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Sunday 21 December  
The Mine Kafon Deminer

Earth Beat - Cunning Plans

On air: 13 April 2012 3:00 (Massoud Hassani)

More about:

Earth Beat, 13 April 2012. Cunning plans that try to change the way we do things. From using goats as lawnmowers, or cocaine as fertilizer, and making pâté out of squirrels, we examine people who take problems and turn them into solutions.

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The Mine Kafon Deminer
The Mine Kafon Deminer
Landmine seeker blown by the wind - listen in new player

Massoud Hassani grew up in North Kabul in Afghanistan, right on the edge of the city. He and his brother used to make their own toys from paper and race them on the huge desert expanse in front of their home. The problem was, the area was littered with landmines and many of his friends lost limbs. This childhood experience stayed with Massoud so when he began studying design in Holland he focused his efforts on creating a device that would detonate landmines. Host Marnie Chesterton went to meet Massoud and hear the story that led him on this journey.

More: visit the Mine Kafon website and read Massoud's blog.


Charlie of City Grazing
Charlie of City Grazing
Rent-a-goat - listen in new player

David Gavrich is the president of San Francisco Bay Railroad.

Part of his job is to make sure that the vegetation around the tracks doesn’t get too high.

Normally, railroads just spray herbicides all over their railyards, but David wondered if there was another - greener - way to do it.

So naturally, he thought of goats. He now runs City Grazing, a company which offers eco-friendly goat grazing services to cut your lawn.

Jenny Whitham
Jenny Whitham
A tasty morsel - listen in new player

Jenny Whitham lives in North Wales and has never been a fan of the grey squirrel that was introduced into the region from North America in the nineteenth century.

Then one day an opportunity arose when her gardener knocked on her door holding one he’d just killed.

As the head of pâté-making company Patchwork Pâté, the answer was staring her in the face.

Compost not cocaine - listen in new player

Tabacal community leaders work on the compost plots. Their village sits in the m
Tabacal community leaders work on the compost plots
Coca leaves are best known as the main ingredient in the ubiquitous party drug cocaine, but in Bolivia, this small shrub is a national treasure. For millennia, indigenous people have chewed coca leaves to help with altitude sickness or keep themselves awake – but the pastime is a far cry from the culture surrounding the white powder that keeps clubbers going.

Now the leaves are being put to new use - and it’s not quite what you’d expect. Earth Beat correspondent Jean Friedman-Rudovsky headed to Bolivia’s largest coca-growing region, the Yungas Valley, to find out just how these little bushes are being used to clean up coca’s image – and the ground it’s grown on. View photos.

Artist's impression of The Lowline
Artist's impression of The Lowline
Letting the grass grow under our feet - listen in new player

New York’s Lower East Side isn’t known for its green spaces.

In fact it’s one of the most densely-populated areas in all of Manhattan.

But an enterprising architect has come up with a space-saving solution: he wants to create an underground park.

The Lowline will be built in a disused trolleybus station and will use fibre-optic technology to bring in light from outside.

Dan Barasch tells Marnie about his ambitious idea. Read more at Kickstarter.

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  • A woman from the community of Tabacal helps cover the compost tracts with banana leaves<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -
  • A Tabacal community member chops brush to cover the compost<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -
  • Tracts filled with compost-in-the-making. The mixture of coca leaves, food waste and bird poop is covered periodically with the leaves of banana trees and other brush to keep it moist.<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -
  • Cocaleros bottle the run off from the compost to mix with water to try it out as a natural pesticide on their crops<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -
  • Environmental engineer and Coca ministry representative Lucio Copa<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -
  • Lucio Copa moves the compost in the first pilot tract that was laid. This compost has been sitting for almost 3 months, has turned dark brown, has lost its putrid smell, and is almost ready to be put to use.<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -
  • Tracts filled with compost-in-the-making. The mixture of coca leaves, food waste and bird poop is covered periodically with the leaves of banana trees and other brush to keep it moist.<br>&copy; RNW/Jean Friedman-Rudovsky -


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