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Ecologist New Voices - Environmental artist Gary Cook

8th July, 2016


One of our New Voices is the UK-base environmental painter and activist Gary Cook who will be writing for us about the visual arts. As an introduction to his work, the committed conservationist explains how his extraordinarily powerful 'info-canvases' educate people about the threats to wildlife and the need for immediate action to protect our most endangered species for future generations.
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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...
Temporary streams are set to become an increasingly common landscape feature in the UK. The River Manifold (Staffordshire, UK) already experiences annual drying due to features of the underlying bedrock. Photo: Tory Milner.

Dry rivers are living rivers - with our care and protection

Rachel Stubbington

25th July 2016

Although flowing water is fundamental to river ecosystems, temporary streams are distinctive landscape features that support surprisingly diverse communities, writes Rachel Stubbington. However, the biodiversity of these dynamic ecosystems needs greater recognition and protection. more...
Even though most of China's industrial production is exported to the UK and other countries, we take no responsibility for the emissions in its power plants and factories, like this one in Chonqing. Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

UK's latest 'carbon budget' fails the Paris Agreement test

Kate Scott & Marco Sakai

5th July 2016

The UK's latest carbon budget was well-received, even by environmentalists, write Kate Scott & Marco Sakai. But that's only because they didn't look hard enough. The Paris Agreement hugely elevated ambition to achieve even a 2C temperature rise limit - and the UK's effort is nowhere near the mark. more...
How committed is Tory Party hopeful Andrea Leadsom MP to climate change action? That much. Photo: Policy Exchange via Flickr (CC BY).

The UK can still lead on climate change - even after Brexit

Tim Rayner & Brendan Moore

8th July 2016

In its decision to leave the EU, the UK is cutting itself off from one of the world's most effective systems of climate governance, write Tim Rayner & Brendan Moore. But we still have our own Climate Change Act and can lead the EU, if not as a member, at least by example - provided current and future Conservative Party leadership make their commitment clear, and implement their promises. more...

The Midsummer Bonfire: Brexit and Podemos

Robert Alcock

30th June, 2016



One of our new Ecologist Voices, "Brexpat" Robert Alcock writes from rural Spain where deep down - under the shock and sorrow of Brexit - he believes there may be the seed of an unexpected hope that could give us the best chance of an emerging and real respect for our cultural and ecological heritage
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Rare dormice return to Yorkshire Dales National Park

Susan Clark

27th June, 2016

There's the Referendum vote and then there's what else happened on Brexit day. This, for instance... more...

Reward Offered to help catch and convict wolf pup poachers

22nd June, 2016

The Center for Biological Diversity has launched a new Wolf Defense Fun to help protect wolves in the wild more...

Brexit - a nasty sting in the tail for Britain's bees?

Dave Timms

21st June, 2016

Britain's bees are under threat from Brexit and moves to allow farmers to use banned bee-harming 'neonictinoid' pesticides, warns Dave Timms, Bees Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. With 20 species extinct since 1900 and a further 35 under threat, how much more can our bees take? more...
Tina Rothery of The Nanas on an anti-fracking protest. Photo: The Nanas.

Cuadrilla versus The Nanas - #IamTinaRothery

Tina Rothery

23rd June 2016

Thanks to fracking company Cuadrilla, grandmother Tina Rothery will be in court tomorrow over a £55,000 'debt' imposed on her for joining a peaceful occupation of a fracking site in Lancashire. But as she explains, she can't pay, she won't pay, and even if she could pay, she wouldn't. Someone has to stand up to corporate vandalism and abuse of justice - and in this case, it's her, no matter what the consequences. more...

Cornish community carries on fighting a 'Super Quarry' development in Marine Conservation Zone

Amy Hall

20th June, 2016

There are now some 50 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in England and Wales. Amy Hall reports on how campaigners fighting the re-opening of a Cornish quarry in one of the zones are effectively testing what the designation really means and how much protection it guarantees. more...
September sun rising over foggy wetlands, Ķemeri National Park, Latvia - part of the 'Natura 2000' territory designated under EU nature laws for its biological diversity, the unique Ķemeri Moorland, various ecosystems, and springs of mineral and curativ

Leaked official report: EU Nature Directives are 'fit for purpose'

Oliver Tickell

16th June 2016

The official 'fitness test' on the EU's nature directives carried out for the EU Commission under its 'better regulation' initiative finds that the laws are 'fit for purpose' in every respect, writes Oliver Tickell. But there's a mystery: the report was completed in January, yet it remains unpublished. Did it reach the 'wrong' conclusion for a Commission intent on a bonfire of red tape? more...

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'No to the privaTISAtion of the world!' - sign at a recent demonstration agianst TISA in Geneva. Photo: Annette Dubois via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

TISA 'free trade' deal to force draconian social, environmental, financial deregulation

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

17th June 2016

A leaked text from the 'Trade In Services Agreement' negotiations shows that TISA is set to unleash a massive wave of deregulation affecting social, environmental and financial standards, and force the privatisation of state-run enterprises, writes Pete Dolack. So it's not just TTIP, CETA and TPP we have to fight - TISA could be the biggest corporate power grab of them all. more...

Join the Great Stag Hunt - Stag Beetle that is

Susan Clark

15th June 2016

It's National Insect Week in the UK and the conservation charity, People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), is looking for Citizen Scientists to take part in its annual survey to record sightings of the stag beetle. Here's how to take part. more...
Prime Minister David Cameron visiting an IGas site in Gainsborough on 13th January 2014. Photo: Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UK fracking policy founded on scientific fraud, misrepresentation and prevarication

Nick Cowern

15th June 2016

The key study that justifies the Government's claim that fracking is a climate change 'solution' is based on serious scientific errors, writes Nick Cowern. Not only has the Government failed to correct them, but it is now delaying the publication of a new official report that would reveal the truth - that fracking is considerably worse for the world's climate than coal. more...
Karen people gather to protect their rivers. Photo: Kesan Media.

Saving the Salween: Southeast Asia's last major undammed river

Tom Fawthorp

13th June, 2016

The free-flowing Salween is the last big undammed river in Southeast Asia, home to a flurry of endangered species including tigers and clouded leopards, writes Tom Fawthrop in Hpa-an, Karen State, Myanmar. And thanks to support from both the indigenous Karen people, and senior officials in China who see the huge ecotourism potential of the river and its dramatic gorge, it could just stay that way. more...
Drone footage documents a primary drainage canal cutting through an identified 'No Go' area of buffer forest in an IOI oil palm concession in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Photo: Bjorn Vaugn / Greenpeace.

Palm oil giant IOI, rainforest destroyer, must make good its damage!

Annisa Rahmawati / Greenpeace

10th June 2016

Over 300 major food companies used to buy palm oil from IOI, writes Annisa Rahmawati. But after the company was found to be destroying vast areas of Indonesia's rainforest and draining peatlands to make new palm oil plantations, it has been deserted by its customers. Now IOI must go beyond just sticking to the rules, and start actively repairing the damage it has caused. more...
Gas tanks at a fracking well on the Marcellus Shale in North Central Pennsylvania, USA. Photo: Gerry Dincher via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fracking is twice as bad for climate as coal - will the Climate Change Committee ban it?

Dr Robin Russell-Jones

9th June 2016

The UK government is all for fracking, writes Dr Robin Russell-Jones, but on climate grounds alone it should be banned. Evidence from the US shows that shale gas is twice as dirty as coal from a climate viewpoint due to 'fugitive emissions' of methane. That makes fracking incompatible with the UK's climate change commitments and the Paris Agreement - as the CCC may soon rule. more...
Cargill soya terminal handling mainly GMO produce at Santarem, Brazil, between Rio Amazonas and rio Tapajos. Photo: Sara y Tzunki (Cecilia e Francesco) via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No 'old' GMOs, no 'new' GMOs, no GMOs in the EU, no GMOs in Africa!

Molly Scott Cato

9th June 2016

The European Parliament has had a great week, writes Molly Scott Cato MEP - for those who oppose GMOs in food and farming. MEPs voted on five occasions to say no to GMOs, and gave their support to agroecology as the only sustainable way to feed the world. more...
Vezo fishers primarily use only traditional fishing methods - their boats have no motors and the dive without scuba gear. Thriving markets for shark fin and sea cucumbers, however, are changing many aspects of the way they live. Photo: © Garth Cripps.

Madagascar's 'sea nomads' are the new ocean defenders

Charlie Gardner

8th June 2016

The Vezo, Madagascar's indigenous 'sea nomads', are travelling hundreds of miles to the remote 'Barren Isles', the Indian Ocean's largest locally-managed marine protected area, writes Charlie Gardner. Drawn by valuable shark fins and sea cucumbers, sold into Chinese markets, the Vezo are now joining with local fishers to protect the ecosystem and expel illegal divers. more...
Farmers like Madame Fatu Kanu, near Freetown in Sierra Leone, have nothing to gain from the kind of corporate agricultural development offered by the 'New Alliance', and everything to lose. Photo: kenny lynch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EU Parliament: stop 'aid' funding billions to agribusiness in Africa

Oliver Tickell

7th June 2016

The European Parliament today called on the Commission and member states like the UK to stop funding the 'New Alliance' plan to force export-oriented agribusiness onto Africa. Instead they want support for small-scale family farms and agroecology. more...
The twin EPR reactor complex at Taishan, China, showing the completed concrete domes sealing in the reactor vessels and heads. Photo: from drone video footage by China Free Press, HK.

EDF, CGN press ahead with 'unsafe' Chinese nuclear plant

Oliver Tickell

3rd June 2016

Twin nuclear reactors at Taishan in China have been sealed into their concrete domes despite fears that the reactor vessels have serious metallurgical defects. No safety test data has been released by the two companies in charge, EDF and CGN, to show that the reactors will not crack in operation, releasing radioactivity. more...
At Thailand's famous, or infamous, Tiger Temple, 25th January 2011. Photo: Roel van Deursen - Spijkenisse / Nissewaard via Flickr (CC BY).

Good riddance to Thailand's infamous 'tiger temple'

Simon Evans, Anglia Ruskin University

6th June 2016

Thailand's 'tiger temple' was a front for the commercial exploitation of tiger bones, skins and other parts for the lucrative international trade, writes Simon Evans. It made no contribution to conservation and the animals were subject to extreme cruelty. But while the temple's closure is good news, there are hundreds of similar tiger farms across the region that are no better - or even worse. more...
A haven of peace, tranquillity and biodiversity in the heart of London: the wildlife garden at the Natural History Museum. Photo: Cary Grant.

Natural History Museum must not destroy its Wildlife Garden

Gary Grant

2nd June 2016

A proposed redesign of the Natural History Museum's grounds in London would cause some unfortunate collateral damage, writes Gary Grant - the destruction of the Museum's 21 year-old wildlife garden, an ecological jewel in the heart of London which features over 3,000 species of plant and animal in just one lovingly tended acre. The Museum must think again! 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...

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