News Analysis

Aerial view of the completed Hinkley C project. Artists impression by EDF Energy.

Nuclear and fracking: the economic and moral bankruptcy of UK energy policy
27th September 2016

With its choice of Hinkley Point C - a £100 billion nuclear boondoggle - its enthusiastic support for expensive and environmentally harmful fracking, and its relentless attack on renewable energy, the UK government's energy policy is both morally and economically bankrupt, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. It must urgently reconsider this folly and embrace the renewable energy transition.

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Global action day against TTIP, CETA & TiSA, 18th April 2015 in Berlin. Photo: Cornelia Reetz / Mehr Demokratie via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Leaked: ‘new TTIP' TISA deal could prevent global action on climate change
22nd September 2016

The Trade in Services Agreement is a multilateral deal like TPP, TTIP and CETA, writes Zachary Davies Boren. But while the 50-nation negotiations are even more secretive, its impacts could be even greater: undermining national sovereignty; allowing only corporate regulation deemed 'necessary' by a panel of WTO lawyers; and allowing no rollback on trade liberalisation.

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Tackling the knotty issue of non native invasive weeds: what impact will Brexit have?
21st September, 2016


As leading figures from the world of law, ecology and technology prepare to come together and discuss how best to deal with non-native invasive plants in the UK, more research is still needed on how best to manage these species taking over the countryside writes LAURA BRIGGS

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Native youth and supporters protest in New York against Dakota Access Pipeline, 7th August 2016. Photo: Joe Catron via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Standing Rock and the long struggle for Indigenous freedom
21st September 2016

While the confrontation at Standing Rock has galvanized Indians and non-native supporters from across the continent, writes Stanley L. Cohen, it's but a symptom of a much deeper crises facing several million Indians holding on to endangered traditions and cultures that predate 'our' arrival by several thousand years. We may call Indian people sovereign. But it's all a grand, perverse lie.

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During April 14 - 23, 2014, WIPP recovery teams made multiple trips into the WIPP underground, eventually reaching Panel 7, Room 7 - the suspected location of the radiological event. Photo: WIPP.

WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion
20th September 2016

The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world's only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green - and full operations won't resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix.

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Green Living

Buddhafield - a riot of Courageous Compassion
8th September, 2016

With Buddahfield's Green Earth Awakening Camp next week (14th - 18th September) WILL GETHIN shares his experience of the annual Buddhafield Festival earlier this summer

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The Comida Conscience mobile restaurant. Photo: Fabrizio Uscamayta.

Abundance for everybody - 'conscious food' supports a thriving urban activist community in Bolivia
July 2016

Rooted in the Andean principles of sharing, resilience and 'Vivir Bien' (Living Well), Bolivian activists in the world's highest capital city are building cooperative, grassroots alternatives to the profit-oriented economy, writes Sian Cowman. Their weekly lunch party is just the most visible way in which they are challenging the injustice of capitalism and the fragmentation it inflicts on communities.

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Ruth & Alex at the Steepholding, Greenham Reach. Photo: Walter Lewis.

Feeding body and soul - an exploration of Britain's new age landworkers
12th May 2016

For most of 2015 Walter Lewis travelled around England and Wales meeting and photographing people producing food outside the confines of mainstream agriculture - working out of a passion for the earth and the Earth rather than for commercial gain. He completed his exploration inspired, and determined to spread word of quiet revolution under way across the fields of Britain.

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Campaigning

Front page of the Daily Wail - a project of the  Advertising Action on Climate Project (AACP). Photo: AACP.

Responsible advertisers must boycott climate-sceptic Mail, Sun, Times, Telegraph, Express
19th September 2016

A handful of right wing media billionnaires have been using their newspapers as propaganda rags to attack climate science and oppose climate action, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. Yet even 'climate leader' companies like M&S are fuelling their profits by advertising with them. Now a new #Deadvertisment campaign is demanding them to stop, right now.

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G4S provides security systems for prisons which hold Palestinian political prisoners from occupied Palestinian territory inside Israel, in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Photo: Anti-G4S demo in London, June 2016 by Darren Joh

Corporations rule the world? Not quite. But we must stop them while we still can!
13th September 2016

Gigantic global corporations are seizing ever more power, writes Aisha Dodwell, as they reshape the world to serve their quest for profit: corrupting politicians, subverting governments, and breaking international law on labour, environment and human rights with impunity. We need a new UN Treaty to force corporations to act within international law - wherever they may be.

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How the US saw the Japanese people in 1942. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Japan? The racism of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings
17th August 2016

As we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month 71 years ago, we have largely forgotten the racist propaganda that made it possible, writes LINDA PENZ GUNTER. We have likewise sanitised history to exclude the voices of African Americans who loudly protested the use of nuclear weapons, connecting them to American colonialism abroad and racism at home.

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Interviews

The Ecologist Environmentalist Interview: Bill McKibben
8th September, 2016

The irrepressible Bill McKibben, and the movement he founded - 350.org - have been behind two of the biggest climate change victories in recent years: the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline and the withdrawal of 3.4 trillion dollars of fossil fuel investments. He talks to JOE WARE

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The Ecologist Arts Interview: Photographer Deon Reynolds
2nd September, 2016

Marmite. Barry Manilow, Nigel Farage and wind turbines. People either love them or hate them with rarely anyone on the fence. But Deon Reynolds' atmospheric turbine photographs might just buck that trend and persuade even rabid climate deniers to acknowledge their beauty, writes
GARY COOK

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Essays

Jerusalem artichoke harvest at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

Good nutrition begins in healthy soils
7th September 2016

There's no such thing as 'healthy food' if it's not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent 'Food: The Forgotten Medicine' conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there's a huge job to be done to restore our depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of our seeds and crops.

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The Baka have lived sustainably in their rainforest home for generations. Photo: Selcen Kucukustel / Atlas / Survival International.

Corporate capture: Big Conservation must break out of its Stockholm syndrome
2nd September 2016

Big conservation NGOs increasingly resemble the nature-destroying corporations they should be opposing, writes Margi Prideaux. This ideological capture is reflected in their vapid marketing to conservation 'consumers'; the serious abuse of indigenous communities they should be engaging as partners; and their willing sacrifice of core objectives to money and influence.

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Can we secure the future of our countryside - like this landscape in the Yorkshire Dales - with markets in 'ecosystem services'? Robert J Heath via Flickr (CC BY).

Can markets in 'ecosystem services' secure the future of the English countryside?
1st September 2016

The EU is already paying farmers and landowners for creating and maintaining valuable habitats, write Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris. But could the UK do better by creating markets in 'ecosystem services' that would put financial value on clean water, key wildlife habitats, endangered species and precious landscapes?

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Brazil's Zo'é tribe are starting to recover from epidemics in the 1980s and '90s now that their land is protected. Photo: Survival International.

Brazil's Olympic triumph - don't mention the genocide!
25th August 2016

In the thick of the Olympic frenzy, one voice that was systematically excluded from mainstream narratives is that of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples, writes Lewis Evans, who have fought to survive through centuries of dehumanisation, theft and genocide. And now they face a fresh attack as a proposed constitutional change, PEC 215, threatens a new round of indigenous land theft.

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Before and after: natural wetland forest dominated by Swamp cypress, and an industrial plantation of Lolbolly pine. Both photos via Wikimedia Commons (see details on individual photos); amalgamation by The Ecologist (no rights claimed).

Are the UK 'biomass sustainability standards' legitimising forest destruction?
18th August 2016

This month wood pellet mills in the southern US that supply the UK's Drax power station were awarded 'sustainability' certificates under a voluntary scheme governed entirely by energy companies. The certificates provide no credible guarantee that the fuel does not come from ecologically valuable natural forests and wetlands, clear-cut and replaced by industrial plantations.

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Blogs

US Presidential Candidates' First Televised Debate - will climate change and action get a mention?
26th September, 2016

If tonight's first televised lives debate between the US presidential candidates is anything like previous UK TV hustings climate change won't get a look in - let alone a mention. US voter and blogger ETHAN MILLER takes a personal overview of what they likely won't be saying

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Malayan pangolins (M. javanica) are protected in the spirit of China's wildlife laws - but not in their letters. Photo: Zhaomin Zhou, Author provided.

What's in a name? To control China's wildlife trade, law must keep up with science
20th September 2016

With the conference of the CITES convention limiting international trade in endangered species taking place in South Africa this weekend, Chris Newman & Zhaomin Zhou highlight China's problem of out-of-date species names in its national laws. If they are not updated, it's only a matter of time before illegal wildlife traders escape conviction under under this legal loophole.

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The water may be dirty - but the heat is still valuable! Photo: susan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Let's reclaim the free energy in our sewers - we have the technology!
9th September 2016

First we heat up cold water for baths, showers and washing, write Jan Hofman & Laura Piccinini. Then we chuck all that precious heat down the plughole. So how about recycling our waste heat to warm up water on its way to the boiler or hot water tank, cutting bills and emissions? Or on a larger scale, use the sewage from entire communities as a free energy source for heat pumps?

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Waves break over the sandbars (1), feeder currents form moving parallel to the shore (2), until meeting and flowing offshore as a rip current (3). Image: Tim Scott, Author provided.

How to spot hazardous 'rip currents' at the beach - before you get in the water
25th August 2016

Five men tragically died this week at Camber Sands in East Sussex, making holiday makers are increasingly fearful of the dangers of sea bathing. One of the biggest dangers comes from so-called 'rip tides' which carry swimmers out to sea on fast-moving 'rivers' of water, writes MARTIN AUSTIN. So here's how to recognise the dangers - before you even get in the water.

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The Ethical Foodie: Pack up and ship more ethically out?
24th August, 2016


If you want to make a difference to waste and the environment then you need to think about what you will eat when you're travelling - both for business and for pleasure. It won't be easy, it'll take some planning but the difference you make will be huge writes, TIM MADDAMS our New Voices Ethical Foodie columnist

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Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine

Challenging Rising Inequality
17 September 2016

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, reports on growing inequality arising from the current economic model that benefits the privileged minority.
Extreme inequality across the globe spells disaster for millions.

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Comment

Protestors march on the UK Prime Minister's Downing Street residence to demand a complete ban, in the UK and worldwide, on the trade in antique ivory. Photo: Paul Nicholls Photography.

Elephants: ten years left, and counting ...
27th September 2016

Poaching of elephants and rhinos for their ivory tusks and horn is fast pushing these beautiful animals to extinction, writes Anneka Svenska. Decisive action is needed at the 17th CITES congress in South Africa to ban all international trade in these products, matched by equally strict laws at a national level.

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'Imagine there's no Fracking' - banner at London protest outside Parliament, 26th January 2015. Photo: Ron F. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No fracking in the UK under Labour! Just trade not 'free' trade!
26th September 2016

A future Labour government will ban all fracking in the UK and drive forward a clean, affordable energy revolution, Barry Gardiner promised in his conference speech today. And it will openly negotiate 'Just Trade' agreements that respect the environment, health and labour, boosting small business not just multinational corporations.

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Could a legal, regulated trade in rhino horn help save these wonderful animals by paying for their conservation and taking the profit out of poaching? Photo: rhino on the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Colin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our rhinos, we need a legal horn trade
22nd September 2016

The trade ban on rhino horn is not working, writes Keith Somerville. But non-lethally and sustainably harvested rhino horn can earn income to encourage breeders, pay rangers and anti-poaching teams, provide surveillance and supply wider benefits that will gain the support of people around parks, reserves and ranches.

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Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories.

To stop antibiotic resistant superbugs, keep off factory farmed meat!
21st September 2016

All 193 UN states will sign a declaration today to fight the spread of drug-resistant 'superbugs', writes Alastair Kenneil. The problem is often blamed on over­prescription of antibiotics by doctors. But that's to ignore the massive use of antibiotics on animals in factory farms, both to prevent infection and to assist weight gain - turning farms into superbug breeding centres.

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Wilderness in Alaska, USA. Photo: Travis Wise via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness needs immediate protection for climate - and much more
16th September 2016

The destruction of the world's wilderness is accelerating with a new clutch of mega projects from dams, roads and mines to large scale agriculture, write James Watson, Bill Laurance, Brendan Mackey & James Allan. It's cost-effective to put a stop to it right now for the carbon value of wilderness alone - never mind the biodiversity and indigenous peoples it safeguards.

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Durham Wildlife Trust volunteers surveying invertebrate populations at Stanley Moss, Sunniside, England. Photo: Dougie Nisbet via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

'State of Nature': a labour of love by Britain's conservation heroes
14th September 2016

The 'State of Nature' report, published today, is the apex of a vast pyramid of loving and heroic toil by many thousands of volunteer naturalists, writes Dr Mark Eaton - hard at work in all seasons in our marshes, forests, mountains, swamps and farmland. But do we have the young recruits to keep this wonderful tradition going?

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Photo: Roo Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Aviation industry's plan to 'offset' its emissions is crazy
12th September 2016

Using carbon markets to 'offset' industrial pollution is a failed experiment of 19 years duration, writes Chris Lang. But the International Civil Aviation Organization, which holds its General Assembly later this month in Montreal, is determined to offset its emissions - up 76% in 12 years - rather than constrain or reduce them.

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Reviews

The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing
6th September 2016

Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations.

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Front cover of 'Badgered to Death' by Dominic Dyer (exerpt), published by Canbury Press.

Why are our badgers ‘Badgered to Death'?
23rd August 2016

With today's news that badger culling will continue in Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset, and take place in three other counties, writes LESLEY DOCKSEY, there could be no more opportune moment for Dominic Dyer's new book 'Badgered to Death' to appear - expertly exposing the total absence of scientific evidence that badgers transmit bovine TB to cattle.

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'The most perfect thing - inside (and outside ) a bird's egg' - from front cover.

The most perfect thing - inside (and outside) a bird's egg
7th June 2016

Birds eggs are wonderful, as Tim Birkhead makes clear in his new book. But they are also enigmatic, mysterious, their secrets not lightly surrendered. Every kind of egg is perfect in its own way, writes Martin Spray, but the logic that underlies their characteristic designs, colours and shapes eludes the most assiduous of oologists.

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Right of Reply

SBP certification scheme: debunking the myths
7th September, 2016

In a second response to a recent article published in the Ecologist, "Are the UK 'biomass sustainability standards' legitimising forest destruction?", SBP Chief Executive Officer Carstem Huljus debunks the myths in a right of reply

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SCS Global Services Correction to its rebuttal of misleading and inaccurate statements in...


In response to a recent article published in the Ecologist, "Are the UK 'biomass sustainability standards' legitimising forest destruction?", SCS has prepared this point-by-point rebuttal to several misleading and inaccurate statements, and invites readers with additional questions to contact us directly.

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Everything in the Garden Bridge is lovely!
3rd September 2015.

The Garden Bridge will offer a new kind of green space in the heart of the city, strengthening London's status as the greenest capital in Europe, writes Bee Emmott. It will benefit the health and wellbeing of local communities and visitors alike.

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Ecologist Partners

Permaculture 'inventor' Bill Mollison, who died this weekend. Photo: Permaculture Association / Magazine.

Peaceful warrior: Permaculture visionary Bill Mollison
26th September 2016

Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016 in Sisters Creek, Tasmania. He has been praised across the world for his visionary work, and left behind a global network of 'peaceful warriors' in over 100 countries working tirelessly to fulfill his ambition to build harmony between humanity and Mother Earth.

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Water vole in Arundel, England. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

Citizens' science to save our water voles - volunteers needed!
28th April 2016

UK water voles face an uncertain future after widespread habitat loss and predation by American mink, write Emily Thomas and Nida Al-Fulaij. But you can help by joining a UK-wide monitoring scheme run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species that's recruiting nature-loving volunteers to survey local lakes, rivers, ditches and streams for signs of these lovable but elusive creatures.

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Calendar

One Earth, One Humanity, One Future

Resurgence magazine (now Resurgence & Ecologist) celebrates 50 years of independent publishing with a landmark event hosted by Worcester College, Oxford, 22-25 September 2016.

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Upcoming Schumacher Courses - Including Right Livelihood with Satish Kumar

Environmental campaigner Satish Kumar is one of the co-hosts of the popular year-long Right Livelihood programme which will run again this year

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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

Clouds cast their fast moving shadows across the rolling arable farmlands of South Africa's Western Cape region, where production will become increasingly stretched with warming climate. Photo: Christopher Griner via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate food crunch demands sustainable food system
27th September 2016

Global food production may need to double over the next century to feed a growing world population, writes Tim Radford - just as yields crops in major crop-growing areas fall due to higher temperatures. But there is another way: to build sustainability into our food production and consumption.

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Reduce flood-risk through rewilding, says new report from Rewilding Britain
21st September, 2016

A new report from Rewilding Britain highlights the positive impact which rewilding the UK's landscapes can have upon flood risk. The report comes as MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee consult on better ways to manage the UK's environment post-Brexit, with many calling for an approach which places nature centre stage.

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Myanmar: Monsoon rains threaten Rohingya who have been displaced from their homes, villages and lands under violent and discriminatory government policies. Photo: Evangelos Petratos / EU/ECHO, Myebon, June 2013 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

ICC to prosecute environmental crimes for profit
21st September 2016

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is to broaden its focus to prosecute governments and individuals for environmental crimes, write John Vidal & Owen Bowcott. Examples include illegal deforestation, theft of resources, and expulsion of populations from their land.

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Soldiers came with the park officers. They planted a Thai flag and told the Karen to leave the village at once, or be shot. Photo: via CW.

Thailand court: National Park officers 'can burn indigenous homes'
20th September 2016

The Thai government was right to evict an indigenous community from the Kaeng Krachan National Park at gunpoint and burn down homes, a Bangkok court has ruled - even though one resident had lived there for 100 years and the Park was only created in 1981.

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Yanomami children in their forest home - which, with notorious 'Soy King' Bairo Maggi as agriculture minister, is now looking decidedly less secure. Photo: Dung Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil’s new government to sacrifice the Amazon for 'growth'
19th September 2016

It's not that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's ousted President, was wonderful for the environment, writes Ed Atkins. It's that Michel Temer's new regime is certain to be far worse. Plans are afoot to weaken environmental assessments for large projects like mines, roads and dams. And the new Minister of Agriculture is a notorious campaigner for hugely increased deforestation.

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Wind farm in India. Photo: Sundaram + Annam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels
15th September 2016

A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel.

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The pipelines that make up the 3,500km Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea to Italy’s Adriatic coast. Image: Bankwatch Network.

Azerbaijan-Italy gas pipeline defeats EU energy policy
14th September 2016

The European Investment Bank is set to offer €3 billion to build the 3,500 km Southern Gas Corridor pipeline from the South Caucasus to the EU, writes Terry Macalister - even though it would undermine EU climate change targets and exacerbate serious human rights abuses.

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Weeds in farmers' crops - like these poppies in an oilseed rape field near Thirsk - may reduce profit margins - but they are hardly a 'serious danger to plant health'. Photo: James West via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

EFSA creates 'plant health' loophole for banned weedkillers
8th September 2016

The EU's food and farming safety regulator is trying to create a 'back door' system to licence the use of herbicides that have been banned for their toxic impacts on people and wildlife - under a clearly inapplicable 'plant health' exemption.

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Solar panels and wind turbine at Westmill Farm, Oxfordshire, which hosts several community financed renewable energy cooperatives. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Massive support for community renewable energy
6th September 2016

A new opinion poll of 2,000 adults reveals more than two thirds of the public support renewable energy schemes where projects are undertaken at a community level and local people receive financial benefit. The support even extends to wind and solar farms close to people's homes.

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UK Green Party elects new co-leaders who promise a ‘Green Guarantee' new industrial revolution
Ecologist Reporter

The new co-leadership of the Green Party is an historic first for any Westminster Party with the duo promising to rejuvenate British democracy by putting voters back in control. They also want a second referendum on the terms of our exit from Europe

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Greener cities are healthier for humans - as well as the environment
1st September, 2016

Experts from across the continent attending the Sustainable and Healthy New Towns Conference in Barking have concluded what's good for the environment is good for people too.

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UK public overwhelmingly backs EU rules to protect bees and nature
25th August, 2016

They may have wanted to leave Europe behind but Brexiteers still want the same - if not higher levels of environmental protection - for the UK's wild bee populations and natural wild places says a new report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and published today

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