The Ecologist


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Daily life in Conakry, Guinea on 3rd December 2014. Photo: Dominic Chavez / World Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Neoliberal Ebola: palm oil, logging, land grabs, ecological havoc and disease

Rob Wallace

27th July 2015

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa had everything to do with logging, deforestation and the disruption of traditional agro-forestry by large scale industrial agriculture, writes Rob Wallace. The only long term solution to this terrible disease may lie in forest conservation, the restoration of agroecological farming systems, and the exclusion of agribusiness investment. more...
It's getting hot, and we're racing towards for even hotter. Photo: SMADE|MEDIA Galleria via Flickr (CC BY).

Global warming's record-breaking trend continues

Alex Kirby

29th July 2015

A detailed update of key climate indicators by hundreds of scientists reveals that 2014 saw rises in temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases to record levels, writes Alex Kirby. more...
One of the lucky ones: bumblebee on dandelion at Altenhagen, Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo: Jakob Stitz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee cause: Germany tightens, UK relaxes neonic regulation

Oliver Tickell

23rd July 2015

An Emergency Ordinance comes into force in Germany today that extends the EU's ban on 'neonic' pesticides to protect bees. But the UK's farming minister Liz Truss has relaxed the ban to allow farmers to use neonics on 30,000 hectares of oilseed rape. more...
Bison are roaming free in Germany - so why not Scotland? Photo: Felix Kaestle.

Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible

Paul Jepson

22nd July 2015

Rewilding is now firmly on the agenda, writes Paul Jepson, and that brings a huge opportunity to re-invigorate conservation. But we must look to creating new functional ecosystems for the future, rather than trying to recreate a lost and perhaps imagined past. more...
The Gerlache strait, Andvord Bay, Antarctica. Photo: Rita Willaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The world is already committed to a six meter sea level rise

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

24th July 2015

The climate change discourse rarely looks beyond 2100, writes Pete Dolack. Maybe that's because even at current levels of CO2, we are committed to thousands of years of warming and polar ice melt that will raise sea levels by at least six meters. However the implacable imperatives of capitalism mean there's little prospect of change for a long time to come. more...
Workers at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lancashire's fracking victory was even greater than we knew

Damien Short

21st July 2015

The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice. more...
Scientists working inside positive pressure personnel suit at biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory of the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Frederick, Maryland. Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / Public Domain.

GMO and glyphosate wars rage

Oliver Tickell

16th July 2015

Three in one: EFSA set to re-licence glyphosate based on secret industry studies; Monsanto moves against IARC verdict that glyphosate is a 'probable carcinogen'; and new science shows that FDA principle of GMO 'substantial equivalence' is bunk. more...
Watch it rat! What's in that feed? Photo: Rick Eh? via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lab rats used in safety studies eat feeds laced with pesticides, herbicides and GMOs

Pat Thomas

9th July 2015

A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions. more...
The Vandana Shiva Reader (Culture Of The Land), front over (cut).

Green Revolution: wonderful science, catastrophic consequences

Colin Tudge

12th July 2015

In her new book The Vandana Shiva Reader, the celebrated campaigner and scientist deplores the way in which the Green Revolution forced India's poorest farmers off their land, writes Colin Tudge. Now she fears even worse outcomes in Africa where a GMO-fuelled farming revolution is under way. more...
If it's such a good idea to burn real rhino horn, how is making synthetic horn going to help? Rhino horn ready for incineration, 21st September 2014 at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Photo: IFAW via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Can 'genetically-identical' synthetic horn save the rhino?

Diogo Veríssimo

6th July 2015

Soon a artificial rhino horn may be on the market that's identical to the real thing down to its DNA, writes Diogo Veríssimo. A boon for rhinoceros conservation? Or an act of biopiracy that will enrich biotech corporations while perpetuating demand for rhino horn and confounding efforts to end its trade? more...
Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...
'Nullius in verba' (Don't take anyone's word for it) - motto and coat of arms of the Royal Society, used in its bookplate. Photo: kladcat via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

The Royal Society's assault on the science of GM foods must cease

Steven M. Druker

25th June 2015

The Royal Society wants us to take its word that GM crops are safe and healthy, writes Steven Druker. But it refuses to retract its errors, apologise to those whose reputations it has impugned, or enter into constructive debate on the issue. To restore its scientific integrity, it must abide by its own motto. more...

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What BBC / Panorama didn't want you to know: This year's GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to the locally available varieties, bringing finacial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh).

Investigation or advocacy? The BBC reveals its pro-GMO bias

Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas

10th June 2015

The Panorama programme on GM foods and crops last Monday was a masterpiece of spin, bluster, misrepresentation and outright deceit, write Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas, with the BBC's top investigatory strand hijacked to force feed the UK population with the purest of pro-GMO propaganda. more...
Dwarfed by a human hand. Photo: Marcio Pie (CC BY-NC-SA).

Seven new species of tiny frog found in Brazil's cloud forest

Miranda Dyson, The Open University

9th June 2015

The Atlantic rainforest of Brazil is a biodiversity treasure, writes Miranda Dyson - as exemplified by the discovery of seven minute and beautiful frogs. But with the forest already reduced to under a tenth of its original extent, and going fast, they and countless other species may not survive much longer. more...
Behind its palatial Nash facade facing London's St James's Park, the Royal Society is maintaining an undignified silence on its partisan defence of GMOs. Photo: Steve Slater via Flickr (CC BY).

GMOs: the Royal Society's deafening silence

Colin Todhunter

3rd June 2015

In early March author Steven Druker challenged the Royal Society to justify its outspoken and partisan support of GMO crops, writes Colin Todhunter, and to correct any errors of fact in his book 'Altered Genes,Twisted Truths'. Three months later, the Royal Society remains silent. Is it frightened of genuine scientific debate? more...
The melting on the southern Antarctic peninsula has been so sudden, that even the scientific expedition's supply ship seems to have been caught out. Photo: J Bamber,

Once-stable Antarctic glaciers have suddenly started melting

Bert Wouters

23rd May 2015

A dramatic shift has taken place in the glaciers of the southern Antarctic peninsula, writes Bert Wouters. Six years ago these previously stable bodies suddenly stated shedding 60 cubic kilometres of ice per year into the ocean. A stark warning of further surprises to come? more...
The Blackwater estuary with Bradwell nuclear power station in the background. Photo: Michael Szpakowiski via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Breast cancer and nuclear power - statistics reveal the link 'they' wanted to hide

Chris Busby

18th May 2015

The link between nuclear power and cancer is real, writes Chris Busby, and revealed in the UK's cancer statistics - if only you look for it. Previous approaches have focused on rare cancers over large, poorly selected populations. But look at common cancers among those most exposed to nuclear radiation, and the statistical evidence is overwhelming. more...
As can be seen in this forest fire in the US, smoke and ash can be projected high into the sky by the intense heat. Photo: USFS Region 5 via Flickr (CC BY).

Chernobyl fire radiation hazard as 'hot particles' of plutonium go up in smoke

RT & The Ecologist

30th April 2015

Forest fires raging near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear disaster site in north Ukraine are releasing a surge of airborne plutonium particles as radioactive twigs, branches and leaf litter burn. more...
The Monarch butterfly has become an icon of the anti-GMO movement following the species' population collapse in North America - poisoned by 'Bt' GMO crops and starved out by the the destruction of its food plants by massive application of glyphosate on 'r

The existential crisis facing GMOs - they don't work and we don't want them

Colin Todhunter

21st April 2015

The GMO industry has legitimised itself via a vast network of lobbyists and the assiduous capture of the politicians, regulators and scientists that should be holding it to account, writes Colin Todhunter. But as the failure of the GM revolution and its disastrous impacts become ever more evident, the industry's legitimacy is fast eroding away. more...
6,000 of California are suitable for this 'concentrating solar power' approach shown here at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in California’s Mojave Desert. Photo: Jan Maguire via Flickr.

Investors pile in as renewables rise to record level

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

16th April 2015

The world's smart money is piling into renewable energy, solar power in particular, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell, as renewables pull away from fossil fuels in terms of both investment and new generation capacity added each year. more...
The mass extinction that closed the Triassic period was marked by massive CO2 emissions from volcanoes - like the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. Photo: Óli Jón via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

End-Triassic CO2 surge and mass extinction - an analog for climate change today?

Jessica H. Whiteside

13th April 2015

The end of the Triassic era 200 million years ago was marked by a surge in CO2 and anoxic oceans saturated with toxic hydrogen sulfide, writes Jessica H. Whiteside - enough to finish off half of all known organisms. Could humans now be embarking on a similar experiment? more...
Monsanto's Roundup herbicide contains Glyphosate, one of the three herbicides that causes antibiotic resistance on pathogenic bacteria. Photo: via Sustainable Food Trust.

Glyphosate, 2,4-D, dicamba herbicides cause antibiotic resistance

The Ecologist

30th March 2015

Scientists have discovered that exposure to three widely used herbicides including Monsanto's Roundup and Kamba causes pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance to medically important antibiotics. more...
Dried beans in Blantyre Market, Malawi. Photo: Michaelphoya via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

'Heat beater' beans could feed millions in warmer world

Alex Kirby

27th March 2015

Thirty new heat tolerant varieties of bean - a staple food crop around the world's tropical regions - will help people survive in a world as much as 4C warmer that it is now, writes Alex Kirby - and look: no genetic modification! more...
Where ice meets ocean - Antarctic coastline by McKay Savage via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Antarctic warmth brings more snow, reducing sea level rise

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

18th March 2015

Rising temperatures will result in more snow falling in Antarctica, and the build-up of ice will reduce sea level rise from other sources. But as the extra weight of ice makes Antarctica's glaciers flow faster, the continent will still be a net contributor to sea level rise. more...
Michael Mann on a Tundra Buggy looking for polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (13th November 2010). Photo: via Michael Mann.

Unlikely hero (or villain): Michael Mann, creator of the hockey stick graph

Brendan Montague / DeSmog UK

16th March 2015

Michael Mann will be remembered as the creator of the 'hockey stick' graph of rising global temperatures, which has put him forever in the crosshairs of climate change sceptics. But as Brendan Montague found, he is a curiously unlikely hero, or villain: rather a dedicated scientist living the American dream, who just happened, to his own surprise, to stumble on something big. more...


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