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Science
COSTING THE EARTH
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Friday 15:00
Costing the Earth tells stories which touch all our lives, looking at man's effect on the environment and at how the environment reacts. It questions accepted truths, challenges the people in charge and reports on progress towards improving the world we live in.
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Listen to September 18
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TOM HEAP
Tom Heap
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Thursday September 18 2008
Woldiya Market in Northern Ethiopia


Can you spare some change please?

Next week, we'll see world leaders either dodging or delving into their wallets as they gather in New York to review progress towards the Millenium Goals of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. By 2015 it's estimated that the world will have spent 100 billion dollars on crisis relief. And many believe it's this bias to immediate handouts over long term help which is the international aid system’s real weakness and a deterrent to agriculture in the developing world.
Given decades of failed aid policies is it time for some shock tactics - welcome high food prices, ditch most food aid, encourage mass migration to cities and above all: Give your money when there is NO crisis?
Ethiopia has suffered a drought. Fifteen million people are receiving some kind of food aid. Yet one of the world’s major aid agencies, the American based Care International has turned down forty five million dollars worth of food. Their Hunger Advisor, Vanessa Rubin, says the money is tied to buying the grain from American farmers and shipping it in American carriers. So much of the aid 'money' goes back to the US. Once in Ethiopia some is given directly to the needy some is sold on local markets.
They say that in the light of increasing climate change and escalating food price rises, the whole aid system needs a radcial overhaul.

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