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Episode #502

series: Global 3000

air date: 1/20/13 6:00 AM

Australia: Farmers rise up against the commodities boom - Australia is the world's number one exporter of iron ore and coke. And there's no end in sight to the boom. The next export hit is waiting in the wings: coal seam gas. The state of Queensland is known for its productive agricultural land. But recently gas wells have been installed everywhere. A handful of international energy giants have divided the country up among themselves. 90 percent of the fertile farmland in southeast Queensland has been approved for gas production in recent years. There'd be nothing standing in the way of the raw materials boom down under - if it weren't for the region's defiant farmers. Many say there's a basic issue at stake: Should Australia focus on feeding the world's hunger for raw materials - or the hunger for locally-grown food? Seoul's Supersized Refuse Solutions - Megacities produce mega-mounds of trash: The growing industrial conurbations of Asia, in particular, are having difficulty coping with the masses of refuse resulting from booming consumerism. The greater metropolitan area of Seoul, for example, comprises 20 million people producing around 12,000 tons of trash every day. The city has resolved to tackle the problem head-on. South Korea is currently pumping 28 billion euros into what is known as the "Green Deal" - a program of projects focusing on sustainability and green energy generation. One of the key projects generates power as it recycles trash. That enabled the authorities to reduce its use of crude oil by 1.3 million barrels last year. Kenya: Profit with a purpose - Climate protection projects are most successful when they also benefit the local population. One such project was launched by the Vestergaard Frandsen company. It distributes water filters to people in Kenya, so they now no longer need to purify their water over wood-burning fires. In return for donating the filters, Vestergaard Frandsen receives carbon credits, which it can then re-sell a profit. The company has already distributed around 900,000 water filters in western Kenya, providing over four million people with access to clean water. Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen calls the business model "humanitarian entrepreneurship", and it is benefitting all who are involved. The company also reinvests a portion of its profits locally, for example to carry out environmental education programs, launch a reforestation campaign and build new service centers run by local people to repair the filters.

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