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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...

Ocean 'dead zones' are spreading - and that spells disaster for fish

Lee Bryant

9th April 2015

Dead fish on the beach at Cape San Blas, Florida, after a 'red tide' event in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Judy Baxter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Oxygen levels in our oceans are falling, writes Lee Bryant, producing growing 'dead zones' where only the hardiest organisms can survive. The causes are simple: pollution with nutrient-rich wastes, and global warming. But the only solution is to stop it happening - or wait for 1,000 years. more...

Iraq seeks help in its fight to overcome the toxic fallout of war and terror

Wim Zwijnenburg / Insight on Conflict

8th April 2015

A toxic trail of chemical pollution and uranium ash from DU munitions: the infamous 'Highway of Death' from Kuwait across the Iraqi desert in Gulf War 1, in 1991. Photo: Bryan Dorrough via Flickr (CC BY). Iraq is working hard to remediate the environmental impacts of two Gulf wars and Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons programme, writes Wim Zwijnenburg. But it now faces new hazards deliberately caused by Islamic State - and is in desperate need of international support. more...

Wilderness Society's 'Grand Compromise' is a fossil-fuelled sell out

Alexander Reid Ross

7th April 2015

Utah's Book Cliffs are no empty wasteland - but that's what the tar sands industry is set to turn them into. Photo:  Loco Steve via Flickr (CC BY). A deal to give up 500,000 acres of public lands in Utah to the tar sands industry in return for 1.5 million acres of industry is a sacrifice too far, writes Alexander Reid Ross, as it disclaims the wider costs of massive water use and contamination in the headwaters of the Colorado River, already seriously stressed by drought. more...

Restrict antibiotics to medical use, or they will soon become ineffective

Laura J V Piddock, Richard Meek, Victoria Wells, Hrushi Vyas

6th April 2015

TB is among the infections that are gaining resistance to antibiotics. A colorized scanning electron micrograph of Mycobaterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB. Photo: Microbe World via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Antibiotics have saved hundreds of millions of lives since they came into use in the 1930s, but their power is running dry thanks to their massive use in factory farming, horticulture, aquaculture and industry, says a new report published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics. We must stop all inessential uses of antibiotics, or face a future where we all risk death from minor injuries and routine surgery. more...

California drought: agribusiness, fracking untouched by water rationing

Evan Blake

5th April 2015

As California's drought bites, its $500 fines for 'water waster' households, but the water's still flowing for the state's powerful agribusiness sector. Photo: Malcolm Carlaw via Flickr (CC BY). California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water. more...

Five to 12 million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean each year

Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox

4th April 2015

A seal caught up in plastic pollution near Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Photo: Nels Israelson via Flickr (CC BY-NC). An unimaginably large volume of plastic debris is reaching the world's oceans every year, write Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox - and it's set for a ten-fold increase over the next decade, adding to the already terrible toll on marine life from turtles to seals, sea birds and fish. The solution must be to give waste plastic value - if we can find a way. more...

'Underground coal gasification' hell-fires threaten Tyneside and the North Sea

Paul Mobbs

3rd April 2015

After more than century of colliery dumping, there's still plenty of coal to be picked up at Seaham Harbour. But now a far more toxic form of pollution is on its way, thanks to UGC - underground coal gasification. Photo: David Robson via Flickr (CC BY-NC- After over a century of coal ash and colliery waste dumping, the Tyne and Wear coastline is no stranger to industrial pollution. But soon a horrific new technology - underground coal gasification (UCG) - will endanger human health and the environment, backed by unflinching Government support and generous lashings of taxpayers' money. more...

TTIP could soon bring GM foods to UK supermarket shelves

Linda Kaucher

2nd April 2015

It's estimated that 70% of food products in US supermarkets contain GMO ingredients. With TTIP, things could soon go the same way in the UK and other European countries. Photo:  Jaro Larnos via Flickr (CC BY). Thanks to pro-GMO politicans and lobbying by powerful agribusiness interests the UK and other EU countries may soon find supermarket shelves flooded with GM foods, both imported and home grown, writes Linda Kaucher. We must press parliamentary candidates now to defend us from this serious and long-term debasement of our food and farming. more...

Guatemala: women lead the struggle for life, land, clean water

Jeff Abbott / Waging Nonviolence

1st April 2015

Yolanda Oquelí stands between the National Police and the mine entrance. Credit: Guatemalan Human Rights Commission. For over two years the small community of San José del Golfo has maintained a 24-hour barricade against the US-owned mine El Tambor that threatens to destroy their land and water. The non-violent resistance, led by women, is transforming the traditional 'macho' culture, and attracting support across Guatemala, and beyond. more...

Death by strangulation? Hydropower threatens to kill the mighty Mekong

Tom Fawthrop

27th March 2015

A reclusive Irawaddy dolphin on the Mekong river at Kampie, Cambodia. Photo: Jim Davidson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Over 18 million people live off the natural bounty of the The Mekong Delta, writes Tom Fawthrop - the source of huge annual harvests of fish, rice, fruit, and one of the world's most productive ecosystems. But now huge dams threaten to strangle the Mekong river and the abundant life it supports, while the world sits idly by. more...

Deep in the Amazon, one tribe is beating big oil

David Goodman

30th March 2014

Waterfall in the Srayaku territory in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. Photo: skifatenum via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). The people of Sarayaku in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest are a leading force in 21st century indigenous resistance, writes David Goodman, resisting the incursion of oil exploration into their lands, winning legal victories, and inspiring other communities to follow their example. more...

After Fukushima: Japan's 'nuclear village' is back in charge

Jim Green

28th March 2015

Now it's Japan's press that's muzzled. Residents of Iitate village, about 40 kilometers from the radiation-spewing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, prepare fopr evacuation, 13th April 2011. Photo: Kyodo News via Irish Typepad on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe's right-wing government has been putting the country's infamous 'nuclear village' back in control - boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the 'lessons' of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable? more...

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...

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