It has taken him 40 years, but Omar Tello has turned a patch of exhausted farmland in Ecuador back into rainforest. One of his biggest challenges was repairing the soil. His land was so degraded he had to make enough new soil - from unwanted wood shavings and chicken manure - to cover the entire plot. That alone took about 15 years.
He also travelled deep into the Amazon for days at a time, looking for seeds and plants he could rescue. Now his forest is flourishing and the wildlife has returned - it is home to snakes, toucans, monkeys and many other animals. And he is sharing what he has learned to encourage others to protect the rainforests instead of cutting them down.
Presented and produced by Jo Mathys.
The treasure in our toilets
Human sewage contains lots of valuable nutrients, so should we be recycling it?
One of these nutrients is phosphorus, a key ingredient in fertiliser. We need fertilisers to meet the demands of the planet’s growing population, but there is a limited supply of phosphorus. Once it finds its way into the sea it becomes impossible to recover.
And yet we all excrete about half a kilogram of the stuff a year, making cities a potentially rich source of the element. In the Netherlands human sludge is already being processed to recover phosphorus and recycle it into a high-tech fertiliser which will not leach into the environment.
Reporter: William Kremer
Photo: Getty images
How to be a better dad
This week we’re in Rwanda, where some men are getting lessons teaching them how to look after their babies. As well as promoting gender equality it's helping to reduce the high levels of violence women there experience at the hands of their husbands and partners. People Fixing the World meets the people taking part and finds out how it works and what difference it’s making.
Reporter Lily Freeston
Executive Producer Nick Holland
(Photo Credit: BBC)
How they’re saving the kakapo
It’s a flightless bird on the edge of extinction, but a team in New Zealand is trying to stop it from going the way of the dodo.
The kakapo is a large parrot that was once common in New Zealand. But its inability to fly, strong smell and habit of freezing when attacked made it easy to hunt for both human settlers and the animals they introduced. By the mid-1990s there were only 51 left.
The remaining birds were moved to an island and a recovery operation began – looking at every aspect of the animals’ lives to try to boost the population.
Twenty-five years on and the kakapo are at the centre of an elaborate breeding programme. There are monitors that measure the jiggle of mating birds, “smart eggs” to replace the ones removed for rearing and even a sperm-carrying drone.
People Fixing the World looks at what it takes to bring a bird back from the brink.
Presenter: Tom Colls
Reporter: Alison Balance
(Photo caption: A kakapo / Photo credit: Jake Osborne, New Zealand Department of Conservation)
Audience takeover: Your feedback
“Fabulous idea” or “waste of money”? Clever observations from our audience about solutions we’ve covered on People Fixing the World. Many are funny and offer fresh perspectives.
Regular listeners will know that as well as podcasts, we also make videos that we post on social media. Our viewers love to comment and ask questions, and this episode is made up of these thoughts.
Among the solutions coming under public scrutiny today are The Dog Poo Detectives, Electric Trucks and The Glasses Made From Coffee. Presenters Nick Holland and Kat Hawkins get through as many reviews as possible. There are some good ones, some bad ones and a few stinkers.