Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Tue, 12th Jul 2016

Concrete Jungles

Urban Fox (c) Dan Davison

The 11th of July was world population day and at current figures there are over 7.4 billion of us living on the planet. That number continues to grow and at the same time the proportion of people living in urban environments is also increasing.

This week we're asking if there’s space for animals in our concrete jungles and what we can do to persuade people to put nature first.

Plus, in the news we learn how new technology is speeding up vaccination production and how ancient bacteria could increase plant growth.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 45:09 - Adapt or die

    How do animals respond when we build on their habitats?

  • 50:10 - When did people start using names?

    Gary Larson cartoon strips always have cavemen named Thak or Og. It got me to wondering- did cavemen have names? When did people start using names?

 

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One must beware of urban myopia. Less than 5% of the UK is actually covered with concrete. Nearly all the rest is cultivated or managed in some form, but remains green, pleasant, and a potential home for other species. Worldwide, the area occupied solely by humans (i.e. under concrete) is less than 1% of the dry land and a negligible proportion of the whole surface.

Cities have outlived their usefulness, as has most of the human race. It is incumbent upon us to reduce our population and stop invading the space of others (either directly or though pollution) beyond what is necessary for our survival, because as we can see in Britain, Japan and other densely populated countries,  once you cover more than 5% of the surface with concrete, life becomes very unpleasant. alancalverd, Wed, 13th Jul 2016

We live in an urban area.
Foxes regularly visit and relax in the garden and we have had one group with 5 cubs playing on the lawn.
Regular visitors to the bird table include greater spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, goldcrest, bullfinch, wren, and blackcap -most nest in or near the garden. Visitors that don't use the bird feeder include Sparrowhawk red kite and tawny owl
We have hedgehogs, occasionally see dead badgers on the roads and there is a community of muntjac which live in the local cemetery and allotments.
We have lots of bats.
We also have grey squirrels (tree rats), but the less said about them the better.

And I have t even started on the insects! Colin2B, Wed, 13th Jul 2016

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