The Ecologist



Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell & Peter Strachan

20th October 2016

Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo: The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment. more...

Fracking industry advances with phase one exploratory applications in South Africa

Jasper Finkeldey

20th October, 2017

Hydraulic fracturing is still a ‘known unknown' in South Africa's ongoing energy debate. And whilst two weeks ago communities in the KwaZulu-Natal province made it clear they don't want fracking, President Jacob Zuma does. Jasper Finkeldey reports

This is my cry of alarm, please listen to me!

17th October, 2016

Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people

Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui meeting Prince Charles in 2010 after being awarded a major prize for his humanitarian and ecological work Today, the Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people in the state of Rondônia, Brazil has issued the following plea for help to stop illegal logging and mining on their lands. The letter is unedited. more...

Superbug-infected pigs get into Britain unchecked, contaminate food chain

Andrew Wasley / Bureau of Investigative Journalism

14th October 2016

Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories. Regulatory failures are allowing Danish pigs infected with lethal antibiotic-resistant bacteria into British farms, writes Andrew Wasley, with contaminated pork found in UK supermarkets, and three human infections recorded. The official response? Deny there's a problem, take no action, and hope for the best. Six people may have died from the bug in Denmark, but the UK is safe, surely? more...

India's coal war heats up

Nick Meynen

13th October, 2016

There are 48 mapped struggles against the fossil fuel industry in India And whilst families run from justice for trying to protect their lands, it's the coal mining companies and police chiefs that should be brought to justice writes NICK MEYNEN more...

The most important meeting you've probably never heard of...and it's happening this week

Joe Ware

12th October, 2016

This week in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, nations are meeting to hammer out a plan to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are guilty of accelerating climate change. At the heart of the talks will be the date at which the world will end their use. JOE WARE reports more...

First Agent Orange, now Roundup: what's Monsanto up to in Vietnam? Ecologist Special Investigation

Mick Grant

10th October 2016

A keyboard player, blind from birth due to a genetic defect induced by Agent Orange, performing at the War Remnants Museum. Photo: Mick Grant. With the International Monsanto Tribunal beginning this week (14-16 October) in The Hague, MICK GRANT reports from Vietnam with this special investigation for The Ecologist five decades after the company's lethal herbicide Agent Orange first devastated the country - and discovers the agribusiness giant is sneaking its way back into Vietnam with modern herbicides and 'Roundup-Ready' GMO crops. more...

Ecologist Special Report: The Pillaging of Nicaragua's Bosawás Biosphere Reserve

Courtney Parker

6th October 2016

Violent expansion of the agricultural frontier in Nicaragua has produced devastating consequences for Indigenous Peoples and is fostering destructive long-term climate change impacts. COURTNEY PARKER reports more...

Japan abandons Monju fast reactor: the slow death of a nuclear dream

Dr Jim Green

6th October 2016

Abandoned, and going nowhere: Japan's the Monju 'fast' nuclear reactor. Photo: Nuclear Fuel and Power Reactor Development Corporation (PNC) / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA). 'Fast breeder' reactors are promoted by nuclear enthusiasts as the clean, green energy technology of the future, writes Jim Green. But all the evidence tells us they are a catastrophic failure: complex, expensive, unreliable and accident-prone. Is Japan's decision to abandon its Monju reactor the latest nail in the coffin of a dead technology? Or the final stake through its rotten heart? more...

Off-grid renewables: the sustainable route to 100% global electricity access

Adnan Z. Amin / IRENA

4th October 2016

These yurts on Mongolia's 'sea of grass' are powered through a miniature solar microgrid that is both compact and lightweight for easy carriage on to the next site. Photo: Shutterstock. Off-grid renewable energy is key to achieving the global goal of 100% electricity access by 2030, writes Adnan Z. Amin, and to achieving the emissions reductions enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Thankfully, a confluence of factors - including rapid cost declines and impressive technology innovations - are making this goal more achievable than ever, and investment in the sector is taking off. more...

Tourism vs Ecology - which in this case boils down to SSSI Sand Dunes vs a new Scottish Golf Course

Laura Briggs

3rd October, 2016

Campaigners fighting a development for an 18-hole golf course on a pristine part of the Moray Firth are planning to launch a legal challenge against the plans with £10,000 they have sourced through crowdfunding. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...

Sizewell B and 27 other EDF nuclear plants 'at risk of catastrophic failure'

Oliver Tickell

29th September 2016

Among the 28 EDF nuclear power stations at risk: Sizewell B in Suffolk, England. Photo: Simon James via Flickr (CC BY-SA). A new report finds that 28 nuclear reactors, 18 of them EDF plants in France and one at Sizewell in the UK, are at risk of failure 'including core meltdown' due to flaws in safety-critical components in reactor vessels and steam generators, writes Oliver Tickell. The news comes as EDF credit is downgraded due to a growing cash flow crisis and its decision to press on with Hinkley C. more...

Nuclear and fracking: the economic and moral bankruptcy of UK energy policy

Peter Strachan & Alex Russell

27th September 2016

Aerial view of the completed Hinkley C project. Artists impression by EDF Energy. With its choice of Hinkley Point C - a £100 billion nuclear boondoggle - its enthusiastic support for expensive and environmentally harmful fracking, and its relentless attack on renewable energy, the UK government's energy policy is both morally and economically bankrupt, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. It must urgently reconsider this folly and embrace the renewable energy transition. more...

Leaked: ‘new TTIP' TISA deal could prevent global action on climate change

Zachary Davies Boren / Energydesk

22nd September 2016

Global action day against TTIP, CETA & TiSA, 18th April 2015 in Berlin. Photo: Cornelia Reetz / Mehr Demokratie via Flickr (CC BY-SA). The Trade in Services Agreement is a multilateral deal like TPP, TTIP and CETA, writes Zachary Davies Boren. But while the 50-nation negotiations are even more secretive, its impacts could be even greater: undermining national sovereignty; allowing only corporate regulation deemed 'necessary' by a panel of WTO lawyers; and allowing no rollback on trade liberalisation. more...

Tackling the knotty issue of non native invasive weeds: what impact will Brexit have?

Laura Briggs

21st September, 2016

As leading figures from the world of law, ecology and technology prepare to come together and discuss how best to deal with non-native invasive plants in the UK, more research is still needed on how best to manage these species taking over the countryside writes LAURA BRIGGS

Standing Rock and the long struggle for Indigenous freedom

Stanley L. Cohen

21st September 2016

Native youth and supporters protest in New York against Dakota Access Pipeline, 7th August 2016. Photo: Joe Catron via Flickr (CC BY-NC). While the confrontation at Standing Rock has galvanized Indians and non-native supporters from across the continent, writes Stanley L. Cohen, it's but a symptom of a much deeper crises facing several million Indians holding on to endangered traditions and cultures that predate 'our' arrival by several thousand years. We may call Indian people sovereign. But it's all a grand, perverse lie. more...

WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion

Dr Jim Green

20th September 2016

During April 14 - 23, 2014, WIPP recovery teams made multiple trips into the WIPP underground, eventually reaching Panel 7, Room 7 - the suspected location of the radiological event. Photo: WIPP. The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world's only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green - and full operations won't resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix. more...

Bayer-Monsanto merger - corporate madness or a moment of possibility?

Pat Thomas

19th September 2016

Monsanto Graph' in Abode of Chaos by Thierry Ehrmann, Saint Romain en Mont d'Or, France. Photo: Urban Scraper via Flickr (CC BY-NC). With the Wall Street Journal warning that the GMO crop boom may be over in the face of superweeds, higher seed prices, falling yields and farmer antipathy, writes Pat Thomas, the Monsanto-Bayer merger is a sign of weakness as both companies struggle to deliver growth and profits to match shareholder expectations. We had better be ready to press home our advantage! more...

Hinkley C nuclear go-ahead: May caves in to pressure from France and China

Oliver Tickell

15th September 2016

Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF. The French and the Chinese may be celebrating the UK's decision to press ahead with the Hinkley C 'nuclear white elephant', writes Oliver Tickell. But the deal is a disaster for the UK, committing us to overpriced power for decades to come, and to a dirty, dangerous, insecure dead end technology. Just one silver lining: major economic, legal and technical hurdles mean it still may never be built. more...

Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worse

Colin Todhunter

16th September 2016

'Resistance is Fertile - Compost Capitalism !' Banner at Occupy Oakland protest against GMOs, 10th December 2011. Photo: Lily Rhoads via Flickr (CC BY). Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive. more...

'State of Nature' 2016 report shows continued loss of Britain's biodiversity

Susan Clark

14th September 2016

Who ate all the pies? Robin redbreast on an English farm. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The 2016 'State of Nature' report, published today, offers many small victories to celebrate, writes SUSAN CLARK, but overall it's not good news: 15% of our native species are under threat of extinction, while 53% are in decline. With intensive farming the main cause of the damage, and climate change a serious long term problem, turning the tide of wildlife attrition will be a long and challenging task. more...

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