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Sainsbury's Genetically Modified Tomato Paste - on sale in the UK, 20 years ago. Photo: via Beyond GM.

20 years ago today ... What have we learned since the GMO Flavr Savr tomato?

Pat Thomas

5th February 2015

Two decades ago the world's first GM foods went on sale, writes Pat Thomas. The consumer flirtation with GMOs soon died away, yet the biotech industry has grown into a global behemoth, driving agricultural intensification and sending agro-chemical sales through the roof. It's time for us to take a stand once again and insist: there are better, healthier ways of growing food. more...
View from Diyarbakir hotel window, with bullet hole. Photo: William John Gauthier via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Turkey's war on Kurdish cities - clearing the way for 'urban regeneration'?

Defne Kadıoğlu Polat

3rd February 2016

Erdogan's horrific 'war on terror' in the Kurdish cities of Eastern Turkey may have a silver lining, writes Defne Kadıoğlu Polat - at least for property developers and ruling party insiders. Plans are already under way for 'urban renewal' projects that will see the valuable real estate cleansed of buildings and people by the war developed into luxury apartments and shopping malls. more...
The future is clean, inexpensive and renewable - if only the government can get over its nuclear obsession. Westmill Solar Park, with wind turbines behind. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government's nuclear fixation could ruin us all

Caroline Lucas MP

28th January 2016

EDF's unfolding fiasco over the Hinkley C nuclear power station proves that nuclear power can come only at enormous financial cost to consumers and taxpayers, writes Caroline Lucas - and even then, investors are scared off by the risks. The government must get over its nuclear obsession and seize our renewable future. more...
It was fun while it lasted, at least for some. But now the 'growth party' is over. And it's time for us to adjust the new reality. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Peak stuff: the 'growth' party is over. So what next?

Bennet Francis & Rupert Read

22nd January 2016

Over in Davos world leaders are desperately trying to find a 'fourth industrial revolution' to keep the 'growth' juggernaut rolling, write Bennet Francis & Rupert Read. But their efforts are doomed: the real challenge we face is to build a healthy, more equal society and a green, sustainable future for us all. more...
Skip-diving in Belgium. Photo: Jan Slangen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From shelf to skip: food waste and the culture of rush

Diana Moreno

20th January 2016

A third of all food that's produced in the world is thrown away. What's going on? Diana Moreno finds some answers in her own experience working in a German supermarket. Leading the list is the mind-numbing 'culture of rush' that permeates high-volume, low margin retailing, and which subjects workers and customers alike to the soul-less logic of the production line. more...
Everything must go! Photo: kit via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Beyond failure at COP21, environmentalism has its own shortcomings to address

Paul Mobbs

18th January 2016

The greatest myth of the consumer society is that modern lifestyles are 'normal' - and this can continue forever because we're clever little apes who can solve any problem, writes Paul Mobbs. That hubris, in the face of insurmountable ecological limits, will be our collective downfall. more...
Mums say 'No' to GMOS!

Mums - let's use our consumer power to keep GMOs and deadly herbicides out of food

Sally Beare

21st January 2016

No matter how concerned we are about the quality of food we and our families eat, we can be sure governments are putting corporate profit first, writes Sally Beare. But we - Mums in particular - still have our power as consumers to push supermarkets and other retailers into going GM-free and keeping toxic agrochemicals out of the food chain. Let's use it! more...
Living the real climate experience? Image by Brandalism.org.uk. Artwork by Bill Posters. Author provided.

Brandalised! COP21's 600 fake adverts take the real climate message to Paris

Thomas Dekeyser, University of Southampton

9th December 2015

Civil society may have been kept out of the COP21 conference centre, even forbidden to march on the streets, writes Thomas Dekeyser. But climate activists have found an new means of expression: the 'Brandalism' of 600 advertisements in bus shelters across Paris, replacing corporate brand-building with subversive messages on climate and consumerism. more...
The problem is not just eating meat, but the kind of meat. Brazilian beef causes emissions around ten times greater than chicken. Photo: butcher's shop in Mares, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil by Vin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Can eating less meat really tackle climate change? (Yes)

Mike Berners-Lee, Lancaster University

27th January 2016

Meat is responsible for about 30% of all 'wasted calories', writes Mike Berners-Lee, so with food causing a third of all greenhouse emissions, eating less meat is one of the most effective things we can do to reduce our climate impact. But no less important is to switch from high to low-impact meats - and to do all we can to cut food waste in our kitchens. more...
Photo: Visit Exmoor via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Forget Black Friday - this is 'Buy Nothing Day'!

Vicki Hird

27th November 2015

Black Friday is yet another manifestation of a consumer culture that is both empty and destructive, writes Vicki Hird. So instead let's join in creative celebrations of Buy Nothing Day ('no purchase necessary'), and develop a new life-enhancing ethic of joyful frugality. 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...
The Pacific Ocean, seen from high above. Photo: blueforce4116 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

To live within planetary boundaries, we must contract the global economy

Samuel Alexander

5th July 2015

We have a problem, writes Samuel Alexander. Even the most eco-friendly rich world lifestyles are overconsuming resources and over-dumping wastes. To put us on track to 'single planet living' will mean far deeper changes than any yet envisaged, including deliberate 'degrowth'' and the abandonment of consumer culture. more...

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Milked fresh from real badgers every day! (Only kidding) Photo: ken fager via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Where Caffè Nero leads on badger-free milk, others will follow

Dominic Dyer

13th June 2015

Milk farmers in the badger cull zones hardly depend on Caffè Nero's custom, writes Dominic Dyer. So why are the pro-cull lobby so hot under the collar with the coffee chain's refusal to buy their produce? Because it could force the entire food chain to take responsibility for how milk is produced - and a very good thing too! more...
The Tesla Roadster - pictured here in Ventura, California - is a great car. But even though it creates no pollution when you drive it, its manufacture leaves a heavy toxic footprint. Photo: Wendell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The green energy revolution is exciting - but don't forget the pollution!

Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme

3rd June 2015

Boading, dubbed China's 'greenest city', is the world's biggest maker of solar panels and wind turbines, write Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme. But it's also has the country's worst pollution. Green energy, electric cars and the batteries that power them are great, but with the heavy toxic footprint they carry from mine to factory, we must not delude ourselves that they are 'sustainable'. more...
Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum) in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Elton Harding via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Endangered species don't need an Ark - they need a Living Planet!

Derrick Jensen

11th June 2015

While we face 'hard choices' about which species and ecosystems to conserve, it's odd how we face no such quandaries over which of our frivolous luxuries to refrain from, or what murderous weapons system not to build, writes Derrick Jensen. And of course, there's no question at all of tackling the root causes of global ecocide. more...
Cycling in Beijing. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Chinese environmentalism: driven by a deep desire for healthy living and wholesome food

Thembi Mutch

24th April 2015

China's growing 'bling' culture has taken off big time, writes Thembi Mutch - yet it is widely reviled among ordinary people who in the face of China's industrial boom hold resolutely to traditional values of economy and frugality, quietly yearning for the old days of clean air and safe, wholesome food to fill their stomachs. more...
Spin Cycle Cafe & Laundromat, Newington, CT, USA. Photo: Brian Cook via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Recycling is not enough! Sharing is the way to achieve a circular economy

Mariale Moreno

13th March 20-14

How can we reduce our ever increasing throughput of raw materials? By breaking out the the 'iron cage of consumerism', writes Mariale Moreno: make things to last - whether clothes, houses, cars, or washing machines. Join a car club. Share domestic appliances with neighbors. And bring back the laundromat! more...
Drax power station by Jonathan Brennan via Flickr, (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0).

Seven ways the Government is pushing up our energy bills

Doug Parr / Greenpeace Energydesk

15th January 2015

With a million families struggling to stay warm this winter, energy bills will be a hot election issue, writes Doug Parr. But Government actions have repeatedly favoured the 'big six' energy incumbents at the expense of consumers, competition, low-cost renewables and energy efficiency, locking us into high bills for years to come. more...
The oil crash has incinerated $100s of billions of investments in extreme energy and stopped hundreds of damaging projects in their tracks. So why aren't environmentalists celebrating? Photo:  s1lang via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Environmentalists' oil price panic reflects their own existential crisis

Paul Mobbs

8th January 2015

Low oil prices are putting a stop to some of the world's most environmentally damaging 'extreme energy' projects, writes Paul Mobbs, and may close down the entire fracking and tar sands industries. So why are so many 'Greens' issuing dire warnings, instead of celebrating the good news? more...
As with today's social, economic, military and industrial order, the power of Sauron's ring is to dominate, enclose, torment, dispossess and enslave.

Tolkien, the Machine, and the Way of the Hobbit

Richard Gunderman

12th January 2015

Tolkien's Universe is one that reflects our own, writes Richard Gunderman - and has come to resemble it all the more as industrialism, militarism and an unjust economic order have come to dominate the world and enslave its peoples. It's time to follow the Way of the Hobbit. more...
The consumer fun never stops! Dubai airport at 3am. But how long can it all last? Photo: joiseyshowaa via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 'simple life' manifesto could save the world - and us

Frederick Trainer

3rd April 2015

Easter is a time when - chocolate munching aside - it's still possible to take a step back from consumer-capitalism, writes Frederick Trainer, and pause to think where it's getting us. The sad fact is that so long as society is driven by consumerism, our society can never be ecologically sustainable or just. more...
Tiny houses at Hatteras, North Carolina. Photo: Bill Dickinson via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Sick to death of consumerism and debt? Find freedom in a tiny house

Samuel Alexander

10th January 2015

There is a simple solution to the problems of rampant consumerism, debt and a lifetime of servitude, writes Samuel Alexander - radical down-sizing to a truly tiny house. For a start, it's only big enough for the things you really need. And it's so cheap to build, that it's paid for from a month or two's salary. Just one question - what will you do with your freedom? more...
Buy baby buy! But remember - unsustainable human consumption is driving the destruction of the natural world. Photo: amy_buthod via Flickr.

Human consumption driving wildlife loss

Alex Kirby

1st October 2014

The plight of much of the world's wildlife seems 'worse than ever', writes Alex Kirby. To blame is unsustainable human consumption, which is driving habitat loss, climate change and the illegal wildlife trade. more...
This handsome tower was built from bricks made with farm and forestry waste bound together by fungal myceliae. Now, it's being composted. Photo: Sophie Morlin-Yron.

Farm waste and mushrooms challenge plastic, concrete, steel

Sophie Morlin-Yron

29th September 2014

Isn't it daft it is to use plastics that last for centuries to make short-life packaging? Now there's an alternative, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron - using fungi to bind farm and forestry waste into strong, non-toxic, complex forms. When the job is done, the material can be safely burnt or composted - and it even works for buildings ... more...
Fishing for plastic in the open ocean on the Rozalia in the 2013 Gaia to Gyre expedition. Photo: Ceri Lewis via Flickr.

Microplastic ocean pollution - will you join our research voyage?

Kate Rawles

5th August 2014

Plastic pollution in the oceans is impacting every level of marine life, writes Kate Rawles, from micro-plankton to whales. And here is your chance to do something about it - join a research expedition to the Azores next month to study the problem and develop solutions! more...

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