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The original heads in sand salute at Sydney's Bondi Beach. Photo: unknown.

Bottoms up! 'Head in sand salute' is the new climate protest

Maxine Newlands

10th December 2013

A planned 'head in sand' salute had to be abandoned at COP20 in Peru this week, writes Maxine Newlands - called off due to lack of sand on Lima's stony shores. But climate campaigners in Australia and New Zealand made up for it with dozens of their own 'bums up' actions on sandy Antipodean beaches ... more...
Murder most foul - a porpoise carcass bearing cruel bite marks. Photo: Johan Krol.

Murder most foul - who killed all the porpoises?

Ken Collins

9th December 2014

Since 2010 porpoise carcasses have been washing up on our shares, writes Ken Collins - displaying horrific wounds and bite marks that many thought a sign of Great White sharks in Britain's coastal waters. But now scientists have identified an improbably cuddly culprit ... more...
Jeju, Island of Peace: Jeongbang Waterfall. Photo: Jonas Ginter via Flickr.

Jeju, Korea's 'Island of Peace' in the crosshairs of war

Mica Cloughley

19th December 2014

Korea's Jeju Island has been dedicated to peace ever since over 30,000 people were massacred there in 1948, writes Mica Cloughley. But now the US's 'pivot to Asia' demands a new naval base rejected by 94% of voters, and mobile phone giant Samsung is leading the construction project. Islanders are fighting every inch of the way. more...
More roads, more traffic, more tailbacks, more misery. The M5 near Bristol. Photo: Paul Townsend via Flickr.

More roads, more traffic, more misery - how commuting is killing us

Daniel Newman

8th December 2014

George Osborne's announcement last week of £15 billion for English road schemes may have played well with frustrated drivers, writes Daniel Newman. But all the road spending will achieve is to lock us more deeply into an unsustainable, unhealthy and deeply dissatisfying way of life. more...
Palestinian demands for freedom and justice will never be relinquished. The Palestinian flag flying at a demonstration at Bil'in on the West Bank. Photo: Adam Walker Cleaveland.

Palestine: occupied or annexed? Israel must end the ambiguity

Tony Klug

7th December 2014

Israel has exploited the legal ambiguity of its military rule of Palestinian territories, writes Tony Klug - cherry-picking Israeli law, Ottoman law and Geneva Conventions to suit its purposes. Israel must now decide - is it an occupation, or an annexation? Only once that decision is made, can Israel's slide towards apartheid be halted. more...
Bringing in the olive harvest. Photo: Zaytoun.

Olive oil for peace and justice in Palestine

Cathi Pawson

11th December 2014

Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ain died yesterday after being attacked by Israeli soldiers while planting olive trees in the West Bank - a peaceful and fruitful challenge to a long and brutal military occupation. As Zaytoun co-founder Cathi Pawson writes, we can help by buying organic Palestinian olive oil, available in the UK against all the odds. more...
Coming to honeybees in North America and Europe, a new parasite helped on its way by warmer summers. Photo: Smudge 9000, CC BY-SA.

Bee crisis: warmer summers will help new parasite

Robert Paxton

30th December 2014

An exotic parasite is spreading through the world's honey bees and global warming is making it worse, writes Robert Paxton. A new study that shows it will soon be causing widespread colony collapse in North America and Europe. more...
January-October 2014 average air temperature anomalies over land and sea surface temperature anomalies over the oceans (relative to the 1961-1990 average) from the HadCRUT.4.3.0.0 data set. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 set to be the hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd December 2014

The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Their latest report, issued today at the UN climate talks in Lima, shows exceptional heat and flooding in many parts of the world. more...
The possible lengthening of ice-free periods may affect polar bears before the end of the century. Photo: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

With melting Arctic ice, Canada's polar bears face wipe-out by 2100

Tim Radford

6th December 2014

The expected melting of sea ice in Canada's Arctic Archipelago will progressively render huge areas unable to support viable polar bears populations, writes Tim Radford. By 2100 the polar bears could be pushed out altogether. more...
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has declared an Emergency in Gaza City, following extreme weather and severe flooding. Photo: UNWRA.

Flood 'emergency' strikes Gaza City

The Ecologist

29th November 2014

Following Israel's destruction of much of Gaza's civilian infrastructure in Israel's summer 2014 attacks, the territory's drainage systems have been unable to cope with heavy rains, and the UN has declared a state of emergency in Gaza City. more...
Nuclear power station 1 at Three Mile Island, still in operation now long after the partial meltdown in the TMI-2 reactor in 1979. Photo: joelsp via Flickr.

There's no place for nuclear in the 'Clean Power Plan'

Tim Judson / NIRS

28th November 2014

The EPA's plan for 'clean power' are welcome, writes Tim Judson - except for its inclusion of nuclear, and economic distortions and serious omissions that favour the technology. In this open letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, he and co-signatories call on her to ditch the 'false and irrational assumptions' used to justify both new and existing nuclear power. more...
Increasing amounts of meat in our diets are doing no good to use, or to the planet. Photo: Ariel Dovas via Flickr.

Thanks to meat, farming emissions set for 80% rise

Tim Radford

1st December 2014

The increase in meat and dairy consumption is set to cause huge increases in greenhouse gases, reports Tim Radford. A shift to less animal-based diets would cut greenhouse gases, conserve forests and grasslands - and make us all healthier, with reduced obesity, diabetes and associated conditions. more...

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Vaquitas in the Sea of Cortes. Photo: unknown.

No more cetacean extinctions! It's our last chance to save the vaquita

Willie Mackenzie / Greenpeace

27th November 2014

The 'vaquita', a small porpoise limited to a small area of Mexico's Gulf of California, is on the brink of extinction, writes Willie Mackenzie - its numbers reduced to around 100. But it's not too late to save it, by expanding a protected area and providing alternative livelihoods for local fishermen. more...
Sailing boat on Førdefjorden. Photo: Arild Nybø via Flickr.

'Acutely toxic' mine waste threatens the death of Norway's fjords

Tina Andersen Vågenes

28th November 2014

Two huge open pit mines in northern Norway are on the verge of approval, writes Tina Andersen Vågenes - even though they would dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of tailings in fjords where wild salmon spawn. Scientists are voicing serious concerns, and protests are growing, but government and mining companies appear determined to push the projects forward regardless. more...
Sheep enjoying the shade created by solar panels at Conergy Solar Park at Fohren in Germany. Photo: Conergy.

The UK's farms can generate as much power as Hinkley C by 2020 - renewably!

Jonathon Porritt

26th November 2014

A new report shows that the UK's farms can easily generate as much power as the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant, writes Jonathan Porritt. Not only would it all be renewable, but if could all be in place by 2020. Here he offers some friendly - but strictly confidential - advice for Energy Secretary Ed Davey. more...
The cartographic submarine at work. Photo: WHOI.

Antarctic sea ice expands to record extent - and it's deeper than we thought

Edward Hanna

28th November 2014

While the Arctic melts, Antarctica's ice has spread to record extents in three consecutive years, writes Edward Hanna. But is the news as good as it looks? Yes, if indications from a robot submarine that the ice is thicker than expected are supported by further evidence. It may just be that Antarctica's ice is more resilient than scientists dared to hope. more...
Early stages of construction on the Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor in France, which was due to open in 2012, but is running five years late. Photo: Schoella via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C hovers on the brink - Europe's nuclear giants face meltdown

Paul Brown

25th November 2014

Doubts are growing doubts that the Hinkley C nuclear power station, the EU's biggest construction project, will get the final go-ahead from the UK government, writes Paul Brown. And that's leaving the European nuclear industry, already in serious financial difficulties, facing a struggle for survival. more...
Rod and line fishing for tuna on a Maldivian fishing boat. Photo: Canopus Maldives / '...your local connection' via Flickr.

Human rights vs sustainability? EU must not attack Maldives 'green' fishery

Tony Juniper

27th November 2014

The Maldives, a vast republic of scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, has worked hard to make its fisheries among the world's most sustainable, writes Tony Juniper. But now the EU has slapped a 20% levy on its fish exports due to human rights concerns - a move that mainly hits poor fisherfolk innocent of any wrongdoing. more...
The Red Dacca banana (Musa acuminata) growing on Zanzibar, East Africa - smaller, plumper, softer and sweeter than the yellow Cavendish varieties, with a slight raspberry-banana flavor. Photo: Harvey Barrison / Wikimedia Commons.

Why is Bill Gates backing GMO red banana 'biopiracy'?

Adam Breasley & Oliver Tickell

24th November 2014

The Gates Foundation has sunk $15 million into developing GMO 'super bananas' with high levels of pre-Vitamin A, writes Adam Breasley. But the project is using 'stolen' genes from a Micronesian banana cultivar. And what exactly is the point, when delicious, popular, nutritious 'red bananas' rich in caroteinoids are already grown around the tropics? more...
Women of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, protesting today. Photo: World Forum of Fisher Peoples - WFFP.

Marine Protected Areas in South Africa - ocean grabbing by another name

Mads Barbesgaard, Carsten Pedersen, Timothé Feodoroff

21st November 2014

Today on World Fisheries Day, fisher peoples and their allies are taking to the streets and beaches to fight against ocean grabbing in all its forms - including Marine Protected Areas imposed without consultation that rob and criminalise local communities and benefit only privileged outsiders. more...
Never mind the drinking water aquifers and the national park - the South Downs is one of England's most cherished landscapes that could be opened up for fracking. Photo: Jaydee! via Flickr.

Fracking is safe. Radiation is harmless. And pigs have wings

Dr David Lowry

21st November 2014

Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos, Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the Environment Agency and its ex-boss Lord Smith all suffer from a blind spot, writes David Lowry - the dangers of fracking, its radioactive emissions and the toxic chemicals that threaten to pollute our aquifers. As for official advice that 'regulation needs to be strongly and robustly applied' - pass the Tippex! more...
'So can you build this bloody power station or can't you?' Cameron gets tough with EDF workers on a visit to the Hinkley Point C site. Photo: Department of Energy and Climate Change via Flickr.

Hinkley C hit by surprise treble whammy - is it all over for EDF?

Doug Parr /

20th November 2014

EDF has already moved heavy earth moving gear onto the Hinkley C nuclear power station construction site, writes Doug Parr - but that doesn't mean it's a done deal. On the contrary, a host of intractable problems are coming home to roost, and the increasingly troubled project is looking shakier than ever. more...
At 7.40 am on 2nd May 2012 a Greenpeace activist flew over the Bugey power station on a yellow paraglider. But this time, it's something different! Photo: Greenpeace video / Youtube.

Mystery drones are buzzing around French nuclear plants - should we be worried?

Daniel Salisbury & Christopher Hobbs

20th November 2014

With unidentified drones regularly overflying French nuclear power plants, Daniel Salisbury and Christopher Hobbs warn that despite the dismissive responses of nuclear operators, they have cause for concern: the drones may be unable to cause serious damage in themselves, but they compromise site security and open the way to future attacks. more...
WIPP / Los Alamos National Laboratory celebrates its 1000th transuranic waste shipment. Photo: energy.gov / Wikimedia Commons.

New Mexico nuclear waste accident a 'horrific comedy of errors' that exposes deeper problems

Jim Green / Nuclear Monitor

27th November 2014

Last February's explosion at the WIPP dump for long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste from the US's nuclear weapons program remains unexplained, writes Jim Green. But with the site's history of ignored warnings, 'missing' safety culture, lack of supervision and dubious contractor appointments, it surely came as no surprise - and further accidents appear inevitable. more...
Air Pollution Level 5, London, April 30 2014. Photo: David Holt via Flickr.

ECJ affirms UK's right to clean air - the Government must act!

Keith Taylor MEP

19th November 2014

A landmark judgment by the European Court of Justice compels the UK Government to act as soon as possible to reduce air pollution in British cities, writes Keith Taylor - and a good thing too for our health, safety and wellbeing. But it's not just the UK that benefits: every EU country must also comply with the ruling. more...

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