News Analysis

No more jaguars here: a worker picks up African palm fruit for processing into palm oil from a young tree in Minas, Colombia, April 25, 2016. Photo: Carlos Villalon / Solidarity Center via Flickr (CC BY).

Palm oil engulfs Colombia's 'mountains of the jaguar'
23rd May 2017

Thousands of small farmers were forced from their lands and homes by paramilitaries in Colombia's Santa Maria mountains, writes Paula Álvarez. But now as a welcome peace allows their return from involuntary exile, they find a new enemy that has come to stay - huge plantations of oil palm that have obliterated the mixed, patchwork landscape of small fields, villages, and swathes of forest on steep-sided hills that they used to inhabit.

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The not-for-profit Resurgence Trust has owned and run The Ecologist website since 2012. Since then, we have maintained this site as a free service to an international community that shares our agenda of seeking positive solutions to the challenges of environment, social justice and ethical living. Help us to keep doing this by joining the Trust or making a donation today

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Ecologist Special Report: The battle for the ‘mother of rivers'
22nd May, 2017

Scientists are praising the discovery of new species and rare dolphins in the Mekong region, but overfishing and dams loom to disrupt habitats writes NOSMOT GBADAMOSI in this special Ecologist report

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Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk: Sizewell A on the left and Sizewell B on the right. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Conservative election manifesto signals the end of new nuclear power
18th May 2017

After years of pro-nuclear bombast from the Conservative Party, its 2017 manifesto hasn't got a single word to say about nuclear power, write Oliver Tickell & Ian Fairlie. Instead it announces a renewed focus on cutting energy costs, and a big boost for increasingly low-cost wind power; while both Labour and Libdems offer only weak, highly qualified support for new nuclear build. And so the great British 'nuclear renaissance' reaches its timely end.

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The UKEF export finance agency has committed £1 billion to support Colombia's fossil fuel sector. The Barrancabermeja oil refinery on the banks of Colombia's Río Magdalena. Photo: Javier Guillot via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Leaked: UK £7 billion export credit for fossil fuel industry violates 'clean energy' pledge
16th May 2017

Between 2011 and 2016 the UK's export finance agency UKEF provided £109m to underwrite exports of equipment to coal mines in Russia, writes Lawrence Carter - despite the agency's commitment not to support 'investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production'. And that's just a fraction of the £6.9 billion UKEF has lavished on the corrupt, polluting sector since 2000, while it was meant to be backing the clean energy technologies of the future.

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Green Living

Greenham Farm smallholders. Photo: Abbie Trayler Smith / ELC.

Ecological agriculture: investing today in tomorrow's farms
22nd May 2017

Ecological farming has taken root in the UK, writes Phil Moore: drawing inspiration from the past while employing the latest ideas and techniques from organic, no-dig, permaculture, agroecology and agroforestry methods. But with agricultural fields selling for up to £10,000 an acre, there's a big difficultly for many would-be eco-farmers: access to land. Now, with public support, that's a problem the Ecological Land Cooperative is determined to solve.

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Sustainable Social Housing... How an eco cabin built entirely from waste shows it can be done
18th May, 2017

Scottish recycling expert, Angus Carnie has built an eco cabin in his native Carnoustie, Dundee, using only materials that were free. Now living happily without bills, he tells MATTHEW KONG how his modest home could help inspire a new vision for social and affordable housing

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What's the most import ingredient of hummus? No, not chickpeas, olive oil or tahini ... Garlic! Photo: Paul Mobbs (still from video).

Hummus and mindfulness: skills, resilience and relaxation beyond consumerism
16th May 2017

Food is so much more than a heap of pre-processed consumer products snatched from supermarket shelves or websites, writes Paul Mobbs. And the key to unlocking its deeper meaning is to prepare, bake and cook your own from basic ingredients: in the process expressing creativity, developing skills, building independence from the industrial food machine, meditating in doing, saving money ... and making some pretty amazing hummus!

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Campaigning

Photo: Marcin Cajzer via Flickr (CC BY).

Resting as resistance: when superhuman aims and human limitations collide
16th May 2017

We are not able to fight everything, and even when we do fight, we are not able to win every time, writes Janey Stephenson. Some things are bigger than us. That is not our fault. Contrary to capitalist logic, that does not make us flawed or unproductive. Within our movements, it does not make us lazy or weak or failures. It makes us human. There is a time to rest.

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Development Threat to Welsh National Parks
11th May, 2017


There's a shift occurring in the stewardship of the UK's National Parks - a move towards legislating for greater freedom to plunder the Parks' natural resources for financial gain with conservation of natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage taking a back seat. JAN GOODEY reports on the looming threat to the National Parks in Wales

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Image: Environmental Illness Network (CC BY-NC-ND).

Smart meters and cell damage from pulsed em radiation - our health at risk?
11th April 2017

'Smart meters' looked like a great idea, writes Lynne Wycherley, giving us more control over our energy use. The downside? They emit as many as 14,000 short bursts of intense microwave radiation a day, disrupting cellular electrochemistry and causing health symptoms from migraine to tinnitus, insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, palpitations and memory loss. Now a growing number of 'electro-sensitives' have had enough!

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Interviews

Winner of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa: Rodrigue Katembo
3rd May, 2017

From child-soldier to Netflix star, the Congolese park ranger has won his award for stopping oil exploration in the Virunga National Park. He talks to SOPHIE MORLIN-YRON

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Winner of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia: Prafulla Samantara
2nd May, 2017

Meet the man securing justice for the Dongira tribe's sacred hills...in the first of her profiles of two of this year's winners, SOPHIE MORLIN-YRON interviews the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia

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Essays

Pilgrims bathing in the holy river Narmada at Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, India. Photo: Mahesh Basedia via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To discover the 'rights of a river', first think like a river
22nd May 2017

There is a growing global movement to recognise the rights of rivers, writes Debadityo Sinha. But rights alone are not enough. We must love and respect rivers, and even think like rivers to understand the vital functions they perform within landscapes and ecosystems, and so discover where their 'best interests' truly lie. And then we must be willing to act: protecting rivers and restoring them to health and wholeness.

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John Muir, full-length portrait, facing right, seated on rock with lake and trees in background, circa 1902. Photo: unknbown via Library of Congress (Public Domain).

Divine ecstasy of Nature: Selected Writings by John Muir
17th May 2017

May this new collection of John Muir's writings reach us now and inspire another generation to fall in love with wild nature, to care for it, to know that wilderness is not optional but central to our survival in the centuries to come, writes Terry Tempest Williams - and remind us how to embrace this beautiful, broken world once again with an open heart. If we do approach the mountain, it is we who are moved.

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Figure 1: Two views of economic 'sustainability'. Image: Nature's Rights.

Nature's rights: a new paradigm for environmental protection
9th May 2017

Recognising nature as a legal stakeholder with inalienable rights in environmental law proceedings is a powerful counterbalance to corporate dictatorship, writes Mumta Ito. It empowers people and governments to stand up for nature - the underlying basis of our economy and our lives. And it stands in contrast to feeble approaches based on the financialisation and commodification of nature, which may be twisted to justify more destruction.

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General Election 2017: a Green realignment of British politics?
3rd May, 2017

The political events of the last year are cause for sorrow, for reflection, and for reorientation. But they're also cause for a Green reboot. And fortunately, the UK's upcoming election on June 8th gives us just such an opportunity, writes RUPERT READ

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Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Photo: Lameirasb via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them
26th April 2017

Who are the best guardians of forests and other wild places? Governments? Conservation NGOs? Corporations? No, writes Prakash Kashwan, it's the indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for millennia. But to be able do so, they must first be accorded rights to their historic lands and resources, both in law and in practice. Among the countries leading the way, Mexico. Among the laggards, Kenya and India.

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Blogs

WITNESS: Drawn to the Frozen South
17th May, 2017

Our Arts Editor, GARY COOK, travels with his sketchbook to one of the last remaining wilderness places on Earth - Antartica - and returns home humbled by the experience

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Otra Nation - A Disney-style eco fantasy or the way forward?
15th May, 2017

With what should perhaps be described as fantastic enthusiasm, a collective of architects, designers, engineers, urban planners and entrepreneurs have submitted a proposal to the Governments of the United States and Mexico to create a land with no borders. LAURA BRIGGS wonders if she should take the proposal seriously...

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The Kimblewick hunt on its Boxing Day meet, 2016. Photo: Roger Marks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Foxhunting hounds and bovine TB - why the official silence?
15th May 2017

Teresa May's promise to bring back foxhunting has proved one of the most unpopular items in the Tories' election platform. So we should not be surprised at the official silence over the TB-infected hounds in the Kimblewick hunt, writes Lesley Docksey. Nor, given the political power of foxhunting landowners, should we be surprised that officials are shrugging off any idea that bad biosecurity in hunt kennels could possibly have anything to do with TB in cattle.

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WITNESS: Marine biology at the top of the world
12th May, 2017

The return of blue shell mussels to the Artic after a 2,000 year absence, plus the arrival of mackerel are just two signs of a changing climate as JAMES SIMPSON discovers when he joins the scientists and fishermen on a research vessel off the coast of Svalbard

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An example of the magic CO2-absorbing 'ultramafic' rock that could save the world: Forsterite - Serpentine rock in thin section, magnified under polarized light. Photo: Richard Droker via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Worthless mining waste could suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and reverse emissions
25th April 2017

The world must drastically reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, writes Simon Redfern - and we can't do it by cutting emissions alone. But we could we do it 'nature's way', using volcanic rocks and mining wastes that naturally soak up CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean, and turn it into harmless forms like limestone and dissolved bicarbonate.

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Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine

Working for a World Without War
23 May 2017

We live in violent and unpredictable times. What better time to focus on peace and listen to the voices of the peace-makers? Scilla Ellworthy challenges our assumptions about wars and presents a powerful strategy for building peace.

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Comment

The Essex Foxhounds in 1994. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Tell Mrs May: Foxhunting must remain illegal!
18th May 2017

It's election time and the race is on for public support, writes Eduardo Goncalves. So why on Earth did Tory leader Theresa May come out in favour of foxhunting - an activity loathed or disliked by over 80% of voters - at this crucial time, offering MPs a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act? Now let's put pressure on our candidates to keep the law against this cruel, archaic pastime.

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Rewilding America - The People & The Land
17th May, 2017

If we are to survive long into this century and beyond, our society will have to learn to re-indigenize (or rewild) itself - both its people and its environment, writes WILLIAM HAWES

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The demise of the Horse Chestnut tree - Armageddon or Scaremongering?
12th May, 2017

Over the past few years newspaper headlines suggesting that various alien invaders are decimating the British horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) and that all affected trees should be removed have been making alarming reading. But talk to the experts, and a slightly different, less horror-filled story arises, writes anthropologist, DAWN STARIN.

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While Trump tries to extend the wall across the US-Mexico frontier, seen here at Nogales, Mexico could build a solar farm along the border, generating 2GW of power, and attracting technology, investment and jobs from the North. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh vi

Mexico's expiring oil and Trump's wall: the future is solar
11th May 2017

Mexico's oil looks set to run out within a decade, writes Jeremy Leggett, and it can hardly rely on Trump's America to make up the difference. But Mexico enjoys abundant sunshine, and the cost of solar power generation is falling fast. Let Trump tie America's economy to debt-financed fossil fuels. Mexico's future prosperity will come from harnessing its inexhaustible solar riches.

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ADB's 'two finger salute' to the world on climate change: the Tata Mundra coal power station in India, under construction in 2010. Photo: Joe Athialy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Asian Development Bank must end its 50 year addiction to coal!
4th May 2017

The mighty Asian Development Bank is celebrating its 50th birthday this week in Yokohama, Japan, writes Hemantha Withanage. But the victims of ADB's $3 billion coal funding have little to be glad of - whether local communities impacted by mines and power stations, or people everywhere suffering climate change. ADB must stop financing coal now!

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Southern White rhinoceros in its native habitat in Zambia, bnear the Zimbabwe border, October 2013. Photo: Jim Frost via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Rhinos should be conserved in Africa - not moved to Australia!
2nd May 2017

A $4m plan to move 80 rhinos from South Africa to Australia is inept, patronising, a waste of scarce resources that contributes nothing to conservation, and betrays an outdated neocolonial mindset, writes Matt Hayward. The money should be spent on successful but underfunded community-based rhino conservation initiatives in Africa that benefit entire ecosystems.

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'That Roundhouse' near Newport in Wales, built by Tony Wrench and Jane Faith and helpers as part of the secret Brithdir Mawr intentional community. In the UK this kind of eco-living is strongly linked to 'progressive' politics and values, but that's not a

Green nationalism? How the far right could learn to love the environment
12th April 2017

Myths of a pagan past in harmony with nature have been a feature of green nationalism, writes Peter Paul Catterall, from its beginnings through to the Anastasia ecovillages in contemporary Russia where - unlike their equivalent hippy communes found in the West - sustainable living is combined with a 'reactionary eco-nationalism'. Could it happen here too?

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Reviews

Bacon with nipple: Still from 'Carnage' by Simon Amstell / BBC iPlayer.

'Carnage' imagines a vegan utopia where animals live as equals - could it happen?
28th March 2017

In the year 2067, the eating of meat - carnism - will be seen as crime similar to cannibalism today, writes Matthew Adams. That is, in the fertile imagination of Simon Amstell, expressed in his BBC iPlayer film 'Carnage'. With 55 billion animals slaughtered every year for their meat, the vision looks remote. But the world will be a far better place if we begin the transition to plant-based diets - for our health, that of the planet, and not least, the animals themselves.

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From front cover of 'Slugs and Snails by Robert Cameron, published by Harper Collins.

Slugs and snails
7th March 2017

In this long-anticipated volume, Robert Cameron introduces us to the natural history of slugs and snails of the British Isles, writes Martin Spray, also venturing across the world to explore the wide range of structures and ways of life of slugs and snails, particularly their sometimes bizarre mating habits, which in turn help to illuminate the ways in which evolution has shaped the living world.

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Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat. Image - from website: bobbythebrownlong-earedbat.co.uk.

Twinkle, twinkle ... Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat
17th January 2017

This charming and beautifully illustrated story book will give pleasure to children everywhere, writes Lesley Docksey. It will also open their eyes (and with luck, those of parents and siblings) to the wonderful world of bats, and what we can do to look after them.

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Right of Reply

The way of the future? Photo: smart meters array by Green Energy Futures - David Dodge via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Smart meters the way to a new age of clean energy
3rd April 2017

Dynamic power pricing that responds to supply and demand could transform the way we manage our electricity systems, writes Claire Maugham, opening the door to the mass integration of renewables like wind and solar. But smart meters are essential to making that happen.

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MSC Response to New Zealand Fisheries Article

In its Right of Reply to our recent article questioning the sustainability of New Zealand fishing practices, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) explains its certification is based on current and not historical practices.

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UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix
27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal.

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Ecologist Partners

LUSH ethical cosmetics company launches a new Spring Prize fund for regenerative projects
6th January, 2017

Nominations have opened for the new Lush Spring Prize. Launched jointly with the Ethical Consumer Research Association this is a new and very welcome £200,000 annual prize fund that aims to support those projects around the world that work towards environmental and social regeneration.

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Lancashire: a local demonstration against fracking - 'Nanas to the front. Advance!' Photo: Victoria Buchan-Dyer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking trumps climate change, pollution, health - and democracy
13th October 2016

Last week the EU ratified the Paris Agreement to limit climate change, writes Tony Bosworth. So how did Communities Secretary Sajid Javid mark the occasion? By overturning Lancashire's democratic rejection of fracking, so giving a whole new fossil fuel industry the green light to let rip. Hypocrisy? The word hardly does justice to our government's mendacity.

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Calendar

Postgrowth debate on 28 Nov 2016

The End of Growth?
11 November 2016

An evening debate with Federico Demaria, Graeme Maxton, Jørgen Randers and Kate Raworth at the House of Commons, Monday 28 Nov 2016

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Feeding the Insatiable
7th October 2016

An international summit exploring real and imagined narratives of art, energy and consumption for a troubled planet, taking place at Schumacher College, Dartington, on 11th November 2016

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Courses

Yale University Launches Online Specialization Classes Open to the Public
9th September, 2016

If you've got the 'Back to School' bug this week then check out these brand new online courses from the prestigious Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental studies - the courses are based on the award-winning Journey of the Universe film and book

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Educating for Gaia: a wholistic approach to Earth science
28th April 2016

As a society, we are strangely disconnected from the Earth, writes Stephan Harding. It's as if we were aliens placed here to prod and poke with our scientific instruments whilst feeling no sense of meaning, belonging or closeness to her ancient crumpled surface or rich, teeming biodiversity - a state of mind that a forthcoming course at Schumacher College aims to reverse.

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News in Brief

No, that's not Theresa May leading this 'police against fracking' demo, it's veteran anti-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery. Photo: Rev'd Peter Doodes via Fracking Hell (UK) on Facebook

Only Conservatives and UKIP back fracking in GE2017
18th May 2017

With the major party manifestos all published it's not just the Greens that oppose fracking, writes Mat Hope. It's also Labour and the Libdems. So who's left? The Tories of course, who are holding fast to the fracking faith, and even want to create a new special purpose regulator for the industry. Oh yes, and UKIP, which is also committed to abolishing the Climate Change Act.

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Who needs research into climate change adaptation? Flooding in Brisbane, Queensland, 11th January 2011. Photo: Angus Veitch via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Australia axes climate change adaptation research
16th May 2017

Natural disasters like flood and drought have cost the Australian government more than A$12 billion since 2009, write Tayanah O'Donnel & Josephine Mummery, with even harsher weather events predicted for coming decades. Clearly, it's just the time for Australia to eliminate funding for research on adapting to climate change.

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Sunset years ... power plant and Exxon Mobil oil refinery in Joliet, Illinois. Photo: Greg Wass via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oil industry's sunset years: low prices, weak demand, poor outlook
15th May 2017

With oil prices remaining low, the world's oil industry is facing bleak years ahead, writes Paul Brown. The global push to decarbonise the economy, combined with surging renewable energy and the trend to more efficient and electric vehicles, is denting investor confidence and pointing to the shrinking away of a once mighty and profitable industry.

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Jeremy Corbyn at a political rally in North London, 15th August 2016. Photo: Steve Eason via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Corbyn's green vision wins: leaked manifesto promises huge environmental gains
11th May 2017

A huge raft of environmental reforms is promised in the Labour Party's draft manifesto, writes Oliver Tickell. Among the highlights: a ban on fracking; a clean energy policy based on renewables and efficiency; no commitment to new nuclear power; to meet our Paris Agreement obligations on climate; to give companies a legal obligation to protect the environment; to retain all EU environment laws post-Brexit; and multilateral nuclear disarmament.

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Mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in celebration of indigenous culture by the artist Eduardo Kobra. Photo: Stefano Ravalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil: Amazon's Indians, rainforest under attack
10th May 2017

Attacks on Amazon Indians and on their land rights are threatening vital areas of rainforest, writes Jan Rocha. Meanwhile FUNAI, the agency responsible for safeguarding indigenous tribes is being forced to withdraw from key conflict zones due to underfunding, while Indians' attempts to assert their rights are met with state violence.

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Spot the difference: Monsanto's new 'Glyphosate-free' Roundup product, now on sale in Germany, and a bottle of vinegar. Photo: Dr Helmut Burtscher / GMWatch.

Monsanto's new 'glyphosate-free' Roundup is vinegar!
8th May 2017

Has Monsanto, dubbed the 'world's most evil corporation', turned a new leaf? It has taken the 'probably carcinogenic' glyphosate out of a new version of its market leading 'Roundup' herbicide, and replaced it with vinegar. The bad news is it's only available in Austria. That, and it may still contain toxic 'adjuvants' to increase its effectiveness.

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Seen here in 2008, this uncontacted indigenous community in Brazil's Amazon may be fierce in defence of its lands. But they don't stand a chance in the face of bulldozers, chainsaws, automatic weapons, and the new diseases brought by loggers, miners and f

Brazil: Government to abandon tribes to 'genocide' by loggers and ranchers
26th April 2017

Brazil's extreme right wing government is preparing to open up the rainforest territories of dozens of uncontacted indigenous tribes to 'free for all' development by defunding the protection they currently receive, according to information received by Survival International, which warns: 'The reality is these cuts could sanction genocide.'

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Judy Eckert holding water contaminated with arsenic drawn from her private well 450ft from a fracking rig in Pennsylvania, which she believes contaminated her water supply. Photo: Public Herald via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking kills newborn babies - polluted water likely cause
25th April 2017

A new study in Pennsylvania, USA shows that fracking is strongly related to increased mortality in young babies. The effect is most pronounced in counties with many drinking water wells indicating that contamination by 'produced water' from fracking is a likely cause. Radioactive pollution with uranium, thorium and radium is a 'plausible explanation' for the excess deaths.

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We can do it! 'Mission 2020' bid to get emissions falling in three years
13th April 2017

Never mind the climate idiocy that has gripped the USA! Global emissions are already flatlining, writes Joe Ware, and a new initiative just launched in London aims to start pulling them down by 2020. Sure it's ambitious, but it's possible - because the future is unlike the past, and it's already happening, right now. Are you up for the challenge?

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There's carbon in the world's permafrost soils, like these at Summit Lake, Mount Evans/ Mount Spalding, Colorado - more than in the entire atmosphere!  Photo: Wally Gobetz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Permafrost thaw threatens flood of carbon, methane emissions
12th April 2017

Permafrost is much more sensitive to warmer temperatures than previously known, writes Alex Kirby. A new study shows that every 1C of warming could melt 4 million sq.km of frozen soil, releasing huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide to add to the warming. It's time to start meeting those Paris targets!

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Total tax received from the North Sea oil and gas sector 1968-2017, not adjusted for inflation. Includes petroleum revenue tax, ringfence corporation tax, supplementary charge, royalty and gas levy. Figure for 2016-17 covers 11 months to February 2017. So

North Sea oil industry cost UK taxpayers £400m last year, and counting
5th April 2017

The whole idea of North Sea oil was to make Britain rich, writes Simon Evans. At least that's how it all began. But now ... it cost UK taxpayers a massive £396 million a year in tax breaks and subsidies to keep the industry alive last year. And there's no reason to think that's going to turn around any time soon.

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Where Toshiba's $10bn nuclear debt came from: the Vogtle AP1000 construction site in Georgia, under inspection by NRC Commissioner Svinicki. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr (CC BY).

Toshiba's nuclear flagship goes bust after $10 billion losses
30th March 2017

News that one of the world's biggest nuclear power constructors, Westinghouse, has filed for bankruptcy in with debts of over $10 billion has put the entire sector on notice and issued a dire warning to nuclear investors everywhere, writes Jim Green. Among the likely casualties: the UK's Moorside nuclear complex in Cumbria.

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