Sea turtle and fish at a coral reef in the Maldives | Photo: Tchami, some rights reserved

Neonics: Driving Declines in Biodiversity

British bumblebee ecologist Dr. David Goulson, professor of biology at U.K.'s University of Sussex, discusses the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on biodiversity declines in farmlands. His pioneering research on the impact of neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees shows that treated nests produce 85 percent less new queens than control nests.

"We essentially have somehow been railroaded by agrochemical companies into relying entirely on their products," he says. "We depend on bees to pollinate our crops and worms and other organisms that live in the soil to keep the soil healthy. If we wipe them all out, then ultimately we will wipe ourselves out."

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Airdates

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.

Shades of Gray: Living with Wolves

(Earth Focus: Episode 51) 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.

Restoring The Earth

(Earth Focus: Episode 53) It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems, to improve the lives of people trapped in poverty and to sequester carbon naturally. John Liu presents "Hope in a Changing Climate," which showcases approaches that have worked on the Loess Plateau in China, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Produced in collaboration with the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP).

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.

 

Image: Courtesy of Young Voices on Climate Change.

Biodiversity and Health

(Earth Focus: Episode 41) What do plants, snakes, molds, marine sponges, and cone snails have in common? They have helped develop medicines that save human lives. Biodiversity -- the variety of life on Earth -- is key to human survival. But plants, animals, and microorganisms are disappearing at unprecedented rates. What impact will this have on human health? Find out in this Earth Focus special report produced in collaboration with the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School.