For many people, the Swiss Alps are a natural paradise. But in fact this paradise in man-made. Alpine meadows exist only because farmers have been driving their livestock up into the mountains for centuries. Now the ancient traditions are disappearing and the forest is spreading more and more.
Geologist Prof Iain Stewart shows how the continent of Africa was formed from the wreckage of a long lost supercontinent. He discovers clues in its spectacular landmarks, mineral wealth and iconic wildlife, that help piece together the story of Africa's formation. But he also shows how this deep history has left its mark on the modern day Africa and the world.
(PART 2) A team of experts and explorers venture into the Danakil desert in Northern Ethiopia to investigate the incredible geology of the area, and to find out how the people and their animals survive in the hottest place on earth. Kate Humble investigates how tough life is for an Afar woman; Steve Leonard wants to learn about the relationship between the Afar and their animals, and to help with animal medicine where he can; Dr Mukul Agarwal looks at the health issues faced in this most hostile of environments; earth scientist Dougal Jerram looks at the extraordinary volcanic activity of the region and the part it plays in the bigger geological picture of the Rift Valley; and biologist Richard Wiese searches for extreme life forms in the boiling soil of a massive volcanic fissure.
In the shadow of Italy?s Vesuvius, a lesser-known volcano rumbles: Campi Flegrei. An eruption could endanger the millions of residents of the city of Naples. Scientists gain new insights into what happened in nearby Pompeii, and dig into the unique geology of Campi Flegrei. How will they know if the ever-shifting ground is reaching a breaking point? And can an innovative eruption warning system prevent Naples becoming the next Pompeii?
The picturesque Lake Constance region is characterized by intensive agriculture - with dramatic results for the bird life. Since 2003, the ornithologist Professor Peter Berthold has been creating new habitats for birds - alongside cultivated landscapes.
Modern life would be impossible without plastic – but we have long since lost control over our invention. Why has plastic turned into a problem and what do we know about its dangers? This video is a collaboration with UN Environment and their Clean Seas campaign, If you want to take action to turn the tide on plastics, go to http://www.cleanseas.org and make your pledge.