Over the last few years, our weather in Britain has become more extreme. Last winter was the wettest ever recorded, as deadly storms battered the country for weeks on end. But previous winters have seen bitter lows of -22, as Britain was plunged into a deep freeze. What everyone wants to know now is: why is our weather getting more extreme, can we expect to see more of it in the future, and has it got anything to do with climate change?
As Shattered Ground reveals, some see fracking as a great opportunity for money and jobs, and one that provides cheap, clean fuel. But, for others, the possible human health costs of this new drilling technology have motivated a large and vociferous anti-fracking movement. The debate over fracking has been echoed in the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland and in Promised Land, the new Gus van Sant's feature film starring Matt Damon. Fracking's critics consider the industry a potential environmental disaster, citing chemical contamination of air and water. With pipelines proposed, terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) requiring billions of dollars of investment, and huge shale beds lying underneath highly-populated areas of the Canada and the US (including southern Ontario and the GTA), fracking is an issue that could affect every one of us.
Iain Stewart investigates a new and controversial energy rush for the natural gas found deep underground. Sometimes, this is right under the places people live in. Getting it out of the ground involves hydraulic fracturing - or fracking. Iain travels to America to find to find out what it is, why it is a potential game changer and what we can learn from the US experience. He meets some of the people who have become rich from fracking as well as the communities worried about the risks.
At a time when the Earth's surface is changing faster than ever in human history, watch cities grow, forest disappear and glaciers melt. In the ever-growing grey of cities one man is feeding thousands of parakeets; in Sumatra a female orangutan and her daughter face life in a forest under threat; while in Tanzania local people use satellites to replant a forest, securing the future for a family of chimpanzees. This is our home as we've never seen it before.