The Ecologist

 

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Traditional agriculture on a farm in Cuba, where organic and agroecological farming now produce most of the nation's food. Photo: Tach_RedGold&Green via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Agroecology versus 'climate smart' - our next big challenge from COP22

Natalie Bennett

30th November 2016

How to make farming 'climate friendly' was one of the hot topics at COP22 in Marrakesh, writes Natalie Bennett, with two contrasting models on show: 'climate smart' agriculture, with its reliance on industrial farming systems; and agroecology, which works with nature to build fertile, high-carbon, moisture-retaining soils, and sustain employment for millions of skilled land workers. more...

New scientific insights on ecologically unequal trade

Nick Meynen

23rd November, 2016

Conventional economic analyses of trade tend only to discern the flows of money, writes NICK MEYNEN. But by also considering biophysical metrics - such as material and energy flows, and embodied water and land - ecological economists can identify the asymmetric flows of resources obscured by the apparent reciprocity of market prices. more...
Bt GMO crops are designed to combat pests like the Helicoverpa armigera moth, which causes A$25 million of damage a year in Australia alone to crops such as cotton, legumes and vegetables. But there is a cost: damage to beneficial soil fungi. Photo: CSIRO

Vital soil fungi damaged by GMO Bt cotton

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

24th November 2016

A study of GMO cotton varieties shows they disrupt an important beneficial soil fungus, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji, apparently due to the Bt insecticide they are engineered to express. Disruption caused by the transgenic cotton to mycorrhizal fungi, and the wider soil ecosystem, may underlie the low yields and poor pest resistance now endemic among Bt GM crops. more...
'Love Planet' by emily792872 via Flickr (CC BY).

Gaia lives! Overcoming our fear of a living planet

Charles Eisenstein

21st October 2016

To embrace the Earth as truly alive is a step too far even for many committed environmentalists, writes Charles Eisenstein: worried that others may perceive us as unscientific, childish, woolly-headed and ridiculous. But it's a step we must take: in refusing to recognise the living Gaia that is both our creator and our home, we accept and perpetuate the philosophy of her destroyers. more...

WITNESS: Obesity, Ecology and the Confines of the Government Strategy

Yvonne Adebola

13th October, 2016

In the first of our new WITNESS series of blogs, food anthropology researcher YVONNE ADEBOLA suggests a 'One Health' approach to childhood obesity which recognises the ecological impact of modern food systems on the environment and on our collective health and wellbeing more...
A Common toad colony migrating across a road near Ipswich.

Toad's 30-year decline shows 'large-scale deterioration of environmental quality'

Oliver Tickell

6th October 2016

A 30-year decline in toad populations recorded by volunteers, shows the need to rebuild vital 'green infrastructure' across both the wider countryside and urban areas, writes Oliver Tickell: reversing habitat fragmentation, digging out ponds and ditches, and leaving ample unkempt areas for cover and hibernation. more...
Permaculture 'inventor' Bill Mollison, who died this weekend. Photo: Permaculture Association / Magazine.

Peaceful warrior: Permaculture visionary Bill Mollison

Permaculture Association / Magazine

26th September 2016

Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016 in Sisters Creek, Tasmania. He has been praised across the world for his visionary work, and left behind a global network of 'peaceful warriors' in over 100 countries working tirelessly to fulfill his ambition to build harmony between humanity and Mother Earth. more...
'Resistance is Fertile - Compost Capitalism !' Banner at Occupy Oakland protest against GMOs, 10th December 2011. Photo: Lily Rhoads via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worse

Colin Todhunter

16th September 2016

Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive. more...
Can we secure the future of our countryside - like this landscape in the Yorkshire Dales - with markets in 'ecosystem services'? Robert J Heath via Flickr (CC BY).

Can markets in 'ecosystem services' secure the future of the English countryside?

Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris

1st September 2016

The EU is already paying farmers and landowners for creating and maintaining valuable habitats, write Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris. But could the UK do better by creating markets in 'ecosystem services' that would put financial value on clean water, key wildlife habitats, endangered species and precious landscapes? 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...
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...

ecology: 1/25 of 171
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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...

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...

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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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...
Jo Ruxton, co-producer of 'A Plastic Ocean'. Photo: via plasticoceans.net

Plastic Ocean - why the world should declare plastic 'hazardous waste'

Lesley Henderson, Brunel University London

8th June 2016

Plastic is ubiquitous around the world's oceans, writes Lesley Henderson, but although it's visible from space, it can be surprisingly elusive in the water - as she heard from Jo Ruxton, producer of the investigative documentary 'A Plastic Ocean'. Solutions to this growing hazard have also proved elusive to date, hence the film's strong focus on action: educational, cultural and legal. 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...
Red clover cover crop at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire: it may not be high-tech, but that's not to say it's anti-science! Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic farmers are not anti-science - we leave that to the genetic engineers

Elizabeth Henderson

24th May 2016

Those opposed to the mass release of GM crops and foods inadequately tested for health and ecological safety are routinely accused of being anti-science, writes Elizabeth Henderson. But it's the GM corporations and their academic allies that are suppressing scientific research, and organic farmers that are building alliances with independent scientists for a future of safe, healthy food. more...
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the picket line supporting the junior doctors' strike, 26th April 2016. Photo: Garry Knight via Flickr (Public Domain).

In the Corbyn era, Greens must move from socialism to ecologism

Rupert Read

10th May 2016

Where does the Green Party go now? Last week's uninspiring election results show that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour poses a serious challenge to us Greens, who can no longer succeed by being merely left wing. We must fulfil our own destiny, representing a distinct, authentic ecological strand in politics, making the case for living as if we only had one planet - as is in fact the case. more...
Farmers on the storm ... Madhya Pradesh, 31st July 2013. Photo: Rajarshi MITRA via Flickr (CC BY).

Militarism and Monsanto or Gandhi and Bhaskar Save? The agroecology alternative

Colin Todhunter

9th May 2016

The corporate war on traditional farming is nowhere fiercer than in India, writes Colin Todhunter. After decades of the 'Green Revolution' that have impoverished the nation's soils, water, biodiversity and cultivators alike, agribusiness is poised for its final strike. But now the small scale farmers who produce most of the country's food are rediscovering ancient agroecological alternatives. more...
Cabbage white butterflies eating the leaves, flowers and pods of a plant similar to Camelina, together with a deformed butterfly that been fed a diet rich in long chain n-3 fatty acids. Compound image by GMWatch & edited by The Ecologist.

GMO lobby's false claims to defend GM oilseed against deformed butterfly findings

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

9th May 2016

A recent scientific study found the same long-chain omega-3 oils that are engineered into a new GM Camelina oilseed variety make butterflies grow up with deformed wings, writes Claire Robinson. Attempts by the 'pro-science' non-scientist Mark Lynas to discredit the study are a mixture of ignorance, research failures, 'straw man' arguments and outright errors. more...
The soil fungus Aspergillus nidulans on lactophenol cotton blue wet preparation. Photo: Iqbal Osman via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto's Roundup toxic to soil fungus at ultra-low doses

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

5th May 2016

A new study shows that the market-leading Roundup herbicide kills soil microbiota at concentrations 50 times lower than used in agriculture, writes Claire Robinson. The findings raise serious new concerns about the environmental impacts of glyphosate herbicides. more...
Maud Lake, Desolation Wilderness, El Dorado County, California. Photo: Blake Lemmons via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness is the salvation of the American West

George Wuerthner

9th May 2016

The quiet desperation of declining towns and cities across America's West is understandable, writes George Wuerthner. Of course people dream of the 'good old days' when there were wild prairies to be grazed, forests to be felled and oil wells to be sunk - and try to bring them back. But in so doing they neglect and abuse their real and enduring wealth: nature, landscape and wildlife. more...
The 'Daisyworld' model is integral to Gaia theory, developed by Dr James Lovelock, which proposes that organisms interact with their surroundings to form a complex, self-regulating system. Photo: Gordon Robertson via Flickr (CC BY).

Educating for Gaia: a wholistic approach to Earth science

Dr Stephen Harding

28th April 2016

As a society, we are strangely disconnected from the Earth, writes Stephan Harding. It's as if we were aliens placed here to prod and poke with our scientific instruments whilst feeling no sense of meaning, belonging or closeness to her ancient crumpled surface or rich, teeming biodiversity - a state of mind that a forthcoming course at Schumacher College aims to reverse. more...

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