December 12: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, the are cities the cure to the world's population boom, and the secret world of child brides. In the second hour, do we have enough water to feed a growing world population, and scenes from Japan's nuclear disaster.
NPR logo December 12: What's On Today's Show

December 12: What's On Today's Show

In this Jan. 5, 2010 file photo, buildings and houses are covered with snow in Seoul, South Korea. June 25, 2010 marks the 60 anniversary of the Korean War. Ahn Young-joon/AP hide caption

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Ahn Young-joon/AP

For centuries, many people derided the world's biggest cities as disorderly, overcrowded and polluted areas. That view has shifted in recent years. As the planet's population continues to rise past seven billion and more and more people flock to urban areas, some now argue that cities may hold the key to sustainable growth. Many developing nations see urbanization as a tool to lift people out of poverty and improve innovation without wrecking the planet. In a special broadcast from National Geographic, host Neal Conan talks with National Geographic senior environment editor Robert Kunzig and NPR's Steve Inskeep, author of Instant City, about whether cities are the best cure for our world's growing pains.

Child Brides
Millions of young girls around the world, some as young as five, are forced into marriage every year, often to much older men. The practice is forbidden by international agreements and outlawed in many countries. Yet the tradition continues, and many young brides end up in abusive relationships without access to courts or education. Over the past eight years, photographer Stephanie Sinclair has investigated child marriage in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Ethiopia. In a special broadcast from National Geographic, host Neal Conan talks with Sinclair about "the secret world of child brides," her collection of photographs from the June 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

A Planet Running Low On Water
Clean, fresh water is an essential element to life — not only do people and animals depend on it, it also sustains many businesses and agriculture. The majority of the fresh water used worldwide goes to irrigation, and that number is expected to rise with a growing population. Arguments over water rights have broken out in recent years in the southwest United States and in countries around the world. As more people consume more food and water, it raises the question of whether we have enough to sustain the growing population. In a special broadcast from National Geographic, host Neal Conan talks with Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Foundation and National Geographic Freshwater Fellow Sandra Postel about whether the planet can adequately feed and sustain seven billion people.

Scenes From Japan's Nuclear Disaster
Three months after the tsunami and nuclear disaster struck Japan, National Geographic sent AP photographer David Guttenfelder into the "exclusion zone" around Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to document the places and lives left behind when the warnings sounded. As the only non-Japanese photographer allowed in, he captured crumbling reactor buildings, haunting footprints, abandoned living rooms and virtually untouched piles of rubble. He also visited an emergency operation center near the reactor to see the faces of the workers risking their lives to contain the catastrophe. In a special broadcast from National Geographic, Host Neal Conan talks with Guttenfelder about his feature in National Geographic Magazine, "Scenes From Japan's Devastating Nuclear Disaster."