The Ecologist

 

Society: 1/25 of 955
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Lake Huron - the limitless expanse of clean water that supplied Flint until municipal dictators decided to save money and pipe in industrially contaminated water from the Flint River. Photo: Cathy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

What's more corrosive than Flint's water? The cynicism of the powerful

Jesse Jackson

11th February 2016

The Flint water crisis exposes like nothing else the toxic cynicism of America's ruling class, writes Jesse Jackson. In their privileged view, the victims of the lead poisoning are disposable 'unpersons' that matter less than General Motors' auto parts. But now they, and their peers in other poisoned communities, are fighting back. more...
Russia’s informal recycling sector at work. Photo: Minna Halme.

'Recycling is for drunks, addicts and babushkas' - inside Russia's shadowy waste industry

8th February 2016

Minna Halme, Lancaster University

Official recycling rates in Russia stand at close to zero, writes Minna Halme. But my study of the potential to develop the sector uncovered widespread informal recycling networks, lurking in basements, stigmatised for supposed links to organised crime, barely tolerated by the authorities. And any ideas of legitimising the shadowy recycling operations are met with frosty official silence. more...
View from Diyarbakir hotel window, with bullet hole. Photo: William John Gauthier via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Turkey's war on Kurdish cities - clearing the way for 'urban regeneration'?

Defne Kadıoğlu Polat

3rd February 2016

Erdogan's horrific 'war on terror' in the Kurdish cities of Eastern Turkey may have a silver lining, writes Defne Kadıoğlu Polat - at least for property developers and ruling party insiders. Plans are already under way for 'urban renewal' projects that will see the valuable real estate cleansed of buildings and people by the war developed into luxury apartments and shopping malls. more...
'BP - World's bniggest corporate criminal'. Time for the Science Museum to stop taking their filthy money. Photo: BP or not BP.

Science Museum must get out of bed with anti-science Big Fossil funders

Drew Pearce

2nd February 2016

Why is BP sponsoring the Science Museum's 'Late' event? It's all part of creating 'scientific consent' for fossil fuels, writes Drew Pearce, in the face of scientific certainty about climate change and the need for drastic cuts in carbon emissions. That's why we gatecrashed their latest show last week. more...
Demolition under way at the the Acorn Estate, built from 1957-1963 by F.O. Hayes, Peckham, South London, in 2007. Photo: Steve Cadman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Don't bulldoze Britain's brutalist housing - it's culture you can live in!

Sebastian Messer, Northumbria University

12th February 2016

Britain's 20th century architecture is in danger of obliteration, writes Sebastian Messer, with a 'new brutalism' that holds that socially deprived council estates are fit only for demolition. But these buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage, and more than that, they provide affordable housing to millions of people. more...
Artwork: Franz Jachim via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

What's to celebrate on Australia's 'apartheid day' of national shame? Only this: survival

John Pilger

25th January 2016

For most Australians, 26th January is a day of family celebration, writes John Pilger. But for its indigenous peoples the only thing to celebrate is their survival after over two centuries of rape, murder, theft and vicious racism that continues to this day, and has even found new expression in Australia's war on refugees, incarcerated in barbaric Pacific Island concentration camps. more...
The Heygate Estate, London, in March 2010. Cheerless, but providing a lot of affordable housing. Now demolished, its communities have been broken up and dispersed. Photo: Thomas Bryans via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cameron's 'sink estate' strategy - social cleansing by another name?

Loretta Lees

24th January 2016

Demolishing 'sink' council estates is no way to solve social problems, writes Loretta Lees. All it does is force low income communities out of affordable housing, and open valuable urban sites up for profitable redevelopment. But then, maybe that's the point? more...
'Committed to Improving the State of the World' - of course they are! Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Mr. Klaus Schwab at WEF16 at Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January. Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen / DoD via Flickr (CC BY).

The Davos solution to inequality? Another corporate power grab

David Sogge & Nick Buxton

23rd January 2016

Inequality is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, write David Sogge & Nick Buxton. A good thing, right? But look at the proposed 'solutions': ramp up the neoliberal 'development' model; lighten business regulation; pursue globalisation with greater vigor ... Yes, you got it. They would all accelerate the transfer the world's wealth upwards to corporate elites. more...
Everything must go! Photo: kit via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Beyond failure at COP21, environmentalism has its own shortcomings to address

Paul Mobbs

18th January 2016

The greatest myth of the consumer society is that modern lifestyles are 'normal' - and this can continue forever because we're clever little apes who can solve any problem, writes Paul Mobbs. That hubris, in the face of insurmountable ecological limits, will be our collective downfall. more...
Two individuals of a fearsome species that's inflicting mass extinction on our planet, and (right) a couple of harmless Victorian dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park, South London. Photo: London looks via Flickr (CC BY).

Enough 'Anthropocene' nonsense!

James Scourse, Bangor University

20th January 2016

The just as policemen keep on getting younger, epochs keep on getting shorter, writes James Scourse. The Cretaceous endured for 80 million years, but our latest invention, the 'Anthropocene', will be lucky to last out the century. And humanity's vain preoccupation with the idea may, ironically, only bring forward its termination. more...
Dr. Shanta Karki studies rice plants being grown at IRRI's Biotech labs, which have worked on the development of Golden Rice. From the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

How GMO lobbyists taught me we're winning

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

11th January 2016

GMO promoters enthuse about how GM crops will be able to help the poor and hungry, far in the future, writes Claire Robinson. But they are silent about the currently-planted GM crops - 99% of them herbicide-tolerant or insecticidal. Could it be because opponents of the technology are being proved right at every turn? more...
Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo at COP21, 9th December 2015. Photo: UNclimatechange via Flickr (CC BY).

Kumi Naidoo: let the youth be our climate leaders!

Pavlos Georgiadis

18th December 2015

With COP21 out of the way there is absolutely no time to lose, Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo told Pavlos Georgiadis: 'Because by tomorrow, there might be no tomorrow.' We need substantial, structural, systemic change - and this change can only be led by the youth, who are not infected by the political pollution of the past. And whose future is it anyway? more...

Society: 1/25 of 955
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View of the west side of the Brighton Earthship. Photo: Mischa Hewitt.

Saving Earthship Brighton - to inspire and educate for decades to come

Phil Moore

2nd December 2015

Earthship Brighton, an award-winning off-grid community centre set in an organic farm within the South Downs National Park, has hosted hundreds of events and inspired tens of thousands of visitors over the last decade, writes Phil Moore, demonstrating green technologies and energy-efficient living. But now it's in need of a refit. more...
Photo: Visit Exmoor via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Forget Black Friday - this is 'Buy Nothing Day'!

Vicki Hird

27th November 2015

Black Friday is yet another manifestation of a consumer culture that is both empty and destructive, writes Vicki Hird. So instead let's join in creative celebrations of Buy Nothing Day ('no purchase necessary'), and develop a new life-enhancing ethic of joyful frugality. more...
Finance and terror, war and profit: never far apart. A US army helicopter hovers over Royal Victoria Dock, away from the DESI 2015 arms fair at the ExCeL Centre, 19th September 2015. Photo: Matt Buck via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

'The terror dividend' - how traders and lobbyists made a killing from the Paris attacks

Paul Mobbs

25th November 2015

Amid the human suffering caused by terror attacks, it's easy to forget the economic dimensions, writes Paul Mobbs. But after the 13th November attacks in Paris defence industry shares soared, while a host of connected think tanks, lobbyists and politicians dominated the media in pushing for military responses. Is it time to expose and confront the terror industrial complex? more...
Solar cell charging a battery. Lukolela, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Ollivier Girard / Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Powering the world with renewables - we can do it!

Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert

23rd November 2015

An energy revolution that would take the world to 100% renewables in 15 years is possible, write Sam Cossar-Gilbert and Dipti Bhatnagar. We have the technology, and we even have the money - only it's currently being spent to subsidise fossil fuels. The time has come to tackle two hugely destructive and closely entwined crises - growing inequality and climate change. more...
COP21 Image: Ron Mader via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

COP21 Paris Climate March banned

The Ecologist

18th November 2015

The two major demonstrations planned by climate campaigners at COP21 in Paris have been banned by police for security reasons. But organisers insist that over 2,000 events are still going ahead - and call for solidarity marches and protests around the world. more...
Bernie Sanders in Saturday's debate for the Democratic Presidential primaries, 14th November 2015. Photo: Still from CBS News.

Bernie Sanders is right - climate change is a massive global security threat

Farron Cousins / DeSmogBlog

17th November 2015

Remarks by Bernie Sanders that climate change is a major driver of global instability and terror, he was mocked by Republican Presidential contenders. But the argument is a familiar one to the CIA and the Department of Defense, which has itself released strong warnings on the issue. Is it time the GOP got with the beat? more...
Thanks to the sudden withdrawal of tax benefits for community energy projects, these waters at Abingdon Lock, Oxfordshire, will remain unharnessed for many years to come. Photo: Victor Bayon (CC BY-NC-SA).

George Osborne must back down on community energy tax

Georgina Matthews

11th November 2015

Surprise changes to the Finance Bill in its third reading have withdrawn tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy projects, writes Georgina Matthews. While some societies are rushing to complete their fund-raising by the end of the month, others have been forced to close. If these measures are not withdrawn, a small but flourishing sector will be at risk. more...
The Stone's Throw Landfill, near Tallassee, AL. Photo: Jeronimo Nisa / Earthjustice.

Environmental racism in the US - black communities fight for justice

Heather Kathryn Ross / Earthjustice

11th November 2015

Landfill sites, giant hog farms, incinerators and other 'bad neighbor' industries in the US tend to be situated in African American communities, writes Heather Kathryn Ross. The Environmental Protection Agency is legally obliged to prevent 'environmental racism', but from California to Michigan, low-income communities of color have been waiting years for it to take a stand. Now, backed by Earthjustice, they are forcing the issue - in the courts. more...
From front cover of HUMAN by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

HUMAN. A portrait of our world

Martin Spray

15th December 2015

Yann Arthus-Bertrand's latest book, 'Human', revisits the territory of 'Earth from Above', but with a harder edge, writes Martin Spray. Yes, the photographs are lovely, even inspirational, but often mix uneasily with the testimonies of suffering and desperate demands for change they illustrate. more...
Remade by man: the Passenger Pigeon. Juvenile (left), male (center), and female (right), from 'Birds of New York' (University of the State of New York) 1910-1914. Illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), Public Domain via Patrick Coin on Flickr.

The Ecomodernist Manifesto is a program for genocide and ecocide

Derrick Jensen

10th November 2015

The idea of a 'good, or even great, Anthropocene' as promised in the Ecomodernist Manifesto is purely delusional, writes Derrick Jensen. Worse, it underlies a narrative in which the wholesale destruction of nature and of sustainable indigenous societies is repackaged as a noble mission - one whose ultimate purpose is the complete alienation of humans from the planet that spawned us. more...
Reduced to one meagre bar; old lady fighting to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr (CC BY).

As tens of thousands die, the UK must act on fuel poverty

Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex

16th October 2015

Fuel poverty is a complex problem with many causes, writes Mari Martiskainen, but it is also a deadly one for some 25,000 thousand people every year. And there is one surprisingly simple solution: a huge upgrade in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. more...
Stephen Hawking. Photo: NASA HQ PHOTO via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Earthly Paradise or Prison Planet? The future is in our hands

Conor Lynch

2nd February 2016

The wave of mechanization and automation that began with the Industrial revolution is not slowing down, writes Conor Lynch. Indeed it is gaining power and is driving another 'great transformation' that could produce untold opulence for the very few, and hellhole for rest of us, or an Earthly paradise for all. But which will it be? Ultimately the future is ours - to choose, and to fight for. more...
Wild ponies feeding at Oostvaardersplassen, Netherlands, where a huge floodplain nature reserve has been turned over to wilderness. Photo: KONIKpaarden via Flickr (CC BY).

Rewilding is not just for nature - it's essential for our own survival

Jessica Rothwell

16th October 2015

Rewilding landscapes impoverished by human exploitation enriches nature and brings back life to an increasingly ravaged world, writes Jessica Rothwell. But more than that, it's a vital step in making human existence sustainable in the long term, depending as we do on our planet's functional ecosystems for our health and survival. It's time for people to pull back - and make space for the wild. more...

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