LONDON: Nature Inc., the ground-breaking series that puts a price-tag on
environmental services such as forests and wildlife, makes its return to the BBC
World News schedule on World Environment Day (June 5, 2009) for six weeks.
Sponsored by Audemars Piguet, the luxury Swiss watchmaking company with a
strong environmental record, the series kicks off with Natural Prevention -- a
reckoning of how an investment in natural barriers such as marshes and mangroves
to tsunamis and hurricanes can save billions of dollars as well as thousands of lives.
The second programme, Doing What Comes Naturally features the benefits that can
be derived from copying nature's inventions for commercial ends: everything from
sharks to sponges to brittle fish. “Nature has spent billions of years developing how
to do the most with the least”, comments one scientist in the programme.
"There's just one problem, just as scientists are being ‘bio inspired’ so the living
products of evolution are being squandered in our people-made extinction event”,
adds Nature Inc. executive producer Bernard Robert Charrue.
"Nature Inc. takes a very hard-headed look at the cost benefits of safeguarding the
workings of our planet", comments Robert Lamb, Nature Inc. series editor.
The last programme in the six part series -- Now and Forever -- looks ahead to
Copenhagen and the major climate conference convened there to replace the Kyoto
“We feature the scary number crunching of former World Bank chief economist,
Nicholas Stern, who has worked out that climate change, if it's business as usual,
could by 2100 cost up to 20% of World GDP. Taking action, by contrast, would cost
just 2%”, says programme producer, Ken Pugh.
Already according to the assessment of a new UN study
set to report in 2010 , the International Year of
Biodiversity, we are losing over US$4 trillion in socalled ‘ecosystem services’ every year.
Interviewed by Nature Inc., the UN study leader and a
former Deutsche Bank manager, Pavan Sukhdev, says:
"These sums are staggering and represent the real credit crunch."
Interviewed at the World Conservation Union headquarters in Switzerland, IUCN
Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre tells Nature Inc.: “We have seen around the
world the credit crunch is very real -- but for a long time now there has also been a
nature crunch going on -- and it’s far bigger, but the world hasn’t realised it yet.”
Nature Inc. also reports on the benefits, in new jobs terms, of making investments in
the green economy. Our crew spends a day in Washington DC with UNEP Executive
Director, Achim Steiner, as he finds support from an unexpected quarter -- the
American trade unions that have begun to accept that investments in energy
efficiency can help safeguard jobs.
Achim Steiner tells Nature Inc.: “I believe the green economy is already happening all
over the planet.”
"In all the programmes, Nature Inc. addresses the conundrum that while everyone
accepts that conservation has an economic value, the unregulated free market
cannot really fix a workable monetary value on ecosystem services," says Lamb, a
veteran of environmental programming for 25 years. "But what is interesting is that
the green calculations of wealth that 10 years ago would have been dismissed out of
hand by most establishment economists are now widely accepted.
"The root of the word 'economy' is 'ecology', perhaps it's all turning full circle?"
For further information contact series editor Robert lamb at or on (44) 208
348 5582 or series producers Robert Gould at or on (44)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------NATURE INC.SECOND SERIES TRANSMISSION DATES ON BBC
1. NATURAL PREVENTION -- 05/06, 06/06, 08/06, 09/06 and 10/06
Natural disasters cost lives… and they cost a great deal of money, US$ 232 billion in
2008 alone. Nature Inc. finds out how much better off we are – and safer – in places
where natural barriers to disaster remain intact, where forested slopes prevent
mudslides and flash floods and coral reefs and mangroves weaken tsunamis. Nature
Inc. goes to Cuba, Haiti, Indonesia and Louisiana USA to find out how compelling
the economic case is for investing in natural prevention.
2. DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY -- 12/06, 13/06, 15/06, 16/06 and 17/06
Natural selection is a three billion year old product design process that can’t be
beaten. It’s not just Velcro… 'Biomimicry' is a way of profiting from nature by
observing and adapting natural solutions into technical innovations. In this episode,
we see how sharks, sponges and the brittle fish -- equipped all over its body with
thousands of optically perfect lenses with which it sees -- are being studied for
commercial potential.
3. UNION OF GREEN -- are 19/06, 20/06, 22/06, 23/06 and 24/06
The ‘triple crunch’ of climate, credit, and energy insecurity, is forcing governments to
seriously consider the “green economy” as a way of making a sustainable recovery.
The recent London G20 Summit emphasised the investment in environmentally
sound technology and business could create, as well, sustainable jobs. Nature Inc.
goes to China, India, USA, Spain, Bangladesh and Colombia to examine the claim that
green investment equals green jobs.
4. ONE SEXY TUBER -- 26/06, 27/06, 29/06, 30/06 and 01/0
Industrial farming has discarded genetic diversity in favour of a handful of highyielding monocultures. But these exhaust the soil and are vulnerable to crop
diseases and pests that genetic diversity protects against. Now some agribusinesses
and farmers are seeing sustainable profits and productivity in encouraging crop
diversity. Nature Inc. focuses on the humble potato in its home in the High Andes
and in Africa and Asia to see how going back to long forgotten varieties can improve
food security and on farm profits. As one scientist enthuses: 'it is one sexy tuber.'
5. STANDING PROFITS -- 03/07, 04/07, 06/07, 07/07 and 08/07
Poor people who cut down forests do so out of economic pressure, not ignorance.
Mostly they clear the forest for smallholdings and firewood. At the other end of the
scale, forests are razed for illegal timber and industrial-scale agriculture, especially
palm oil, beef and soya. Deforestation contributes up to 20% of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere. Perversely, under the Kyoto protocol, there is no reward for those who
protect indigenous forests -- by far, the most effective sink for CO2 emissions. On
the Copenhagen agenda is a scheme to end that anomaly ... Nature Inc. asks if this
scheme is adopted will it make a standing, native forest as profitable as one cleared
for other uses?
6. NOW AND FOREVER -- 10/07, 11/07, 13/07, 14/07 and 15/07
The “ecosystem service" that most exercises the international community is climate
stability. The increasingly grim findings of the scientists of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change have shocked politicians and public alike as have the
assessments by Nicholas Stern and others of the cost in trillions of dollars of
"business as usual". Looking ahead to Copenhagen, Nature Inc. asks what will be the
impact on the global economy if the art of the politically- possible does not match up
to what the overwhelming majority of climate scientists say must be done?