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Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York, nestled alongside the Hudson River. Photo: Tony Fischer via Flickr (CC BY).

Indian Point - the nuclear bombshell in New York City's backyard

Karl Grossman

12th May 2015

Following the accidental fire in a transformer at the troubled Indian Point nuclear site last weekend, and the unplanned release of oil into the Hudson River, calls are growing for the two remaining power plants to be shut down, writes Karl Grossman. The NRC is likely to extend its expiring licenses for another 20 years - but New York State could still refuse it a water use permit. more...
Photo: New Era Colorado Foundation.

American revolution: cities seize control of essential local services

Max Holleran

9th May 2015

Fed up with being gouged by profit-driven corporations, let down by state neglect and under-investment, urban communities across the US are taking control of local services like public transport, energy, water, internet and telecoms, writes Max Holleran - bringing better service, lower prices and clean energy. more...
Six Spot Burnet Moth and Large Skipper Butterfly supping nectar on Common Knapweed. Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Jo's mini meadow - our beautiful and vital insects

Jo Cartmell

7th May 2015

First Jo Cartmell converted her uninspiring front lawn into a 'mini-meadow' full of wild flowers. Next, she waited the return of insect life - not for very long as it turned out. Barely a few years into the project, a remarkable profusion of bees, beetles, moths and butterflies were buzzing and humming around the blooms ... more...
Isn't she lovely ... ! Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) has reached agreement with the US-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority to develop, build and operate a 'first-of-its-kind gateway entertainment city' in South Korea integrated with a

Aerotropolis alert! Airport mega-projects driving environmental destruction worldwide

Rose Bridger

8th May 2015

Governments and corporations are driving a global wave of ecologically disastrous airport-centered mega-projects each destroying as much of 100 sq.km of farmland and forests - sucking water, resources and economic activity from surrounding areas, excluding host communities and locking in high-carbon infrastructure for decades to come. more...
Precious little harmony here: a building site in Beijing. But change is on the way. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Amid the smoke and chaos of 'development', China seeks a return to ancient harmony

Thembi Mutch

19th May 2015

China is struggling with a myriad of environmental challenges, writes Thembi Mutch, as the country 'develops' at breakneck speed with massive construction projects, and industrial expansion. But amid the chaos and filth, the Chinese people are mindful of their history and ancient principles of harmony with nature - something that many are working hard to restore. more...
Kentish Town Road, London, at Camden Lock - where the car is king, cyclists are princes, and the thousands of pedestrians have to make do with what's left to them. Photo: Paolo Margari via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Stand up for pedestrians - the forgotten travellers

Colin Pooley

30th March 2014

Our road space is dominated by, and planned for, motor vehicles, writes Colin Pooley - leaving while people on foot are crammed on to narrow pavements, obstructed by 'street furniture', made to wait long periods to cross busy roads, and exposed to traffic noise and emissions. It's time put pedestrians first! more...
A dry branch of the Atibainha reservoir, part of the Cantareira system of reservoirs that serves Sao Paulo, 26th February 2015. Photo: Clairex via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil's ravaged forests are taking their revenge

Robert Hunziker

2nd March 2015

Thanks to massive deforestation along Brazil's Atlantic coast and the Amazon, São Paulo's reservoirs are at just 6% of their capacity and water rationing is in place. But this is just the beginning of a long term drying process that could be recreated around the world as forests are laid waste and hydrology disrupted. more...
A typically dark, narrow Cairo street in the Boulaq El Dakrour district. Photo: Patrick Keddie.

Beginning to see the light ... shining the sun's rays into Cairo's dark streets

Patrick Keddie

4th February 2015

Egyptian researchers have come up with a solution to the a lack of sunlight in Cairo's narrow and dingy streets, writes Patrick Keddie: a sine-wave panel that reflects light as soon as the sun rises. Initial tests indicate a potential five-fold increase in light levels. more...
London Mayor Boris Johnson and actress Barbara Windsor enjoy a street party in Tower Hamlets with the Rocky Park Urban Growers - a local project to plant vegetables and transform a neglected space in the community.

Boris progresses 'Greater London National Park'

The Ecologist

23rd December 2014

London Major Boris Johnson has taken a key first step towards a new Greater London National Park to safeguard the city's green spaces, waterways and natural treasures - and open them up for people to enjoy. more...
The August 2013 petcoke storm over the southeast side of Chicago. Photo: Anthony Martinez.

Petcoke: the toxic black dust coming to a community near you

Ben Whitford

9th December 2014

It's the fossil fuel industry's latest stroke of genius - a coal substitute that's cheaper, dirtier and more toxic than coal itself, writes Ben Whitford. The waste product of refining heavy oil from Canada's tar sands, petcoke is stored in open mountains around Chicago's 'Slag Valley', sending plumes of sticky black dust over poor neighborhoods every time the wind blows. more...
Zekiye Ozdemir and Gulseren Caliskan, both 70, maintain their daily vigil directly in front of a large iron police barrier  at the construction site on the edge of Validebag Grove, Istanbul. Photo: Nick Ashdown.

'Fake environmentalists' battle for Istanbul's last forest

Nick Ashdown

26th November 2014

After Gezi Park, another battle for one of Istanbul's increasingly rare green spaces is raging, writes Nick Ashdown - and this time it's on the city's Asian side. Demonstrators are holding a 24-hour vigil on the edge of an 'illegal' construction site at Validebag Grove - despite having been repeatedly detained and attacked by police. more...
The mass die-in of cyclists outside Transport for London's offices, 30th November 2013. Photo: Catherine Nelson.

Join us on Saturday to demand Roads Fit For Humans!

Donnachadh McCarthy

13th November 2014

A year ago six London cyclists were killed in a horrendous spate of road violence, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. A demonstration this Saturday will mark their deaths, and demand Government action to improve road safety and reduce traffic pollution - moves that could save over 210,000 lives over the next decade. more...

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The view from Port Meadow, before and after. Original photos from Save Port Meadow.

Oxford University must put right the damage it has caused

Matthew Sherrington

14th November 2014

The country's first ever retrospective EIA finds that eight five-storey accommodation blocks built by Oxford University caused 'substantial' damage to historic views of the City's dreaming spires, writes Matthew Sherrington. Planners and University want to 'learn lessons' and move on - but campaigners are determined to cut the carbuncles down to size ... more...
In Shanghai much food used to be grown within the city. In recent years peri-urban agriculture has taken over from intra-urban cropping. Whilst some land has been paved over as the city expanded, large areas of peri-urban land are still being set aside fo

Making cities sustainable with urban agriculture

Herbert Girardet

3rd December 2014

To reduce the pressure on the world's productive land and to help assure long-term food security, writes Herbert Girardet, city people are well advised to revive urban or peri-urban agriculture. While large cities will always have to import some food, local food growing is a key component of sustainable urban living. more...
Boston in bloom - sunflower at the Eglestone Community Orchard. Photo: Alvin Kho via Facebook.

Making it happen - a community orchard in downtown Boston

Orion Kriegman

7th November 2014

A orchard garden has taken root on a long-vacant lot in an economically and racially divided neighborhood of Boston, writes Orion Kriegman. In the making it has united a community, helped to heal deep scars of violence, and inspired a wider reclamation of the urban commons. more...
A Bottlenose Dolphin does a backflip off of Kilauea Point, Hawaii. Photo: Byron Chin via Flickr.

San Francisco declares: every whale and dolphin has the right to be free

Laura Bridgeman

23rd October 2014

If SeaWorld is looking to build a new park in California, it will be steering well clear of San Francisco, writes Laura Bridgeman. Following a campaign backed by scientists and hundreds of high school students, the City has declared cetaceans' right to be free and 'unrestricted in their natural environment'. more...
Daniel Raven-Ellison. Photo: Darren Moore.

'He is bonkers?' Daniel Raven-Ellison on a Greater London National Park

Lucy Anna Scott

7th October 2014

Daniel Raven-Ellison is a man with a big idea - making London the world's first 'National Park City' to safeguard, and promote the enjoyment of London's myriad natural treasures, writes Lucy Anna Scott. Is he bonkers? Probably. But with a growing band of backers getting behind his bold vision, who cares? more...
Copenhagen Harbour Bath designed by JDS Architects. Photo: Lucy Reynell.

Urban Plunge - open swimming in the heart of the city

Jane Withers

13th September 2014

With the growing trend for natural swimming in cities new opportunities are opening for architects and designers to create dramatic, inspiring, enjoyable new public spaces in urban waterways, writes Jane Withers. And it's the subject of a new exhibition at London's Roca London Gallery ... more...
Male, Maldives, October 2010: President Nasheed installs solar panels on the Presidential Residence in 2010 - 18 months before the coup which brought his term of office to an end.

Only connect - a renewable energy future for small island states

Zaheer Allam

5th September 2014

The future of small island states has to be renewable, says Zaheer Allam. But that's only the first of many choices. It's just as important to develop energy networks that are diverse, resilient, adaptive and flexible - and avoid the centralised, unimodal models that investors and bureaucrats prefer to impose, often at huge long term cost. more...
Salad leaves growing in Lufa's rooftop farm in Montreal. Photo: Lufa Farms.

Coming to a rooftop near you - the urban growing revolution

Rachel Dring / Sustainable Food Trust

30th September 2014

Could London, New York and other cities be self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables? Yes, writes Rachel Dring, by converting wasted roof space into gardens and greenhouses. Benefits include reducing waste; raising energy efficiency, sustainability and food security; and healthier, more connected citizens. more...
These insulated pipes now connect a new building to University of Warwick's campus-wide combined heat and power system. Local authorities could deliver many more projects like this, where profit-driven energy companies have failed. Photo: Mike1024 / Wikim

Local authorities are key players in our renewable energy revolution

Councillor Mark Hackett

21st August 2014

Government energy policy is caught between apparently conflicting objectives, writes Mark Hackett. But there is a solution that is already working in the UK and abroad - to encourage the active participation of local authorities in delivering low carbon energy to the communities they serve. more...
These solar panels on a Chiswick back street are

Solar panels: a clear & present threat to this and future generations?

Paula Owen

18th August 2014

An array of solar panels on a Chiswick side street, facing a brewery wall, constitute a threat to the quality of life of future generations, according to the council and a planning inspector. Paula Owen begs to differ, and wonders - exactly what kind of mushroom have they been smoking? more...
East Jerusalem: the view over Issawiya from the Hebrew University is lovely - but the realities of life in this tightly walled Palestinian neighborhood are anything but. Photo: Benjamin via Flickr.

Where survival is victory - resisting Occupation in East Jerusalem

Sam Gilbert

20th August 2014

After decades of occupation and dispossession, a culture of sometimes violent resistance has taken root in Issawiya. But it is never fetishized, writes Sam Gilbert - resistance is recognized as the only alternative to slavery, and the only means by which the people will ever achieve the freedom they thirst for. more...
Air Pollution Level 5, London, April 30 2014. Photo: David Holt via Flickr.

London, B'ham, Leeds will not get clean air until after 2030

The Ecologist

10th July 2014

The UK will break nitrogen dioxide limits until after 2030, EU judges were told today. And now the 'secret' information is public - accidentally published on a Government website, while lawyers were asking judges to keep it secret. more...
Inspecting a tomato at the wonderful Evergreen Brick Works' greenhouse in Toronto. Photo: Joseph Morris via Flickr.

Vertical farming - viable agriculture or urban pipedream?

Matt Bevington

27th October 2014

If you don't want industrial agriculture ravaging the world to feed cities nutrient-deprived, genetically modified, chemical-drenched pap, here's an alternative, writes Matt Bevington: let cities grow their own fresh produce on 'vertical farms' in disused industrial buildings, restoring sustainability and accountability to the food chain. more...

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