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Friday 19 December  
Black Cliff, Alberta Tar Sands, 2005. Tar Sands pit mining is done in benches or

Earth Beat - Necessary Evils

On air: 20 April 2012 3:00 (Photo: Garth Lenz)

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Earth Beat, 20 April 2012. Necessary evils, like the tar sands in Canada. The fact is, we could use the oil, but is it worth the obliteration of a once-pristine forest landscape? Hear from a woman who treats her painful arthritis with yet more pain, and the man who kills rabbits, to save an ecosystem.

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Dry Tailings. Shell's atmospheric fines drying field demonstration project at th
Dry Tailings. Shell's atmospheric fines drying field demonstration project at their Muskeg River mine.
The True Cost of Oil - listen in new player

Canadian photographer Garth Lenz’s latest exhibition is called 'The True Cost of Oil'.

In it, he juxtaposes the tar sands area in Northern Alberta – an area which for the past fifty years has been dedicated to extracting oil out of sand – with its neighbouring landscape, the world’s largest boreal forest.

He talks to host Marnie Chesterton about what both landscapes look like, and how the tar sands are a metaphor for our current relationship with fossil fuels. View photos.

Orit Kaddar
Orit Kaddar
The bee’s knees - listen in new player

Orit Kaddar woke up one morning with horrendous pain.

Doctors diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis and she was told it was something she’d just have to get used to.

Orit begged to differ and after doing some research of her own decided on a radical course of action.

The answer to her pain and problems turned out to be a bee's sting. For more information .

Slopes denuded by rabbits on Macquarie Island
Slopes denuded by rabbits on Macquarie Island
Rabbit cull - listen in new player

Should you wipe out one species to save another? It might sound harsh, but for Australian authorities dealing with a massive rabbit population on a tiny island in the Indian ocean, it’s a no-brainer.

The rodents are causing so much damage to grass on Macquarie Island they’re changing the landscape of the place, and threatening the habitat for other animals. So hunters have been hired to kill every single one. Keith Springer, who is in charge of the project, tells Marnie about his mission to banish the bunnies. View photos.

New Scientist - Rampant rabbits trash World Heritage island.

Beat of Kenya
Beat of Kenya
The Beat of Kenya - listen in new player

We're looking for input from listeners for our Beat of Kenya promotion on Facebook.

Can you represent Kenya with an audio or video upload?

Music, dance, spoken word - whatever you do best, we want to see your originality and talent.

Click here for more information.

The dirtiest job in the world - listen in new player

A woman prepares to clean a dry latrine in a poor farmer's house in Mudali villa
A woman prepares to clean a dry latrine in a poor farmer's house, Mudali village, north India.
More than half of India’s 1.2 billion population don’t have access to a flushing toilet.

They rely on what are known as 'dry latrines'.

Unconnected to the sewage system, they must be cleaned out by hand, a task which falls to the country’s manual scavengers. View photos.

It’s usually done by members of the lowest - Dalit - caste and it's dirty work in the truest sense of the word.

We sent our reporter Lakshmi Narayan along to find out more.

Scrap dealer's workshop - young men separating scrap types, Accra, Ghana
Scrap dealer's workshop - young men separating scrap types, Accra, Ghana
Scrap is gold - listen in new player

In Accra, Ghana, there's a section of the city called Sodom and Gomorrah.

It's where a great deal of waste from other places – including Ghana itself – winds up.

It's a bleak landscape of scrap and slums, with oil-soaked ground and plastic and sewage-clogged rivers.

But for the people who work there, it’s a place for opportunity. View photos.

Dutch police cycle past a Mosquito Device
Dutch police cycle past a Mosquito Device
Annoying noise - listen in new player

Imagine using one annoying noise to cancel out another – that's the philosophy behind the so-called Mosquito Device, which emits a peep at such a high frequency that only people under the age of 25 can hear it.

The idea is that the tone's so annoying they’re forced to move somewhere else.

Earth Beat’s Marijke Peters – who’s well over 25 – went on a late night trip to one of Amsterdam’s squares to find out more. View photos.

  • Forest and Coast Mountains, NW British Columbia  This area marks the western boundary of the Boreal region. Far from the Tar Sands, plans to build a 750-mile pipeline to pump 550,000 barrels per day of Tar Sands crude to the coast would result in tanker traffic through some of the world&#039;s most treacherous waters.<br>&copy; Garth Lenz -
  • Black Cliff, Alberta Tar Sands, 2005. Tar Sands pit mining is done in benches or steps. These benches are each approximately 12-15 meters high. Giant shovels dig the tar sand and place it into heavy hauler trucks that range in size from 240 tons to the largest trucks, which have a 400-ton capacity.<br>&copy; Garth Lenz -
  • Aspen and Spruce. Photographed in late autumn in softly falling snow, a solitary spruce is set against a sea of aspen. The Boreal Forest of northern Canada is perhaps the best and largest example of a largely intact forest ecosystem. Canada&#039;s Boreal Forest alone stores an amount of carbon equal to ten times the total annual global emissions from all fossil fuel consumption.<br>&copy; Garth Lenz -
  • Highway to Hell. Northern Alberta, 2010. Dubbed Hell&#039;s Highway by locals, Highway 63 leads directly to the heart of the Alberta Tar Sands and through the center of one of Syncrude&#039;s operations. During shift changes, full of exhausted oil workers heading home, and massive transport trucks and machinery, the highway is very dangerous. Virtually weekly, an accident kills or maims another worker.<br>&copy; Garth Lenz -
  • Syncrude Upgrader and Tar Sands. The refining of the tarry bitumen which lies under the boreal forests and wetlands of N Alberta consumes more water and energy than conventional oil production and produces more carbon. Each barrel of oil requires 3-5 barrels of fresh water from the nearby Athabasca River. 90% of this is returned as toxic tailings into the vast unlined ponds that dot the landscape.<br>&copy; Garth Lenz -
  • View over Macquarie Island beach<br>&copy; Wikimedia Commons -
  • Preparing to drop rodent bait by helicopter<br>&copy; Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service -
  • Helicopters are central to the first stage of the eradication project – the aerial baiting<br>&copy; Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service -
  • Guddi, a manual scavenger, preparing to carry a load of human waste from a house in Mudali village<br>&copy; RNW/Lakshmi Narayan -
  • Women who go from house-to-house collecting human excrement for disposal, pose with their children at a house in Mudali village in India&#039;s Uttar Pradesh state. India has nearly 700,000 dry latrines which are manually cleaned by these so-called manual scavengers.<br>&copy; RNW/Lakshmi Narayan -
  • A yet-to-be cleaned dry latrine in a farmer&#039;s house in Mudali village in north India<br>&copy; RNW/Lakshmi Narayan -
  • Guddi carrying a load of human excrement mixed with ash in a basket as she goes to dispose the waste at a dumping   ground in Mudali village. To her right is another woman who is in the same profession<br>&copy; RNW/Lakshmi Narayan -
  • Guddi, carrying a basket of human waste, together with two other women engaged in the same profession beside a house in Mudali village in north India.<br>&copy; RNW/Lakshmi Narayan -
  • Truck pusher negotiates with customers for waste computer parts, Accra, Ghana<br>&copy; RNW -
  • An operator crushes car parts with machine in a workshop, Accra, Ghana<br>&copy; RNW -
  • Packed plastic and ice chests in a parkhouse, Accra, Ghana<br>&copy; RNW -
  • Dutch youths, hanging out<br>&copy; ANP -


Janeta will 10 October 2014 - 2:34pm

Cara Mencegah Dengan amazon Plus Obat Tradisional Ambeien. Tahap penyembuhan terbaik untuk mencegah ambeien/wasir dengan menjaga tinja tetap lunak. obat ambeien tradisional

Jeffrey Brooks 29 May 2012 - 10:07pm / Canada

I was born and live in Canada: Montreal which is some 4100 km from Fort McMurray the capital of Canada's tar sands. The tar sands are not in a pristine wilderness. The very fact that the sand is full of bitumen means it is contaminated, contaminated with heavy oil. And it is. Should 'we' develop the tar sands: "YES" for several reasons. First is the world is addicted to fossil fuels and will remain addicted for the foreseeable future. Second, if you don't buy oil from Canada who are you going to buy it from? Most of OPEC countries are repressive, totalitarian regimes who subsidize in subverting women's rights. The process for extracting oil from the tar sands is improving, becoming more energy efficient and less polluting. I could go on and on...

M E McDougall 22 April 2012 - 3:06pm / canada

Come on. that "ancient boreal forest' you gush about was never a pretty sight. I flew over there for 15 years and worked later as a contract designer on materials handling at suncor and Syncrude. Don't miss the swamps, deadfall trees, beaver ponds and mosquitoes. Now there are too many people earning big wages but at least they are working.

Vera Gottlieb 20 April 2012 - 7:17pm / Germany

Are we really so desperate for that oil (or is it the profits that are guiding our stupidity?) that we are willing to destroy, not only ancient boreal forests, but also poison waters and thus make life for indigenous people a living hell? Are we this selfish? You bet we are.

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