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Krakatoa east of London

If you want a truly global educational broadcasting project try this: 25 separate radio series in 20 languages on the environment, one of the key themes for schools and their pupils. Green World is a vast undertaking from the BBC's World Service Education, which has been broadcast over the past two months.

Six 15-minute programmes in Romanian looked at the after-effects of massive industrial pollution, another series in Greek looked at measures for dealing with the continued fouling of the Mediterranean and rapid urbanisation in Greece.

Programmes in English, Spanish and Portuguese followed the progress of Latin-American groups who fought back against environmental damage caused by 50 years of neglect in the region. Two programmes in Spanish explained how oil exploration in Ecuador is threatening the rain-forest, while those in Vietnamese looked at how sustainable development can be achieved in a country experiencing rapid economic growth. And that's just a selection.

Green World isn't merely something which the BBC World Service is doing for the rest of the world. There is also a series of eight half-hour programmes, made in English and broadcast here. Titled A Green History of the Planet they are written and presented by Nick Rankin and range widely through science, geography and biology. A galaxy of notable names take part - Helen Sharman, Steve Jones, Dr James Lovelock and others.

Last week's programme was "Humankind", which traced the development of our uniquely large-brained species.

This week it's "Islands", of the Continental and the Oceanic variety. We learn that when Krakatoa erupted at the other end of the world in 1883, it created such shock waves in the sea that the ripples were felt all the way to London.

This is a series worth getting to know about. Whether in whole programmes or tiny slices it's a real resource.

* This week's programme "Islands" can be heard on Sunday, December 1, at 11.30, Wednesday, December 4 at 3.30pm and Friday, December 7, at 7.30 am (648kHz medium wave in south east England); also on Monday, December 2, at 3.30am (Radio 4, 92.4-94.5FM, 198kHz long wave). The series is likely to be repeated in 1997. For details of Green World and A Green History of the Planet write to BBC World Service Education, Room 2189 SE Bush House, London WC2B 4PH.

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