What have wetlands ever done for us? Apart from providing fresh water, carbon storage, flood mitigation, wildlife habitat and much more....they are said to be critical to human and planetary life. But a recent report claims despite this these ecosystems are disappearing three times faster than forests. Around 35% of the worlds wetlands were lost between 1970 and 2015 - but the UK lost most of its before then. So why don't we care? Are a 'bunch of bogs and ditches' less valued than a romantic forest?
Tom Heap finds out what wetlands are and what they do for us and if policy makers and decision-makers need to value them more highly, should we too? The positive news is wetlands can be created and improved - both on a large scale and in our own gardens and neighbourhoods. Is it time to make some noise for the wonders of wetlands?
Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock
The Real Cost of Chinese Medicine
China's $900bn Belt and Road Initiative is taking Chinese money, expertise and workers all around the world. From South-East Asia all the way to South America, Chinese influence can be spotted at construction sites for roads, dams and railways. Evidence is mounting that this is bad news for rare and endangered species. Local people discover that Chinese workers have an appetite for the skin, bones and teeth of rare creatures for use in so-called Traditional Chinese Medicine. A market is established and before long an illicit trade is established, reaching all the way back to China.
The Chinese government has just announced a partial reversal of its 25 year ban on the sale of rhinoceros and tiger parts. That decision is expected to boost the illegal trade in endangered species.
Peter Hadfield has travelled across the world from the Kazakhstan steppe to the markets of Hong Kong, in search of the species threatened by the trade and the buyers of body parts. He discovers a new drive from scientists to create alternative compounds and asks if consumers will accept an artificial option.
Producer: Alasdair Cross
Could the war on plastic have unintended consequences for the environment? Tom Heap reports.
Producer: Sarah Swadling
Man vs Woman vs Planet
The environment affects us all so should gender matter when we consider how best to save the planet? Lucy Siegle and Tom Heap take on the gender divide to find out how global warming has a disproportionate impact on women and how solutions which put women in charge can be highly effective in saving carbon as well as creating equality.
Helen Czerski's Arctic Expedition
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. That's certain to impact on the weather we experience in Britain. Physicist Helen Czerski and an icebreaker full of scientists have just spent six weeks at the North Pole conducting experiments to find out much more about the impacts of this extraordinary change to our planet.
Join Helen on the Arctic ice floes for the very latest research on the rapid changes to the far north.
Producer: Alasdair Cross
Photo by Mario Hoppmann