The Ecologist


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This one goes all the way to the top: Prof. Nina Fedoroff of Penn State, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with shown with President G W Bush. Photo: Penn State via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

GMOs and the puppetmasters of academia - what the New York Times left out

Dr Jonathan Latham

8th September 2015

The NYT's expose of Kevin Folta's PR role as a pro-GMO shill in the employ of Monsanto barely scratched the surface of a huge web of corporate money, influence and intrigue that permeates the US's premier universities and scientific institutions, writes Jonathan Latham - from Harvard and Cornell to the AAAS. Why the reticence to name all the names? more...
It's not just toxic seeds and herbicides ... Monsanto's PR practices carry their own toxic load. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Monsanto's scientist shill exposed

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

8th September 2015

The 'Kevin Folta affair' has cast the hard light of day into the dubious PR tactics of the GMO industry, writes Claire Robinson - recruiting and paying scientists as secret shills to promulgate a pro-GM message without revealing their funding sources. more...
Is it all a pipe-dream? Artist's impression of the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Image: EDF Energy.

Hinkley C nuclear plant postponed indefinitely

Oliver Tickell

4th September 2015

EDF has indefinitely postponed its Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, England, as a new IEA analysis shows that its power will cost UK energy users three times more than it should, writes Oliver Tickell. A similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget - and may never be completed. more...
Tar sands processing in Alberta, Canada is a huge source of emissions in its own right. Canada is one of the countries putting forward an 'inadequate' target, with no credible plan to deliver it. Photo: Williamson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Emissions cuts pledges too weak to achieve 2C 'safety limit'

Alex Kirby

3rd September 2015

Promises made by governments to cut their greenhouse emissions come nowhere near stopping global warming rising above the 2C danger level, writes Alex Kirby. And in many cases the laws and policies needed to deliver them are absent. more...
Millions marched against the Iraq war - and history has shown us to be right. Yet the UK 'establishment' is still dominated by the warmongers who brought death and devastation to the Middle East. Photo: Tom Sparks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Support the Iraq war, hold the keys to worldly power

Craig Murray

3rd September 2015

Supporters of the Iraq War dominate the UK's public institutions, despite its dismal failure. Why? Because it's the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus and all its dogmas, writes Craig Murray, from TTIP to austerity and the corporate takeover of public services. But now, with the rise of Corbyn and the SNP, the deep state is finally facing a real challenge. more...
Going, going ... Photo: ad for WWF by TBWA\PARIS, France via brett jordan on Flickr (CC BY).

Three trillion trees live on Earth - and we need every one of them

James Dyke

3rd September 2015

Isn't three trillion trees enough to keep our planet healthy? It sounds like a lot, writes James Dyke, but they are under threat as never before, from deliberate deforestation and climate change. Many of the 1.5 billion trees we are losing a year are in the last great rainforests - key ecosystems under threat of drying out forever under our escalating double onslaught. more...
A pre-harvest spray, probably of a glyphosate-based weed-killer, is applied to an oilseed rape (canola) crop in Occold, Norfolk. Photo: Tim Parkinson via Flickr (CC BY).

Keep glyphosate out of our food!

Peter Melchett

3rd September 2015

Following scientific confirmation of the severe hazards to health caused by residues of glyphosate weed killers in food, the Soil Association is calling on bakers and retailers to stop 'pre-harvest' spraying on arable crops. The SA's Peter Melchett just sent out this letter - adapt as necessary and send to retailers, bakers, makers of cereals, pasta, biscuits and others. more...
On patrol outside the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana (LA), during Hurricane Katrina relief Operations. Photo: Expert Infantry via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate change, Katrina and refugees: military solutions, corporate opportunities

Nick Buxton & Ben Hayes

1st September 2015

Confronted with climate change, disasters and their human victims, governments are all to quick to adopt a security response, write Nick Buxton & Ben Hayes. We saw it in the US after Hurricane Katrina. We see it now in Europe. And there's a host of powerful corporations keen to cash in on the opportunities. But the solutions they offer will only deepen the crises we face. more...
The protestor is right: GMOs are indeed a science experiment. And we are the guinea pigs. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Growing doubts over GMO safety: a scientist's experience

Jonathan Latham

31st August 2015

Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about. more...
Gardens by the Bay with Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. Photo: Uwe Schwarzbach via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Setting aside half the Earth for 'rewilding': the human question

William Lynn

9th September 2015

Biologist E O Wilson's grand idea of setting aside half of the planet for nature to thrive is both appealing and deeply challenging, writes William Lynn. But it's missing a key element: an urban vision of how people can live ecologically, joyously in the half we make our own. more...
Artists impression of 'Garden Bridge' by Heatherwick Studio. Not immediately obvious is that it will block views from Southbank along the river to St Pauls Cathedral.

London's Garden Bridge: a damaging folly at public expense

Will Jennings

26th August 2015

It sounded wonderful: a futuristic 'garden bridge' across the Thames dripping with flowers and foliage, writes Will Jennings. But really it's a private enclosure of valuable public space, mature trees and views, backed by £60m of taxpayers money, that delivers no benefits to London's wildlife, environment or transport needs. more...
It will take more than PR puff to restore Coca-Cola's reputation in India. Wall-painted sign in Bangalore, India. Photo: Syed Nabil Aljunid via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Never mind the greenwash - Coca Cola can never be 'water neutral'

Amit Srivastava

25th August 2015

Following a series of disastrous failures in India, one of Coca-Cola's most important markets, the company is desperate to rebuild its reputation by claiming 'water neutrality'. But the idea is absurd, writes Amit Srivastava, and does nothing to benefit the communities that suffer from the depleted aquifers it pumps from. more...

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The EFSA headquarters: closed to science and dissent, open to industry 'experts' and lobbyists. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Naked corruption: the scandal of glyphosate re-assessment in Europe

Dr Nancy Swanson and Dr Mae Wan Ho

24th August 2015

The EU's 'rapporteur state' on glyphosate, Germany, has recommended re-approval of the herbicide with its daily intake increased by 67%, write Drs Nancy Swanson and Mae Wan Ho. The verdict is based on a re-assessment carried out by Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies, based on unpublished industry studies. It should be rejected outright. more...
Women in Zorro village, Burkina Faso, desseding their cotton. But what chance have they got in global commodity markets that are systematically rigged against them? Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

GM cotton: a false promise for Africa's farmers

Arya Tajdin

27th August 2015

The idea that GMO cotton offers hope to Africa's impoverished cotton farmers is facile and fraudulent, writes Arya Tajdin. In fact it only adds to their vulnerability. Their real problems lie in the structural oversupply of subsidized cotton on world markets, and the flood of 'kifua' - dead white man's clothing - that undermines the continent's textile industries. more...
Roundup by Monsanto, photographed in February 2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia. Via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup may cause potentially fatal 'adrenal insufficiency'

GMWatch & The Ecologist

21st August 2015

A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans. more...
'No Coal - the 'Ende Gelände' action, 15th August 2015. Photo: Ruben Neugebauer / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Into the heart of the beast - occupying Germany's open cast coal nightmare

Toni Belly

21st August 2015

Last weekend Toni Belly was occupying Germany's biggest open cast coal mine in the once lovely Rhineland area, one of thousands of protestors from and other groups determined to shut the operation down. Nursing his bruises and eyes still sore from pepper spray, he set down his account of an unforgettable day of action. more...
Children whose development was impaired by their mother's use of thalidomide in a swimming pool. Photo: via Luciana Christiante / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Dr Frances Kelsey: thalidomide and the precautionary principle

Helena Paul & Philip Bereano

25th August 2015

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dr Frances Kelsey, write Helena Paul & Philip Bereano. In 1960, she defied her bosses at the FDA to prevent the licensing of thalidomide in the USA, saving thousands from being born with serious deformities. Her tough approach to minimising the risk from new drugs contains lessons we ignore at our peril. more...
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...
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...
COP19 Climate March against the influence of fossil fuel companies on the negotiations, November 16 2013. Photo: Jamie Henn / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

COP21 is the 'no hope' Climate Summit - but there's still everything to play for

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

14th August 2015

If you're expecting COP21 in Paris to save the world's climate you're in for a disappointment, writes Alex Scrivener. For governments, climate is secondary to the really big issues - like endless economic growth and ever-increasing corporate profit. But there's still plenty campaigners can do to shame politicians, businesses and investors into meaningful action. more...
Under examination: 'smart meters' that sent fault codes back to utility offices. Photo: David Dodge / Green Energy Futures via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Stop the £11 billion 'smart meter' ripoff!

Mel Kelly

14th August 2015

At an £11 billion cost to energy users, and against all expert advice, writes Mel Kelly, the government is forcing the rollout of 'smart meters' repeatedly exposed as expensive, poorly tested and potential threats to our health and privacy. This madness must stop. more...
Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis recticulata) and oxpeckers photographed on safari at Samburu, Kenya. Photo: roger smith via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Giraffes aren't dangerous - but some are endangered

Matt Hayward

11th August 2015

Giraffe numbers have fallen from 140,000 in 16 years to just 80,000, writes Matt Hayward, and sub-species in East and West Africa are close to extinction. However trophy hunting has led to big population increases in private game reserves in southern Africa. To secure the giraffes' future, beware of simplistic narratives. more...
Saving our red squirrels is fine - but only if we reach beyond our shores to where the real biodiversity lies, and is under threat. Photo:  j_gldsck via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Beyond squirrels: biodiversity doesn't stop at Dover

James Borrell

8th August 2015

Should we really be spending £1.2 million a year to conserve red squirrels? Yes we should, writes James Borrell. But with Africa's rhinos facing extinction, and vital conservation in UK's overseas 'biodiversity jewels' sadly underfunded, there are much better investments we should be making too. more...
Measuring mangroves: a study on above-ground and below-ground biomass in mangrove ecosystems, part of Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP). Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Kate Evans / CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NCA).

Stop mangrove destruction in Indonesia to slow climate change

Prodita Sabarini

8th August 2015

The loss of Indonesia's coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win. more...
President Barrack Obama. Photo: White House.

Obama unveils deep cuts to power plant emissions

Dan Roberts / Guardian environment

4th July 2015

Obama has delighted climate campaigners with this 'clean Power Plan' that will force states to make deep cut in carbon emissions from power stations, writes Dan Roberts. But not everyone is happy, and legal challenges loom. more...


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