Earth Focus is a television and web news magazine that combines investigative and feature reports on critical environmental issues facing our world today. Earth Focus aims to help the public better understand a complex and rapidly changing environment and the increasing pressures on our planet’s finite resources. We have 26 minute programs on a variety of issues, shorter clips and blogs by leading environmental journalists. Please feel free to share them. Here is our body of work from 2007-2015.

Episodes

Can Religion Save the Environment?

(Earth Focus: Episode 72) Led by Buddhist monks, Cambodia’s indigenous Chong people protest the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The dam, to be built by the Chinese company Sinohydro, would displace the Chong and destroy their ancestral forest home. Kalyanne Mam documents their plight in her film Fight For Areng Valley. China is beginning to draw on its religious traditions — Tibetan Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism — to help address serious environmental challenges as profiled in Gary Marcuse and Shi Lihong’s film Searching for Sacred Mountain. Produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.

Illicit Ivory

(Earth Focus: Episode 71) Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years.  Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world: organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. The killing of Africa’s elephants is not only a conservation issue – it’s a matter of global security.

Climate Change: The Rising Cost

(Earth Focus: Episode 70) The cost of climate change is rising and its consequences are increasingly threatening our economy and national security. Communities in Texas, Iowa, Colorado, Alaska is already struggling with the impact of climate change and coastal cities face expensive consequences within a couple of decades. The high price we are paying today is a harbinger of what the future may hold.

Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?

(Earth Focus: Episode 69) Neonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticides in the world, are linked to the decline of honeybees. Scientists now say the also may 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 and pose a threat to the productivity of our natural environment and farmlands.

Food Heroes

(Earth Focus: Episode 68) 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. And, 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.

Tackling Ocean Challenges

(Earth Focus: Episode 66) Oceans support life, yet they are overfished, polluted, and, with global climate change, are becoming increasingly acidic. The XPrize Ocean Initiative seeks to solve some of these critical threats by bringing in teams from around the world for high-profile competitions to find the best new technologies and stimulate investment in research and development.

Shorts

Cambodia: Fight for Areng Valley

In a remote Cambodian valley, the Chong people fight to protect their forests and livelihood from the looming construction of a hydroelectric dam by Sinohydro, a Chinese company. If that happens, the Chong will be displaced and their forest home — an invaluable hotspot of biological diversity — will be destroyed. Filmmaker Kalyanne Mam documents the plight of the Chong in her film Fight for Areng Valley. Produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

Fracking Hell: The Untold Story

An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK’s Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?

Grinding Nemo

The tiger prawn industry in Thailand exploits people and the environment. Small fish and juvenile sharks, caught by Thai trawlers operating illegally in foreign waters from Indonesia to Bangladesh, are ground into fishmeal for prawn food. As fishing stocks are depleted, local fishermen are affected. Thai trawlers operators often hire Burmese workers who are exploited and abused. The Thai prawn industry is the largest of its kind in the world and markets prawns to European consumers. A report by Swed Watch.

Hope for Rhinos? New Approach to Save an Endangered Species

Rhino horn – thought to be a potent aphrodisiac – is more expensive than gold or platinum. Demand in East Asia is soaring and African rhinos are being slaughtered almost to extinction. But new approaches in South Africa – including the deployment of the world’s first all-ladies anti poaching patrol just may save the rhinos. Jeff Barbee reports from South Africa.

Naked America: Paying for Nuclear Disaster

“Going naked” for insurance pros means going without insurance. And for the nuclear industry, that’s business as usual. The Fukushima disaster in 2011 cost an estimated $250 billion and cost are still mounting. What if it happened in the U.S.? Most likely taxpayers would pick up most of the tab. The insurance U.S. nuclear plants carry is limited to $12.6 billion while an accident would likely cost hundreds of billions. Miles Benson reports.

Liquid Ivory

The world’s most endangered elephant may soon become extinct. Just 2,500 Sumatran elephants remain but as their last great forest habitat is being logged at a feverish pace to make way for palm oil plantations, elephants are pushed into conflict with local people. The Ecologist reports from Indonesia. 

Read the accompanying blog post Palm Oil’s Forgotten Victims: Sumatran Elephants Suffer in Rush for Liquid Ivory by Jim Wickens

Commentary

Sumatra Elephant

Palm Oil’s Forgotten Victims: Sumatran Elephants Suffer in Rush for Liquid Ivory

Western consumers are inadvertently driving the Sumatran elephant to extinction by eating, washing, and wearing - in cosmetics - the derivatives of a fruit that is destroying the animal's last remaining forest habitat. Jim Wickens reports. Every day we read about the tragic death of another African elephant slaughter, the ...
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Kiss the Elephants Goodbye

Watch episode Illicit IvoryThe wholesale slaughter of African elephants, interrupted briefly by international law late in the 20th century, is back. And it’s out of control. African elephants, the largest land animals left on this planet, have walked the earth majestically far longer than modern humans. In other words, they ...
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Bees

Poison Is Big Business

Watch the full episode of "Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?" There is an environmental stain spreading across the United States and around the globe -- the result of habitual applications of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides used widely for both food production and home landscaping. Making and selling these products is a robust ...
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Flooded neighborhood

Climate Change: Numbers, Trends, and Reality

Watch the full episode Climate Change: The Rising Cost. The economic impact of climate change driven by global warming is both genuine and impossible to calculate precisely for the decades ahead, but we will get to know the costs as the bills come in. A list of things already going ...
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killing dolphins

Fishing for Secrets: Glimpsing the World’s Biggest Dolphin Hunt

Watch the full episode Exposed: Killing Dolphins - Dying for Lobsters The car glided swiftly out of Lima, skimming past brightly-lit barrios before plunging into the darkness of the desert road. We were heading for a midnight rendezvous with a shark fishing boat. The owner of the rough and ready ...
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fracking police in transylvania

Dispatch from the Fracking Front Lines: Transylvania Fights Back

Watch the full episode Fracking Goes Global [Reprinted with author's permission from The Ecologist] As the headlights fade around the bend, the team begins their work, snipping the orange seismic wires and slicing through electrical converters and generator boxes. "Do you think they're about to have sex?" one of the ...
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