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Mining Battles: Uranium, Coal and Gold

An impoverished former mining community in Colorado hopes that a proposed uranium mill will bring jobs and prosperity until environmentalists step in to try to stop it. Who gets to decide? Filmmaker Suzan Beraza documents the debate in her new film Uranium Drive In.

Rhinos are killed for their horn. But now in South Africa – they face a new threat — coal. Plans for an open cast coal mine on the border of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, home to the largest population of the once endangered white rhino in the world, may bring economic development but they will also worsen air and water quality and increase poaching and crime. Jeff Barbee reports from South Africa.

The indigenous people in Ecuador's Kimsakocha wetlands, rely on the water here for their livelihood -- agriculture and livestock production. But there is gold under the water and foreign mining companies are out to get it. The local people mount a fierce opposition. "Resistance will not end, we will not give up even if we are in prison," says local community leader Carlos Perez. Constantino de Miguel reports from Ecuador.

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This episode is part of KCET and Link TV's “Summer of the Environment,” which offers a robust library of content on multiple platforms from June-August intended to ignite compassion and action for helping to save and heal our planet.

 

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Unsafe: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals

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. "Earth Focus" looks at endocrine disruptors, ubiquitous chemicals that affect development, metabolism, fertility and intelligence at extremely low doses and at what measures could be taken to better ensure public safety.

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.

Climate Science In Action

Whether they are researching the pace of Alaskan glacier melt or measuring the impact of Arctic sea ice changes on our our weather, climate scientists go to some of the most remote areas on Earth to help us understand our environment. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) brings scientists and students together annually to study glaciers. Jeff Barbee reports on the 2013 JIRP expedition. Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center looks at the impact changes in Arctic sea ice may have on weather patterns.

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.

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.