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Global water crisis causing failed harvests, hunger, war and terrorism

Nafeez Ahmed

27th March 2015

Where water meets desert ... Egypt depends entirely on the waters of the Nile to irrigate its farmland, but the river's flows are now imperilled by dam building upstream in Ethiopia. Casus belli? Photo: Tom Lowenthal  via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). The world is already experiencing water scarcity driven by over-use, poor land management and climate change, writes Nafeez Ahmed. It's one of the causes of wars and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond, and if we fail to respond to the warnings before us, major food and power shortages will soon afflict large parts of the globe fuelling hunger, insecurity and conflict. more...

Carving up Africa - aid donors and agribusiness plot the great seed privatization

Ian Fitzpatrick & Oliver Tickell

26th March 2015

The work is hard, but the seed is free - for now! Men and women harvest the Ethiopian staple grain teff in a roadside field between Axum and Adwa in Northern Ethiopia. Photo: Alan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). An elite group of aid donors and agribusiness corporations met in London this week to plan the takeover of Africa's seeds, writes Ian Fitzpatrick, replacing traditional seed breeding and saving by small farmers with a corporate model of privatized, 'improved', patented, genetically uniform and hybrid seeds in a profit-driven market. more...

Letter from Ecuador - where defending nature and community is a crime

Carlos Zorrilla

25th March 2015

Wood lizard of the Ecuadorian cloud forest, Enyalioides rubrigularis. Photo: Santiago Ron via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0). Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world. more...

Cambodia: local people risk everything to defend national park sold off to highest bidders

Rod Harbinson

24th March 2015

Residents of Prek Smach commune, Kiri Sakor district at a road block they have constructed out of trees and rocks. Botum Sakor national park, Koh Kon Province, Cambodia. Photo: Rod Harbinson. Botum Sakor national park is one of Cambodia's biodiversity hotspots, where indigenous tribes have long lived in harmony with the forest and its wildlife, writes Rod Harbinson. But now they are being violently evicted as the park is being sold off piecemeal to developers for logging, plantations, casinos and hotels. Now local communities are defending themselves and their land. more...

Grabbing Africa's seeds: USAID, EU and Gates Foundation back agribusiness seed takeover

Stephen Greenberg & Oliver Tickell

23rd March 2015

Seed saving in Malawi: farmer Maria Banda's cupped hands holding cowpea seeds. Photo: Stephen Greenberg / ACBIO. The latest salvo in the battle over Africa's seed systems has been fired, writes Stephen Greenberg, with the Gates Foundation and USAID playing puppet-masters to Africa's governments - now meeting in Addis Ababa - as they drive forward corporation-friendly seed regulations that exclude and marginalize the small farmers whose seeds and labour feed the continent. more...

World Bank's Conference on Land & Poverty is a cruel farce

Oliver Tickell

20th March 2015

Fighting the land grabs: peasant farmers on Ile-a-Vache, Haiti, refuse to be moved from their ancestral lands by the US puppet government, 28th February 2014. Photo: marie-chantalle via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). On Monday the World Bank's Conference on Land and Poverty begins in the US. But farmer organizations, indigenous groups, trade unions and others denounce the whole exercise as a sham that, in tandem with other Bank initiatives, is all about accelerating corporate land grabs and robbing the poor that the Bank was founded to assist. more...

Occupy agriculture! Polish farmers sit in for land and freedom

Julian Rose

19th March 2015

Thousands of farmers are protesting in Warsaw, Poland, to demand an end to land grabs, corporate domination of food and farming, draconian regulation, GMO crops, and the imposition of an 'agribusiness' model that undermines their independence and the inte At the heart of Poland's capital, Warsaw, farmers have founded a flourishing encampment known as the 'Green City', writes Julian Rose. It's a focus of protest against the sell-off of their land to agribusiness, the arrival of GMO crops, and the imposition of a failed 'Western' model of farming that's creating huge corporate profits while debasing food and bankrupting small farmers. more...

Engineering consent for fracking: Chris Smith and the 'astroturf' consultancy

Paul Mobbs

18th March 2015

Ban Fracking! Anti-fracking demo in London, 26 January 2015, at which a 360,000-signature petition was handed in to Parliament. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Edelman, the global PR group, has a history of aggressive 'consent engineering' for the fossil fuel industry in North America, writes Paul Mobbs. So what are they doing running 'impartial' UK bodies including a Parliamentary group on unconventional oil and gas, and the 'independent' Task Force on Shale Gas? Are they really US-style 'astroturf' bodies designed to fool us all? more...

UK plans first new coal power station since 1974 - and it burns forests too!

Almuth Ernsting

17th March 2015

A swamp forest in Louisiana, of the same kind that's already being clear-felled and chipped to supply fuel to Drax power station in Yorkshire on a fatuous 'low carbon' promise. Photo: J E Theriot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). A new coal and biomass-fired power station could soon be built at Drax in Yorkshire, already the UK's biggest coal burner, writes Almuth Ernsting. It comes with a weak promise of possible 'carbon capture and storage' - an expensive, inefficient technology shunned elsewhere. As the Government's nuclear dream fades, could this be its equally flawed replacement? more...

Roads to ruin: the G20's ecocidal infrastructure rampage

Bill Laurance

16th March 2015

A ranger looks at the skull of an elephant killed by poachers - a frequent side-effect of development projects that open up remote forests to human access. Photo: Ralph Buij, Author provided. What's needed to pull the world's economy out of recession? According to the G20, it's a massive wave of 'infrastructure' development worth as much $70 trillion, writes Bill Laurance. But all the roads, mines, dams, pipelines and 'development corridors' will inflict massive damage on wildlife populations and natural havens, not to mention local communities that stand in the way. more...

Algeria: fracking and the Ain Salah uprising

Alexander Reid Ross

14th March 2015

Remains of a pipeline installation on a roadside near Ain Salah, in Algeria's Tamanrasset province. Photo: Thomas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Deep in the Algerian Sahara, the oasis town of Ain Salah is a focus of opposition to a new wave of fracking, with violent confrontations between police and up to 40,000 protestors, writes Alexander Reid Ross. They have two main concerns: preventing pollution to the aquifer that sustains them, and keeping out foreign oil giants like Total and Halliburton. more...

Patriarchy is killing our planet - women alone can save her

Nafeez Ahmed

13th March 2015

Women from all over Côte d'Ivoire gather to celebrate International Women's Day at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: UN Photo / Ky Chung vias Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). The global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule us are integral to man's violent exploitation of Earth and her resources, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The fight to save the Earth must begin with the empowerment of women - and that means ending our complicity in their oppression, and servitude. more...

Israel escalates deadly attacks on Gaza's fishers

Charlie Hoyle

12th March 2015

In March 2012 the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) rallied on the Mediterranean Sea between the Gaza seaport and Beit Lahia to protest Israeli naval attacks on Palestinian fishermen and demand the return of fishing boats seized by Israel. Sinc Under the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas last August, Gaza's fishers were meant to be able to work up to six miles from the coast, writes Charlie Hoyle. In fact, Israel is routinely attacking boats within the zone, arresting fishermen, and seizing boats and nets, never to be returned. Only last week, one fisherman was shot dead after allegedly straying over an invisible boundary. more...

All fouled up - Fukushima four years after the catastrophe

Jim Green

11th March 2015

The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as seen during a sea-water sampling boat journey, 7 November 2013. Photo: David Osborn / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). Four years ago today the world's biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl took place at Fukushima, Japan. Total clean-up costs are estimated around $0.5 trillion, writes Jim Green - but work to defuse the dangers has barely begun, the site is flooded with radioactive water making its way to the sea, and underpaid and illegally contracted workers are suffering a rising toll of death and injury. more...

Agroecology can feed Africa - not agribusiness

Ian Fitzpatrick

10th March 2015

After a crash in the price of tobacco, Malawian farmers in Chiradzulu district have opted for crop diversification and a path to food security. Photo: Travis Lupick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Corporate interests have skewed the entire development agenda for agriculture in Africa, writes Ian Fitzpatrick. Instead of investing in sustainable, small scale farming along agroecological principles that raise production and support rural communities, governments - including the UK's - are backing destructive industrial farming and land grabs. more...

Cambodia expels forest defender

Rod Harbinson

9th March 2015

Alex standing in front of a giant tree, one of few remaining in the communal forest area at Tatai Leur in the Cardamom mountain forests. This tree blessing ceremony with villagers and Buddhist monks in 2013 sparked a wave of direct action which led to the Determined to flood 10,000 hectares of precious rainforest for a power station producing a meager 108MW of power, the Cambodian government has expelled a big 'fishbone in their throat' - eco-defender Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, who has galvanized local and nationwide protests against deforestation, land grabs and official corruption. more...

It's here, and it's growing: the self-assembling Coalition of the Radical Left

Alexander Reid Ross

6th March 2015

The Peoples' Climate March in New York City, 22nd September 2014. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0). Naomi Klein famously called for a 'grand coalition' of the progressive left to fight climate change and Earth-destroying capitalism, writes Alexander Reid Ross. And now it's happening, drawing together diverse strands that encompass the fight for social and racial justice, the right to work, health, clean air and fresh water, and our freedom to be alive and thrive on this our one planet. more...

Tar sands campaigners are Canada's new 'terrorists'

Pete Dolack

5th March 2015

Protest rally against Kinder Morgan at Burnaby Mountain Park, 20th November 2014. Photo: Mark Klotz via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Canada's 'Anti-Terrorism Bill' proposes a massive increase in the power of security services, writes Pete Dolack - and in the crosshairs are campaigners against a tar sands industry that's intent on releasing 240 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and those fighting the pipelines needed to get the heavy crude to market. Who are the real 'extremists'? more...

Where there's war, oil, gas and pipelines are never far away

John Foster

4th March 2015

Oil pipelines in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Photo: Tim Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Look beneath the surface of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and what do you find? Oil, gas, and contested pipeline transit routes. Never mind high-sounding talk of human rights, national sovereignty, international law and UN Resolutions, writes John Foster - fossil energy is the world's main driver of armed conflict. more...

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed

3rd March 2015

NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all. more...

Without its rainforest, the Amazon will turn to desert

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2015

The future Amazon? Keep on deforesting the Amazon, and Leticia in the Colmbian rainforest, which currently gets 2500mm of rain a year, could get as little rain as Israel's Negev Desert, with 20mm. Photo of the Negev by Francois BESSONNET via Flickr (CC BY Mainstream climatologists predict a 15% fall in rainfall over the Amazon if it is stripped of its rainforest. But the 'biotic pump' theory, rooted in conventional physics and recently confirmed by experiment, shows that the interior of a forest-free Amazon will be as dry as the Negev desert. We must save the Amazon before it enters a permanent and irreversible dessication. more...

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