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Fracked off - natural gas victims flee Colorado's toxic air

Paul Thacker / Oil Change International

30th August 2014

Flaring of unwanted hydrocarbons at a natural gas refinery in the Piceance Basin of Colorado. Photo: Tim Hurst  via Flickr. Natural gas is widely touted as a 'green fuel'. But as Paul Thacker found in Colorado, fracking's national 'ground zero', it's anything but. Lives and health are being ruined by pollution from taxpayer-subsidized gas wells, flaring and refining plants, while property values collapse. Now a mass of environmental refugees are fleeing the ravaged state. more...

Drought hits São Paulo - what drought?

Jan Rocha

29th August 2014

Drought - what drought? Fountains in Sao Paulo disguise the reality that power and water will soon be running catastrophically low. Photo: collectmoments via Flickr. São Paulo, South America's biggest city, is suffering its worst drought in over a century, writes Jan Rocha, with rivers and reservoirs running dry. But the state's politicians are seeking re-election. And for them, it's as if nothing is happening - never mind that water and power cuts affecting millions are looking inevitable. more...

A global plan for road expansion that doesn't cost the earth

Bill Laurance

28th August 2014

Road map detail - Central Africa. Image: Bill Laurance. Roads are responsible for massive environmental damage around the world, writes Bill Laurance - yet they also bring huge benefits. His solution? A new atlas that shows where the 'goods' of roads outweigh the 'bads', so that developing countries can harness the prosperity new roads can bring, without the destruction. more...

Earthquake risk makes California's Diablo Canyon a Fukushima in waiting

Karl Grossman

27th August 2014

Diablo Canyon in California lies in a seismically active zone totally unsuitable for a nuclear power plant. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr. A newly-exposed report by Diablo Canyon's lead nuclear inspector shows that the twin reactors are unsafe, writes Karl Grossman. An earthquake on nearby geological faults could trigger a Fukushima-scale accident causing 10,000 early fatalities. The owner's response? Apply to extend the site's operation for another 20 years. more...

Heat accumulating in the deep oceans has put global warming on pause

Richard Allan

26th August 2014

Observed and simulated changes in Earth’s heating rate since 1985. Image: Allan et al., Author provided. Since 2000 global surface temperatures have risen less than expected, a fact seized on by climate change 'sceptics'. But indications are that the surplus heat has been building up all along, writes Richard Allan - in deep oceans where it does not influence observable climate. Not yet, anyway. more...

Keystone XL - who needs it? We got a railroad!

Justin Mikulka / DeSmogBlog

25th August 2014

A Fairbanks to Anchorage oil train on the Alaska Railroad. Photo: Renaud CHODKOWSKI via Flickr. Climate change and tar sands activists opposing Keystone XL need to wake up to a new reality - the pipeline has already been eclipsed by rail transport which is both cheaper and more flexible, writes Justin Mikulka. The expanded production and export of tar sands oil just got a whole lot more likely. more...

Nuclear power stations cause childhood leukemia - and here's the proof

Ian Fairlie

23rd August 2014

The Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness, Scotland, is one of those that have provoked an increase in childhood leukemia. Photo: Paul Wordingham via Flickr. Controversy has been raging for decades over the link between nuclear power stations and childhood leukemia. But as with tobacco and lung cancer, it's all about hiding the truth, writes Ian Fairlie. Combining data from four countries shows, with high statistical significance, that radioactive releases from nuclear plants are the cause of the excess leukemia cases. more...

Peru: uncontacted tribe flees massacre in the Amazon

Alice Bayer / Survival International

22nd August 2014

Uncontacted Indians making contact with a settled Ashaninka community near the Brazil-Peru border, June 2014. Photos: © FUNAI. Survivors of a previously unknown Amazon tribe have escaped gunmen in Peru, seeking refuge with settled indigenous communities in Brazil. But as Alice Bayer reports, their problems are far from over. Many remain under threat in Peru, and even the refugees are at risk of common but potentially lethal infections. more...

The dark side of Hawaii's aquarium trade

Elizabeth Claire Alberts

20th August 2014

The Hawaiian cleaner wrasse works full time, keeping reefs from parasite loading. They die in 30 days of captivity but ship out daily - as many as the aquarium collectors can catch. Photo: Rober Wintner. Hawaii's salt-water aquarium trade is lucrative - but depends on the constant, scarcely regulated collection of wild fish, writes Elizabeth Claire Alberts. With 98% of fish in the trade taken from the wild, and high mortality rates from the moment of collection, Hawaii's coral reefs are experiencing a daily massacre. more...

World Bank and UN carbon offset scheme 'complicit' in genocidal land grabs

Nafeez Ahmed

20th August 2014

Torched Senger home. Photo: Justin Kenrick. The plight of Kenya's Sengwer people shows that carbon offsets generated by 'sustainable' forest management are empowering a corporate recolonisation of the South backed by the World Bank against its own guidelines, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Indigenous forest peoples are at risk of genocide while corporations let rip. more...

Kazakhstan's nuclear power plans - the mysteries only deepen

Komila Nabiyeva

19th August 2014

Sign for the Inkay uranium mining operation in southern Kazakhstan. Photo: Mheidegger via Wikimedia Commons. Russia has announced that it will build the first thermal nuclear power station in Kazakhstan, the world's largest uranium producer, writes Komila Nabiyeva. But where in that vast country will it be located? Who will own and operate it? How many reactors are planned? Who will get the power? And will it ever actually happen? more...

Airports' global bird slaughter - 100,000s gassed, shot, poisoned

Rose Bridger

18th August 2014

Birds and airplanes are a poor mix - but do we need to slaughter quite so many? Photo: Eugene Zemlyanskiy via Flickr. Airports around the world are waging a war on birds, writes Rose Bridger. It's meant to prevent aircraft bird strikes. But in fact, fatal (for people) collisions are rare - and even killing thousands of birds does little to reduce the number of strikes. Best fly less, and keep airports away from birds! more...

The Nicaragua Canal - a disaster in waiting?

Nathan Wood

15th August 2014

Lake Nicaragua, ecological jewel of Central America, will never be the same if the canal project goes ahead. Photo: Helen ST via Flickr. A second canal joining the Pacific and Atlantic oceans is planned for Nicaragua, writes Nathan Wood. But the gigantic project is raising growing fears due to a grossly unfair contract, glaring failures of process, close links to the Chinese government, and its enormous - but uncosted - ecological impacts. more...

Whistle-blowing monitor reveals: how not to run a badger cull

Lesley Docksey

14th August 2014

At least this badger at the British Wildlife Centre is safe from culling. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr. New revelations show that the rifle-wielding badger cullers were often acting criminally, writes Lesley Docksey - pursuing badgers with loaded weapons on both private and public land outside licenced areas, with impunity, while the IEP was apparently kept in the dark. Strict controls are essential - or just an end to the cull. more...

Gambia - recycling for women's wealth and independence

Louise Hunt

13th August 2014

Women at Isatou Ceesay's workshop for upcycled products. Photo: author supplied. Plastic waste, often burning, is a constant companion in Gambia, a poor country where few enjoy formal rubbish collection, writes Louise Hunt. Now a pioneering project to upcycle waste plastic is beginning to tackle the problem - and in the process enhancing women's social and economic status. more...

Solar power to the fore in India's energy revolution

Michael Jacob

12th August 2014

Dhursar 40 megawatt solar power plant with First Solar modules in the Thar desert, Rajasthan, India. Photo: Reliance Power. India's economy is hindered by the lack of sustainable and reliable electricity, writes Michael Jacob. But the new government has a plan to bring 24/7 power to every citizen, based on grid renewal, subsidy cuts, and a big rollout of ever-cheaper solar power generation. more...

Community self-defense against mining mega-projects

Raul Zibechi

8th August 2014

Would you like this to happen to your land? The 'revegetated area' of the Yanacocha mine in Maqui Maqui, Peru, after 10 years of gold mining. Photo: Abramovich / Wikimedia Commons. If the state does not defend citizens against the violence and destruction of mining, people and communities must defend themselves, writes Raul Zibechi. And in Peru and Colombia that's exactly what they are doing, re-asserting indigenous control of the land and its resources. more...

Can 'Public Interest' protect Britain's wildlife?

Lesley Docksey

8th August 2014

Photo: Jared Rodriguez / truthout.org via Flickr. Last week the Upper Tribunal of the Royal Courts of Justice ordered Defra to release key information about the badger cull based on a 'public interest' argument, writes Lesley Docksey. Could this judgment open a new era of transparent and accountable government? more...

E-waste in Ghana: where death is the price of living another day

Nele Goutier

7th August 2014

Aglogbloshie - burning off plastic to get to valuable metals. Photo: qamp.net via Flickr. Attempts to recycle E-waste and donations of old electronic devices are harming poor people's health and devastating the environment, writes Nele Goutier. Agbogbloshie, once an idyllic landscape of wetlands and small farms, is now the most toxic place in the world ... more...

Missouri: corporate agriculture wins 'Right to Farm'

Ben Whitford

6th August 2014

Local Farmers Speak Out Against Missouri voters have narrowly passed a 'right to farm' amendment to the state constitution. But small farmers already enjoy such rights, writes Ben Whitford. The beneficiaries will be industrial-scale corporate producers who now have a legal shield against regulation on GMOs, pollution, animal welfare and health standards - and, of course, the lawyers. more...

Russia's small farmers are the latest 'health and safety' victims

Georgy Borodyansky

5th August 2014

Cattle in a paddock on a small farm in Russia. Photo: Vmenkov CC. New regulations on animal slaughter are in force across Russia, writes Georgy Borodyansky, with devastating effects on small farmers and consumers, who face a three-fold hike in the price of meat. Will the 'health and safety' madness destroy Russia's main producers of wholesome food? more...

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