What planet are we on?

A series of podcasts available on BBC Sounds at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/p08tdhyl. Really worth listening to, hosted by Liz Bonnin with Matt McGrath and Victoria Gill who are joined by different experts for each podcast.

In the first one Liz interviews David Attenborough who emphasizes our interconnectedness to nature, coming at this from various directions, including how human incursions into forests have very likely brought the Covid 19 virus into contact with humans, to how, during the lockdowns of 2020 we have shown how beneficial some green space is to human mental health.  David Attenborough concludes he is hopeful that we can do something about climate change.

Part two looks at food, joined by Indra Thillainathan an agriculture and land use analyst who is advising the Government’s Committee on Climate Change. Also Idris Elba who travels in Africa looking at the effects of climate change on undeveloped poor nations.

The food system around the world contributes 25% of the CO2 outputs with intensive farming being a big culprit. Our food system is affecting planetary health as well as human health, so what can we do about it? – The planetary health diet? In this country farming has to change after leaving the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy. It seems likely it will, but as individuals we can adapt as well, by choosing to eat better with four easily achievable, basic tips given.

Part 3 – Underestimating the facts. This is a fascinating look at the recent history of the climate change message and the denial of it, with parallels being drawn to how the tobacco lobby fought for many years against the evidence showing links to smoking and cancer.

There is a bit of unpicking around ‘natural’ global warming with startling results and some discussion about why so many people choose to deny that climate change is caused by human activity: the ‘I don’t want to fix it’ attitude probably from fear that core values and ideologies will be disrupted as well as that behaviours will have to change.  But there is real evidence that things are changing, as extremes of weather are having unpleasant impacts on human activity – perhaps pointing to this need for the much quoted ‘Green Recovery’.

However, a finger is pointed to so many climate change scientists who fly around the world excessively! But these same scientists are now admitting they have consistently under estimated the effects of global warming.

A website is recommended in which experts review articles in the media related to climate change to fact on them: see climatefeedback.org.  A good way to fact-check things read in the media. Alongside this the topic of ‘eco-anxiety’ crops up, with Liz noting that this is the topic of further research for a future podcast.

As winter draws in, something interesting to tune in to, broadcast with very listenable attributes.

Mary Kenning

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