The Ecologist

 

ec: 1/25 of 2005
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Golden rice may be a marvel of modern technology, but it is consistently outperformed in the field by native varieties. Photo: traditional rice farmer at Budid, Philippines, by Shan Sheehan via Flickr (CC BY).

Golden rice: the 'GM superfood' that fell to Earth

Glenn Stone

2nd September 2015

Golden rice was once hailed as the wonder crop that 'could save a million kids year', writes Glenn Stone. But in the 15 years since that bold prediction, the carotene enhanced GMO has been held back by persistent 'yield drag' and inconclusive nutrition outcomes. It now appears unlikely ever to fulfill its early promise. more...
The protestor is right: GMOs are indeed a science experiment. And we are the guinea pigs. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Growing doubts over GMO safety: a scientist's experience

Jonathan Latham

31st August 2015

Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about. more...
Work - who needs it? Photo: a family celebration by the Potomac by Bill Dickinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

We should all get three-day weekends - all the time

David Spencer

30th August 2015

The effect of new labour saving technologies has been ... to keep us working as long as ever, or longer. But why? Certainly not for our benefit, writes David Spencer. It's to keep civil society suppressed, docile, in thrall to the power of capital. All the more reason to rebel - demand a 30-hour working week now! more...
The pine marten may look cuddly - but it's no such thing, specially if you're a grey squirrel. But lighter, more agile reds fare rather better. Photo: Thomas Broxton Jr via Flickr (CC BY).

Pine martens' return could bring a red squirrel resurgence

Emma Sheehy

28th August 2015

The return of pine martens to central Ireland has been followed by a resurgence of red squirrels, writes Emma Sheehy. Now that the predatory mammal is being seen south of the Scottish border, the same could happen in England. The heavier grey squirrel is easy prey for pine martens, and their demise could open up ecological space for the native red to recolonise. more...
The Earthship at Stanmer Park, just outside Brighton, East Sussex, UK. Photo: Esa Ruoho via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Repowering renewables - a silver lining amid the gloom?

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2015

The Tories' decision to scrap the UK's renewable energy sector deserves condemnation, writes Oliver Tickell. But there is a silver lining: it creates the space in which to design better, cheaper, more cost effective support mechanisms to drive the clean energy revolution forward. more...
For Tony Blair, climate change was a core issue. But his successors are leaving it to Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband. Launching the 'Breaking the Climate Deadlock' report in Tokyo, Japan, 27th June 2008. Photo: The Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Aspiration versus climate change: can we win back the centre left?

Leo Barasi

28th August 2015

Commitment to action on climate change was once a banner of modernism adopted by by both Tony Blair and David Cameron, writes Leo Barasi. But no longer. The Tories have abandoned it entirely, while the Labour mainstream, in thrall to the twin narratives of 'austerity' and 'aspiration', looks the other way. So how to put climate change back on the centre-left agenda? more...
The 'plonkable heliostats'. doing their job. Photo: helio100.sun.ac.za/.

'Plonkable' mirrors promise cheaper solar energy

Jeffrey Barbee / Guardian Environment

26th August 2015

The 'other' solar technology, CSP, which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays, is about to get a lot cheaper, writes Jeffrey Barbee. A South African team has developed a low cost design suitable for mass production that can be 'plonked' on site straight from the factory. more...
Living within ecological limits - austerity? Or sustainable abundance? Photo: Bart via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Death to 'austerity'. Long live sustainable abundance!

Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine

30th August 2015

Greens are united in opposing neoliberal 'austerity', write Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine. But there's another kind of austerity to which we are committed - that of living within ecological limits. But base the transition on social, economic and environmental justice, and there will be nothing austere about it. The future we're working for is one of sustainable, life-enhancing abundance. more...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...
It's not just the cows that are being milked. A small dairy farm in Adber, Dorset. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Government and NFU betray Britain's dairy farmers

Simon Fairlie / The Land

15th August 2015

Just as the banks are 'too big to fail', so Britain's struggling dairy farmers are 'too small to save', writes Simon Fairlie. And it's not just the government that's happy to see 16 dairy farms go the wall every week - it's also the National Farmers Union to which most pay their dues. The NFU's paradoxical response to the milk glut is to push for ever higher, more intensive milk production. more...
Professor 'Jim' al'Khalili presenting BBC4's 'Inside Sellafield' from beside one of the facility's infamous open storage pond.

'Inside Sellafield' and military plutonium - the BBC's nuclear lies of omission

Dr David Lowry

12th August 2015

Professor 'Jim' Al'Khalili's 'Inside Sellafield' programme was a tour de force of pro-nuclear propaganda, writes David Lowry - understating the severity of accidents, concealing the role of the UK's nuclear power stations in breeding military plutonium, and giving false reassurance over the unsolved problems of high level nuclear waste. more...
Photo: Angus via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Corbyn is great - but the Greens are different!

Rupert Read

12th August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn's soaraway success in Labour's leadership contest poses an existential threat to the Greens, writes Rupert Read. To counter it we must re-assert our distinctive ethos, values, policies and principles, rooted in ecologism not socialism, respecting natural limits, opposed to endless economic growth, dedicated to building and sharing the wealth we all hold in common. more...

ec: 1/25 of 2005
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Green is where the new. high quality, sustainable jobs are. But some governments just don't see it. Photo: Salvatore Barbera via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Green jobs: the potential is there, but where's the political will?

Jean Lambert MEP

11th August 2015

There is huge untapped potential in the green economy to create millions of decent jobs, writes Jean Lambert - but only if lessons are learned from the Government's flawed, now scrapped, Green Deal. Lesson one: we desperately need a well-funded, ambitious replacement. more...
Kepler's 'ocean fence' tidal power unit. Photo: Kepler Energy.

Revolutionary 'sea fence' promises tidal power price crash

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

11th August 2015

An new design of tidal power turbines will generate power at a third the price of current technologies, write Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell, even at a lower price than offshore wind - without endangering marine life. more...
Wind turbines on farmland near Tow Law, County Durham, UK. Photo: Jonathan Pearson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind farm subsidies bad, farm subsidies good?

Brendan Montague / DeSmog.uk

10th August 2013

Major funders of the pro-fossil fuel Global Warming Policy Foundation are always keen to speak out against public support for renewable energy, writes Brendan Montague. So how come they're so keen to help themselves to a fortune in farm subsidies? more...
High-efficiency perovskite crystals produced at Los Alamos that approach silicon in conversion efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

New solar tech slashes energy payback time to a few months

The Ecologist

5th August 2015

Solar panels made using perovskite technology pay back the energy used to make them ten times faster than those using silicon. In time, this could lead to similar falls in price. more...
A beetle on a male corn flower. Photo: Flávio Jota de Paula via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Biodiversity is the best defence against corn pests

Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti

14th August 2015

Farmers' first line of defence against pests is the ecosystem in and around their fields, write Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti. With widespread or indiscriminate use of pesticides essential biodiversity is lost - and the result is more frequent and serious infestations, and a decline in food security. more...
Daily life in Conakry, Guinea on 3rd December 2014. Photo: Dominic Chavez / World Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Neoliberal Ebola: palm oil, logging, land grabs, ecological havoc and disease

Rob Wallace

27th July 2015

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa had everything to do with logging, deforestation and the disruption of traditional agro-forestry by large scale industrial agriculture, writes Rob Wallace. The only long term solution to this terrible disease may lie in forest conservation, the restoration of agroecological farming systems, and the exclusion of agribusiness investment. more...
Agbogbloshie employs some 6,000 young men recycling wastes from around the world in the job-scarce city of Accra, Ghana. Photo: Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Agbogbloshie: Ghana's 'trash world' may be an eyesore - but it's no dump

Dagna Rams

10th August 2015

Most accounts of Agbogbloshie, the e-waste site in Accra, Ghana, persistently miss the point, writes Dagna Rams. Far from being a simple 'dump' for the world's trash, it is a huge recycling operation that pays for the wastes it receives, employs thousands of young men who would otherwise lack jobs, and plays a huge role in the national and global economy. more...
Bison are roaming free in Germany - so why not Scotland? Photo: Felix Kaestle.

Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible

Paul Jepson

22nd July 2015

Rewilding is now firmly on the agenda, writes Paul Jepson, and that brings a huge opportunity to re-invigorate conservation. But we must look to creating new functional ecosystems for the future, rather than trying to recreate a lost and perhaps imagined past. more...
The Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, where two AP1000 reactors are under construction, and subject to long delays and cost overruns. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Nugen's AP1000 nuclear reactor - is it any better than the EPR?

Chris Goodall

17th July 2015

As nuclear projects using the EPR design run into long delays and huge costs overruns, industry hopes are pinned on the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, writes Chris Goodall. But with eight AP1000 projects around the world going the way of the EPR, is it really a wise choice for the UK's Moorside nuclear site? more...
Pope Francis. Photo: © Mazur / catholicnews.org.uk via Catholic Church England and Wales / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The system is intolerable: the change we need is in our hands

Pope Francis

18th July 2015

The world has become intolerable for people everywhere, and for Earth herself, says Pope Francis. Profound, transformative change leading to social and economic justice is now an absolute necessity and something we must all fight for. We must also act to safeguard the Earth herself, our common home. more...
The real battle is only just beginning. Riot police in Syntagma late in the night after large demonstration of 'Indignados', in Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece, 29th June 2011. Photo: Ggia via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Greece - the real fight is only just beginning

Oliver Tickell

14th July 2015

Supporters of Greece's fight for sovereignty are unanimous in blaming the evil troika for its humiliating defeat, writes Oliver Tickell. But the real fault is with Syriza for their needless, shameful surrender. Now, as the real battle begins, we must hold firm with the Greek people against neoliberal occupation. more...
You don't recognise him, you don't know his name ... but Brian Ager, Secretary-General of the European Round Table of Industrialists, wields more power in the EU than most of its member countries. Photo: © European Union / Tim De Backer (CC BY-NC-SA).

Something rotten in the state of Europe

Jenny Jones

13th July 2015

As the EU comes down for neoliberalism, austerity and capital against popular will, Greens and other 'progressives' must consider switching sides in the 'in or out' debate, writes Jenny Jones. A Union that stands for TTIP, corporate empowerment and the trampling of Greek democracy is one we are better off leaving. more...
The North American bumblebee Bombus vosnesenskii in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Sean McCann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Warming world traps bumblebees in 'climate vice'

Tim Radford

10th July 2015

As Europe and North America warm, bumblebees should be able to fly north to cooler climes, writes Tim Radford. But they're not: the bees' range is receding in the south, but staying put in the north, and scientists fear their shrinking habitat will put many species at risk of extinction. more...

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