke.

#386      36 min 43 sec
Global warming's companion crisis: Reactive nitrogen and its threat to human and planetary health

Prof Mark Sutton

Environmental physicist Prof Mark Sutton explains how our fast growing "nitrogen footprint" from agriculture and industry is reaching crisis levels as reactive nitrogen pollutes our air and soil and is a direct threat to human health. A leading researcher and advisor on nitrogen policy, Prof Sutton argues that smarter nitrogen management is not only a health and environmental priority but will prevent continued enormous economic losses. Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

#384      22 min 09 sec
Exploring the impact of city lights on birds, and building better detergents

Mitchell Nothling
Anne Aulsebrook

In our annual PhD episode, we chat with two young researchers on their diverse investigations. We hear from bioscientist Anne Aulsebrook, who is looking at how urban lighting and light pollution is impacting the health and behaviour of wild birds that make their home in our cities. We also speak to chemical engineer Mitchell Nothling about his research into how enzymes like those found in our digestive systems could be harnessed to create sustainable and more efficient detergents. Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

#382      33 min 27 sec
Going viral: Global food security under threat from crop and livestock diseases

Prof John Fazakerley

Virologist and infectious diseases expert Prof John Fazakerley details the myriad threats to the global food supply from pathogen infestations in crops and livestock, and how new genetic and surveillance technologies are lending hope to keeping them in check. Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

#381      28 min 36 sec
Let's get physical: Designing cities with our health in mind

Prof Mark Stevenson

Urban public health researcher Prof Mark Stevenson describes the better human health outcomes to be had in cities that emphasize active transport modes like cycling and walking, while discouraging dependence on cars. Presented by Lynne Haultain.

#375      30 min 55 sec
Ear to the ground: Preparing for and recovering from earthquakes

Assoc Prof Mark Quigley

Earthquake researcher Assoc Prof Mark Quigley explains the lessons learned from recent major earthquakes into how to better prepare regions at risk, the value of strong science communication to affected populations during crisis, and the importance of developing appropriate building codes in anticipation of the Next Big One. Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

#370      30 min 53 sec
Twin engines of truth? How science and law interact to construct our world

Prof Sheila Jasanoff

Social science and legal scholar Prof Sheila Jasanoff discusses how science and the law interact or compete with one another in the formulation of public reason -- in the economy, the courts and the political landscape. Presented by Lynne Haultain.

#365      31 min 31 sec
Managing transition: How do we prepare for complex social and environmental change?

Prof Jan Rotmans

Transition management thinker Prof Jan Rotmans argues that there must be a radical shakeup of existing institutions and governing structures if we are to deal with the shared, complex challenges emerging in social, economic, energy and environmental realms. Presented by Elisabeth Lopez.