Series two, episode three

Architects using waste materials; tackling Australia's 200 million poisonous cane toads; and dreaming of fusion power.

Last updated: 16 Apr 2012 10:50
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Predatory, poisonous and pestilent: the South American cane toad is the eco-scourge of Australia. Weighing up to 2kg each and numbering 200 million, this invasive army of toads has decimated indigenous wildlife across the north of Australia. But now a new invention involving simple science - and a touch of romance - offers hope for controlling the monster amphibian. Tamara Sheward travels to North Queensland to take part in a mass toad ambush.

In Europe scientists are determined to make the dream of cheap, safe and virtually limitless energy a reality. Gelareh Darabi visits the site of ITER in the south of France, which will be the world's largest fusion reactor, and JET in the UK, where experiments with nuclear fusion - the same reaction that powers the sun - are underway. Scientists hope they can overcome hurdles, such as the extremely high temperature and pressure needed to create the reaction, to make fusion energy commercially viable.

The construction industry is responsible for a third of worldwide CO2 emissions. But it does not have to be this way, according to architects at the Rotterdam-based company 2012architecten. They design different types of buildings made almost entirely from locally-sourced recycled materials. For them, 'design is not the beginning of a linear process, but a phase in a cycle of use and reuse'. Russell Beard helps to salvage materials from a hospital, and meets the owners of the chic Villa Welpeloo, built using waste materials including billboards, dismantled cable reels and even broken umbrellas.

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