The Ecologist


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If we ate more of this, the world would be a cleaner and healthier place! Fruit vendor in Devaraj Market, Mysore, India. Photo: Christopher Fynn via Flickr (CC BY).

Going veggie could save slash emissions and prevent 8 million deaths a year

Marco Springmann

31st March 2016

Oxford researchers have quantified the benefits of the world becoming vegetarian, writes Marco Springmann. Their study shows that simple changes - like moving to diets low in meat and high in fruit and vegetables - could lead to significant reduction in mortality and health care costs, while cutting food sector greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds. more...
Intensive arable farming in England: no space for people or wildlife. Photo: Peter Roworth / Natural England via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Six steps back to the land: an agricultural revolution for people and countryside

Colin Tudge

22nd April 2016

What's the point of farming? To produce an abundance of wholesome food, writes Colin Tudge, while supporting a flourishing rural economy and a sustainable, biodiverse countryside. Yet the powers that be, determined to advance industrial agriculture at all costs, are achieving the precise opposite. It's time for a revolution in our food and farming culture, led by the people at large. more...
From a mock-up of a possible label on a can of Campbell's Soup Spaghetti-Os, with the words: 'Partially produced with genetic engineering.' Image: Campbell's Soup.

Soon a flood? Mars, General Mills begin US-wide GMO labels

Oliver Tickell

22nd March 2016

The small state of Vermont is changing the face of US food as companies hasten to comply with its GMO labeling rule which comes into effect in July 2016. Mars and General Mills - and now Kelloggs and ConAgra - are the latest companies to announce their labels will comply with Vermont law US-wide - and many more are sure to follow. more...
The Chancellor has done it for sugary drinks. Now, will he go on to do the same for even bigger issues - like the air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of British citizens a year? Photo: Roy Schreffler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Chancellor is right to act on sugar. Next, air pollution!

Simon Bullock

17th March 2016

The Chancellor's 'sport not sugar' move to tax sugary drinks was extremely welcome, writes Simon Bullock. But we need a similar Treasury approach to protect people from other threats too. So how about tackling the air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of Britons a year? more...
Oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan. Photo: Klima- og miljødepartementet via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Feeding the bank balance: GMOs, development and the politics of happiness

Colin Todhunter

14th March 2016

To understand how technology is used in the real world we must appreciate who owns and controls it, writes Colin Todhunter: whose interests it serves, and how it works in an economic system driven by profit, geopolitics and the compulsion to capture and control markets - while the monopolists proclaim a noble ideology of 'free choice' and 'democracy'. more...
Intensively reared animals are typically kept in barren, squalid conditions, however product labels often don't display this reality. Photo: © Compassion in World Farming.

No more keeping consumers in the dark over animal welfare!

Philip Lymbery

10th March 2016

Labels on meat, egg and dairy products are often the only clue we have into the lives of the animals they came from, writes Philip Lymbery. But they are often confusing or even misleading about the truth of cruel farming practices. Labelling needs to be clearer to allow ethical consumers to make the right choices. more...
Red chilis grown by a traditional small-scale farmer in Morocco. Photo: Ali JAFRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Resisting the corporate stranglehold on food and farming - is agroecology enough?

Colin Todhunter

4th March 2016

Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement. more...
Could they finally be getting what they want? Federal legislation for clear, simple GMO labelling could be on its way. Vermont Right To Know protestors against the DARK Act in Washington DC, 2014. Photo:Cat Buxton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

LIGHT Act? Democrat senators' new GMO label law

The Ecologist

3rd March 2016

The 'Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity' bill has been introduced to the US Senate to require clear, simple labelling of GMOs nationwide - informing consumers while saving manufacturers from a confusing patchwork of state regulations. Could it defeat the dreaded DARK Act? more...
Good for the environment, and good for you too: organic vegetable boxes ready to go at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic food is well worth paying for - for your health as well as nature

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

4th March 2016

The way food is produced has a profound impact on its nutritional profile, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Not only is organic farming better for animal welfare, the environment and wildlife, writes Peter Melchett, but organic meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables all have tangible health benefits for the people who eat them. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Another 15 years? EU set to relicense glyphosate

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

25th February 2016

The European Commission is poised to renew the licence for glyphosate - the herbicide last year deemed ‘probably carcinogenic' by the WHO - for another 15 years. The decision follows from EFSA's contrary finding, based on secret, non peer-reviewed, industry-funded studies. more...
Farmer spraying a field using a backpack and protective equipment. Photo: Day Donaldson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

'Unlawful'! EU's hasty approval of pesticides condemned

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

22nd February 2016

The European Commission was guilty of maladministration and acted unlawfully in approving pesticides for which there was insufficient safety data, the EU Ombudsman has ruled. It must now reform its practices, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, or face legal action. more...
These red bananas are naturally red and high in beta carotene. So why the need to develop a patented GM banana that does the same job? Photo: Choo Yut Shing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Gates Foundation: stop 'biopirated' GMO banana feeding trials

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

17th February 2016

The Gates Foundation has received a 57,000 strong petition denouncing its support for a 'biopirated' GM banana program in Africa, and calling on it to suspend a feeding trial on US students, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The banana threatens both the health of the students, say campaigners, and the future of African agriculture. more...

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Dairy farmers protest in Brussels, October 2009. Photo: Teemu Mäntynen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Dairy farmers' uprisings lead the way to a democratic world food system

David Miller

17th February 2016

The increasingly militant protests by dairy farmers against low prices forced on them by the corporate 'free market' represent serious and effective resistance against the 'free trade' agenda being forced on the world by neoliberal governments, writes David Miller. They are the first steps to building a new global food system that respects food, people, culture and environment. more...
Field damaged by Israel's spraying of crops within Gaza, 31 December 2015. Photo: Khaled al-'Azayzeh, B'Tselem.

War crime? Israel destroys Gaza crops with aerial herbicide spraying


18th February 2016

Gaza farmers have lost 187 hectares of crops to aerial spraying of herbicides by Israel hundreds of meters within the territory's borders. The action, carried out in the name of 'security', further undermines Gaza's ability to feed itself and may permanently deprive farmers of their livelihoods. It may also represent a war crime under the 1977 Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. more...
From the poster for the 1962 film 'Les Quatre Cavaliers de l'Acopalypse'. Photo: CartelesCine via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Arms, agribusiness, finance and fossil fuels: the four horsemen of the neoliberal Apocalypse

Colin Todhunter

15th February 2016

The world is in the grip of a structural war against people, land, economies and ecosystems, writes Colin Todhunter. It is being waged by a quartet of organised criminal interests bent on monopolizing energy, money, food and violence across the globe. But a deep-rooted resistance against their 'neoliberal' doctrine of death and destruction is fighting back. more...
A farmer at work in her mustard field in Kashmir, India. Photo: Rajesh Pamnani via Flickr (CC BY-NC-DD).

Beware the GMO Trojan horse! Indian food and farming are under attack

Colin Todhunter

11th February 2016

Global oilseed, agribusiness and biotech corporations are engaged in a long term attack on India's local cooking oil producers, writes Colin Todhunter. In just 20 years they have reduced India from self-sufficiency in cooking oil to importing half its needs. Now the government's unlawful attempts to impose GM mustard seed threaten to wipe out a crop at the root of Indian food and farming traditions. more...
Organic carrots on a New England farm, USA. Photo: Sandor Weisz via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Organic agriculture, agroecology and the parallel reality of the GMO evangelist

Colin Todhunter

21st March 2016

GMO enthusiasts insist that organic, agroecological farming could never feed the world, writes Colin Todhunter. But it has been feeding us all for millennia - and it's the only way to continue while enriching the soils and biodiversity on which all farming depends. As Mahatma Gandhi once observed, industrial agriculture is but a nine-day wonder. And its time will soon be up. more...
Sainsbury's Genetically Modified Tomato Paste - on sale in the UK, 20 years ago. Photo: via Beyond GM.

20 years ago today ... What have we learned since the GMO Flavr Savr tomato?

Pat Thomas

5th February 2015

Two decades ago the world's first GM foods went on sale, writes Pat Thomas. The consumer flirtation with GMOs soon died away, yet the biotech industry has grown into a global behemoth, driving agricultural intensification and sending agro-chemical sales through the roof. It's time for us to take a stand once again and insist: there are better, healthier ways of growing food. more...
Banana plantation in Cienaga, Magdalena, Colombia. Photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Disease may wipe out the world's bananas - unless we adopt agroecological solutions

Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University

7th February 2016

Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals. more...
Mahatma Gandhi remains a potent symbol of freedom from the oppression of colonialism and overweening corporate power. Photo: wall in Berlin by Marius Watz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From salt to GMOs - resistance is fertile

Colin Todhunter

1st February 2016

How can progressive movements rise above merely being right, to mount effective mass opposition to corporate rule and the dictatorship of the super-wealthy? By learning from Gandhi, writes Colin Todhunter, and devising new campaigns that engage with people's everyday concerns - like access to safe, wholesome, affordable, 'open source' food. more...
Vegetable medley. William Stadler

A Food Renaissance

Colin Tudge

28 January 2016

Colin Tudge reports on The College of Real Farming and Food Culture; a project designed to tackle the current issues in global food production. The current system is not fit for purpose but through a holistic approach and an overhaul of current mainstream agriculture, achieving a balance between feeding the world and conserving the environment is within grasp. more...
Photo: Daniela Hartmann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From banks to food banks: money, inequality and the price of food

Colin Tudge

26th February 2016

From banks that are too big to fail, to food banks for the too small to matter, the global econom systematically pumps money from the social economy and the poor up into the hands of a tiny minority of wealthy beneficiaries, writes Colin Tudge. Farmers, trapped between mountains of debt and low food prices, are among the main victims. It's time for a big rethink, starting from first principles. more...
Skip-diving in Belgium. Photo: Jan Slangen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From shelf to skip: food waste and the culture of rush

Diana Moreno

20th January 2016

A third of all food that's produced in the world is thrown away. What's going on? Diana Moreno finds some answers in her own experience working in a German supermarket. Leading the list is the mind-numbing 'culture of rush' that permeates high-volume, low margin retailing, and which subjects workers and customers alike to the soul-less logic of the production line. more...
Ducks by their pond on a small farm near Ostróda, Northern Poland. Photo: Leszek Kozlowski via Flickr (CC BY).

Polish government backs small farmers' and food sovereignty

Julian Rose / ICPPC

25th January 2016

Since Poland's new government was elected last October it has moved to protect the country's 1.3 million small farmers, writes Julian Rose. First it freed those arrested for protesting corporate land grabs, now it is seeking to lighten oppressive hygiene regulations, and next it may support a new Food Act that would ban GMOs, and legislate for national food security and food sovereignty. more...
Frozen tuna at the early morning fish auction at the Tokyo Fish Market. Many of the tuna sold here are of endangered species such as bluefin and bigeye. Photo: Scott Lenger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Oceans running out of fish as undeclared catches add a third to official figures

Christopher Pala

19th January 2016

The global catch of fish and seafood is falling at three times the rate reported by the United Nations and urgently needs to be slowed to avoid a crash, reports Christopher Pala. The finding comes in a new study for Nature which quantifies the huge illegal industrial fish pillaging taking place around the world, together with artisanal catches, which in 2010 added over 50% to UN estimates. more...


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