Roots in nature
The ‘LIFE is 30’ podcast series celebrates the LIFE Programme’s 30th anniversary, and three decades of environmental and climate actions.
The LIFE Programme is closely associated with the EU Habitats Directive, which first became law in 1992. This legislation protects thousands of animal and plant species and some 200 vulnerable habitat types.
This episode, ‘Roots in nature’, follows the work of four projects that have transformed habitats and the biodiversity within them: we showcase restored dunes in the Netherlands, we learn about revitalised grasslands in Estonia, we follow the fortunes of the magnificent great bustard in central Europe and we chart the migration of the twaite shad up the river Severn in the UK.
We also speak to two senior officials (including director for biodiversity Humberto Delgado Rosa) from the environment department of the European Commission about the policy perspective on habitats, and Europe’s ambitious goals for nature protection and restoration, including a recent ground-breaking proposal for a nature restoration law.
View all episodes
7. Generation Change28:11The final episode in the #LIFEis30 podcast series, ‘Generation Change’ gives a voice to members of the new generation of environmental activists and experts, bringing their ideas and aspiration for a more sustainable and greener future.This episode highlights the work being done by young people as they take ownership of the environmental challenges - and possibilities - that the LIFE Programme has focused on since its beginnings in 1992. Generation Change also looks at how the European Year of Youth 2022 has given fresh impetus to young people active in nature protection, climate action and biodiversity. We hear from the Italian volunteers of the LIFE Choo-Na! project about their work in nature protection, we meet with Bankwatch representatives that work in the Just Transition Regions and with the CEEBWEB for Biodiversityactivists to learn more about biodiversity in Central and Eastern Europe. Finally we go to Spain to understand how LIFE projects are working to improve green mobility for university students and encouraging sustainable food choices in schools.
6. Getting down to business29:34Hear from entrepreneurs and innovators from across Europe about how the LIFE Programme has supported the development of new products and processes in the circular economy. We talk to entrepreneurs detoxifying paints and coatings with environmentally-friendly alternatives; developing new fungi-based food from cereal bio-processing waste; using farm by-products to cultivate alternative proteins, a circular desalination process on an isolated Greek island using solar power; and tackling the waste footprint of the ski boot industry through materials recycling. European Commission official Paola Migliorini sets out the policy aspects of the circular economy, and former European Commissioner for the environment Janez Potočnik, now Co-Chair of the UN International Resource Panel, adds valuable perspectives on resource efficiency.
5. LIFE in a warming climate29:49LIFE projects on climate action range across many sectors - from food production to renewable energy, habitat restoration, flood management through to behavioural change and innovation. #LIFEis30 talks with representatives from six LIFE projects across Europe working on climate actions and we also hear from Yvon Slingenberg, a senior European Commission official, about how results from LIFE projects feed into to European policymaking for climate protection.
4. Food for thought31:41‘Food for thought’ looks at how LIFE is helping farmers and producers to become more environmentally friendly, reduce the carbon output of their activities and contribute to a more sustainable food system.Agriculture is indispensable for our food for now and for the future, that’s why it’s important that our food production is developed in the most sustainable way, with regard to the use of natural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, and the use of chemicals. For the past three decades, the LIFE Programme has worked to bring stakeholders together, to foster innovation and enterprise that enables a more sustainable system of food production and consumption throughout the agri-food chain.In this podcast we hear from the coordinators of six pioneering LIFE projects. We also talk to two European Commission officials whose work interfaces with the LIFE Programme’s contribution to farming and food: Alexandra Nikolakopoulou, who oversees the Farm to Fork strategy in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety and Gaëlle Marion, head of unit for the environmental sustainability of agriculture in Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.
3. How to save a species25:20'How to save a species' shows that species on the edge of extinction can recover, thanks to the passion and commitment of the men and women working on the ground and supported by the LIFE Programme during the past thirty years. We talk with Miguel Ángel Simón who spearheaded the successful conservation of the Iberian lynx, visit a sanctuary for the roseate tern, hear from Spyros Kotomatas who is working to save the Mediterranean monk seal and Joëlle Huysecom from Natagora who describes LIFE Connexions’ work on the violet copper butterfly and the freshwater pearl mussel. Conservation is not only about saving iconic species, it’s also about restoring and protecting habitats, food chains and Earth’s web of life. Species recovery is an essential part of any ecosystem's long-term resiliency and health. The last word in #LIFEis30 ‘How to save a species’ goes to Florika Fink-Hooijer, director-general of the European Commission’s environment directorate, who explains how new proposals from Brussels could soon make nature restoration a legal obligation for national governments.
1. LIFE begins at 3023:472022 marks the 30th birthday of two outstanding environmental success stories - the LIFE Programme fund for environment and climate action, and the Habitats directive, which created Natura 2000, the largest network of nature-protected areas in the world. This first episode of #LIFEis30 talks with people working on the ground to ensure environmentally friendly farming in Ireland and plastics-free seas around Italy, as well as two of the founders of the Habitats Directive, Henriette Bastrup-Birk and Stanley Johnson. Angelo Salsi, a European Commission official who has worked on the LIFE Programme for 28 years, shares his enthusiasm and commitment. The last word is from Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.