Copyright restrictions prevent us from making these programmes available as audio on demand or podcasts.
Monday 11 July - Cleaning Up the Oceans
More than five million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year. The abandoned fishing gear and bags and bottles left on beaches can smother birds and sea life. Now there is also evidence that the small particles created as the plastics are eroded by the waves and sunlight are eaten by all kinds of marine species. Roland Pease is on a beach in Devon in south-west England with professor Richard Thompson of Plymouth University finding the plastic debris before it gets into the sea.
Tuesday 12 July - Dust Bowl Ballads
A fierce drought in Oklahoma’s ‘No Man’s Land’ – a region that was the heart of the 1930s Dust Bowl – stirs up dust storms, memories and myths. In this parched terrain of ghost towns and abandoned ranches, the wells are running dry, but the stories continue to flow. Storytelling spins out of the landscape itself. Millard Fowler (who has sadly died since being recorded) was 102 years old, and remembers the ‘Dirty Thirties’, when relentless winds scooped up the topsoil and rolled it through the town in billowing black clouds, turning day to night.
Wednesday 13 July - The City Giving Wine to Alcoholics
The conventional treatment for chronic alcoholics is abstinence. Not in Ottawa. At the Oaks, a residence for those who were once homeless, occupants are given a measure of white wine at hourly intervals throughout the day. The ‘Managed Alcohol Program’ has improved the health of its participants, reduced their alcohol intake, and in some cases enabled them to stop drinking altogether. It’s also saved the city of Ottawa millions of dollars in public services – one man was hospitalised 191 times in the six months before joining the programme.
Thursday 14 July - Mighty Real: Sylvester James
David McAlmont travels to San Francisco to tell the glittering and sad tale of gay black diva Sylvester James, famed for his disco hit Mighty Real. Sylvester's short life says much about US civil rights movements, the politics of the American music business and the devastating effects of Aids.