News Analysis

Badger trying to keep out of trouble in the Somerset cull area, September 2015. Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol via Facebook.

Putting the 'con' into consultation and the 'fiction' into science: England's badger cull
27th February 2017

We know the outcome of Defra's latest 'public consultation' on killing badgers long before the results have even been analysed, writes Lesley Docksey. Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has already promised farmers to extend the cull 'even further' - although it brings no proven benefits. Welcome to the new world of 'alternative facts' that's driving UK government policy.

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EURATOM was once a symbol of Europe's nuclear future. But it's true role may be to supervise the sector's decline. Photo: Euratom Inspectors inspecting URENCO, Almelo, Netherlands, 13 October 2015. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The nuclear fallout from 'Brexatom': threat, opportunity, or plain bonkers?
24th February 2017

The UK's inability to import radio-isotopes for cancer therapy is just the latest outcome of the UK's decision to leave EURATOM to hit the headlines, writes Pete Roche. It may also put a brake on the UK's plans to build new nuclear plants, and import and export nuclear fuel and wastes. The UK's exit from the treaty, as a strongly pro-nuclear state, could also mark an EU-wide anti-nuclear swing.

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Photo: takomabibelot via Flickr (Public Domain).

Trump's multi-trillion dollar fraud on America: 'public-private' infrastructure partnerships
23rd February 2017

Donald Trump's scheme to rebuild US infrastructure could be among the world's greatest ever financial heists, writes Pete Dolack. He has chosen the most expensive, anti-democratic way to do the job, through the mass privatization of priceless public assets - sticking users and taxpayers for exorbitant charges for decades to come, while banks and speculators reap the profits.

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Artwork: Shea Huening via Flickr (CC BY-ND). See also full version with this article.

Appropriate civilization versus 'new despotism': one month into the Trump Presidency
22nd February 2017

Believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues are empowered to bring about the polar opposite, writes Jeremy Leggett. A new despotism rooted in isolationist nationalism and conflict is gaining strength. The battle is not lost: but first we must understand the dangers.

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Nov 16: Coalition strike destroys 116 ISIL fuel trucks near Abu Kamal. Photo: from video (see embed).

Why did the US need toxic uranium munitions to destroy fuel tankers in Syria?
20th February 2017

Depleted uranium (DU) munitions may not be regulated but their severe long term health impacts mean they should be, writes Doug Weir. So why did 'Coalition' forces fire 5,265 armour-piercing DU rounds on IS fuel convoys in Syria? When non-DU munitions would have done the job just as well? Just because they knew they would never be held to account? All the more reason to act now!

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Green Living

Rewilding Spirituality
21st February, 2017


Efforts to address the planetary crisis must include a contemporary spiritual ecology to cultivate the deep humility and fierce resolve required to live sustainably and create a new story about the place of humanity in a post-capitalist world, writes KARA MOSES

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Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol Group via Facebook.

'You'll never walk alone': highs and lows of badger patrolling against the cull
17th February 2017

If you love wildlife and enjoy country walks, you've got the makings of a badger patroller, writes Lesley Docksey. You can walk at night if you want to, but daytime observation on country lanes and footpaths is no less important, watching out for the signs of cullers at work. And with the trust and warm friendship that builds among badger patrollers, you'll never be without congenial company.

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The Challenges of Green Living: Life on a narrowboat
9th February, 2017

We should resurrect the 1940s plans for a Grand Contour Canal - a 100ft-wide waterway that would have followed the 300ft contour line around England from Newcastle to London to Southampton and many places in-between - and then we could all travel more pleasurably, writes PAUL MILES

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Campaigning

A legal fox kill before the 1994 ban. But in truth, little has changed since. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

The Hunting Act 12 years on - time to crack down on the fox-killing criminals!
21st February 2017

Since February 18, 2005 roughly 200,000 illegal hunting events undertaken by registered hunts may have taken place in the UK, writes Jordi Casamitjana. By engaging in fictitious 'trail hunting', they can chase foxes as before, and when they are killed, well, it was all a shocking 'accident'. It's high time to strengthen the law to ensure the spirit in which it was passed is fulfilled.

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22,000 shoes in Place de la Republique - Climate of Peace #climat2paix, 29th November 2015, at #COP21 - placed to represent the hundreds of thousands of people denied freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in the March for the Climate. Photo: Takver vi

Reaching hearts and minds: the power of nonviolent action unleashed
15th February 2017

Nonviolent activism is an incredibly powerful means of transforming the world, writes Robert J. Burrowes. But to harness that power, we must understand that it works by inspiring others to join in a just and noble cause, while communicating the actions they can take in their own lives. Its essential modes are thus political and psychological - and victory can result from apparent failure.

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New Mooncup campaign offers a more eco-friendly alternative to disposable sanitary-ware
13th February, 2017

The new 'Own Your Period' Campaign by Mooncup - the eco-friendly alternative to disposable sanitary-ware - aims to persuade women to make the switch

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Interviews

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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The Arts Interview - The 'real' Lesley Hilling
28th November, 2016

Lesley Hilling is a core member of Human Nature - a group of 30 like-minded artists aiming to change the way people think and act about the natural environment through their work. GARY COOK visits her London home and studio to learn more

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Essays

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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Image: Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

Renewable energy and the circular economy - transforming the world, together
1st February 2017

Renewable energy, without doubt, is both driving and shaping the clean global economy of the future, writes Jeremy Leggett. But don't forget its equally essential partner: closing the consumption loop to create a truly circular economy in which there is no longer any such thing as 'waste', only resources we are not yet smart enough to use.

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Could your household gas come from wildflower rich meadows, like this Culm Grassland at Knowstone Moor, Devon? Photo: Col Ford and Natasha de Vere via Flickr (CC BY).

It beats fracking - but can we believe Ecotricity's vision of 'green gas from grass'?
27th January 2017

Just imagine: gas for your cooking and heating made by composting home-grown British grass, writes Almuth Ernsting. What's not to like? Well, it would need almost all the UK's grassland to match our gas demand, leaving cows and sheep to starve or forcing them into sheds to eat foreign-grown feeds. And methane leakage could easily wipe out any climate benefit.

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Rally to support GMO food labeling at the Connecticut State Senate, 21st May 2013. Photo: CT Senate Democrats via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nothing 'parochial' about GMO food labeling!
24th January 2017

With USDA proposing to redefine GMOs for the purposes of food labeling, the issue is more important than ever, writes Jonathan Latham. It's not just to give consumers' the 'right to know' when they buy GM food, it's also a vital means to empower citizens to fight back against the industrialisation of food and farming, and the monopolies of agribusiness corporations.

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Professor Yablokov (1933-2017) with the author, Chris Busby. Photo: ECRR.

He dared to speak the truth: Alexey Yablokov, scientific hero of Chernobyl
16th January 2017

Alexey V Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. His hard work and dedication underlies the continuing opposition to the nuclear industry today.

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Blogs

To mine or not to mine?
20th February, 2017

The Alternative Indaba initiated by faith-based groups eight years ago is a forum to discuss alternatives to the mining rush that brought more doom than gloom over the African continent and beyond. JASPER FINKELDEY reports back from this month's forum which called for the mining industry to be made more accountable

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Healthy Not Hungry - The Ethical Foodie meets the WFP
6th August, 2017

When our Ethical Foodie food columnist was invited to help create a sustainable Fine Dining menu showcasing the values of the UN's World Food Program he jumped at the chance - and left feeling inspired not just by the food choices on the night but by the fact the whole event reinforced his conviction we can all do better, eat better and work together to help alleviate hunger across the world

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One option for Moorside would be to ditch the Toshiba AP1000 and go for Korean APR1400 reactors. Photo: NRC officials inspect a KEPCO APR1400 simulator. Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr (CC BY).

Endgame for Cumbria's nuclear nightmare - Moorside or Doomrise?
3rd February 2017

The 'biggest nuclear construction project in Europe' next to Sellafield in Cumbria is now hanging in the balance, writes Martin Forwood. With Toshiba fast sinking due to failed nuclear projects, and other members of the Nugen consortium getting cold feet, the project is facing collapse. The only alternatives are a Korean rescue - or making British taxpayers pick up the bill upfront.

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WITNESS - The La Gomera Forest Fires
30th January, 2017


Discussions around the effects of climate change tend to focus on the planet's polar extremes, expanding deserts or low-lying areas. La Gomera - a subtropical forest perched more than a thousand metres above the ocean - is also at risk. JAMES MCENANEY reports

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Submerged valley near Foel, Wales. Should farmers consider switching to growing rice in their flooded fields? Photo: Jonathan Pagel via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate change and farming: let's be part of the solution!
9th January 2017

What with rising rainfall in the west, and hotter, drier summers in the east, British farmers place plenty of challenges from global warming, writes Anna Bowen. But there are also positive opportunities for agricultural innovators to adapt their farming systems to changing conditions, make their operations more resilient and sustainable, and make themselves part of the solution.

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Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine

Living Networks
20 Jan 2017

Building on a talk prepared for the Resurgence 'One Earth, One Humanity, One Future' conference, (although not presented at that event) Fritjof Capra explains new scientific evidence supporting the long-held supposition of Buddhists and others that humans are interconnected and part of nature.

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Comment

The nuclear dream is turning into a nightmare! EDF's Cattenom 5.5 GW nuclear plant in Lorraine, France, built on the border with Luxembourg. Photo: Matthieu Nioufs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

'Picking losers' - UK must not risk taxpayers' billions on failed nuclear dream
27th February 2017

With the world's leading nuclear corporations facing bankruptcy due to ever escalating costs, 'unconstructable' reactor designs and financing risks, there's an easy way to finance the UK's new nuclear power stations, writes David Toke: pin the cost onto taxpayers. As for schools, hospitals, pensions, housing, social care and other public services, who needs 'em?

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Climate change is a white swan
23rd February, 2017

There's nothing unexpected about the coming catastrophe: it is approaching us ‘smoothly'. And yet we're doing so little to stop it. What gives? asks Philosopher, RUPERT READ

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Radical roots ... radishes in a Boston farmers' market. Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and the future of farming: threat or opportunity?
21st February 2017

With most of our food exports going to the EU, and most of our food imports coming from the EU, Molly Scott Cato wondered what plans the government had for the sector after Brexit. The answer? None! Two reports published today map out a positive future of sustainable farming, local food, thriving rural economies and abundant biodiversity. But is the government on the same page?

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Bisect this landscape with a wall, and how will the wildlife fare? Photo: Near the US-Mexico border in Arizona by Corey Taratuta via Flickr (CC BY).

Trump's 'beautiful wall' threatens 111 endangered species
20th February 2017

The 3,100km concrete wall Donald Trump plans to build along the US-Mexico border would be a disaster for the border zone's ecosystems, writes Shonil Bhagwat. Among the species at risk: ocelots, bears, Bighorn sheep, the US's last wild jaguars facing genetic isolation north of the border, and the Bald eagle, the US's national bird.

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Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu with her son, Moisés Daniel. Photo: Bianca Bauer via Coal Action Network.

RWE npower, Colombian coal is killing our children! Close Aberthaw!
16th February 2017

The coal power station at Aberthaw is not just polluting much of South Wales with its filthy emissions. It could also be seriously damaging the health of children in Colombia with coal dust from BHP Billiton's massive Cerrejón coal mine. In this open letter, Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu implores RWE npower to shut down its stinking, obsolete and illegal power station.

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The Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, next to which the 3-reactor Moorside nuclear project is planned. Photo: Bellona Foundation via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Keep UK taxpayers off the hook for Moorside nuclear black hole!
14th February 2017

The main company due to build UK's 'flagship' nuclear power project at Moorside in Cumbria is on the ropes, writes Doug Parr, thanks to its multi-billion dollar nuclear losses on in the US. The obvious solution, (almost) all our politicians insist, is to ignore cheaper, faster, cleaner renewables, and make the taxpayer pick up the cost of yet another nuclear white elephant.

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Red state Iowa is very big on wind - showing there is no contradiction between conservative politics and clean energy! Photo: the 145-turbine Century Windfarm near Blairsburg, Iowa, by brian.abeling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Carbon dividends - the conservative solution to climate change
9th February 2017

A new carbon 'tax and dividend' climate strategy would strengthen our economy, reduce regulation, help working class Americans, shrink government, promote national security, and reduce emissions, write eight senior US conservative politicians, financiers and academics. Now Republican control of all branches of the US government makes it an opportunity not to miss!

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Reviews

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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From front cover of 'The man who ate the zoo' by Richard Girling, published by Chatto & Windus.

Frank Buckland: 'the man who ate the zoo'
8th November 2016

As Victorian eccentrics go, Frank Buckland was a prime specimen, writes Martin Spray. But this new book about his rich and remarkable life is much more than a collection of anecdotes about his extraordinary doings, his inordinate curiosity about the natural world, and the animals he kept - and ate: a stimulating companion for wet days, cold evenings and wakeful nights.

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You say you want a revolution?
3rd November, 2016

The latest blockbuster exhibition from the V&A celebrates the music of its time and those who are forever linked to it, and one of the key outcomes of this counter-culture revolution was the very first Earth Day on April 22nd 1970.

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Right of Reply

Longleaf Pine Regeneration in South Carolina. Photo: Justin Meissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

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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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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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

The Amazonian manatee, considered 'vulnerable' by the IUCN, is among the species at risk if oil drilling goes ahead. Photo: susy freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

BP, Total oil drilling would endanger newly discovered Amazon coral reef
23rd February 2017

A unique and pristine coral reef in the mouth of the Amazon is threatened by oil drilling planned by oil giants Total and BP, say the scientists who recently explored it. But the oil companies are determined to press ahead despite the risks, writes Lawrence Carter, and Brazil's environment ministry is set to give its approval.

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UK researchers discover a new species of primate from Africa's Angolan rainforests
22nd February, 2017

Until now, civil unrest and the difficulty of working at night have stood in the way of understanding the true nocturnal diversity of the African rainforests but the recent discovery of a new species of primate hints at what lies in wait to be discovered

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The blockaded tunnel to Heathrow airport this morning, 21st February 2017. Photo: Rising Up!

Rising Up! protest blockades Heathrow airport
21st February 2017

A direct action protest by Rising Up! today blocked access to three Heathrow terminals to press their demand for no third runway at the UK's biggest airport. The activists included both climate campaigners and local people fearful of increased pollution, loss of homes and green space and entire villages destroyed.

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New protection of Canada's ‘Sea of Glass' bans fishing near the reefs
20th February, 2017

The last living remains of an ancient European species - the 9,000-year-old fragile glass sponge reefs off the coast of Canada - will now be offered further protection

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Shell's Kora Kora oil field, Nigeria. Photo: Tim Lambon / Greenpeace.

Shell, Eni hit with Nigerian oil deal corruption charges
13th February 2017

Weeks after a major legal victory in London's High Court over oil-polluted communities in Nigeria, writes Joe Sandler Clarke, Shell has suffered a dramatic reversal of fortunes as Italian prosecutors charge the company, and Italy's Eni, on corruption charges over a $1.3 billion oil deal.

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Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from milkweed. Photo: Sherri VandenAkker via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monarch butterflies down over a quarter in one year
10th February 2017

It's been another disastrous year for North America's Monarch butterflies, with the insect's population down 27% in a single year. The sudden decline is blamed on severe winter storms in Mexico, and the impacts of GMO crops, herbicides and insecticides on US farms.

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Vaquita caught in a gillnet. Photo: Cristian Faezi & Omar Vidal via IUCN.

Vaquita going extinct as Mexico, China, dither
6th February 2017

The world's smallest porpoise is fast heading to extinction, writes Aron White thanks to Mexico's failure to ban the use of gillnets in its range, and China's illegal imports of totoaba fish swim bladders, used in Chinese medicine. Without urgent and effective action the vaquita will soon disappear for good.

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EU countries don't want British pollution blowing their way! London air pollution - view from Hackney 10th April 2015. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY).

MEPs may veto 'dirty Britain' Brexit deal
2nd February 2017

MEPs have signalled that any Brexit deal that allows Britain to scrap the environmental laws it has signed up to as an EU member faces veto, writes Charlotte Burns. They are not prepared to countenance a bad neighbour 'dirty Britain' just off the EU's shores, nor to see the EU's environmental progress undermined by unfair competition.

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Coming in to land at Heathrow Airport. Photo: Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Heathrow: Government may ignore its own climate advisors
30th January 2017

Newly published letters show that the UK Government may ignore the Committee on Climate Change, its official advisor on climate, and allow emissions from aviation to soar at an expanded Heathrow airport, writes Damian Kahya. Instead it would rely on buying widely condemned 'carbon offsets'.

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Showdown at Standing Rock: Donald Trump is pushing ahead with the widely opposed Dakota Access pipeline, stalled under Obama. Indigenous resisters are determined to protect their lands, waters and sacred sites. Photo: Dark Sevier via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Trump: Dakota, KXL pipelines go ahead; corporate tax cuts and deregulation
26th January 2017

Donald Trump defined the future of his presidency this week with a series of executive orders and speeches that promised corporations everything they ever wanted, writes Patrick Martin: the scrapping of environmental, energy and labour regulations, massive tax cuts, and approval of two fiercely resisted oil pipelines.

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Mark VanGessel identifies Palmer Amaranth - now a superweed resistant to Roundup herbicides - in a field of soybeans. But how long before it also develops resistance to dicamba as well? Photo: University of Delaware Carvel REC via Flickr (CC BY).

Lawsuit challenges Monsanto's 'back to the future' toxic herbicide
25th January 2017

A coalition of farmer and public interest groups are suing the US Environmental Protection Agency for unlawfully approving the use of Monsanto's highly toxic herbicide dicamba on its dicamba-resistant GMO soybeans and cotton, without consulting wildlife and fisheries agencies.

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Shuar communities are under oppressive military occupation. Photo: via Intercontinental Cry.

Blood and fire: mining and militarization in the Ecuadorian Amazon
24th January 2017

The opposition of Ecuador's Shuar People to large scale mining and hydroelectric development in their ancestral forests has triggered a full-scale military occupation of their lands in the Amazon cloud forest, writes Jake Ling, accompanied by a surge in state-sponsored murder and violence - for which Chinese and Canadian mining companies must share responsibility.

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