The Ecologist


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The costs of 'growth': Shanghai skyscrapers barely breaking the all-engulfing smog layer. Photo: erhard.renz via Flickr (CC BY).

To deliver sustainable development, first give up on 'growth'

Jason Hickel, LSE

1st September 2016

The global economy has already outgrown the Earth, writes Jason Hickel. Yet even the UN insists that we need decades of continued economic growth to end poverty. The truth is the precise reverse: we must end growth - not just to save our planet but to refocus the economy on meeting human needs. more...
Dry casks for storing irradiated nuclear fuel at the Diablo Canyon plant in Avila, California. The plant is scheduled to close within a decade, but taxpayers will pay to keep spent fuel stored on-site until a federal repository is ready to take it. Photo:

No more taxpayer subsidies for our failing nuclear reactors!

Peter Bradford, Vermont Law School

25th August 2016

New York state recently set a terrible example by approving a $7.6 billion bailout of failing nuclear power plants, writes PETER BRADFORD. But other states aren't following. including California and Nebraska, where a host of highly competitive clean energy technologies are filling in the power shortfall left by nuclear closures, at much lower cost. It's time to let old nuclear reactors die. more...
How can we act in time to prevent ecosystem collapse in eutrophic waters? The answer is in the ecology. Photo: Dr. Jennifer L. Graham | US Geological Survey / eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

How to avoid system collapse? It's the ecology, stupid!

James Dyke & Patrick Doncaster

22nd August 2016

Ecosystems don't collapse a little at a time, writes JAMES DYKE, but all of a sudden. So how can we see the danger signs and act in time to save them? A new study of eutrophic lakes shows that the answer lies, not in easily-measured nutrient levels, but from a more subtle understanding of the lakes' shifting ecology and types of species: keystones, weeds and canaries. more...

Schumacher College celebrates 25 years of ecological teaching

Satish Kumar, Editor Emeritus

22nd August, 2016

They said it would never work but time has proved those critics wrong. As the inspirational and pioneering Devon centre that combines ecology and spiritual learning celebrates its 25th anniversary, founder and Editor Emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist, SATISH KUMAR, describes the flourishing of this remarkable and pioneering place of learning more...
Olive harvest at Surif in the West Bank, Palestine. Photo: Palestine Solidarity Project via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Rooted in the soil: the birth of agro-resistance in Palestine

Jonathan Cook

19th August 2016

For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture, writes JONATHAN COOK. But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative way to resist peacefully, increasing resilience and prosperity in rural West Bank communities, and forging international alliances in the global movement for good food and farming. more...
Shooting grouse in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Photo: Richard Woffenden via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to close down Britain's devastating grouse-shooting industry

Eduardo Goncalves

18th August 2016

The disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier on a Scottish grouse moor and the loss of eight Golden eagles in five years provide the latest evidence for a ban on driven grouse-shooting, writes EDUARDO GONCALVES. But birds of prey are only the most high-profile victims of a cruel and ecologically destructive industry. more...
Could the British countryside look like this one day? Gaur, a species of wild cattle, in the forest at the Kabini Wildlife Santuary, Kerala, India. Photo: rahul rekapalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

What if Britain really did abandon its farms and leave them to nature?

Christopher Sandom, University of Sussex

16th August 2016

The National Farmers Union has been issuing dire warnings that if UK taxpayers do not keep on paying landowners billions of pounds of annual subsidies after Brexit, many will simply give up farming altogether. So, asks CHRISTOPHER SANDOM, how would our countryside change if they followed through on that threat? (Or was it a promise?) more...
Soon the world will be producing its liquid fuels for vehicles from the sun - at a lower cost than mineral petrol / gasoline. Photo: Nick Blackmer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Artificial photosynthesis - how renewable fuels will make oil obsolete

Chris Goodall

22nd August 2016

New technologies are coming on stream that can turn sunlight and wind into liquid fuels for vehicles, homes or power plants, writes Chris Goodall. And by powering the process using 'free' renewable energy on sunny or windy days, the fuel will be as green as can be, and cost less than petroleum. more...
A new 3MW Siemens offshore wind turbine undergoing installation. Image: artist's impression by Siemens.

Global climate is spinning out of control - but now, we have the technology!

Paul Rogers

16th August 2016

As global temperatures reach new monthly highs and the Middle East is hit by record heatwaves, we might be forgiven for sliding into hopelessness, writes PAUL ROGERS. But a host of innovations in energy technology means that a carbon-free energy future is not just possible, but affordable. The first of the three paradigm shifts required to transform the climate change outlook is in place. more...
Intensive arable farming near Eakring, Nottinghamshire, England, carried out with massive taxpayer-funded subsidies to wealthy landowners. Photo: Andrew Hill via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

A post-EU agricultural policy for people and planet

Alex Scrivener

12th August 2016

Brexit gives the UK the chance to reform the system of agricultural subsidies that rewards wealthy landowners at the expense of taxpayers, the global south, the environment, and small scale sustainable farmers, writes Alex Scrivener. But strong, effective campaigning will be needed to bring about the changes we desperately need. more...
Monsanto's supply of defoliant chemicals for the US's 'Operation Ranchand' in Vietnam is just the first of the alleged 'crimes' for which the company is facing trial in the peoples' tribunal. Photo: manhhai via Flickr (CC BY).

Holding Monsanto to account: the People's Tribunal

Heidi Chow

4th August 2016

This autumn the Monsanto Tribunal will assemble experts from around the world to set out the evidence against the global mega-corporation, which will stand accused of monstrous 'crimes' against people and the environment. The Tribunal's verdict will not be legally binding - this time. But on a future occasion, it may be. more...
Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley Point, Greg Clark and the fate of Britain's energy future


9th August, 2016

The government's surprise delay in signing the contract with EDF to build the Hinkley C nuclear power station has opened up a the space for a forward-looking UK energy policy, writes Jonathon Porritt - one that moves us into the world of low cost renewables, and smart new technologies vital to the global clean energy transition. But is Business & Energy Greg Clark for real? Don't rule it out! more...

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Guardians Of The Aegean: A new film involving a Cousteau but this one is about activism and the sea


4th August, 2016

You will recognise the famous surname but unlike his father, Jacques Cousteau, who spent a career discovering and sharing the mysteries and wonders of ocean life, Pierre-Yves Cousteau is having to campaign for its protection from over-fishing and the accompanying destruction of marine biodiversity. KASSANDRA LEFAKINIS finds herself engaged by a new film documenting this struggle and the bigger task ahead.... more...
R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Ontario, NY - one of those to get the Governor Cuomo 'clean energy' subsidy. Photo courtesy of ©Exelon Nuclear via Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

$7.6 billion 'clean energy' bailout for New York nuclear plants

Karl Grossman

3rd August 2016

New York has approved a massive $7.6 billion subsidy to keep four ageing upstate plants open on the false promise that they provide 'clean and renewable energy', writes Karl Grossman. Campaigners for genuine clean energy fear that other pro-nuclear states may follow NY Governor Cuomo's dubious lead. more...
Every morning Lao and Cambodian fishermen land their catch to sell at Veung Kham market just inside the Lao Border. ​Photo: Tom Fisherman.

Ecologist Investigation: How the largest inland fisheries in the world are being destroyed


3rd August, 2016

Investigative reporter, TOM FAWTHROP has just returned from the site of the Don Sahong - a hydrodam being constructed in the middle of an eco-paradise of wetlands in Southern Laos where over 200 fish species have been recorded. more...
There gold in them thar coffee grounds ... Photo: Dominick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thanks Hugh - now let's stop throwing away the coffee grounds!

Rhodri Jenkins, University of Bath

2nd August 2016

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a done a great job exposing the scandal of Britain's billions of non-recyclable coffee cups, writes Rhodri Jenkins. But what about the coffee itself? The grounds can be used for everything from compost and biodiesel to boutique chemicals and supercapacitors - yet the vast majority of the world's 9m tonnes a year of waste coffee ends up in landfill. 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...

Why we need to better protect Britain's ancient woodlands

Laura Briggs

1st August 2016

Calls for better protection of the UK's ancient woodlands are being made by environmental groups due to a loophole in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), last revised in 2012. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...
The first steam generator being delivered to the Flamanville EPR, 15th March 2014. With the discovery of steel defects in the reactor vessel, it is now possible that the entire project will be abandoned. Photo: Greenpeace Cherbourg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA

Dump Hinkley! And invest in the UK's real energy future

Chris Goodall

28th July 2016

French energy giant EDF will today give the formal go-ahead for the Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, writes Chris Goodall. But that's no reason for the UK to sign up to a disastrous deal that will cost us over £1 billion per year for 35 years - money that should be used to support the green technologies of the future. more...

Ireland agrees dedicated funding for research into alternatives to live animal testing in an historic first anti-vivisection step

Laura Briggs

25th July, 2016

There is now a very real hope that thousands of animals in Ireland will be spared from painful laboratory testing thanks to new funding from the Government for alternative scientific research. Ecologist reporter, LAURA BRIGGS reports more...
North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs

David Lowry

26th July 2016

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea's nuclear dream come true. more...
10 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, where solar is already the lowest cost form of electricity generation. Photo: Masdar Official via Flockr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The Switch: soon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere

Chris Goodall

22nd July 2016

Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall - its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all. more...
New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...

Will Theresa May's new heavyweight Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy put climate change centre stage?

Joe Ware

19th July, 2016

At first glance the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) tolled a death knell for UK action on global warming. However, rising from the ashes is a new department that has the potential to put the climate agenda at the very heart of Government. more...
Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall

15th July 2016

Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper. more...


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