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In Nepal's next big quake, hydropower dams threaten catastrophe

Michael Buckley

4th May 2015

The sacred water of Gosainkunda Lake at the headwaters of the Trishuli River, soon to be changed forever by the construction fo a succession of high dams. Photo: Yosarian via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY). A spate of hydroelectric dam building in Nepal means that future earthquakes could send inland tsunamis flooding down the steep mountain valleys, writes Michael Buckley. Disaster was averted in last month's quake - a badly damaged dam was not yet filled. But despite the risks and the damage to river ecology, tourism and rural livelihoods, there's no sign of any policy shift. more...

Saudi Arabia's oil price manipulation - let's get rich while we still can!

Karl Grossman

2nd May 2015

It's only a matter of time before solar energy will make all this petroleum infrastructure worthless. But until then, there's money to be made! Dusk view of the Valero Energy Corporation's refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith via Flic The oil industry and oil producers have a long history of market manipulation, writes Karl Grossman, and we see it going on right now with the low oil price that's squeezing fracking and getting America back onto gas-guzzling SUV's. But longer term, solar power is going to win out, and even Saudi Arabia knows it. Its game? To make out big, while the going's good. more...

Russian roulette? Finland's inexplicable nuclear obsession

Ulla Klötzer

1st May 2015

A demonstration against nuclear power outside the Finnish Parliament, April 2009. Photo: Ulla Klotzer. Does Finland suffer from a nuclear death wish? So it seems, writes Ulla Klötzer. Its government responded to the world's two greatest nuclear disasters by ... ordering a new nuclear plant. And as the Olkiluoto nuclear project descended into face and litigation over a disputed €5 billion, they resolved to build two more. This time, supplied by Russia's nuclear weapon-maker Rosatom. more...

It's not just glyphosate and neonicotinoids! Why we need a pesticide-free future

Georgina Downs

30th April 2015

Agrochemicals are routinely sprayed right up to the boundary line with residential properties, causing severe ill-health to rural residents. Photo: UK Pesticides Campaign. The risk of cancer from the world's top herbicide, glyphosate, is just the tip of the iceberg of health damage caused by exposure to pesticides and other toxic agrochemicals, writes Georgina Downs. It's time for governments to correct their scandalous failure to protect rural residents from the cocktails of poisons sprayed on crops. more...

Ripe for abuse - Palestinian child labour in Israel's West Bank settlement farms

Human Rights Watch / The Ecologist

29th April 2015

A Palestinian child clambering in a date palm on an Israeli settlement farm - from cover of the HRW report 'Ripe for Abuse - Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank'. Palestinian children as young as 11 work on Israeli farms in the occupied West Bank, an HRW investigation reveals. While the EU buys produce worth $300m a year from the illegal 'settlements', undocumented child labourers are exposed to pesticides, paid well below the minimum wage, enjoy no employment rights, and toil long hours in hot fields and greenhouses. more...

Forced evictions are Australia's latest racist assault on Aboriginal People

John Pilger

28th April 2015

What future for Australia's Aboriginal People as they are forcibly evicted from their homelands, their human rights denied by a fanatically right wing government. Photo: Johanna Alexis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Australia's deliberate and calculated attacks on its indigenous population carry many of the hallmarks of genocide, writes John Pilger. And things are getting worse, not better, as states that have grown rich by exploiting Aboriginal land evict and demolish remote Aboriginal communities.
more...

The Chernobyl catastrophe 29 years on: it's not over yet!

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace Japan

27th April 2015

The abandoned reactors 5 and 6 at Chernobyl, under construction at the time of the catastrophe. Photo: Michael Kötter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2014. The stricken 4th reactor at Chernobyl presents a massive long term hazard, writes Kendra Ulrich. A planned €2.15 billion containment arch remains underfunded, and even if it's ever completed, it will only last 100 years. Meanwhile the intensely radioactive nuclear fuel will remain in place representing a long term risk of further huge radiation releases. more...

Dispersants sprayed after Deepwater Horizon oil spill more toxic than oil alone

Danielle M DeLeo

26th April 2015

Dispersing the dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico May 5, 2010.  Adrian Cadiz, US Air Force public affairs. The dispersant used in the Deepwater Horizon clean-up appears to be more toxic to corals than crude oil, writes Danielle M DeLeo. It also increases the concentration of oil in seawater, leading to higher, more toxic exposures of oil components when they come into contact with corals and other marine organisms. more...

Chinese environmentalism: driven by a deep desire for healthy living and wholesome food

Thembi Mutch

24th April 2015

Cycling in Beijing. Photo: Thembi Mutch. China's growing 'bling' culture has taken off big time, writes Thembi Mutch - yet it is widely reviled among ordinary people who in the face of China's industrial boom hold resolutely to traditional values of economy and frugality, quietly yearning for the old days of clean air and safe, wholesome food to fill their stomachs. more...

Indian government sanctions Greenpeace to send a menacing message

Praful Bidwai

23rd April 2015

India's human rights and environment are going up in smoke - sacrificed to an aggressive coal-fired development path. Photo: coal power plant outside Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, by Reuben Stanton via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Prime Minister Modi's government has frozen the bank accounts of Greenpeace India, writes Praful Bidwai - provoking widespread protest from the environment and civil rights community. It's all part of a wider campaign against 'anti-national' movements that challenge India's development policies based on the aggressive exploitation of coal, minerals, big hydro and nuclear power. more...

Our year of opportunity for a green, just and sustainable future

The Earth League

22nd April 2015

Arctic aurora at Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Photo: Kyle Marquardt via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). We are alive in a pivotal year, writes the Earth League. 2015 offers the opportunity to build a sustainable and prosperous future for people and planet. But if we fail to act on climate change, safeguard crucial ecosystems and biodiversity, and secure a just and equitable world order for all, grave and irreversible perils await Earth and all who dwell on her. more...

The existential crisis facing GMOs - they don't work and we don't want them

Colin Todhunter

21st April 2015

The Monarch butterfly has become an icon of the anti-GMO movement following the species' population collapse in North America - poisoned by 'Bt' GMO crops and starved out by the the destruction of its food plants by massive application of glyphosate on 'r The GMO industry has legitimised itself via a vast network of lobbyists and the assiduous capture of the politicians, regulators and scientists that should be holding it to account, writes Colin Todhunter. But as the failure of the GM revolution and its disastrous impacts become ever more evident, the industry's legitimacy is fast eroding away. more...

The mirage of fossil fuel wealth - our energy future is green, renewable, decentralised

Vicente López-Ibor Mayor

20th April 2015

What lies over the rainbow is not a 100 billion barrels of oil, but a green and prosperous future of decentralised renewable energy. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY). Hopes of strengthening Britain’s energy security are often pinned on the fossil fuel industry says Vicente López-Ibor Mayor, as exemplified by the hysteria over the claimed 'discovery' of 100 billion barrels of oil beneath Gatwick airport. But the real long-term solution lies with abundant and ever cheaper decentralised renewables. more...

The law of the forest and the freedom of the streets

Ken Worpole

19th April 2015

Skater girl portrait (Abigail Tarttelin, author of 'Golden Boy'), Atlantic City, NJ. Photo: Chris Goldberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Forests are the traditional refuge of rebels, dissidents and all who seek freedom from the strictures of civilization, writes Ken Worpole. But for all the idea lives on in our hearts and minds, that role has now been usurped by our cities. Now, just as our forests have been enclosed and subdued, so our cities face a similar fate - one we must resist to preserve our liberty. more...

Our public water future - closing out the corporate profiteers

Satoko Kishimoto

17th April 2015

Paris-based Veolia and Suez are aggressive global companies running public water supply in cities around the world. But water in Paris itself (see here at La Defense) has been taken back under municipal control and ownership. Photo:  jean-marc via Flickr Private water companies have never been more aggressive in their sabotaging of efforts to 'make water public', writes Satoko Kishimoto, with legal threats and challenges launched under 'free trade' agreements. But as citizens worldwide reject corporate water profiteering, the trend of water re-municipalisation has gathered unstoppable momentum. more...

Salad days? Semi-slavery on the 'sweating fields' of southern Spain

Almudena Serpis / EFU

16th April 2015

Workers caught in pesticide drift as they work in the fields. Photo: Ecologist Film Unit / Channel 4 News. Lettuces, peppers and other vegetables grown under 'semi-slavery' conditions in Spain are filling supermarket shelves in the UK, writes Almudena Serpis. Workers are routinely abused, underpaid, sprayed with pesticide, and sacked if they dare complain, an C4News / Ecologist investigation has found. But now they are getting organised to defend their rights. more...

Japan's 'scientific whaling' fail: experts reject plan to kill 4,000 Minke whales

Tony Press

15th April 2015

Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin collides with the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 3 in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, 6th February 2009. Photo: John via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Japan's latest plans for 'scientific whaling' in the Southern Ocean have fallen at the first hurdle, writes Tony Press. The IWC's expert panel says Japan's proposal contains 'insufficient information' on which to judge its validity, in particular the need for the 'lethal sampling' of over 3,996 Minke whales that is central to the research plan. more...

Challenging 'austerity' and its self-contradicting narrative

Rupert Read & Bennet Francis

14th April 2015

Austerity for the rich! Image: Michael Thompson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). As the Greens announce anti-austerity policies in their election manifesto, Bennet Francis & Rupert Read examine the austerity narrative - and find it doesn't add up. By insisting that deficit reduction is necessary for growth, the politicians of austerity undermine the very meaning of the 'prosperity' they promise us. more...

Damming Tibet: China's destruction of Tibet's rivers, environment and people

Michael Buckley

13th April 2015

A gigantic dam under construction on the Upper Mekong River. When Michael Buckley took a white water rafting trip in Tibet in 2005, he had no idea of the adventure he was embarking on - a ten-year investigation of China ruthless exploitation of Tibet's mineral and hydroelectric resources, and its systematic attack on indigenous Tibetans, their culture and their survival on the land. more...

Tianjin, China: a village 'land grab' protest spells trouble for the Communist state

Samantha Hoffman & Jonathan Sullivan

11th April 2015

The dazzling pace of development in China comes at a human cost - of those dispossessed to make way for it all. Tianmu is one of the villages in the way of the expansion of Tianjin, pictured. Photo: Yang Aijun / World Bank via Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND). Rising anger by China's dispossessed - those displaced from their homes, villages and farms to make way for ever-expanding cities and infrastructure - is posing an existential threat to the ruling regime, write Samantha Hoffman & Jonathan Sullivan. At the root of the problem is the state's inability to tackle endemic official corruption and deliver justice to its citizens. more...

Air pollution may be damaging children's brains - before they are even born

Frank Kelly & Julia Kelly

10th April 2015

'Pregnant health'. Photo: il-young ko via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). As south-east England goes onto an air pollution 'red alert', write Frank Kelly & Julia Kelly, be warned: in addition to causing respiratory and cardiovascular damage, the microscopic particles befouling the air also impact on the brains and nervous systems of unborn children whose mothers suffer high levels of exposure. more...

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