Spilling oil

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

This week on Earth Beat, we look at the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and learn from those who suffered through the Exxon Valdez disaster 21 years ago. We also hear about urban bees in NYC, how to save a disappearing species by eating it, organic markets in Mumbai, and how to catch fog.



Voices from the Gulf
As oil continues to pollute the Gulf of Mexico this week, people whose lives are tied to the coastal environment are holding their breath. For thousands of people in the fishing and tourism industries, their daily routine is distant memory as they wait to see just how bad things will get. We hear what they’re thinking.

Listen to the report

Reliving the tragedy of the Exxon Valdez
For those living on Kodiak Island, Alaska, watching the news these days brings back nightmares of 21 years ago, when the massive Exxon Valdez oil tanker hit rock, spilling millions of gallons of crude oil into the sea. Fisherman Dave Kubiak joins us from Kodiak Island to talk about how the Exxon Valdez spill affected his life and his community.

Listen to the conversation

Watch a short video from the World Wildlife Fund showing oil still remaining on the Alaskan coast 20 years after the Exxon disaster.



On the scene of an oil spill
Our reporter Anna Boiko Weyrauch tells us what she’s seen on the Gulf Coast.

Listen to the report

Man-made vs natural disasters
It’s clear that both natural and man-made disasters have the potential to ruin people’s lives. But in terms of how people cope there’s a big difference. So says Steven Picou. He’s a sociologist who’s researched how communities in Alaska fared in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez disaster. We spoke to him from Orange Beach, Alabama.

Listen to the conversation

Drilling for oil has been done for decades but a recent wave of technical development is enabling oil companies to recover offshore oil in ever more difficult places. Fiona Campbell has this 60-second round-up on plunging the depths.

Listen to the envirominute


Urban bees in NYC
Now that spring has arrived, bee keepers are tallying up their hive dwellers and most have found that, for the fourth year running, bees are dying off in large numbers. Urban bees have it even harder – life on the mean city streets is tough. Especially in New York City, where for years they were outlawed. But recently the ban on honey bees was lifted and bee keepers are swarming to the cause. Correspondent Reinout van Wagtendonk spoke to Adam Weprin, café owner and bee enthusiast.

Listen to the report

See some other NY urban beekeepers in action during the bee prohibition era.



Eat it to save it?
Being delicious isn’t an obvious survival strategy, but for a rare type of chicken, it’s über-edibility might just save it’s skin. Over the past 50 years or so, the so-called Coucou chicken very nearly disappeared from the French countryside in the province of Brittany. An eco-museum decided to track down a few remaining birds, and then French chefs worked their Michelin star magic to restore this heirloom chicken to local menus.

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Organic markets in Mumbai
The Coucou de Rennes is the answer to the locavores desire for food produced close to home. This is of course easier to do in rural areas – but farmers markets have taken root in many big cities around the world as well – with some notable exceptions. Until recently, the 13 million residents of Mumbai had no organic market, an absence which really bothered our colleague Chhavi Sachdev...

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Fog catching
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? And more importantly, why would anyone outside the weird world of musicals bother? Well, some clever people have found a way to catch fog… and they’ve devised a way to harvest the water. It’s good news for communities based high up in mountains or in desert areas where water is scarce, but fog is common. Robert Schemenauer of the Canadian organization Fogquest joins us from Kamloops, British Columbia – a place known for its top quality fog.

Listen to the story

Watch a video of how Fogquest works.



On next week’s edition of Earth Beat: natural nappies… they’re safe for baby… and cheap... and good… but don’t tell anyone they’re eco-friendly.
First of all: health, second of all: health, third: health. The ecological argument is the last one to be considered – still – when I talk about diapers.
Marketing cloth diapers in Poland… in the next edition of Earth Beat from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.