The Ecologist


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New building in Masdar City with an old twist. Photo: André Diogo Moecke via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Traditional architecture offers relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf

Amin Al-Habaibeh, Nottingham Trent University

8th November 2015

As temperatures soar in the Persian Gulf, modern buildings rely on energy-guzzling air-conditioning to maintain tolerable temperatures, writes Amin Al-Habaibeh. But traditional buildings stay cool passively using shade; wind and thermally driven ventilation; and naturally insulating, reflective materials. For a sustainable future, modern architects must revive the ancient knowledge. more...
Reduced to one meagre bar; old lady fighting to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr (CC BY).

As tens of thousands die, the UK must act on fuel poverty

Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex

16th October 2015

Fuel poverty is a complex problem with many causes, writes Mari Martiskainen, but it is also a deadly one for some 25,000 thousand people every year. And there is one surprisingly simple solution: a huge upgrade in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. more...
Wylfa or windmills? Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey, along with some greener alternatives. Photo:  Eifion via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Do the UK government's sums on Hinkley and climate change add up?

Doug Parr / Greenpeace Energydesk

20th August 2015

It's a fair question, writes Doug Parr, but one to which we are getting no answers - the government is keeping its sums and energy models secret. It looks as if the energy department, DECC, is making things up as it goes along to justify its pro-nuclear, anti-efficiency and anti-renewables policies. And when it all goes disastrously wrong, who will end up paying for the mess? We will. more...
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...
Green deal renovations under way. Photo: Sue Roberts.

The Green Deal is dead. Long live Fossil Fuel Freedom!

Sue Roberts

13th August 2015

The Green Deal was expensive, bureaucratic, complex, inefficient and so badly designed it could have been set up to fail, writes Sue Roberts. Yet it was the UK's only national home insulation scheme and its intentions were sound. What it needed was rethink and reform, not scrapping - and with it gone, there's a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled. more...
Somerton wind farm, Norfolk. Photo: Lordspudz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tories' attack on green energy threatens climate and prosperity

Noam Bergman, Lee Stapleton & Mari Martiskainen

5th August 2015

With the US, China, Germany and other countries firmly fixing their aim on a low carbon, renewable energy future, the UK government has chosen precisely the opposite track, write Noam Bergman, Lee Stapleton & Mari Martiskainen. Its mission to destroy wind and solar power, undercut energy efficiency and boost nuclear power and fracking threatens serious, lasting damage. more...
Roofscape: the 'BedZED' (Beddington Zero Energy Development), the UK's largest and first carbon-neutral eco-community, was completed in 2002. Photo: Tom Chance from Peckham via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Scrapping 'zero carbon' homes is policy vandalism

Gordon Walker

20th July 2015

The UK Government has ditched the requirement for new homes to be 'zero carbon' from April 2016, writes Gordon Walker. With builders already geared up to meet the challenge, this needless reversal will raise energy bills and carbon emissions for a century or more to come, and send out all the wrong signals for the Paris climate talks. more...
Even with double glazed windows, it's well worth closing blinds and curtain on winter nights. Photo: Roland Ennos, Author provided.

Five easy ways to keep your home warm this winter

Roland Ennos

2nd January 2014

As the warmth of Christmas fades and winter proper sets in, Roland Ennos shares his tips for keeping warm in winter without spending a fortune on fuel. Simple, low-cost measures include closing curtains and blinds at night, leaning sheets of cardboard against cold outside walls, and and exploiting the insulating power of books. more...
Green and pleasant - GPT head office, Sydney. Photo: Woods Bagot.

Putting people at the heart of climate-friendly buildings

John Alker

24th September 2014

Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, show that green building design makes employees happier and more productive, and you're really onto something ... more...
What house builders will no longer have to do - the 'BedZED' Beddington Zero Carbon Development in south London. Photo: BioRegional via Flickr.

Government caves in to developers on 'zero carbon' homes

Oliver Tickell

4th June 2014

The Government has gutted its 'zero carbon home' standard - builders will be able to 'zero the carbon' through an offsetting scheme - rather than by installing more insulation, or renewable technologies like solar PV or solar water heating. more...
Dancing on Paterson's political grave: Badgers' Revenge. Via

Failure upon failure - the collapse of the badger culls

Lesley Docksey

18th December 2013

England's 2013 badger culls collapsed in chaos - a severe blow to Owen Paterson and his Department, Defra. Now Lesley Docksey lifts the lid on the disgraceful fiasco to expose Paterson's fantasy world of 'science' ... more...
Infra-red image showing how open shop doors pour heat into our streets. Image:

Shut that door!

Jeannie Dawkins

20th December 2013

As we embark on our final splurge of Christmas shopping, spare a thought for all those heaters blasting hot air in customers' faces, set above wide open doors. Jeannie Dawkins says the waste of energy is a national disgrace that must be ended! more...

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Government condemns the poor to cold homes

Paul Ekins

10th December 2013

Low income families in the UK are cold mainly because they live in badly insulated buildings. The Chancellor has missed the opportunity to address this key issue, writes Paul Ekins, in the name of cutting 'green taxes'. The poor will suffer. more...
A scuba diving tourist feeds a giant potato cod in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Pete Niesen /

Dredging set to swamp decades of Great Barrier Reef protection

Jon Brodie

4th December 2013

After decades of work, A$200 million in taxpayer funding and even more from farmers' pockets, Australia has a good news story to tell about the Great Barrier Reef. But as John Brodie reveals, all that is now at risk from vast dredging operations. more...
Beautiful but threatened by rising seas: Betio island, Kiribati. Photo: Shevelev Alexey / Shutterstock.

Kiribati and the impending climate refugee crisis

Sandi Keane / Independent Australia

3rd December 2013

The New Zealand courts have refused to grant asylum to a 'climate refugee' from the Pacific island of Kiribati. But as Sandi Keane reports, the underlying problem is set to increase to a stupendous scale. more...

Art For Oceans

Lorna Howarth

An underwater sculpture park in Indonesia helps redress coral reef decimation. more...
John Sinfield

Mr Cameron: will it be heating or eating this winter?

John Sinfield

12th November 2013

The MD of Britain's largest insulation company demands: back warm, efficient homes now, or condemn millions to cold, damp and sky-rocketting fuel bills. more...
An orang utan is rescued following deforestation for palm oil.

HSBC loans drive deforestation and push orangutans to the brink

Paul Newman

7th November 2013

High Street banking giant HSBC is bankrolling the destruction of rainforests essential for the survival of Bornean orangutans and other endangered species. more...

Badgers By Numbers

October 18th, 2013

Lesley Docksey

In her third and final analysis of the ongoing UK badger cull Lesley Docksey examines the official figures and finds their validity questionable...... more...

PHOTO GALLERY: Mapping the health of our endangered coral reefs

September 30th, 2013

Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

From Bermuda, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg tells the Ecologist how our understanding of global environmental trends can be aided by surveying coral reef on a massive scale, and how some amazing technology is helping his team do exactly that........ more...

Palm oil's forgotten victims: Sumatran elephants suffer in rush for 'liquid ivory'

30th June, 2013

Jim Wickens

Western consumers are inadvertently driving the Sumatran elephant to extinction by eating, washing and wearing - in cosmetics - the derivatives of a fruit that is destroying the animal's last remaining forest habitat. Jim Wickens reports more...

Securing Nature’s Future

April 4th, 2013

by Matt Adam Williams

Naturalist and wildlife photographer Matt Adam Williams asks whether childhood experiences are the key to the long-term health of nature and the conservation sector........ more...

How your fuel bills are subsidising deforestation

March 6th, 2013

by Helen Buckland

One government department raises awareness about endangered species whilst another uses our fuel bills to contribute to their demise. Helen Buckland, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Society, explains... more...

Coping With Bereavement: One Year On

by Helen Emms

September 26th, 2012

On 20th September 2011 at approximately 6.55pm my mother died, 6 months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her death was a blessing. Watching Mum slowly deteriorate was a painful experience, but one that opened my eyes and my heart to the meaning of life. more...
Oil drilling in the Amazon

Texaco's pollution of Ecuador's indigenous lands brought to light in new DVD

Nicola Peel

8th August, 2012

Nicola Peel talks about her new DVD, Blood of the Amazon, telling of her travels through the rainforest and her investigations on the effects of reckless oil drilling on indigenous communities more...


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