The Ecologist


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Don't worry, It's normal. Photo: loa bacon via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Hypernormalised? Heathrow plan is proof we exist in a catastrophic fantasyland

Matthew Adams, University of Brighton

26th October 2016

In one reality, the government recognises climate change, signs the Paris agreement, and commits to its 1.5C target, writes Matthew Adams. In another, it promises a new London runway that's predicated on sending aviation emissions soaring for decades to come. Now repeat after me: 'Everything will be fine!' more...
Sunset over Heathrow. Photo: Malcolm via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No new runways! Not at Heathrow, not at Gatwick!

Keith Taylor MEP

24th October 2016

Should it be Heathrow or Gatwick? The answer, writes Keith Taylor, is neither. For climate and pollution reasons alone the UK should be scaling back on aviation, and in any case projections of future demand have been monstrously exaggerated. Step 1: a 'frequent flyer' tax on the 15% of people who take 70% of flights. more...
Photo: ben.timney via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Digital Disconnect and its adverse impact on how (or whether) we engage with nature

Laura Briggs

29th September 2016

As the Digital Schoolhouse programme starts a national roll out to schools across the UK, scientists warn that digital disconnect can mean caring less - for each other and the environment. LAURA BRIGGS reports. more...
Fresh organic 'Heirloom' garlic from New Roots Farm in Newmarket NH, at the Portsmouth, NH farmer's market. Photo: ilovebutter via Flickr (CC BY).

Why the sustainable food movement is unstoppable: it's the philosophy!

Jonathan Latham, PhD

3rd October 2016

Members of the food movement share an infectious vision, writes Jonathan Latham - one which is constructive, convivial, classless, raceless, international, and embraces the whole world. Unled yet inspirational, it rests on a novel, harmonious philosophy that combines science, recognition of planetary boundaries, and the universal need for wholesome sustenance. more...
Solar panels and wind turbine at Westmill Farm, Oxfordshire, which hosts several community financed renewable energy cooperatives. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Massive support for community renewable energy

Oliver Tickell

6th September 2016

A new opinion poll of 2,000 adults reveals more than two thirds of the public support renewable energy schemes where projects are undertaken at a community level and local people receive financial benefit. The support even extends to wind and solar farms close to people's homes. more...
Natalie Bennett campaigning in Cambridge during the general election of 2015. Photo: Rama via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

It's time to take back REAL control!

Natalie Bennett

5th September 2016

It's time for UK citizens to #takebackREALcontrol by challenging the anti-democratic powers that control our country, our economy and our lives, retiring Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett told her party conference this weekend in this barnstorming speech. And that's a challenge only the Greens are prepared to take on. more...
How the US saw the Japanese people in 1942. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Japan? The racism of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Linda Pentz Gunter

17th August 2016

As we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month 71 years ago, we have largely forgotten the racist propaganda that made it possible, writes LINDA PENZ GUNTER. We have likewise sanitised history to exclude the voices of African Americans who loudly protested the use of nuclear weapons, connecting them to American colonialism abroad and racism at home. more...
Photo: Roderick Eime via Flickr (CC BY).

Hugh's 'War on Waste' is great - but we need to grasp the bigger picture

Sam Earle

3rd August 2016

Last week's 'War on Waste' - throwaway coffee cups were the deserving target - was an exemplar of effective single-issue campaigning by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. But the answers to our waste problems go way beyond recycling. We must begin to plan a societal transition to a post-consumer culture of caring, sharing, and knowing when we have enough. more...
Multicultural Britain: exemplified through this London shopfront on Seven Sisters Road. Photo: Gwydion M Williams via Flickr (CC BY).

Greens must not jump on anti-immigration bandwagon!

Alex Randall

21st July 2016

The UK's Brexit vote probably did reflect widespread anti-immigration sentiment, writes Alex Randall. And that may persuade environmental groups to tap into the xenophobic zeitgeist to win support and appear 'relevant'. But that's a temptation they must resist, because it's wrong - for factual, logical and ethical reasons. more...
Most rice-eating peoples like their rice white - and will avoid yellow rice as the colour is an indicator of the deadly mould that causes beri-beri disease. Photo: rice and curry on banana leaf in Riau, Indonesia, by John Walker via Flickr (CC BY).

Beri-beri disease and resistance to GM 'Golden Rice'

Ted Greiner, PhD

13th July 2016

Rice-eating peoples are very particular about the rice their diets are based on, writes Ted Greiner. And they have a strong aversion to yellow grains, the tell-tale sign of the deadly mould that causes beri-beri disease. That alone makes GMO 'Golden Rice' a non starter; 107 Nobel Laureates had better start eating their words. 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...
The Comida Conscience mobile restaurant. Photo: Fabrizio Uscamayta.

Abundance for everybody - 'conscious food' supports a thriving urban activist community in Bolivia

Sian Cowman

July 2016

Rooted in the Andean principles of sharing, resilience and 'Vivir Bien' (Living Well), Bolivian activists in the world's highest capital city are building cooperative, grassroots alternatives to the profit-oriented economy, writes Sian Cowman. Their weekly lunch party is just the most visible way in which they are challenging the injustice of capitalism and the fragmentation it inflicts on communities. more...

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Sunset at Papeete, French Polynesia. Photo: Pilottage via Flickr (CC BY).

ALERT: Critically Endangered Species: Homo sapiens

Willemijn Heideman

11th May 2016

The IUCN has mysteriously placed Homo sapiens outside its systems of thinking when defining the criteria for Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable Species, writes Willemijn Heideman: our collective inability to tackle our existential crises makes our survival on this planet a highly uncertain prospect. more...
There are 300,000 landless 'family farmers' in Paraguay - but there's always plenty of pasture for the cattle of the latifundistas who own most of the land. Photo: Pozo Colorado, Paraguay by Arcadiuš via Flickr (CC BY).

Amid corruption, poverty and violence, Paraguay's rural poor fight for land and freedom

Toby Hill

27th May 2016

The closing down of a community radio station in eastern Paraguay is the latest example of political repression in the country with the most unequal land distribution in Latin America, writes Toby Hill, and in which the media are dominated by a tiny elite of the super-rich. As small farmers begin to reclaim the land that is rightfully theirs, landowners and the state they control are striking back. more...
The war on drugs under way near Tumaco, Colombia, June 2008. But how come nothing like this happens in Colorado or Amsterdam? Photo: William Fernando Martinez / AP Photo via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 'war on drugs' is a war on culture and human diversity

Benjamin Ramm

28th April 2016

The 'war on drugs' is presented as a necessary battle against social evils, writes Benjamin Ramm. But from the Andes to the Caribbean, prohibition has criminalised both religious and cultural expression. And it's a war that is strictly for the global poor: people in Colorado can grow pot - so why not Colombians? more...
Ruth & Alex at the Steepholding, Greenham Reach. Photo: Walter Lewis.

Feeding body and soul - an exploration of Britain's new age landworkers

Walter Lewis

12th May 2016

For most of 2015 Walter Lewis travelled around England and Wales meeting and photographing people producing food outside the confines of mainstream agriculture - working out of a passion for the earth and the Earth rather than for commercial gain. He completed his exploration inspired, and determined to spread word of quiet revolution under way across the fields of Britain. more...
A dust storm hits Jordan's  Zaatari refugee camp on 29th July 2012 shortly after it was established ear the northern city of Mafraq. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Jordan grapples with the environmental consequences of its refugee crisis

Doug Weir

27th April 2016

Since 1948 Jordan has taken in millions of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and most recently Syria, writes Doug Weir. Politically and economically the country has proved astonishingly resilient - but the population increase has caused huge damage to its fragile environment. Ecological degradation, pollution and resource scarcity may cause political instability unless more is done to tackle the problems. more...
'Divine wilderness': the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park, California. Photo: Peretz Partensky via Fliclr (CC BY-SA).

Divine wilderness: John Muir's spiritual and political journey

Tim Flinders

6th May 2016

For John Muir, founder of America's national parks, immersion in nature was a blessing providing direct communion with divinity, writes Tim Flinders, and the cause of a spiritual awakening that inspired his life's work: to preserve wilderness and communicate the beauty, wonder and fragility of nature, sharing widely the source of his own enlightenment. more...
Seeking Green Liberty! Photo: Adarsh Thakuri via Flickr (CC BY).

The way to Green Liberty: stop being afraid, work together to make things better

Dr. Glen Barry

11th May 2016

A future of green abundance for all is possible, writes Glen Barry. Instead we are mired in the destruction of the Earth's vital ecosystems, divided by obscene wealth and shameful poverty, and pitted against each other in genocidal wars over energy, resources and global dominance. To make that alternative a living reality, we must shed our fears and come together in common purpose. more...
From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen

27th April 2016

We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end. more...
Longji terraces in Longsheng county, Guilin, China, January 2009. Photo: Anna Frodesiak via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Creating sustainability? Join the Re-Generation!

Daniel Christian Wahl

25th April 2016

Faced with multiple converging crises humanity is challenged to redesign the human presence on Earth within the lifetime of present generations, writes Daniel Christian Wahl, and so transform our impact from degeneration to regeneration. We are capable of creating diverse creative cultures elegantly adapted to the uniqueness of place. more...
Yanomami girl. Photo: Sam valadi via Flickr (CC BY).

The myth of the 'brutal savage' and the mindset of conquest

Stephen Corry

21st April 2016

The 'brutal savage' meme has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture and establishment narratives, writes Stephen Corry, despite abundant evidence that it's fundamentally wrong. But it suits today's dominant mindset of conquest, conflict and colonialism all too well, and serves to justify the ongoing genocide and expropriation of surviving Indigenous Peoples today. more...
It's our future! Photomontage: Beyond GM.

Opening up the debate on GMOs to the voices of the future

Pat Thomas

13th April 2016

An exciting new project has been launched to give children a chance to join in the GMO debate, writes Pat Thomas. With young people speaking up and becoming more aware of food, health and environmental issues, they deserve the platform to voice their concerns and join in a wider global network of youth working for positive change in the world they will inherit. 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...


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