Earthrise: Reforestation in the Sahara, six-legged meat and efforts to save the freshwater pearl mussel

Al Jazeera’s Earthrise documentaries provide a wonderful insight into efforts that are being made by businesses and communities all 0ver the world to give expression to kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga in creative and sometimes remarkable ways. This documentary focuses on 3 sub-topics described in greater detail below: (i) the emerging role of insect protein in feeding the rapidly growing human population, (ii) efforts being made by communities of the Sahel-Saharan states restore a 15km wide and nearly 8,000km long belt of vegetation across the Sahara Desert in order to counter desertification and (iii) research efforts aimed at re-instating the threatened pearl mussel in England.

Six-legged meat
The methane produced by cattle farming is more noxious to the environment in terms of global warming than the CO2 produced by all the world’s cars. As the global population booms and demand strains the world’s meat supply, there is a growing need for alternatives to animal proteins. Russell Beard travels to a research lab in the Netherlands where Marcel Dicke and his team are investigating the nutritional potential of insects, which produce nine times as much protein per kilo of feed than is yielded by livestock. Russell is treated to his very first mealworm burger, courtesy of forward-thinking chef Johan Verbon at the experimental ‘Restaurant of the Future’. So is it just a matter of time before we are all tucking into six-legged meat?

The great green wall
The Sahara Desert is slowly extending its reach into the verdant south. Climate change and over-exploitation of resources by humans has opened the way to sandstorms, droughts and deforestation, destroying both environments and livelihoods. To counter this desertification, the community of the Sahel-Saharan states has launched the Great Green Wall, an ambitious project that aims to plant and nurture a tree belt 15km wide and nearly 8,000km long, crossing Africa coast to coast through 11 countries. Geraleh Darabi travels to Senegal to meet the people who have begun work on the reforestation project, which could have an incredible impact on both the environment and the lives of the Senegalese.

Saving the pearl Mussel
The freshwater pearl mussel is one of the longest living invertebrates known, with a lifespan of over 100 years. It is also one of the most threatened species on the planet. In Britain, because of pollution and poaching, it is virtually extinct. But now efforts to save the pearl mussel are finally succeeding. Mei-Ling McNamara visits a unique captive breeding programme in Northumberland which uses baby sea trout to play host to the pearl mussel larvae. Thousands of fish are being released in the wild, carrying the fragile mussels with them, and despite all odds – the chances for this fledgling population are looking promising.

For more videos by the Al Jazeera Earthrise team:

Source: Al Jazeera

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