The Ecologist

 

EC: 1/25 of 2318
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Greenham Farm smallholders. Photo: Abbie Trayler Smith / ELC.

Ecological agriculture: investing today in tomorrow's farms

Phil Moore

22nd May 2017

Ecological farming has taken root in the UK, writes Phil Moore: drawing inspiration from the past while employing the latest ideas and techniques from organic, no-dig, permaculture, agroecology and agroforestry methods. But with agricultural fields selling for up to £10,000 an acre, there's a big difficultly for many would-be eco-farmers: access to land. Now, with public support, that's a problem the Ecological Land Cooperative is determined to solve. more...

Sustainable Social Housing... How an eco cabin built entirely from waste shows it can be done

Matthew Kong

18th May, 2017

Scottish recycling expert, Angus Carnie has built an eco cabin in his native Carnoustie, Dundee, using only materials that were free. Now living happily without bills, he tells MATTHEW KONG how his modest home could help inspire a new vision for social and affordable housing more...
Sunset years ... power plant and Exxon Mobil oil refinery in Joliet, Illinois. Photo: Greg Wass via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oil industry's sunset years: low prices, weak demand, poor outlook

Paul Brown

15th May 2017

With oil prices remaining low, the world's oil industry is facing bleak years ahead, writes Paul Brown. The global push to decarbonise the economy, combined with surging renewable energy and the trend to more efficient and electric vehicles, is denting investor confidence and pointing to the shrinking away of a once mighty and profitable industry. more...
Skyscrape of Dubai, seen from the beach. Photo: ZeNahla via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Concrete, or beaches? World's sand running out as global construction booms

Nick Meynen

9th May 2017

A crucial component of concrete, sand is vital to the global construction industry, writes Nick Meynen. China alone is importing a billion tonnes of sand a year, and its increasing scarcity is leading to large scale illegal mining and deadly conflicts. With ever more sand fetched from riverbeds, shorelines and sandbanks, roads and bridges are being undermined and beaches eroded. And the world's sand wars are only set to worsen. more...

Politicians take note (if you want our vote)... Renewables are now more popular than ever

Joe Ware

If UK politicians want to reunite the country and garner votes they'd do well to embrace renewables in their manifestos, writes JOE WARE more...

General Election 2017: a Green realignment of British politics?

Rupert Read

3rd May, 2017

The political events of the last year are cause for sorrow, for reflection, and for reorientation. But they're also cause for a Green reboot. And fortunately, the UK's upcoming election on June 8th gives us just such an opportunity, writes RUPERT READ more...
Southern White rhinoceros in its native habitat in Zambia, bnear the Zimbabwe border, October 2013. Photo: Jim Frost via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Rhinos should be conserved in Africa - not moved to Australia!

Matt Hayward, Bangor University

2nd May 2017

A $4m plan to move 80 rhinos from South Africa to Australia is inept, patronising, a waste of scarce resources that contributes nothing to conservation, and betrays an outdated neocolonial mindset, writes Matt Hayward. The money should be spent on successful but underfunded community-based rhino conservation initiatives in Africa that benefit entire ecosystems. more...
Child at Shifa hospital, Gaza, 10th April 2008. Photo: Kashfi Halford via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The ecology of war: imperial power, permanent conflict and disposable humans

Andre Vltchek

28th April 2017

The real nature of war and its impacts on people and environment can only be understood through its ecology, surgeon Gus Abu-Sitta tells Andre Vltchek: the causes of conflict, the dynamics that sustain it, the corporate and strategic interests bent on its perpetuation, the deliberate destruction of health provision, and the repeating cycles of infection, injury, poverty and human misery which have become a permanent reality for uncounted millions. more...
Red for Danger! London traffic lights in winter smog, 4th January 2015. Photo: alec boreham via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

As government delays pollution plan, study shows how killer nanoparticles cause heart disease

Oliver Tickell

26th April 2017

A new study explains for the first time how nanoparticles like those in diesel exhaust fumes cause heart disease by lodging in inflamed blood vessels, writes Oliver Tickell. The study, published as the UK government is ordered before the High Court to justify its refusal to publish plans to tackle illegal air pollution which afflicts 38 million people, also raises wider fears about 'engineered nanoparticles' in the environment. more...
Tooting Restart Party: together with hosts Transition Tooting, 13 Restarters and 41 participants saved 50 kg of electronics from waste. Photo: www.heatheragyepong.com / Restart Project via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Community repair: a pop-up alternative to the throwaway society

Christine Cole & Alex Gnanapragasam

28th April 2017

The ability to repair malfunctioning machinery from toasters and computers to bicycles and lawnmowers is essential to avoid all the waste, expense and pollution of dumping consumer goods prematurely, write Christine Cole & Alex Gnanapragasam. Many of us how no idea how to even begin doing that, but a new 'repair revolution' is sweeping the UK and other countries, with free-to-attend pop-up parties where you can learn the skills and fix your broken stuff. more...
An example of the magic CO2-absorbing 'ultramafic' rock that could save the world: Forsterite - Serpentine rock in thin section, magnified under polarized light. Photo: Richard Droker via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Worthless mining waste could suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and reverse emissions

Simon Redfern, University of Cambridge

25th April 2017

The world must drastically reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, writes Simon Redfern - and we can't do it by cutting emissions alone. But we could we do it 'nature's way', using volcanic rocks and mining wastes that naturally soak up CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean, and turn it into harmless forms like limestone and dissolved bicarbonate. more...

Ecologist Special Report: From fish to forests and conflicts to coffee...how humans are affected by climate-driven species shifts

Tero Mustonen & Hannibal Rhoades

20th April, 2017

Climate change has species on the move, with major consequences for biodiversity and human communities write TERO MUSTONEN and HANNIBAL RHOADES. Building resilience has never been more important and Indigenous Peoples are showing the way more...

EC: 1/25 of 2318
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Figure 1: Two views of economic 'sustainability'. Image: Nature's Rights.

Nature's rights: a new paradigm for environmental protection

Mumta Ito

9th May 2017

Recognising nature as a legal stakeholder with inalienable rights in environmental law proceedings is a powerful counterbalance to corporate dictatorship, writes Mumta Ito. It empowers people and governments to stand up for nature - the underlying basis of our economy and our lives. And it stands in contrast to feeble approaches based on the financialisation and commodification of nature, which may be twisted to justify more destruction. more...
Scale representation of the incinerator in situ, near Junction 12 of the M5, providing a highly dubious 'welcome to Gloucester', adjacent to the AONB. Image: GlosVAIN.

Up in smoke: the fight to block Gloucestershire's unwanted incinerator

Dan Hinge

24th April 2017

Activists in Gloucestershire are battling to block the construction of a massive incinerator that they see as a blight on the landscape, costly, polluting, wasteful and undermining recycling, writes Dan Hinge. Now the fight, backed by superstar actor Jeremy Irons, just entered a new phase after a tribunal forced the County Council to reveal essential details of the contract it had signed. more...
False promise ... Wylfa 2 nuclear power station glowing in the dark on Anglesey, Wales. Photo: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

False promise: nuclear power: past, present and (no) future

David Elliott

12th April 2017

Nuclear power was originally sold on a lie, writes Dave Elliott. While we were being told it would make electricity 'too cheap to meter', insiders knew it cost at least 50% more than conventional generation. Since then nuclear costs have only risen, while renewable energy prices are on a steep decline. And now the nuclear behemoths are crumbling ... not a moment too soon. more...
These trees along Idaho's Selway River may be harboring insects, fungi and bacteria - best cut them down quick to maintain forest health! Photo: Friends of Clearwater.

Catastrophic 'anti-infestation' logging threatens US National Forests

Brett Haverstick

10th April 2017

A fresh wave of logging is hitting America's national forests, writes Brett Haverstick. But this time it's all for the sake of 'forest health' and 'fire prevention'. It might look like industrial clear-cutting to you and me, but really, it's in a good cause. And if the forests and precious ecosystems they harbor just happen to perish in the process ... well ain't that just too bad? more...
The Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland, UK. Photo: Graeme Maclean via Flickr (CC BY).

Deadly toll of fossil fuel pollution: the old economy versus planet and people

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

6th April 2017

Pollution caused by burning fossil fuels are already causing the premature deaths of 200,000 people a year - in the US alone, writes Pete Dolack. Add up the figures worldwide and it comes to many millions. And that's before we even count the catastrophic long term impacts of global warming. The US response: to loosen anti-pollution regulation and encourage increased oil, coal and gas production. more...
The way of the future? Photo: smart meters array by Green Energy Futures - David Dodge via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Smart meters the way to a new age of clean energy

Claire Maugham

3rd April 2017

Dynamic power pricing that responds to supply and demand could transform the way we manage our electricity systems, writes Claire Maugham, opening the door to the mass integration of renewables like wind and solar. But smart meters are essential to making that happen. more...

Alternative Brexit? Could this be the change the Greens have been waiting for?

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

31st March, 2017

Many eco-minded Brits are rightly worried about the prospect of a ‘hard Brexit'. But what if another ‘alternative' Brexit that delivered a Greener economy were possible? VICTOR ANDERSON and RUPERT READ of Green House have just delivered a new report on Brexit and trade from an ecological perspective. Here, they share their key findings with the Ecologist... more...

Announcing the 2017 winners of The Leontief Prize for Economics

Nick Meynen

29th March, 2017

This year's prestigious Leontief Prize for economics has been awarded to Professors James Boyce and Joan Martinez-Alier for their ground-breaking theoretical and applied work integrating ecological, developmental, and justice-oriented approaches into the field of economics. They are worthy winners, says NICK MEYNEN more...
Cattle grazing in Maharashtra, India. With global warming, their forage will get tougher, and their methane emissions higher. Photo: Vijay Sonar via Flickr (CC BY).

Spiral of doom: hotter world increases cattle methane emissions

Oliver Tickell

27th March 2017

A vicious cycle of climate change, cattle diet and rising methane has been revealed in a new scientific study: as temperatures rise, forage plants get tougher and harder to digest, and cause more methane to be produced in bovine stomachs. And with cattle numbers rising and methane 85 times more powerful a greenhouse gas over 20 years, that spells trouble. more...
High levels of 'electrosmog' detected in downtown Manhatta, New York City, Photo: Martinez Zea via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cellphones, wifi and cancer: Will Trump's budget cuts zap vital ‘electrosmog' research?

Paul Mobbs

27th March 2017

Just as long term research into the health impacts of the 'electrosmog' created by wifi and mobile phones is yielding its first results, it's at risk of sudden termination from President Trump's budget cuts, writes Paul Mobbs. But the cuts have little to do with saving money - and a lot to do with protecting corporate profit and economic growth from harsh truths, including evidence that electrosmog causes cancer in laboratory rats, and maybe humans too. more...
At risk: Canaima National Park in the Venezuelan Amazon headwaters. Photo: Antonio Jose Hitcher (@antoniohitcher).

Saving the Venezuelan Amazon: mega-nature reserve? Or mega-mining frontier?

Lucio Marcello

30th March 2017

Venezuela is set to hand over 12% of the nation's territory in the upper reaches of the Amazon rainforest to mining corporations, writes Lucio Marcello, with 150 companies from 35 countries poised to devastate the army-controlled 'special economic zone'. But resistance is growing, and a counter-proposal aims to protect the area's precious biodiversity, indigenous cultures and water resources in a new South Orinoco Mega Reserve. more...
Does this look like genetic engineering to you? Crystal Structure of Cas9 in Complex with Guide RNA and Target DNA. By Hiroshi Nishimasu, F. Ann Ran, Patrick D. Hsu, Silvana Konermann, Soraya I. Shehata, Naoshi Dohmae, Ryuichiro Ishitani, Feng Zhang, and

'New Breeding Techniques' and synthetic biology - genetic engineering by another name

Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda A. Steinbrecher

4th April 2017

Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs. more...
So-called 'smart meters' add up to little but cheaper meter reading for power companies, unless we make them, and the grid, able to deliver variable pricing that reflects the balance of electricity demand and supply. Photo: DeptfordJon via Flickr (CC BY).

Green groups must denounce the sham 'smart meter' scandal

David Toke

22nd March 2017

So-called 'smart meters' are being rolled out across the UK, writes David Toke, but they don't support the dynamic pricing that's essential to expand renewable energy and decarbonise our electricity. It's time for green NGOs to get campaigning - and not leave vital decisions to a hostile government, a failing regulator and industry insiders. more...

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