The Ecologist


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Make hay while the sun shines! This farmer in Cyprus can remain GMO-free - for now. Photo: Tony Woods via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

GM crops: an uneasy truce hangs over Europe

Mary Dobbs, Queen's University Belfast

9th October 2015

With all the EU's GMO exemptions filed, a clear majority - by number, population and area of farmland - have chosen to be GMO-free, writes Mary Dobbs. But the rules surrounding their opt-outs are complex in the extreme and many countries will find it hard to maintain their GMO-free status - specially if the Commission and the biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta choose to exercise their powers. more...
A cob of Portuguese maize: Portugal being one of the only countries in the EU to permit the cultivation of a GMO maize variety. Photo: Rosino via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

France, Germany, Poland ... ten European nations to go GMO-free

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2015

With the deadline for EU countries who wish to ban genetically GM crops drawing near, writes Oliver Tickell, Poland is the latest to register with the European Commission to go GM-free. Now the division of the EU into pro and anti-GM zones may test the single market beyond its limits. more...
At the Runnymede Eco-village, now evicted and destroyed. Photo: Diggers2012 on Facebook.

The cause of the Runnymede eco-villagers is a righteous one

Nicholas Sebley

22nd September 2015

Coming so soon after the Magna Carta celebrations, the eviction and destruction of the Runnymede Eco-village is a parable of our times, writes Nicholas Sebley: a violent assertion of the power of capital over people and community, and part of a deliberate, systematic closure of alternative ways of living outside the mainstream economy. more...
Do your bicycle's handlebar grips contain hazardous chemicals? Now you have the right to know, thanks to a landmark judgment in the EU Court. Photo: widjaja wreksoatmodjo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EU Court overrules regulators, protects people from toxic chemicals

Tess Crean / ClientEarth

17th September 2015

The EU Court has made a landmark judgement we should all be glad of, writes Tess Crean, firming up our right to know when products contain chemicals known to be seriously damaging to health. Now we must make sure that reluctant regulators step up to the mark. more...
Dmitry Lisitsyn. Photo: Goldman Prize.

Russia aims 'foreign agent' law at green NGO

Oliver Tickell

15th September 2015

The respected Russian campaign group Sakhalin Environment Watch is being forced to choose between registering as a 'foreign agent' label and closing down, writes Oliver Tickell. Environmental campaigning, it seems, is now a 'political activity'. more...
Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland gather on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh on 25th August 2015 to demand clean air after the zone failed to meet Scottish Air Quality Safety Standards. Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland via Flickr (CC BY).

Government faces new legal action over UK's deadly air pollution

Oliver Tickell

14th September 2015

The UK government's response to the Supreme Court's order to clean up air quality in key urban areas has been condemened as vague, weak and slow, lacking in clear targets and compulsory measures. New figures reveal that over 50,000 people a year are being killed by air pollution. more...
Linevo and its water reservoir formed by a dam on Koinikha, a small river falling into Ob. The giant Novosibirsk Electrode Factory is on the background. Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Russia - has the world's biggest country turned against the environment?

Lucy E J Woods

22nd September 2015

While other countries apply themselves to environmental challenges from climate change to nature protection, Russia - with its massive wealth of nature and natural resources - is stubbornly refusing to take part, writes Lucy E J Woods. And as the economy declines, the pressure is on: to ignore environmental regulations, and clamp down on environmental defenders. more...
The Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran, scheduled for demolition after a Supreme Court judgment that its residents rights would not be violated by their forced eviction to make way for a Jewish town. Photo:

Israel resumes ethnic cleansing of the Negev - the Prawer Plan revived?

Alia Al Ghussain

11th September 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron is receiving Israel's Benjamin Netenyahu into his Downing Street home just as Israel embarks on its ethnic cleansing of the Negev, writes Alia Al Ghussain. The imminent demolition of the 'unrecognised' Bedouin village of Umm Al Hiran and the eviction of its residents looks like the realization of the 'Prawer Plan' to Judaize the desert. more...
Family bathing in the Rio Lempa, El Salvador's longest and only navigable river, until recently at risk from a cyanide-leaching gold mine. Photo: kadejo via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

For the love of water: El Salvador's mining ban may cost $300m 'compensation'

Lynn Holland

10th October 2015

Disastrous water pollution from gold mines in El Salvador has united government and people to oppose new metal mines, writes Lynn Holland. In Central America's most water scarce country, the imperative is to keep lakes, rivers and streams clean and wholesome. But there may be a heavy price to pay, with a Canadian mining company pressing a $300 million 'compensation' claim. more...
Scottish Comedian Bruce Fummey joins the #OurLand photoshoot. Photo: .

Scottish land reform - don't forget the tax havens!

Craig Bayne

18th September 2015

New proposals on land reform in Scotland are a mixed bag, writes Craig Bayne: some good, some bad, and some downright ugly. Leading that last category is the failure to tackle offshore land ownership in tax haven shell companies, and force disclosure of the real landowners. more...
This cull is not the answer to TB in cattle - and now the question will be settled in the High Court. Photo: the badger march outside Parliament, 8th June 2013, by David Clare via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Brian May: I'll take Dorset badger cull to the High Court

The Ecologist

30th August 2015

The government's decision of extend the badger cull to Dorset, and persist with the Somerset and Gloucestershire culls, is 'completely irrational', say badger protection groups - and now they intend to prove it in a High Court legal action, forcing an end to the killing. more...
Neonic insecticides in seed treatments damage bees and other pollinators as the toxic chemicals are expressed in their pollen and nectar. Photo: Claus Rebler via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

FoE mounts legal challenge to bee-killer pesticide permits

Oliver Tickell

24th August 2015

A month after warning the government of legal action over its decision to allow farmers to use bee-killing pesticides banned under EU law, Friends of the Earth has filed a High Court legal challenge to have the 'derogations' declared unlawful. more...

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Thugs throwing rocks at illegal timber investigators from Agent Green in Romania, 24th May 2015. Photo: still from video by Agent Green.

Romania's 'occupy forests' movement demands clampdown on corporate crime

Raluca Besliu

21st August 2015

A growing protest movement is demanding strong controls on international investors and logging companies buying up Romania's forests, writes Raluca Besliu. In its sights is Austria-based Schweighofer, which stands accused of criminal malpractice and accepting illegal timber shipments. The popular outrage stirred up by corporate misdeeds is now stimulating a wider democratic revival. more...
On 14th April 2015, a demonstration in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh against a proposed dam on the Kanhar Valley by Adivasi, Dalit protesters was met with police violence and gunfire which injured seven women and one man. Photo:

Legal 'reforms' may make violence the only option for India's eco-defenders

Arpitha Kodiveri

26th August 2015

President Modi is determined to sweep away 'obstacles to growth' including the laws that allow marginalised communities to challenge the confiscation of their lands and forests for dams, mines and other 'development' projects, writes Arpitha Kodiveri. If proposed 'reforms' are enacted, the only remaining avenue of dissent may be one of armed conflict. more...
Guarani man Semião Vilhalva lies on the ground, murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend. Photo: still from video by Marcelo Zelic via Facebook.

Brazil: Guarani man murdered by ranchers' gunmen

The Ecologist

2nd September 2015

Guarani man Semião Vilhalva was murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend after his community reoccupied parts of their ancestral land from ranchers. Thousands of Guarani Indians holding on to tiny patches of their ancestral land are living in constant fear of forcible eviction. more...
Demonstration in Rosia Montana against the gold mine project, 22nd September 2013. Photo: Initiative Mittel- und Osteuropa e.V. via Flickr (CC BYNC-SA).

Romania faces $2.56bn claim for failed gold mine

Oliver Tickell

14th August 2015

Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources is seeking over $2.5 billion damages from Romania after it rejected a vast gold mine at Rosia Montana, writes Oliver Tickell. Incredibly, it is taking legal action under a UK-Romania trade agreement. more...
A policeman approaches Donnachadh McCarthy to arrest him in the middle of a media interview in Parliament Square, 19th December 2014. Photo: still from Youtube video by letmelooktv (embedded below).

It's not just me on trial - it's British democracy and British justice

Donnachadh McCarthy

13th August 2015

Democracy campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy is in court tomorrow tomorrow on a fictitious charge of 'assault against a security guard in Parliament Square'. But his real offence was to expose the corruption at the heart of the Lib-Dems, with the sale of peerages by political parties for around £300,000. And now the CPS is trying to deny him a fair trial. more...
Julian Assange. Illustration: Mataparda, on a photo from Espen Moe, via Flickr (CC BY).

Julian Assange: an epic struggle for justice

John Pilger

3rd August 2015

Julian Assange's struggle for freedom is one of law and justice against vengeful state power determined at all costs to darken the light of truth that Wikileaks has cast into the murkiest of places, writes John Pilger. Now, after a long series of moral and legal victories, his release may finally be drawing near. more...
The 2015 oilseed rape harvest is coming in strong. Photo: Michael via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oilseed rape flourishes without bee-killing chemicals

The Ecologist

3rd July 2015

Early yield figures indicate a bumper harvest for oilseed rape in England in the first neonic-free growing season - making a nonsense of the 'emergency' lifting of the ban of the bee-killing pesticides. more...
Honeybee on oilseed rape flower. Photo: s.ralph2010 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

FoE acts to revoke 'unlawful' bee-killer pesticide permit

Oliver Tickell

28th July 2015

Friends of the Earth has taken the first legal steps towards striking out last week's emergency approval of bee-harming 'neonic' pesticides in England, granted last week despite a Europe-wide ban. more...
Protest at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Permanent Peoples' Tribunal puts fracking on trial

Dr Damien Short & Dr Tom Kerns

23rd July 2015

The damage caused by fracking to people, communities and the wider environment will be put under the legal spotlight in public hearings in the US and the UK, write Damien Short & Tom Kerns. While the 'ruling' that emerges will be non-binding, it will provide an authoritative, expert dossier of fact and argument for real legal actions to follow. more...
Fierce flames creep across moorland near Heriot, Scotland. Photo: Snipps Whispers (CC BY-NC-ND).

Britain's 'protected' moorlands go up in flames

The Ecologist

21st July 2015

A new study led by RSPB shows that more than half of Britain's most precious upland moors are suffering from burning - widely used to increase the numbers of red grouse available for recreational shooting. more...
Workers at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lancashire's fracking victory was even greater than we knew

Damien Short

21st July 2015

The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice. more...

Fox hunting is political poison for David Cameron and the Tory Party

Dominic Dyer

20th July 2015

Last week David Cameron backed down over his plans to bring back fox hunting by 'fatally amending' the Hunting Act, writes Dominic Dyer. The way he spun it, it was all about SNP interference in English law, but the real problem was opposition within the Conservative Party, which increasingly sees blood sports as a barbaric relic that alienates voters of all persuasions. more...
Now it could be fracked: North Meadow, a traditional uncultivated water meadow of 110 acres, contains 80% of the UK population of the Snakeshead Fritillary. Photo: Nick Warner via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fracking go-ahead in SSSI wildlife sites, groundwater sources

Adam Vaughan / Guardian Environment

17th July 2015

Breaking a clear pre-election promise, the government will allow fracking to take place in the UK's most precious wildlife sites and in vital groundwater source areas, writes Adam Vaughan. more...


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