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Friday 19 December  
"Facial Tissues" Terrace Bay, Ontario, Canada , 2005 - Waste treatment at paper

Earth Beat - The End of the World

On air: 24 February 2012 3:00 (Photo: J Henry Fair)

More about:

Earth Beat, 24 February 2012. What would happen if the world came to an end, at least as we know it? From building bunkers and preparing for the worst, to photographing parts of the Earth that we’ve destroyed, we examine what happens when the end comes. Comment on the show.

Listen to 'The End of the World'

Download as MP3 (right-click and 'save as')

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The World Without Us - listen in new player

What if, somehow, the world as we know it actually ends? What if the human race disappears from one day to the next, leaving everything else intact?

Alan Weisman is the author of The World Without Us, which imagines just that scenario. But he says one thing we always seem to forget is how much a human presence maintains things. He talks to host Marnie Chesterton about what would take over if we weren’t around, and how the planet would look.

Slideshow - Take a 15,000 year tour of Manhattan.

Video - Your House Without You

Skip Coryell
Skip Coryell
Ready for the end - listen in new player

'Preppers' are people who are getting ready for the end of life as we know it by becoming as self-sufficient as is humanly possible. They grow their own food, dig for water, and have carefully-honed survival skills. One of them, Skip Coryell, told Marnie how he’s prepared for an apocalypse.

End of the cycle - listen in new player

Comedian Joel Stickley paints a humorous picture of post-apocalyptic recycling services, with colour-coded bins for body parts.

How producers prepare - listen in new player

Earth Beat producers Anik, Louise, Chris and Marijke discuss their own approaches to doomsday scenarios, from storing water to drowning their sorrows with a different kind of liquid.

The end of the earth - listen in new player

We travel to the end of the earth to talk to Tamsin Grey, a meteorologist based out at the Rothera British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica. View photos.

Tamsin is part of a small team who are totally isolated for the Arctic winter, with no visitors, limited contact with the outside world and definitely no pizza delivery.

Picturing pollution - listen in new player

J Henry Fair is a photographer and environmentalist.

At first glance, each aerial photo in his Abstraction of Destruction collection could be mistaken for a beautiful and innocuous image of the earth below.

J Henry Fair
J Henry Fair
But the truth is more disturbing. They’re all images showing how pollution is scarring the planet. View photos.

View a photo slideshow from Abstraction of Destruction (courtesy of Eduard Planting Fine Art Photographs).

The Beat of India - click for more information

We're looking for input from listeners for our Beat of India promotion on Facebook. Can you represent India with an audio or video upload? Music, dance, spoken word - whatever you do best, we want to see your originality and talent.

  • Adélie Penguin. Adélies are truly Antarctic penguins, restricted to Antarctic coastal waters.<br>&copy; British Antarctic Survey -
  • The base at Rothera, Antarctica<br>&copy; British Antarctic Survey -
  • &quot;Gangrene&quot; - Luling, LA, 2010 - Herbicide manufacturing plant<br>&copy; J Henry Fair -
  • &quot;Blood from a Stone&quot; - Lausitz, Germany, 2008 - Waste pond near brown coal-fired power station<br>&copy; J Henry Fair -
  • &quot;Anomoly&quot; - Gulf of Mexico, 2010 - Oil from BP Deepwater Horizon well blowout swirls on water<br>&copy; J Henry Fair -
  • &quot;Facial tissues&quot; Terrace Bay, Ontario, Canada , 2005 - Waste treatment at paper mill resulting from facial tissue manufacture<br>&copy; J Henry Fair -
  • &quot;Arsenic is Grey&quot; Canadys, SC , 2009 Coal ash waste at electricity generation station<br>&copy; J Henry Fair -


Willyamayita 9 May 2012 - 10:41pm / Colombia

Well, that's much more easy when people have the money or in some cases, the time. Let's suppose the world will be coming to an end in two weeks and all the people worldwide know it, so, I think all the people will be too busy making their own way out and no one in the governemnts will have the time to devise an idea to help the most deprived people, those who're on the breadline will have no shelter, no food, no support. But what if we all think out an idea from this very now to the poorest and when we know the world will end, we can get occupied on our own solutions.

Ricardo 3 March 2012 - 7:08am

I'm currently listening to your "End of the World" Earthbeat programe, and what never ceases to astound me is how just about all global media desperately try to avoid recognising the 7 billion ton gorilla in the living room: The current global capitalist philosophy is to continue expanding indefinitely. Yet I only hear a deafening silence when it comes to pointing out the bleeding obvious that if we keep breeding like rabbits and thereby keep increasing the global population driven by mindless corporate consumerism on a planet of fixed size and limited resources, then quite obviously the end result of such totally irresponsible behaviour will be famines, wars, disease, suffering and death on a scale hitherto unheard of, and all for the sake of short term gain. Doesn’t this strike any one as somewhat insane?
When I hear all the propaganda on radio and TV about recycling, solar energy, etc. with no mention of serious population control, I perceive nothing more than delaying of the inevitable consequences of population explosion including the added “bonus” of third world countries with first world consumer expectations waiting in the wings.
I have come to the conclusion that one of humanity’s prime behavioural characteristics is its near infinite capacity to go into denial about things that it doesn’t want to deal with.

user avatar
Earth Beat 5 March 2012 - 11:44am / Hilversum

Yes, it does seem to be the issue that no-one's addressing, but apart from educating people about contraception or enforcing a one-child law, as in China, it would seem impossible to stop the population expanding, people are just doing what comes naturally. So Ricardo, what do you see as the best way to control the world's population?

Bruce S. Aldred 28 February 2012 - 2:24am / USA

Great radio first time tuning-in.

I live rurally but not on a farm. I grow some veggies but not enough to survive.

I have done the following to survive a big, bad event:

Stockpiled hundreds of packs of Ramen Noodles in varied flavors in those large plastic containers...they are cheap and should last decades in storage...Carbs are the KEY to surviving a few months of them in a cool, dry place and use good tape to seal the containers to keep bugs out...this is by far the most important element to survival...CARBS!

I keep our 275 gallon home heating fuel tank near full at all times, and I have a diesel generator, the fuel is the same...

We have plenty of batteries for LED flashlights and for the radio...

And get your Amateur (HAM) radio license like I did! This is really important! Those guys and gals are PREPARED for most anything! No need for Morse code anymore. A simple radio that runs on batteries is all that is needed.

And I have great Faith in God to pull us through a disaster...God gave us brains to have foresight and to be prepared but if our preparedness is too little then His intent was that our time is over and I will accept that in Peace.

If you are over 40, have plenty of Aspirin to prevent leg clots!

user avatar
marijkepeters 28 February 2012 - 1:02pm

Hi Bruce

Good to hear you're well prepared, although I'm not sure I'd enjoy living off noodles for too long. I do like the idea of having an amateur radio license though, is that so you can communicate with other people who survive? As a producer I guess I should have a professional radio license but I don't think they exist! Maybe I'll look into it....


Best wishes,



Kensky 27 February 2012 - 6:36am / Canada

You asked what we are doing to get ready for the end of life as we know it...
Always thought a coop community was the way to go. Like minded people sharing skills and resources but haven't found it yet. So in my spare time I'm working with people in my community. Some present examples include working a working group for a barter system, actions against the 'Tar Sands', promoting a UN Ecocide law amendment and helping a friend fight against a multi-billion dollar company that stole her deposit for her first home. Feeding my yin and my yang.

user avatar
Earth Beat 28 February 2012 - 1:13pm / Netherlands

Hi Kensky, wow, we are awestruck by the amount of stuff you manage to fit into your spare time - and all sound like great causes too. Good to know the show has such active listeners, I would consider your yin and yang to be thoroughly nourished... keep us posted on your progress.

Sid - web producer Earth Beat

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