The Ecologist



Water first! Lakota women and ranchers lead charge to close toxic uranium mine

Suree Towfighnia / Waging NonViolence

13th October 2015

Colleen Brennan and Nancy Kile of the Sisterhood to Protect Sacred Water rally outside the Nuclear Regulatory Hearings in Crawford. Photo: Rosy Torres / WNV (CC BY). The impending renewal of the license for a uranium mine in Nebraska has ignited a years long resistance among those - most of them women - for whom good health and safe, clean water in the Ogallala aquifer is as important as life itself, writes Suree Towfighnia. But for others, jobs and money come first. Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must reach its decision. more...

All rights reserved! The final leaked TPP text is all that we feared

Jeremy Malcolm / EFF

12th October 2015

All rights reserved! Image: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The leaked chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property represents a wholesale attack on internet freedom, investigative journalism, and the wider creative commons, writes Jeremy Malcolm. While massively advancing corporate financial interests in binding clauses, the parts that purport to protect information users are soft guidelines that cannot be enforced. more...

For the love of water: El Salvador's mining ban may cost $300m 'compensation'

Lynn Holland

10th October 2015

Family bathing in the Rio Lempa, El Salvador's longest and only navigable river, until recently at risk from a cyanide-leaching gold mine. Photo: kadejo via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA). Disastrous water pollution from gold mines in El Salvador has united government and people to oppose new metal mines, writes Lynn Holland. In Central America's most water scarce country, the imperative is to keep lakes, rivers and streams clean and wholesome. But there may be a heavy price to pay, with a Canadian mining company pressing a $300 million 'compensation' claim. more...

GM crops: an uneasy truce hangs over Europe

Mary Dobbs, Queen's University Belfast

9th October 2015

Make hay while the sun shines! This farmer in Cyprus can remain GMO-free - for now. Photo: Tony Woods via Flickr (CC BY-ND). With all the EU's GMO exemptions filed, a clear majority - by number, population and area of farmland - have chosen to be GMO-free, writes Mary Dobbs. But the rules surrounding their opt-outs are complex in the extreme and many countries will find it hard to maintain their GMO-free status - specially if the Commission and the biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta choose to exercise their powers. more...

There is still time to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

8th October 2015

'Flush the TPP' actions in Washington DC, September 2013. Photo: Ellen Davidson / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Just how bad is the TPP? Incredibly, we don't know its full horror because even now, the agreement is a state secret, writes Pete Dolack. But the text will have to be released soon so that Congress and other parliaments can vote on it. And only then we will know the full scale of the corporate sellout it represents. The choice facing legislators is clear: democracy, or corporate dictatorship? more...

UK's energy revolution - DECC's role usurped by new Infrastructure Commission

Oliver Tickell

7th October 2015

Meet the man Osborne just put in charge of the UK's energy policy: Lord Andrew Adonis. Photo: makeroadssafe via Flickr (CC BY-NC). This week George Osborne took the entire energy policy brief out of the department for energy and climate change, and handed it to the new National Infrastructure Commission. It could mean a swift end to the Hinkley C nuclear plant and a new wave of renewables - but don't count on it. NIC chairman Lord Adonis is no green dreamer. But at least he takes energy seriously. more...

Serious issues for George Osborne on China's role in the UK's nuclear future

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th October 2015

When China General Nuclear Power Corporation (under its former name of China Guangdong Nuclear Power) built China's first nuclear power station at Daya Bay near Hong Kong, they left out reinforcement rods from the concrete base under the reactor. Photo: P George Osborne's silence over nuclear power in his conference speech yesterday speaks volumes, writes Jeffrey Henderson. Fresh from his trip to China to put together deals worth tens of billions with state-owned Chinese corporations to get Hinkley C and Bradwell nuclear plants built, he had nothing to say on the matter. Is it because too many serious questions remain unanswered? more...

Neoliberals with chainsaws: deforestation in Peru and the future of the Amazon

Clément Doleac

5th October 2015

34 people were killed at the 2009 protest for indigenous rights at Bagua, Peru. Photo: anonoymous via powless / Flickr (CC BY). Peru is in hot competition with Brazil to be the main focus of Amazonian deforestation, writes Clément Doleac. A neoliberal government desperate to hand over the country's forests, oil, gas, minerals and indigenous lands for corporate exploitation is unafraid to break national laws, turn a blind eye to air and water pollution, and respond to any challenges with overwhelming violence. more...

Flamanville nuclear safety fail sounds death knell for Hinkley C

Oliver Tickell

2nd October 2015

EDF puts in place the reactor dome on the Flamville 3 EPR reactor in July 2013. But sadly it failed to make sure the reactor vessel that sits at its heart was up to scratch first. And it's not - it has serious metallurgical flaws that could end up sinking Just as George Osborne is hoping to get China to invest billions in EDF's Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, news from EDF's Flamanville nuclear site threatens to sink the project. French regulators are to demand another lengthy round of tests on its flawed reactor vessel. And if Flamanville isn't working by 2020, £17 billion of UK finance guarantees for Hinkley C will collapse. more...

When the party's over ... the financial spectre at the end of nuclear power

Dr Ian Fairlie

1st October 2015

Sunset over Sellafield ... those nuclear liabilities will cost billions, and billions, for thousands of years. Photo: Dom Crayford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). There are two rules about the end costs of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie. It's far more than you ever knew. And whatever sum of money was ever set aside, it's nowhere near enough. Germany understands this. That's why it refused to let E.ON spin off its nuclear liabilities into a hands-off company. But the UK, it seems, has lost the ability to learn from its nuclear mistakes. more...

Re-engineering life? The dangers of 'next generation' biofuels

Almuth Ernsting

30th September 2015

At the New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos scientists are using genetic engineering to improve algae strains for increased biomass yield and carbon capture efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren't up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged 'synthetic biology' variants - which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong? more...

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...

Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population

Tim Deere-Jones

28th September 2015

Beautiful but deadly: a golden sunset over the Pacific at Naraha, Fukushima, Japan. 'Scenery of Tears' Photo: Mirai Takahashi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data. more...

Yemen in dust, blood and flames, and the world is silent. Could it be oil?

Martha Mundy

25th September 2015

Plenty more where that came from under the desert sands. Garage in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Jon Bowen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). There's a plan afoot in Yemen, writes Martha Mundy, but no one is telling you about it. It's a plan so big that a country of 20 million people has to be starved and bombed into total submission, yet the world is indifferent. Yes, its oil. Lots of oil, and gas too, and lakes of fossil water, all lurking beneath the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula. How do we know? Because they told us. more...

They really mean it! Sweden's Green transition gathers pace

Dominic Hinde

24th September 2015

Sweden's Red-Green coalition is determined to deliver the goods on climate, environment and social justice. Wild flowers at Kiruna, Sweden. Photo: Kathryn Waychoff / Dartmouth / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY). There could hardly be a bigger contrast to the UK, writes Dominic Hinde. Sweden is closing airports and nuclear plants, selling off coal mines, spending billions to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, increasing green spending in developing countries, and is determined to lead by example at COP21 in Paris. Will other nations follow the green trail they are blazing? more...

How Volkswagen got caught cheating emissions tests by a clean air NGO

Paul Nieuwenhuis

23rd September 2015

A pile of pants? Golf Diesel. Photo: Peter P. via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The discovery that Volkswagen has been 'gaming' vehicle emissions tests has taken the world by storm, writes Paul Nieuwenhuis. But it comes as no surprise to campaigners who have long been aware of the huge gap between 'official' emissions and real word pollution. Where were the regulators? And why did it take an NGO to uncover the scandal? more...

Russia - has the world's biggest country turned against the environment?

Lucy E J Woods

22nd September 2015

Linevo and its water reservoir formed by a dam on Koinikha, a small river falling into Ob. The giant Novosibirsk Electrode Factory is on the background. Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). While other countries apply themselves to environmental challenges from climate change to nature protection, Russia - with its massive wealth of nature and natural resources - is stubbornly refusing to take part, writes Lucy E J Woods. And as the economy declines, the pressure is on: to ignore environmental regulations, and clamp down on environmental defenders. more...

Nuclear madness: £2 billion for Hinkley C. Why the Treasury must get its hands off energy

Oliver Tickell

21st September 2015

He may not have such a pretty face as Amber Rudd, but George Osborne is the real energy secretary these days. However he's proving himself unable to put together a coherent energy policy. Photo: British High Commission, New Delhi (CC BY-NC-ND). Today's announcement of a £2 billion government guarantee for Hinkley C confirms that Chancellor George Osborne and his Treasury cannot be trusted to run the UK's energy policy - which is precisely what they are doing. On top of decimating the renewables industry, now they're risking billions on a failed nuclear design owned by failing companies. It's time to stop the madness. more...

Nuclear power kills! The real reason the NRC cancelled its nuclear site cancer study

Chris Busby

19th September 2015

Radioactive emissions from the Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford, CT are associated with elevated breast cancer incidence in the Long Island Sound Counties. Photo: Dominion Energy vua NRC / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The US's Nuclear Regulatory Commission just cancelled its study into cancer near nuclear plants citing the 'excessive cost' of $8 million, writes Chris Busby. Of course that's rubbish - similar studies in the UK have been carried out for as little as £600 per site, and in any case $8 million is small change for the NRC. The real reason is to suppress the unavoidable conclusion: nuclear power kills. more...

Monsanto knew all along! Secret studies reveal the truth of Roundup toxicity

Richard Gale & Gary Null / Progressive Radio Network

18th September 2015

What dark secrets have been lurking in Monsanto's filing cabinets? Finally, the truth about Roundup toxicity is coming out. Photo: Jonathan Ryan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Forty years ago Monsanto carried out detailed studies of glyphosate and Roundup toxicity, write Richard Gale & Gary Null. But they have remained buried in filing cabinets ever since. Now a determined scientist has breached the wall of secrecy - and all the evidence is that Monsanto knew just how toxic its products were all along, while claiming they were 'safe as lemonade'. more...

New dams, warming waters, forest fires - Lake Baikal in peril

Bryce Stewart

17th September 2015

Another extraordinary sunset over Lake Baikal - the deep hues heightened by the ever-present forest fires. Photo: Bryce Stewart. Longer than England, almost as deep as the Grand Canyon, Russia's Lake Baikal is one of the world's greatest aquatic wonders, writes Bryce Stewart. But it's a fragile paradise: the limpid waters are warming much faster than the global average, with as yet unknown effects on its ecology. And it faces the danger of a huge dam on its principal tributary, Mongolia's Selenga River. more...

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