Earth Beat, 20 May 2011. Fighting talk from the front line - from rats trained to sniff out landmines, to why creating compost on an army base in Iraq can be a bit of a bummer. Plus, restoring the Iraqi marshlands after Saddam, and visiting the Western Front, nearly 100 years later.
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Saving the Iraqi marshlands
Azzam Alwash grew up in the marshlands of southern Iraq. As a boy he remembers paddling through the reeds and hunting ducks with his father. That was all before Saddam Hussein’s regime deliberately drained the marshes to flush out the rebel Marsh Arabs after the First Gulf War. Now Azzam has returned after years in exile and is helping to restore one of the largest wetlands in the world - view photos.
Link - Nature Iraq
Iraq war garden
Andrew Bentley spent a year working on a military base in Iraq, which was as far from the lush green pastures of his native Pennsylvania as he could ever have imagined. But instead of letting the dirt and dust grind him down, he used his green fingers to make a mini-garden.
Bart Weetjens got a hamster for his 9th birthday, setting in motion a longstanding fascination with rodents. As time went on Bart discovered that rats’ sense of smell makes them excellent landmine detectors. Bart talks to host Marnie Chesterton about how you train HeroRATS and how the rodents have reclaimed previously dangerous land in countries such as Mozambique - view photos.
Link - APOPO Detection Rats Technology
Video - HeroRATS in action
The landscape of Ypres
World War I started nearly one hundred years ago. As far as wars go, it was epic – ten million soldiers died in just four years. Over two million of them alone died on the Western Front near Ypres, and the landscape of Flanders was completely devastated. Not a living tree or blade of grass survived. We wondered whether the marks of war were still visible. What’s it like there now? To find out, Earth Beat producer Anik See went there with her young son.
Slideshow: Ypres - 100 years on.