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Goodbye to democracy if TTIP is passed

Pete Dolack

5th May 2016

Germans protest against the TTIP in Hannover on April 23 as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama confer. Photo: Bernd Schwabe in Hannover via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). The leaked chapters of the EU-US TTIP 'free trade' deal reveal a shredding of health, environmental and other protections for consumers and citizens, writes Pete Dolack. It's a wet dream for corporate monopolists and profiteers, and the elite bureaucrats that serve them. But for civil society it represents an irreversible destruction of democracy itself. more...

From Hillsborough to pesticides: establishment cover-ups, lies and corruption

Georgina Downs

4th May 2016

When UK farmers spray their fields with pesticides close to rural homes, residents get no protection, and bizarre court rulings have effectively denied them their legal rights. Photo: Aqua Mechanical via Flickr (CC BY). The British establishment does nothing quite so well as lies, cover-ups and high-level corruption, writes Georgina Downs - whether it's the Hillsborough disaster or permitting polluters to poison us. Georgina won her own High Court legal victory protecting rural residents from pesticide exposure as long ago as 2008 - only to have it snatched away as Court of Appeal judges closed ranks. more...

UK-US air transports of high enriched uranium: global security at risk for commercial gain

Ernie Galsworthy / NFLA

3rd May 2016

The Dounreay nuclear plant, now undergoing decommissioning, as seen from Sandside Bay in March 2008. Photo: Paul Wordingham via Flickr (CC BY). Planned air transports of high-enriched uranium from Dounreay in Scotland to the US state of Tennessee would risk of accident or a terrorist seizure of weapon-usable nuclear material, writes Ernie Galsworthy. The motive for the transport appears to be purely commercial - and would thus put the public at needless risk for the sake of a cut-price nuclear waste / fuel deal between US and UK authorities. more...

Brutal, opaque, illegal: the dark side of the Tres Santos 'mindfulness' eco-tourism resort

Viviane Mahieux

29th April 2016

Mindful living is beautiful in thought and even better in reality. Picture a small-town sanctuary where you can find yourself, live in the moment, and relish the simple things in life. Photo: via Viviane Mahieux. A small fishing community in Mexico's Baja California is playing involuntary host to a gigantic tourism and real estate development, writes Viviane Mahieux. And while the branding of the Tres Santos resort is all about mindfulness, ecology and sustainability, the reality is one of big money, high level politics, and the unaccountable deployment of state violence against those who dare oppose it. more...

Uranium mining threatens South Africa‘s iconic Karoo

Dr Stefan Cramer

28th April 2016

Drilling and blasting creates large volumes of radioactive dust. Photo: Andrey Serebryakov Almost entirely unknown to the outside world, and even to most local residents, hundreds of square kilometres of South Africa's Karoo dryland have been bought up by uranium mining companies, writes Dr Stefan Cramer. With no strategic assessment of the industry's devastating impacts and massive water demand, official permission could soon be granted for vast open pit mines. more...

Jordan grapples with the environmental consequences of its refugee crisis

Doug Weir

27th April 2016

A dust storm hits Jordan's  Zaatari refugee camp on 29th July 2012 shortly after it was established ear the northern city of Mafraq. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Since 1948 Jordan has taken in millions of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and most recently Syria, writes Doug Weir. Politically and economically the country has proved astonishingly resilient - but the population increase has caused huge damage to its fragile environment. Ecological degradation, pollution and resource scarcity may cause political instability unless more is done to tackle the problems. more...

Mikhail Gorbachev: 30 years after Chernobyl, time to phase out nuclear power

Linda Pentz Gunter

26th April 2016

Mikhail Gorbachev's party member's card issued in 1986, the year of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain). Thirty years after Chernobyl former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev remains haunted by the world's greatest ever industrial catastrophe, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Now 85 and a committed environmentalist, he's still campaigning to bring the failed nuclear experiment to an end before further disasters follow, and encouraging a clean, efficient and renewable global energy economy. more...

Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Linda Pentz Gunter

25th April 2016

Radioactivity warning sign on the hill at the east end of Chernobyl's Red Forest, so called due to the characteristic hue of the pine trees killed by high levels of radiation after the disaster. Photo: Timm Suess via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the 'official' perception of Chernobyl's silent forests as a thriving nature reserve. more...

Global pitbulls: the US military mission to support corporate colonialism

Pete Dolack

22nd April 2016

A member of the National Guard - a department which costs over $8 billion a year. Photo: DVIDSHUB via Flickr (CC BY) With its 800 bases in 80 countries, the US's global military domination is often seen as an altruistic exercise to ensure world peace and harmony, writes Pete Dolack. It is, of course, the opposite: the essential underpinning of the US's predatory economic power, always ready to strike down any challenge to the rights and privileges of its corporate conquerors and financial oligarchy. more...

Flawed US GMO labeling will damage the anti-GM movement on both sides of the Atlantic

Lawrence Woodward / Beyond GM

22nd April 2016

Ben & Jerry's GMO Labeling poster in Portland, Oregon, 15th October 2014. Photo: anna Hanks via Flickr (CC BY). Little Vermont is having a big impact on GMO food labeling across the US, writes Lawrence Woodward. And with 'regulatory cooperation' under TTIP that influence could reach into the EU. Trouble is, Vermont's labeling law contains major exemptions - on meat products, take-aways and restaurant food, as well as products from animals fed GM feeds. The US, and the EU, deserve better. more...

Industry fingerprints all over Reuters' attack on IARC over glyphosate and cancer

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

21st April 2016

Kate Kelland's article implies that the IARC considers almost everything it meets to be carcinogenic, with bacon the prime example. Photo: cyclonebill via Flickr (CC BY-SA). The Reuters news organisation has just sullied its reputation with a disgraceful attack on the WHO's specialist body on cancer, the IARC, writes Claire Robinson. Resorting to smear, innuendo and anonymous critics, it relies heavily on discredited industry sources including tobacco defenders in its attempt to undermine IARC's view that glyphosate probably causes cancer. more...

India's 'shoot on sight' conservation terrorises indigenous communities

Lewis Evans

20th April 2016

Dozens of people have been shot on sight in Kaziranga in recent years. The park guards are immune from prosecution. Photo: © Survival International. The endangered Bengal Tiger and One-horned Rhino desperately need protection, writes Lewis Evans. But in India's Kaziranga National Park, 'fortress conservation' includes a brutal 'shoot on sight' policy that is terrorising local communities, many of them tribal. Indigenous peoples are the natural allies of conservation and need to be engaged in constructive solutions - not shot! more...

Renewable energy versus nuclear: dispelling the myths

Mark Diesendorf

19th April 2016

Large wind and solar farms can be planned and built in 2-3 years (compared with 10-15 years for nuclear) and are ready now to replace fossil and nuclear electricity. Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND) Don't believe the spurious claims of nuclear shills constantly doing down renewables, writes Mark Diesendorf. Clean, safe renewable energy technologies have the potential to supply 100% of the world's electricity needs - but the first hurdle is to refute the deliberately misleading myths designed to promote the politically powerful but ultimately doomed nuclear industry. more...

Nutritionally-enhanced GM crops? Too bad about the deformed butterflies

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

18th April 2016

Cabbage white butterfly with deformed wings (pinned to an insect board) that was fed an experimental diet enriched with long chain omega-3 fatty acids, 48 hours after emergence. Photo: PLOS One. It looked like such a good idea: take the pressure off wild fish stocks by growing GM oilseeds that produce health-enhancing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, writes Claire Robinson. But as a new study has established, those fish oils, novel in terrestrial ecosystems, cause wing deformities in cabbage white butterflies. Yet a third open field trial of these GM crops could soon be under way. more...

From coral reef to 'aquarium filler': the beauty of tropical fish is their doom

Monica Biondo / Fondation Franz Weber

15th April 2016

Banggai Cardinalfish in their natural habitat. Photo: Fondation Franz Weber. Gorgeous coral fish are to be seen everywhere, writes Monica Biondo, decorating aquariums in restaurants, doctors' offices and living rooms. The coral fish trade is booming! But it's destroying the reefs themselves, and driving many species to extinction. The Banggai Cardinalfish is among those unlikely to survive as this evil trade lays waste to them and their precious habitat. more...

Colombia: there's no place for clean water under 'free trade'

Pete Dolack

14th April 2016

At risk - Laguna Verde in Paramo Santurban, Colombia. Photo: Grupo Areas Protegidas CORPONOR via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). The latest country to be hooked under 'free trade' agreements is Colombia, writes Pete Dolack, sued for tens of billions of dollars by US and Canadian gold mining companies for valuing its national parks and the high-altitude Andean wetlands that provide 70% of the nation's water above the profits of foreign corporations. Free trade or clean water? You can't have both. more...

European companies line up to bid for Amazon megadam

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

13th April 2016

With damming of the Tapajos river, a whole world of biodiversity, beauty and indigenous cultures will be destroyed forever. Photo: Canoe on the Tapajos by Clairex (CC BY-NC-SA). Disregarding revelations of systemic political corruption in Brazil's hydropower sector, President Dilma Rousseff is ploughing ahead with a cascade of giant dams on the mighty Tapajos river. Among the companies touting to win huge construction contracts are France's EDF and Engie, and Germany's Voith and Siemens - in a consortium led by Brazil's Electrobras, which stands accused of high-level corruption over four other dam projects. more...

Great Barrier Reef die-off - the latest harbinger of a global mass extinction?

James Dyke

12th April 2016

How long before the entire Great Barrier Reef goes this way? Bleached coral at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: John Howell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Large areas of the Great Barrier Reef are dying in what may be its greatest ever 'bleaching' event, writes James Dyke. The mass loss of the photosynthetic algae that sustain the coral is the result of this year's massive 'El Niño' perturbation to Pacific weather patterns, and global warming. Australia's response? The government has just approved leases for the world's biggest coal mine. more...

While we all fixate on glyphosate, Monsanto prepares its next GM trick: RNA pesticides

JP Sottile

11th April 2016

He's got the whole world in his hands! Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant at the Fortune Global Forum, Tuesday 3rd November 2015. Photo: Fortune Global Forum via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The global pesticide and bioscience giant Monsanto is a byword for evil for millions of campaigners and concerned citizens, writes JP Sottile. But that has never stopped it getting its way with the people that matter - politicians and regulators. And now the company is on the verge of biggest victory ever - winning clearance to spray biologically active RNA sequences on US crops. more...

No planet for optimists: coastal flooding may come sooner and bigger than we think

Pete Dolack

8th April 2016

Time, tide and sea level rise wait for no one ... so are we ready? Photo: clappstar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Of all the impacts of climate change, one stands out for its inexorable menace, writes Pete Dolack: rising oceans. And it's not just for distant future generations to deal with: new scientific studies show that people alive today may face 6-9 metres of sea level rise flooding well over a million sq.km including many of the world's biggest cities. So where's the emergency response? more...

Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll

Dr Jim Green

7th April 2016

The dead have no voice: doll at Pripyat, near Chernobyl. Photo: Ben Fairless via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Just as climate change deniers leap from scientific uncertainty over the precise impacts of greenhouse gas emissions to certainty of little or no impact at all, so 'pro-nuclear environmentalists' conflate uncertainty of the mortality arising from Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters to certainty of few if any deaths, writes Jim Green. Their position is equally indefensible. more...

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