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Three trillion trees live on Earth - and we need every one of them

James Dyke

3rd September 2015

Going, going ... Photo: ad for WWF by TBWA\PARIS, France via brett jordan on Flickr (CC BY). Isn't three trillion trees enough to keep our planet healthy? It sounds like a lot, writes James Dyke, but they are under threat as never before, from deliberate deforestation and climate change. Many of the 1.5 billion trees we are losing a year are in the last great rainforests - key ecosystems under threat of drying out forever under our escalating double onslaught. more...

Captive breeding - saving wildlife? Or saving the pet trade?

Clifford Warwick

2nd September 2015

Parrots born and raised without natural parents. Photo: iStock. The international pet trade presents itself as responsible and conservation-aware, writes Clifford Warwick - and a key part of the message is the idea that its animals are captive bred. But the truth is very different. Quite apart from the routine cruelty and high mortality, the trade continues to depend on captive wild animals and contributes only negatively to wildlife survival. more...

Climate change, Katrina and refugees: military solutions, corporate opportunities

Nick Buxton & Ben Hayes

1st September 2015

On patrol outside the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana (LA), during Hurricane Katrina relief Operations. Photo: Expert Infantry via Flickr (CC BY). Confronted with climate change, disasters and their human victims, governments are all to quick to adopt a security response, write Nick Buxton & Ben Hayes. We saw it in the US after Hurricane Katrina. We see it now in Europe. And there's a host of powerful corporations keen to cash in on the opportunities. But the solutions they offer will only deepen the crises we face. more...

Growing doubts over GMO safety: a scientist's experience

Jonathan Latham

31st August 2015

The protestor is right: GMOs are indeed a science experiment. And we are the guinea pigs. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about. more...

Death to 'austerity'. Long live sustainable abundance!

Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine

30th August 2015

Living within ecological limits - austerity? Or sustainable abundance? Photo: Bart via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Greens are united in opposing neoliberal 'austerity', write Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine. But there's another kind of austerity to which we are committed - that of living within ecological limits. But base the transition on social, economic and environmental justice, and there will be nothing austere about it. The future we're working for is one of sustainable, life-enhancing abundance. more...

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...

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