Environmental Assessment – Choosing a topic

The task is to produce a radio package about an environmental issue in Cornwall. All the usual criteria apply: adding the necessary cues, ensuring the story is relevant to our target audience, and making sure that audio levels remain consistent.

The environment is a big topic – particularly in a county like Cornwall, which is about as rich a source as you can get when it comes to finding stories about animals, the sea, farming…the list goes on. But in a way, that’s a problem in itself. Where do I start?

The plight of the bumblebee:

How chronic exposure to two widely-used pesticides in farming kills worker bees and reduces their ability to forage for food.

As you know, both wildlife and agriculture are important issues in the county, meaning this story could be approached from many different angles and may attract the attention of environmentalists and farmers alike. Indeed, just yesterday, the Guardian’s Damian Carrington posted an article on his environment blog about a recent study highlighting that some pesticides have very damaging effects on bees. This, he says, could have a detrimental effect on UK food crops, right the way down the chain to what we put on our plates.

But perhaps one could take a different approach and look to Cornish farmers for their point of view: is it crucial to use neonicotinoids and pyrethroids – two harmful pesticides for bees – on crops? What would happen if these pesticides were no longer used? And is there a safer alternative?

The Interview

By interviewing a local bee expert and director of a charity set up to get the issue recognised, I hope to discover how the reported widespread decline of bees could have serious consequences for the global ecosystem, and whether enough is being done to address the ongoing situation. And if not, why?

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