News Analysis

How it all began: Monsanto Tribunal Opening day, 14th October 2016. Photo: Monsanto Tribunal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tribunal judges: Monsanto isn't feeding the world - it's undermining food security
24th April 2017

Five international judges say Monsanto's activities have negatively affected individuals, communities and biodiversity, writes Claire Robinson. The Monsanto Tribunal's damning ruling denounces the company's harmful impacts on food sovereignty, agricultural production, access to nutrition, the natural environment, seed diversity, climate change, pollution and traditional cultural practices.

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Ecologist Special Report: From fish to forests and conflicts to coffee...how humans are affected...
20th April, 2017

Climate change has species on the move, with major consequences for biodiversity and human communities write TERO MUSTONEN and HANNIBAL RHOADES. Building resilience has never been more important and Indigenous Peoples are showing the way

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An official vet talks with with abattoir staff during the slaughter of sheep. Photo: Animal Aid.

Special Investigation: How bullying and intimidation in abattoirs threatens food safety checks
19th April 2017

A Unison survey of UK meat hygiene inspectors found that, last year, 51% of respondents had been the victim of bullying and harassment. One inspector said the situation was so bad he had considered suicide. Campaigning reporter, ANDREW WASLEY investigates

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Another 100,000 English badgers could be shot because of fake science and faker statistics. Photo: Tom Langton. Note that no badgers died or suffered to produce this photograph!

Lies, damned lies and twisted statistics - fake science set to kill 100,000 English badgers
13th April 2017

The government / NFU badger culling policy is based on a single study, the Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT), which found that area-wide badger killing reduced TB 'breakdowns' in cattle herds. But a robust reanalysis of the RBCT data reveals that culling is entirely ineffective, writes Tom Langton. The only scientifically valid conclusion is that culling badgers has no effect on TB in cattle. Defra and Natural England must think again!

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Green Living

The Food Paradox and our collective role in it...
5th April, 2017

How can we bridge the gap between ‘fast food' living and responsible consumption when mass production and a throw-away mindset still dominate the lifestyles of most people? LAURA BRIGGS has some thoughts...

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The Challenges of Green Living: Finding Enough Food In Nature
24th March, 2017

Before taking to a low impact lifestyle aboard his narrowboat, PAUL MILES imagined foraging - especially in springtime - would keep his galley larder well stocked but learns the reality is very different ...

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The Rollright Stones in North Oxfordshire, not far from Paul's home town of Banbury. Photo: Cyrus Mower via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Noise, the 'ignored pollutant': health, nature and ecopsychology
9th March 2017

The sonic backdrop to our lives is increasingly one of unwanted technospheric noise, writes Paul Mobbs. And as it eclipses the sounds of nature, it's taking its toll on our health, wellbeing and quality of life. So as well as campaigning for more trees, and quieter cars, trucks and aircraft, what's to be done? Let us seek out calm moments of quiet tranquillity - and listen to the birds.

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Campaigning

Scale representation of the incinerator in situ, near Junction 12 of the M5, providing a highly dubious 'welcome to Gloucester', adjacent to the AONB. Image: GlosVAIN.

Up in smoke: the fight to block Gloucestershire's unwanted incinerator
24th April 2017

Activists in Gloucestershire are battling to block the construction of a massive incinerator that they see as a blight on the landscape, costly, polluting, wasteful and undermining recycling, writes Dan Hinge. Now the fight, backed by superstar actor Jeremy Irons, just entered a new phase after a tribunal forced the County Council to reveal essential details of the contract it had signed.

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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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The four eastern cooling towers at the Drax biomass and coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Photo: Jonathan Brennan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No Drax! There's nothing 'sustainable' about big biomass
10th April 2017

The Drax power station in Yorkshire is the UK's biggest CO2 emitter, burns more wood each year than the entire UK timber harvest, and is a major importer of coal from strife-stricken regions of Colombia, writes Frances Howe. This Thursday campaigners will target the company's AGM to highlight its impacts on forests, biodiversity, climate and communities, in the face of Drax's PR offensive to make biomass appear 'sustainable'.

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Interviews

The ARTS Interview: Soundscape Artist, Matthew Shaw
23rd March, 2017

Ecologist Arts Editor, GARY COOK, meets a UK-based artist/musician whose unique 'soundscapes' capture the other worldly genus loci of the natural world - its sacred sites and hidden gems

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The ARTS Interview: Botanical Artist, Jess Shepherd
1st February, 2017

Ecologist Arts Editor, GARY COOK meets an artist determined to put plants centre stage with her new Leafscape project which includes a new exhibition this month and a crowd-funded book

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Essays

Photo: Tom Langton.

Bovine TB summit: science-based policy, or policy-based science?
7th April 2017

The Bovine TB conference in London last week was disrupted by media reporting of scientific conflict over badger culling studies, writes ecologist Tom Langton. But the real story is the collapse of confidence in the Randomised Badger Culling Trials, used to justify the mass killing of badgers; and the emergence of reliable new TB tests. The simple solution: stop the cull, and spend the money on gamma interferon cattle TB testing.

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High levels of 'electrosmog' detected in downtown Manhatta, New York City, Photo: Martinez Zea via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cellphones, wifi and cancer: Will Trump's budget cuts zap vital ‘electrosmog' research?
27th March 2017

Just as long term research into the health impacts of the 'electrosmog' created by wifi and mobile phones is yielding its first results, it's at risk of sudden termination from President Trump's budget cuts, writes Paul Mobbs. But the cuts have little to do with saving money - and a lot to do with protecting corporate profit and economic growth from harsh truths, including evidence that electrosmog causes cancer in laboratory rats, and maybe humans too.

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EDF's 4x900MW Nuclear power plant at Dampierre-en-Burly, commissioned in 1980, will soon turn from a money machine into a monstrous financial drain. Photo: Pymouss via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

EDF facing bankruptcy as decommissioning time for France's ageing nuclear fleet nears
16th March 2017

Soon EDF will have to start the biggest, most complex and costliest nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management programme on earth, writes Paul Dorfman. But whereas Germany has set aside €38 billion to decommission 17 nuclear reactors, France has set aside only €23 billion to decommission its 58 reactors. When the real costs come in, they could easily bankrupt the company.

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Near the site of the UK's 1958 Grapple Y H-bomb test at Kiritimati, Christmas Island, in 2013. Photo: Warren Jackson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Atom bomb test veterans: Soviet justice in London's High Court
8th March 2017

Britain's long-suffering nuclear bomb test veterans have once again had justice denied to them, writes Chris Busby, by a shocking piece of judicial chicanery in London's High Court in which the judge whimsically excluded all the scientific evidence that did not suit the Ministry of Defence. But the veterans' fight for justice and scientific truth continues, facing its next test in the Court of Appeal.

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Factory in Perafita, Porto, Portugal. Photo: José Moutinho via Flickr (CC BY).

How a toxic spill and a book launched Britain's environmental movement - the forgotten story
22nd February 2017

The mass poisoning of farm animals in Kent in 1963 was traced to a factory where a pesticide developed as a WWII chemical warfare agent was manufactured, writes John Clark. The event, so close to the publication of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring', galvanised a growing ecological awareness - all the more so as the government's only wish was to hush the matter up.

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Blogs

The Ethical Foodie: I'm in huff - big time
7th April, 2017

Ethical foodie columnist TIM MADDAMS points the finger at fishing practices which may tick the sustainable criteria boxes but which perpetuate an environmentally damaging broken food production system when you take into account the bigger picture

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Alternative Brexit? Could this be the change the Greens have been waiting for?
31st March, 2017

Many eco-minded Brits are rightly worried about the prospect of a ‘hard Brexit'. But what if another ‘alternative' Brexit that delivered a Greener economy were possible? VICTOR ANDERSON and RUPERT READ of Green House have just delivered a new report on Brexit and trade from an ecological perspective. Here, they share their key findings with the Ecologist...

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Coal mining on our lands comes with serious environmental consequences that we can no longer afford - as seen at the Black Thunder mjne in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Photo: courtesy of Ecoflight.

Executive Order removes climate safeguards - now, the fightback
29th March 2017

In a potentially devastating blow to the Earth's climate, President Trump's new executive order ends the Interior Department's moratorium on coal mining on public land and begins a repeal of the landmark Clean Power Plan, writes Trip Van Noppen. But this reckless move will not pass unchallenged - the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA must tackle climate pollution, and clean energy policies can still be defended and advanced at state level.

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WITNESS: Investigating ocean acidification (Part 2)
23rd March, 2017

In the second part of his WITNESS blog investigating the dangers of increasing ocean acidification, CONOR PURCELL learns that increase rates are already 10 times higher than at any time in the last 55 million years which, naturally, does not bode well for all ocean ecosystems

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WITNESS: Investigating ocean acidification (Part 1)
22nd March, 2017

In the first of his two-part WITNESS blog CONOR PURCELL joins the Irish marine scientists aboard the Celtic Explorer to learn more about how they are testing for ocean acidification

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Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine

Manifesto for the Green Mind
3 March 2017

Jules Pretty sets out a plan to engage people with Nature and create more sustainable and enjoyable living for everyone. The first call to action is: “Every child outdoors every day”.

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Comment

'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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Demonstration for the ban on mining in El Salvador. Photo: UpsideDownWorld.

Making history: El Salvador bans metal mining
11th April 2017

Mining was imposed on the Salvadoran people as a dream industry to aid development, create jobs and yield taxes to pay for schools and hospitals, write Ricardo Navarro & Sam Cossar-Gilber. But the reality was a nightmare of polluted water, stolen farmland, corporate violence, and murder. After a long campaign, El Salvador has just become the first country to ban all metal mining.

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These trees along Idaho's Selway River may be harboring insects, fungi and bacteria - best cut them down quick to maintain forest health! Photo: Friends of Clearwater.

Catastrophic 'anti-infestation' logging threatens US National Forests
10th April 2017

A fresh wave of logging is hitting America's national forests, writes Brett Haverstick. But this time it's all for the sake of 'forest health' and 'fire prevention'. It might look like industrial clear-cutting to you and me, but really, it's in a good cause. And if the forests and precious ecosystems they harbor just happen to perish in the process ... well ain't that just too bad?

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The rich, deep color of this soil and high organic content shows exactly what healthy soil looks like. A diverse blend of crops, grasses, and cover crops creates a protective blanket that feeds and nurtures the soil. Photo: USDA-NRCS photo by Catherine Ul

How to feed the world? The answer lies in healthy soils
7th April 2017

There's only one real faultline in farming, writes David R. Montgomery, and it's not the one between organic and 'conventional'. What really matters is whether farming systems are building, improving and nurturing soils - or exploiting them for short term gain. And if we want to keep humans well fed and healthy for the long term, there's only one choice to make.

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Thick winter smog over London, 14th January 2012. Photo: stu mayhew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Dieselgate: time for strong, effective pollution laws
4th April 2017

MEPs vote today on proposals to cut air pollution by setting up an independent EU monitoring body to ensure that a scandal like Dieselgate never happens again, writes Keith Taylor. However fears are growing that Brexit promises the UK a bonfire of environmental laws including those on air pollution. We need a strong, new Clean Air Act now!

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Energy Storage Solutions will help tackle Climate Change
31st March, 2017

The UK is placing energy storage at the heart of its new Modern Industrial Strategy, due to its potential to support smart energy systems and the automotive sector. As the energy industry moves away from carbon-heavy production, the twin-approach of renewable energy and storage will be critical for delivering on the demand while securing the future of UK energy, writes IAN LARIVE

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Dartford Warbler in the Thames Basin Heaths area at Chobham Common, Woking, Surrey, UK. Photo: Phil Fiddes via Flickr (CC BY).

EU wildlife laws must be celebrated and retained!
30th March 2017

Government promises of 'leaving our environment better than we found it' are melting away in the heat of Brexit, writes Jeremy Robson. Ministers have said that a third of all EU environmental laws may never be transposed into UK statute, while many Tory MPs are anxious to rip away the 'red tape' that prevents building on precious nature sites. We must make British nature great again!

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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

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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Cattle grazing in Maharashtra, India. With global warming, their forage will get tougher, and their methane emissions higher. Photo: Vijay Sonar via Flickr (CC BY).

Spiral of doom: hotter world increases cattle methane emissions
27th March 2017

A vicious cycle of climate change, cattle diet and rising methane has been revealed in a new scientific study: as temperatures rise, forage plants get tougher and harder to digest, and cause more methane to be produced in bovine stomachs. And with cattle numbers rising and methane 85 times more powerful a greenhouse gas over 20 years, that spells trouble.

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Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed


Warming sea waters - caused by climate change and extreme climatic events - threaten the stability of tropical coral reefs, with potentially devastating implications for many reef species and the human communities that reefs support warn scientists at Exeter University

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Victoria water lilies in Pucate Creek (Quebrada Pucate) off Rio Marañon, Peru. Photo: Mike LaBarbera via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Scientists: protect vast Amazon peatland to avoid palm oil 'environmental disaster'
23rd March 2017

A recently discovered peatland in northeast Peru contains two years worth of US carbon emissions, writes Joe Sandler Clarke, but it's under threat from the rapidly advancing 'palm oil frontier'. Now scientists are calling for the wetland's immediate protection - before it's too late to save it.

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Coyote Springs Natural Gas Plant, Oregon, USA. Photo: Portland General Electric via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Natural gas leaks from power plants, refineries, 100 times greater than thought
22nd March 2017

Natural gas is meant to be a far lower carbon fuel than coal, writes Steve Horn. But a new study shows that methane leaks from gas power plants and oil refineries are 20-120 times higher than thought. And with methane a greenhouse gas almost 100 times stronger than CO2 over 20 years, the leaks are equivalent to about a tenth of the US's CO2 emissions.

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Radiation hotspot in Kashiwa following the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Photo: Abasaa via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Fukushima court ruling holds 'reckless' Tepco and government liable
2ist March 2017

A Japanese court has found the government and Tepco culpable for the Fukushima nuclear disaster for failing to act on clear warnings of the dangers of seismic shocks, writes Shaun Burnie. The ruling is sending a shockwave through Japan's 'nuclear village' and may end all prospects of any mass restart of reactors.

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Fukushima farmers grow traditional brown cotton
20th March, 2017

In 2011 the Fukushima region of Japan was devastated by an earthquake and nuclear disaster. Six years on, the residents have begun to rebuild their lives and are producing Japanese cotton.

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Plastic waste being sorted by hand in Babakan, West Java, Indonesia. Photo: Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK exporting 67% of plastic waste amid 'illegal practices' warnings
13th March 2017

Britain's trade in waste plastic to the Far East is booming. But it's not good news. The exported plastic is meant to be recycled under UK conditions and standards, but often is not, undermining bona fide UK recycling firms who face falling prices, reduced turnover, collapsing profits, and all too often, closure.

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Birdwatching helps beats depression
1st March, 2017


People living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, according to research by academics at the University of Exeter, the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Queensland

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