A sand mining operation in Rangkasbitung, Indonesia. A global building boom has driven soaring demand for sand for concrete and land reclamation, much of it illegal and damaging to ecosystems and communities.

A global sand grab is wrecking ecosystems and communities around the world


Sand can seem like the most abundant and inexhaustible thing on Earth. But a global building boom is gobbling up sand — and destroying vital ecosystems around the world — for concrete and landfill.

Eroded cliffs in Happisburgh

As a British village crumbles into the sea, a family holds onto a home that can’t be saved

The silhouette of roseau cane during a sunset on the Louisiana coast.

In a hungry little insect, a big threat to Louisiana’s coast

No-till farming.

Another way to grow crops — by laying down the plow


Beach Erosion

Mudslides Happen: Clearcutting and the Timber Salvage Rider

Jan Nunley talks with reporter Alan Siporin about the recent mudslides in the western United States and how deforestation may, or may not, have any impact on this slippery soil erosion.

The World

The West Texas Drought: Praying for Rain

New deserts are emerging among the southwestern United States and Mexico on land where drought and soil erosion are combining to make a hostile land much more so. Sandy Tolan reports from the sand dunes and abandoned cropfields of Texas, and south of its border, on the troubled times of the drought of ’96. (This […]

The World

No Till, Less Toil, More Soil

Mark Moran from member station WOI reports on a farming technique that helps prevent erosion and is also cost-effective. Many farmers in Iowa are switching to no-till farming, which helps reduce erosion and costs less in labor and equipment. Others are developing alternative techniques which they say are even more efficient.

The World

Alaska’s Changing Climate

Five years after Living on Earth first looked at the island town of Shishmaref, Alaska, the Inuit people who live there continue to cope with melting permafrost and erosion from the sea.

Beach Restoration

Host Steve Curwood talks with Cornelia Dean, science editor of the New York Times, about beach erosion, and the spending of federal money on something that may just wash away in the end.