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Science
AN ANIMAL APART
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Monday 21:00-21:30
What is our place in the natural world? How much are we humans part of nature and how much an animal apart? Wildlife film maker and writer, Brian Leith, has wondered about this during his many years of travel in the natural world, and in this series he looks for an answer.
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Listen to 22 April
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BRIAN LEITH
Brian Leith
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Monday 22 April 2002
Trees

Programme 2
The Forest with Two Faces:
Changing Attitudes to Nature through History.


Brian finds a mystical reverence for nature interwoven with tree-felling pragmatism in the forests that fuelled the industrial revolution.

People have lived in the forests of the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire since the Bronze age. Here you can find ancient burial mounds and sacred yew trees alongside the woodlands that fuelled the industrial revolution, and produced pit props for the heyday of the local coal mines.

But the historical story of our relationship with nature, that Brian Leith uncovers in these woods, is not one of sacredness to profanity - of reverence to abuse. The Bronze age people cleared the trees and had a huge impact on the landscape, while the early industrialists created picturesque nature walks for their workers, and the unemployed miners of the depression years planted old slag heaps with pine trees that today are flourishing woodlands.

Talking to local sculptor, Juginder Lamba; Woodsman and charcoal burner, Larry Jones; forest manager, Jim Waterson; and ecologist and philosopher, Paul Evans, the picture that emerges is one of a utilitarian and pragmatic attitude to the forests interwoven with reverence and mystery. And with these two inseparable faces, the forest epitomises the reality of our relationship with nature as a whole.
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1: The Tree of Knowledge
2: The Forest with Two Faces
3: Back to Nature
4: Return to Eden
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