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Aspiration versus climate change: can we win back the centre left?

Leo Barasi

28th August 2015

For Tony Blair, climate change was a core issue. But his successors are leaving it to Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband. Launching the 'Breaking the Climate Deadlock' report in Tokyo, Japan, 27th June 2008. Photo: The Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Commitment to action on climate change was once a banner of modernism adopted by by both Tony Blair and David Cameron, writes Leo Barasi. But no longer. The Tories have abandoned it entirely, while the Labour mainstream, in thrall to the twin narratives of 'austerity' and 'aspiration', looks the other way. So how to put climate change back on the centre-left agenda? more...

GM cotton: a false promise for Africa's farmers

Arya Tajdin

27th August 2015

Women in Zorro village, Burkina Faso, desseding their cotton. But what chance have they got in global commodity markets that are systematically rigged against them? Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The idea that GMO cotton offers hope to Africa's impoverished cotton farmers is facile and fraudulent, writes Arya Tajdin. In fact it only adds to their vulnerability. Their real problems lie in the structural oversupply of subsidized cotton on world markets, and the flood of 'kifua' - dead white man's clothing - that undermines the continent's textile industries. more...

Legal 'reforms' may make violence the only option for India's eco-defenders

Arpitha Kodiveri

26th August 2015

On 14th April 2015, a demonstration in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh against a proposed dam on the Kanhar Valley by Adivasi, Dalit protesters was met with police violence and gunfire which injured seven women and one man. Photo: counterview.net. President Modi is determined to sweep away 'obstacles to growth' including the laws that allow marginalised communities to challenge the confiscation of their lands and forests for dams, mines and other 'development' projects, writes Arpitha Kodiveri. If proposed 'reforms' are enacted, the only remaining avenue of dissent may be one of armed conflict. more...

The lesson of Hurricane Katrina: the worst is yet to come

Kerry Emanuel

25th August 2015

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Photo: News Muse via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Climate change shows its true face in extreme events, writes Kerry Emanuel: the storm surge with a 12 inch head start thanks to rising sea levels, propelled by a wind that's 20 mph faster, dropping an extra inch of rain beyond the 'normal' storm. Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan are sending us a clear message: the world must get ready for bigger and badder, fast. more...

Naked corruption: the scandal of glyphosate re-assessment in Europe

Dr Nancy Swanson and Dr Mae Wan Ho

24th August 2015

The EFSA headquarters: closed to science and dissent, open to industry 'experts' and lobbyists. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The EU's 'rapporteur state' on glyphosate, Germany, has recommended re-approval of the herbicide with its daily intake increased by 67%, write Drs Nancy Swanson and Mae Wan Ho. The verdict is based on a re-assessment carried out by Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies, based on unpublished industry studies. It should be rejected outright. more...

Think California's drought is bad? Try Palestine's

Laith Shakir

23rd August 2015

Holed Palestinian water tanks, destroyed by armed settlers in the old city of Hebron. Photo: ISM Palestine via Flickr (CC BY-SA). As World Water Week kicks off in Stockholm today with a theme of 'Water for Development', the drought being deliberately inflicted on Palestinians is firmly off the agenda, writes Laith Shakir. While Israelis water their lawns, irrigate crops and swim in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinian communities a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst. more...

Romania's 'occupy forests' movement demands clampdown on corporate crime

Raluca Besliu

21st August 2015

Thugs throwing rocks at illegal timber investigators from Agent Green in Romania, 24th May 2015. Photo: still from video by Agent Green. A growing protest movement is demanding strong controls on international investors and logging companies buying up Romania's forests, writes Raluca Besliu. In its sights is Austria-based Schweighofer, which stands accused of criminal malpractice and accepting illegal timber shipments. The popular outrage stirred up by corporate misdeeds is now stimulating a wider democratic revival. more...

Do the UK government's sums on Hinkley and climate change add up?

Doug Parr / Greenpeace Energydesk

20th August 2015

Wylfa or windmills? Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey, along with some greener alternatives. Photo:  Eifion via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). It's a fair question, writes Doug Parr, but one to which we are getting no answers - the government is keeping its sums and energy models secret. It looks as if the energy department, DECC, is making things up as it goes along to justify its pro-nuclear, anti-efficiency and anti-renewables policies. And when it all goes disastrously wrong, who will end up paying for the mess? We will. more...

Fukushima: thousands have died, thousands more will die

Dr Ian Fairlie

17th August 2015

The valley of the shadow of death: near Fukushima Daichi, March 2015. Photo: Lucas Wirl via Flickr (CC BY-NC). New evidence from Fukushima shows that as many as 2,000 people have died from necessary evacuations, writes Ian Fairlie, while another 5,000 will die from cancer. Future assessments of fatalities from nuclear disasters must include deaths from displacement-induced ill-heath and suicide in addition to those from direct radiation impacts. more...

Government and NFU betray Britain's dairy farmers

Simon Fairlie / The Land

15th August 2015

It's not just the cows that are being milked. A small dairy farm in Adber, Dorset. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Just as the banks are 'too big to fail', so Britain's struggling dairy farmers are 'too small to save', writes Simon Fairlie. And it's not just the government that's happy to see 16 dairy farms go the wall every week - it's also the National Farmers Union to which most pay their dues. The NFU's paradoxical response to the milk glut is to push for ever higher, more intensive milk production. more...

COP21 is the 'no hope' Climate Summit - but there's still everything to play for

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

14th August 2015

COP19 Climate March against the influence of fossil fuel companies on the negotiations, November 16 2013. Photo: Jamie Henn / 350.org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). If you're expecting COP21 in Paris to save the world's climate you're in for a disappointment, writes Alex Scrivener. For governments, climate is secondary to the really big issues - like endless economic growth and ever-increasing corporate profit. But there's still plenty campaigners can do to shame politicians, businesses and investors into meaningful action. more...

For Labour to win, green must be the new red

Keith Barnham

13th August 2015

Labour must make green the new red. Wind Farm near Oxton, Scottish Borders. Photo: raghavvidya via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The success of the SNP and surveys carried out by DECC show that green energy is overwhelmingly popular, writes Keith Barnham. Labour's failure to support renewables and oppose nuclear power and fracking may have cost them the last election - but now, with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn there's a real chance for the party to put that right. more...

Honduras: Garifuna communities resist eviction and theft of land

Jeff Abbott / Waging NonViolence

12th August 2015

View of Paradise: Garifunas on Chachahuate enjoy fishing, beach, sun, and Caribbean waters. Photo: npatterson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Pristine beaches, clear Caribbean waters, coral reefs, fertile land ... such is the homeland of the Garifuna people, writes Jeff Abbott. It's so lovely that outsiders are desperate to seize ever more of their territory to develop for mass tourism, oil palm plantations, illicit drug production ... and the land grabs have the full support of Honduras military government, backed to the hilt by Uncle Sam. more...

GM cotton really is helping to drive Indian farmers to suicide

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

11th August 2015

A small scale farmer weeding a cotton field in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Cotton farming can be very profitable, but is also very risky in India due to high input costs and droughts. Many farmers get highly indebted and see no way out A new study finds that Indian farmers in rain-fed areas are being driven to suicide from the increased cost of growing Bt GMO cotton varieties that confer no benefits to them, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. The extra expenses arise from buying new seeds each year, along with increased chemical inputs, while suffering inadequate access to agronomic information. more...

Agbogbloshie: Ghana's 'trash world' may be an eyesore - but it's no dump

Dagna Rams

10th August 2015

Agbogbloshie employs some 6,000 young men recycling wastes from around the world in the job-scarce city of Accra, Ghana. Photo: Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Most accounts of Agbogbloshie, the e-waste site in Accra, Ghana, persistently miss the point, writes Dagna Rams. Far from being a simple 'dump' for the world's trash, it is a huge recycling operation that pays for the wastes it receives, employs thousands of young men who would otherwise lack jobs, and plays a huge role in the national and global economy. more...

Flowing uphill to money? California's water politics in a time of drought

Will Parrish

5th August 2015

California drought: New Melones Lake, near Calaveras, California, 4th June 2015. Photo: Ben Amstutz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). While households and small feel the brunt of California's drought, it's business as usual for agribusiness, writes Will Parrish. And despite the 'first user' principle that determines water rights, the state's indigenous tribes and the wild salmon on which they depend, have been left high and dry. The Public Trust Doctrine could change that - but only if the people demand it. more...

Campaigners celebrate as Caerphilly councillors vote: the coal stays in the ground

Guy Shrubsole

7th July 2015

There's coal in them thar hills outside Merthyr Tydfil. But Caerphilly councillors have just voted to leave it where it is, under the ground. Photo: Stuart Herbert (CC BY-NC-SA). Caerphilly councillors yesterday refused permission for a huge open cast coal mine in South Wales that's fiercely opposed by local people furious at its impacts on air, landscape, tranquillity and climate, writes Guy Shrubsole. Coming so soon after the rejection of fracking in Lancashire, the message is clear: fossil fuels are best left safely underground. more...

70 years after Hiroshima, Okinawa's long resistance to US military occupation

Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman

6th August 2015

US Marines in amphibious assault vehicles taking part in a US military exercise in Oura Bay, Okinawa, Japan, 2nd November 2014 Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raul Moreno Jr. / US Navy via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Japan is living under the shadow of US militarism, write Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman - and most of all in Okinawa, the nation's southernmost archipelago. Against overwhelming local opposition but backed by Japan's government, the US is building a new military base that is seizing land and threatens the unique ecology of Oura Bay with its seagrass beds, dugongs and coral reefs. more...

Tories' attack on green energy threatens climate and prosperity

Noam Bergman, Lee Stapleton & Mari Martiskainen

5th August 2015

Somerton wind farm, Norfolk. Photo: Lordspudz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). With the US, China, Germany and other countries firmly fixing their aim on a low carbon, renewable energy future, the UK government has chosen precisely the opposite track, write Noam Bergman, Lee Stapleton & Mari Martiskainen. Its mission to destroy wind and solar power, undercut energy efficiency and boost nuclear power and fracking threatens serious, lasting damage. more...

Water is a human right! Detroit's lessons for our common future

Chris Grove

4th August 2015

Detroit rises above the water ... but access to it is strictly rationed by ability to pay. Photo: Unique Day Tours in over 100 cities via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Detroit is the site of a neoliberal experiment that's already being repeated elsewhere, writes Chris Grove, with unpayable debt used to force the privatization of public services and the terminate democratic power and accountability. But as the city's poor find themselves cur off from water, a new, wider conception of human rights is emerging from the wreckage. more...

Japan's 'sacred' rice farmers evade TPP death sentence - for now

Nicole L Freiner

3rd August 2015

A rice field and some traditional farm houses in a small village in the South of Niigata, Japan. Photo: Norman Tannert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages. more...

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