The Ecologist

 

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New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...
Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall

15th July 2016

Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper. more...
Tesla Powerwall battery keeping the solar lights on after sunset. Photo: Tesla.com.

Battery revolution empowers consumers, unleashes renewables, imperils Big Energy

Emma Howard / Greenhpeace Energydesk

15th July 2016

Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities' business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it's going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. more...
New Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom visiting Wytch Farm in Dorset; the largest conventional onshore oilfield in Western Europe, with Brian James, General Manager at Perenco UK, 11th November 2015. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Dis-May-ed! DECC scrapped, Leadsom to run Environment

Oliver Tickell

14th July 2016

Campaigners fear that the abolition of DECC, the department of energy and climate change, indicates that climate will take a low priority in Theresa May's policy agenda. Meanwhile the pro-fracking, pro-nuclear Andrea Leadsom is in charge of environment department Defra. more...
Port for phospate export from the Bou Craa mine, near Laayoune Marsa Boujdour in Western Sahara, 11th March 2013. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The corporate scramble for Africa's minerals: Britain's new colonialism

Colin Todhunter

14th July 2016

Africa is being opened up like a tin of sardines to a new wave of resource extraction, writes Colin Todhunter. Masked under the soubriquets of 'investment', 'growth' and 'free trade', a handful of vast global corporations are systematically plundering the continent's mineral wealth and leaving desolation in their wake, backed to the hilt by that ever-faithful servant of capital - the UK government. more...
It may be possible to transform this landscape into a green energy park, or back to wilderness - but it's not going to happen soon enough without a corresponding political transformation! Tar sands refinery at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Photo: kris k

Green transformation is a political project, not an economic one

Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig

19th July 2016

The idea that our profit-oriented, growth-driven economic system can deliver a sustainable society is a beguiling one, write Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig. But it is doomed to failure. The changes we need are in the first place political, and will be driven by a new democratic will to put people and planet before money. more...
Photo: jacinta lluch valero via Flickr (re-coloured by The Ecologist) (CC BY-SA)..

A green, cooperative Europe - for people and planet!

Colin Hines

12th July 2016

The main concerns that drove the Brexit vote - mass immigration and declining job prospects - must be taken seriously, writes Colin Hines, in the UK and across Europe. We need a new, cooperative union: of decentralised regional economies, with public investment in 'green' infrastructure driving our transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. more...
Image: muffinn via Flickr (CC BY).

The Brexit con: the exit Britain needs is from neoliberal capitalism

Pete Dolack

30th June 2016

The UK's exit from the EU won't deliver for the 'victims of globalisation' whose votes were decisive in the referendum result, writes Pete Dolack. All the economic scenarios advanced to date envisage more of the 'free trade' and neoliberalism that has global empowered capital against communities and the well-paid jobs that once sustained them. Plus ca change ... more...
Photo: hit thatswitch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Higher fuel bills, less renewables, an end to nuclear power: Brexit's energy shakeout

Chris Goodall

28th June 2016

The economic impacts of the Brexit vote will very soon make themselves felt to British consumers, writes Chris Goodall - kicking off with higher fuel bills and pump prices. The good news is that nuclear power is now looking increasingly unaffordable. But renewables and green energy research are also likely to suffer, especially if under a right-wing Brexit government. more...
Replace your halogen GU10 with an LED version like this one, and cut power demand from 50W to just 5W. Photo: Nicolas von Wilcke / KlaresLicht via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The urgent case for an mass switch to LED lighting

Chris Goodall

7th June 2016

LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. more...
The smoke rises above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - no, not from the recent fires that afflicted the city, but from the highly polluting plant processing tar sand into oil. Photo: kris krüg / DeSmogBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Jeremy Leggett

7th June 2016

The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe? more...
The European Parliament in Brussels. Accountable? More than you might think. But deliberately excluded from real power in the EU. Photo: alex.ch via Flickr (CC BY).

We must localise the EU and curb corporate power - but does that mean in or out?

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read & Thomas Wallgren

31st May 2016

The EU referendum debate is taking place between different wings of the corporate elite, dominated by assumptions in favour of big business, free trade and endless economic growth, write Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read & Thomas Wallgren. But to vote for a sustainable future we must adopt a very different, local perspective - one you'll never find in UK's 'mainstream' media. more...

economic: 1/25 of 874
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Paying coal power stations like this one at Ratcliffe-on-Soar near Junction 24 of the M1 to stay open is not the answer. Photo: UniversityBlogSpot via Flickr (CC BY).

To keep the lights on, pay people to use less electricity

Chris Goodall

17th May 2016

Government plans to pay coal and diesel generators to stay open the winter after next to 'keep the lights on' betray dangerously old-fashioned thinking, writes Chris Goodall. Not only would it subsidise our dirtiest electricity - it's also incredibly costly. Why not just pay people to reduce their demand when power supplies are stretched? more...
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the picket line supporting the junior doctors' strike, 26th April 2016. Photo: Garry Knight via Flickr (Public Domain).

In the Corbyn era, Greens must move from socialism to ecologism

Rupert Read

10th May 2016

Where does the Green Party go now? Last week's uninspiring election results show that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour poses a serious challenge to us Greens, who can no longer succeed by being merely left wing. We must fulfil our own destiny, representing a distinct, authentic ecological strand in politics, making the case for living as if we only had one planet - as is in fact the case. more...
Maud Lake, Desolation Wilderness, El Dorado County, California. Photo: Blake Lemmons via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness is the salvation of the American West

George Wuerthner

9th May 2016

The quiet desperation of declining towns and cities across America's West is understandable, writes George Wuerthner. Of course people dream of the 'good old days' when there were wild prairies to be grazed, forests to be felled and oil wells to be sunk - and try to bring them back. But in so doing they neglect and abuse their real and enduring wealth: nature, landscape and wildlife. more...
A member of the National Guard - a department which costs over $8 billion a year. Photo: DVIDSHUB via Flickr (CC BY)

Global pitbulls: the US military mission to support corporate colonialism

Pete Dolack

22nd April 2016

With its 800 bases in 80 countries, the US's global military domination is often seen as an altruistic exercise to ensure world peace and harmony, writes Pete Dolack. It is, of course, the opposite: the essential underpinning of the US's predatory economic power, always ready to strike down any challenge to the rights and privileges of its corporate conquerors and financial oligarchy. more...
Nothing washes darker! BP's greenwashing efforts exposed in a Tate protest. Photo: Liberate Tate / Amy Scaife.

Is it the end? BP's arts sponsorship runs aground

Chris Garrard

7th April 2016

Tate and now the Edinburgh International Festival have dropped BP sponsorship, writes Chris Garrard, with BP citing unspecified 'challenging conditions'. As indigenous campaigners accuse BP of 'sponsoring death in our communities', it's high time for the British Museum to follow their lead. more...
Patrick Holden with his dairy herd. Photo: Steph French (www.stephfrench.com) / SFT.

Patrick Holden: 'cheap' food is costing the Earth, and our health

Emily Lewis-Brown

7th April 2016

Food has never been more affordable for middle class families in rich countries. But it comes at a high cost: the impact of industrial food production on health, environment and society has never been greater as Patrick Holden explained to Emily Lewis-Brown. Now the real cost of food US production will be examined in a ground-breaking conference in San Francisco. more...
Danger - Radioactive! Photo: StefrogZ / Greens MPs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear industry reveals its unsolved problem: waste

Gordon MacKerron, University of Sussex

6th April 2016

Britain is shipping 700kg of highly-enriched uranium capable of making scores of nuclear bombs to the US, writes Gordon MacKerron. The move is a symptom of a huge problem that's afflicting all nuclear nations - what to do with their nuclear wastes? The only real solution is deep geological disposal. But it's politically fraught, technically challenging, very expensive - and has yet to be done. more...
La Condamine, Monaco. Photo: Anandkumar N via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

It's the tax havens that own the politicians!

Donnachadh McCarthy

6th April 2016

Never mind Cameron's mealy mouthed denials that he or his family benefit from tax havens, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. The real problem is systemic: Britain's entire political establishment has long been owned by tax haven wealth. Finally a senior politician, Jeremy Corbyn, has the courage to stand up to the unaccountable super-rich. 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...
Lesvos beach, 21st October 2015. Photo: Marienna Pope-Weidemann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why 'Effective Altruism' is ineffective: the case of refugees

Sam Earle & Rupert Read

5th April 2016

In trying to evaluate charitable interventions in 'value for money' terms, the movement for 'Effective Altruism' has lost its moral compass, Sam Earle & Rupert Read. The real changes the world needs are profound, systemic and political. There is no better example than the refugee crisis: the problem is not insufficient aid, but structural inequality, too many weapons, and too much war. more...
Global emissions trajectory 1975-2015, showing standstill in 2014 and 2015. Image: IEA.

Global emissions stand still as temperatures soar

Alex Kirby

18th March 2016

For the second year running CO2 emissions flatlined even as the global economy was growing at around 3%, writes Alex Kirby. But sharply rising temperatures show the need for further massive renewable energy deployment to actually bring emissions down. 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...
Muammar al-Gaddafi: 'I rule!'. Photo: Neil Weightman via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Why Qaddafi had to go: African gold, oil and the challenge to monetary imperialism

Ellen Brown

14th March 2016

What was NATO's violent intervention in Libya really all about? Now we know, writes Ellen Brown, thanks to Hillary Clinton's recently published emails. It was to prevent the creation of an independent hard currency in Africa that would free the continent from economic bondage under the dollar, the IMF and the French African franc, shaking off the last heavy chains of colonial exploitation. more...

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