The Ecologist

 

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The Pacific Ocean, seen from high above. Photo: blueforce4116 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

To live within planetary boundaries, we must contract the global economy

Samuel Alexander

5th July 2015

We have a problem, writes Samuel Alexander. Even the most eco-friendly rich world lifestyles are overconsuming resources and over-dumping wastes. To put us on track to 'single planet living' will mean far deeper changes than any yet envisaged, including deliberate 'degrowth'' and the abandonment of consumer culture. more...
Milked fresh from real badgers every day! (Only kidding) Photo: ken fager via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Where Caffè Nero leads on badger-free milk, others will follow

Dominic Dyer

13th June 2015

Milk farmers in the badger cull zones hardly depend on Caffè Nero's custom, writes Dominic Dyer. So why are the pro-cull lobby so hot under the collar with the coffee chain's refusal to buy their produce? Because it could force the entire food chain to take responsibility for how milk is produced - and a very good thing too! more...
The Tesla Roadster - pictured here in Ventura, California - is a great car. But even though it creates no pollution when you drive it, its manufacture leaves a heavy toxic footprint. Photo: Wendell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The green energy revolution is exciting - but don't forget the pollution!

Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme

3rd June 2015

Boading, dubbed China's 'greenest city', is the world's biggest maker of solar panels and wind turbines, write Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme. But it's also has the country's worst pollution. Green energy, electric cars and the batteries that power them are great, but with the heavy toxic footprint they carry from mine to factory, we must not delude ourselves that they are 'sustainable'. more...
Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum) in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Elton Harding via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Endangered species don't need an Ark - they need a Living Planet!

Derrick Jensen

11th June 2015

While we face 'hard choices' about which species and ecosystems to conserve, it's odd how we face no such quandaries over which of our frivolous luxuries to refrain from, or what murderous weapons system not to build, writes Derrick Jensen. And of course, there's no question at all of tackling the root causes of global ecocide. more...
Cycling in Beijing. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Chinese environmentalism: driven by a deep desire for healthy living and wholesome food

Thembi Mutch

24th April 2015

China's growing 'bling' culture has taken off big time, writes Thembi Mutch - yet it is widely reviled among ordinary people who in the face of China's industrial boom hold resolutely to traditional values of economy and frugality, quietly yearning for the old days of clean air and safe, wholesome food to fill their stomachs. more...
Spin Cycle Cafe & Laundromat, Newington, CT, USA. Photo: Brian Cook via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Recycling is not enough! Sharing is the way to achieve a circular economy

Mariale Moreno

13th March 20-14

How can we reduce our ever increasing throughput of raw materials? By breaking out the the 'iron cage of consumerism', writes Mariale Moreno: make things to last - whether clothes, houses, cars, or washing machines. Join a car club. Share domestic appliances with neighbors. And bring back the laundromat! more...
Drax power station by Jonathan Brennan via Flickr, (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0).

Seven ways the Government is pushing up our energy bills

Doug Parr / Greenpeace Energydesk

15th January 2015

With a million families struggling to stay warm this winter, energy bills will be a hot election issue, writes Doug Parr. But Government actions have repeatedly favoured the 'big six' energy incumbents at the expense of consumers, competition, low-cost renewables and energy efficiency, locking us into high bills for years to come. more...
The oil crash has incinerated $100s of billions of investments in extreme energy and stopped hundreds of damaging projects in their tracks. So why aren't environmentalists celebrating? Photo:  s1lang via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Environmentalists' oil price panic reflects their own existential crisis

Paul Mobbs

8th January 2015

Low oil prices are putting a stop to some of the world's most environmentally damaging 'extreme energy' projects, writes Paul Mobbs, and may close down the entire fracking and tar sands industries. So why are so many 'Greens' issuing dire warnings, instead of celebrating the good news? more...
As with today's social, economic, military and industrial order, the power of Sauron's ring is to dominate, enclose, torment, dispossess and enslave.

Tolkien, the Machine, and the Way of the Hobbit

Richard Gunderman

12th January 2015

Tolkien's Universe is one that reflects our own, writes Richard Gunderman - and has come to resemble it all the more as industrialism, militarism and an unjust economic order have come to dominate the world and enslave its peoples. It's time to follow the Way of the Hobbit. more...
The consumer fun never stops! Dubai airport at 3am. But how long can it all last? Photo: joiseyshowaa via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 'simple life' manifesto could save the world - and us

Frederick Trainer

3rd April 2015

Easter is a time when - chocolate munching aside - it's still possible to take a step back from consumer-capitalism, writes Frederick Trainer, and pause to think where it's getting us. The sad fact is that so long as society is driven by consumerism, our society can never be ecologically sustainable or just. more...
Tiny houses at Hatteras, North Carolina. Photo: Bill Dickinson via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Sick to death of consumerism and debt? Find freedom in a tiny house

Samuel Alexander

10th January 2015

There is a simple solution to the problems of rampant consumerism, debt and a lifetime of servitude, writes Samuel Alexander - radical down-sizing to a truly tiny house. For a start, it's only big enough for the things you really need. And it's so cheap to build, that it's paid for from a month or two's salary. Just one question - what will you do with your freedom? more...
Buy baby buy! But remember - unsustainable human consumption is driving the destruction of the natural world. Photo: amy_buthod via Flickr.

Human consumption driving wildlife loss

Alex Kirby

1st October 2014

The plight of much of the world's wildlife seems 'worse than ever', writes Alex Kirby. To blame is unsustainable human consumption, which is driving habitat loss, climate change and the illegal wildlife trade. more...

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This handsome tower was built from bricks made with farm and forestry waste bound together by fungal myceliae. Now, it's being composted. Photo: Sophie Morlin-Yron.

Farm waste and mushrooms challenge plastic, concrete, steel

Sophie Morlin-Yron

29th September 2014

Isn't it daft it is to use plastics that last for centuries to make short-life packaging? Now there's an alternative, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron - using fungi to bind farm and forestry waste into strong, non-toxic, complex forms. When the job is done, the material can be safely burnt or composted - and it even works for buildings ... more...
Fishing for plastic in the open ocean on the Rozalia in the 2013 Gaia to Gyre expedition. Photo: Ceri Lewis via Flickr.

Microplastic ocean pollution - will you join our research voyage?

Kate Rawles

5th August 2014

Plastic pollution in the oceans is impacting every level of marine life, writes Kate Rawles, from micro-plankton to whales. And here is your chance to do something about it - join a research expedition to the Azores next month to study the problem and develop solutions! more...
Is everything in Ecover's garden as lovely as it looks? Photo: the Ecover display at Hampton Court Flower Show in 2013, by Lex McKee via Flickr.

Ecover pioneers 'synthetic biology' in consumer products

Jim Thomas

16th June 2014

Green soap-maker Ecover is the first company to openly admit that that it's using ingredients derived from 'synthetically modified organisms' - the next wave of GMOs - writes Jim Thomas. So why are they risking their ‘natural' brand for this experimental biotechnology? more...
Will this coal on a Chinese barge on the Yangtze River end up being 'consumed' in the US and Europe? Photo: Marshall Segal via Flickr.

Tax carbon consumers for real action on climate change

Laura Nielsen & Henrik Palmer Olsen

12th June 2014

Climate negotiators in Bonn are hammering out the basis of a new global agreement - but have they got it all wrong? Taxing carbon consumption, rather than trying to regulate emissions, could stimulate the low carbon revolution the world needs. more...
Farming in Poland, the traditional way. Photo: Jejma via Flickr.

The farmer is the future

Julian Rose

13th June 2014

In our modern world of supermarkets and on-demand delivery, its easy to forget about the few remaining 'real farmers' who grow healthy, wholesome food, writes Julian Rose. But it won't be long before we give them the appreciation they deserve ... more...
Cabo Pulmo, in its current, concrete-free incarnation. Alan Harper, CC BY-NC.

Mexico: 22,000 room mega-hotel threatens 'biodiversity hotspot'

Sula Vanderplank & Benjamin Wilder

28th May 2014

The Baja California peninsula is rich in history and natural beauty, with thousands of unique plants and animals making up its globally unique ecosystems, write Sula Vanderplank & Benjamin Wilder. Just the place for a new giant hotel resort? more...
Mohan Munasinghe, from  www.mohanmunasinghe.com/.

Confronting consumption: an interview with Mohan Munasinghe

Noah M. Sachs

23rd May 2014

You can actually be better off, healthier and happier with less consumption, says Munasinghe. And it's not just rich countries that need to change, he told Noah Sachs - poor countries too must develop sustainably, or the Earth's resources will simply run out. more...
Used clothes from wealthy countries on sale at Nanyuki Market, Kenya. Photo: Konrad Glogowski via Flickr.

Anti-consumerism is not enough

Oliver Williams

25th May 2014

Our economies and our jobs depend on mass consumption, argues Oliver Williams. If we all consume less to save the planet, the economy will tank and millions will lose their jobs. The answer is not frugality, but reductions in population. more...
PetroEcuador warning sign, Ecuadorian Rainforest, 2005. Photo: 00rini hartman via Flickr.com.

In Ecuador's Amazon, a small tribe lives under a dark, oily shadow

Stephen Wallace

26th May 2014

A trip to the Achuar Indians of the Ecuadorian Amazon proved life-changing for Stephen Wallace. Their only desire is to enjoy what they have, and ensure that their children can do the same. But the threat of oil is casting a dark shadow of fear over their lives. more...
Well-being is far too important to be set aside in the 'nice fluffy things' category. Photo: Alison Curtis via Flickr.com.

Well-being, not growth, must be our economic purpose

Christine Berry

30th April 2014

Well-being is not just a luxury for good economic times, writes Christine Berry. Reducing poverty and promoting equality are more important economic goals than the pursuit of endless growth. more...
A regular Sunday shopping in Chennai, India. Photo: McKay Savage via Flickr.com.

Gandhi's nightmare has come true

Subhankar Banerjee

18th March 2014

The era of mass consumption has reached India, bringing about a frenzy of over-consumption, pollution and ecological havoc. But so long as there's money to be made, asks Subhankar Banerjee, why worry about climate change? more...

Activism for Busy People Part I: Ethical Consumption

Ruth Stokes

November 9th, 2013

Keen to save the world but don't want to end up in a Russian prison? In the first of a three part series Ruth Stokes suggests ethical consumption as one alternative approach to activism that won't turn your life upside down but will make a difference ... more...

Ethical Diamonds: Why the Four "Cs" Need an "O"

4th October 2013

By Gregory Krauss

Human rights attorney Gregory Krauss tells the Ecologist that the diamond industry is still far from ethical, and believes consumers should start demanding stringent regulation, for the sake of both people and the environment ... more...

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