The Ecologist


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Colleen Brennan and Nancy Kile of the Sisterhood to Protect Sacred Water rally outside the Nuclear Regulatory Hearings in Crawford. Photo: Rosy Torres / WNV (CC BY).

Water first! Lakota women and ranchers lead charge to close toxic uranium mine

Suree Towfighnia / Waging NonViolence

13th October 2015

The impending renewal of the license for a uranium mine in Nebraska has ignited a years long resistance among those - most of them women - for whom good health and safe, clean water in the Ogallala aquifer is as important as life itself, writes Suree Towfighnia. But for others, jobs and money come first. Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must reach its decision. more...
There's a mammoth surprise lurking in the permafrost: 1,700 billion tonnes of frozen carbon. Let that go and the world's climate may never be the same. BC Museum Photo: Tyler Ingram via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Mammoth Arctic carbon thaw would cost us $43 trillion

Tim Radford

23rd September 2015

Something scary is lurking in the melting Arctic permafrost, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell: 1,700 Gt of carbon. That's 53 years worth of current emissions, and if we let it melt the impact would cost the world $43 tn. Or act now, and we could preserve the Arctic ice for a seventh as much. more...
Old water tank in Niland, California. Photo: Kevin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The water is ours!

Javan Briggs

7th October 2015

Water is life, writes Javan Briggs. And it belongs to all of us. California's water shortage is caused, not by 'drought', but by massive long term over-pumping. And as the crisis worsens, the response under the 'water as property' model is just to pump all the harder. We must manage water as a commons - to sustain us all, not to profit the few. more...
Flooding in Morigaon District, Assam, India, 30th June 2012. Photo: Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

India: 200,000 refugees in Assam's devastating floods

Sneha Krishnan

16th September 2015

India's tea capital, Assam, has been hit by devastating floods for the second time in three years, writes Sneha Krishnan. But the government has failed to address key environmental issues like deforestation and soil conservation, or involve local communities in developing solutions. So ever more fertile land is lost to erosion, and millions of the country's poorest people suffer. more...
Another extraordinary sunset over Lake Baikal - the deep hues heightened by the ever-present forest fires. Photo: Bryce Stewart.

New dams, warming waters, forest fires - Lake Baikal in peril

Bryce Stewart

17th September 2015

Longer than England, almost as deep as the Grand Canyon, Russia's Lake Baikal is one of the world's greatest aquatic wonders, writes Bryce Stewart. But it's a fragile paradise: the limpid waters are warming much faster than the global average, with as yet unknown effects on its ecology. And it faces the danger of a huge dam on its principal tributary, Mongolia's Selenga River. more...
Comparison of Sierra Nevada snowpack in 2015 v 2010. Photo: NASA / MODIS.

The 2015 Sierra Nevada snowpack is at a 500-year low

Valerie Trouet & Soumaya Belmecheri

15th September 2015

The lack of snow in California's Sierra Nevada is historically unprecedented, write Valerie Trouet & Soumaya Belmecheri. It's also seriously bad news for the state's water supplies - and may be an indicator of even worse to come in a warming world. more...
Family bathing in the Rio Lempa, El Salvador's longest and only navigable river, until recently at risk from a cyanide-leaching gold mine. Photo: kadejo via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

For the love of water: El Salvador's mining ban may cost $300m 'compensation'

Lynn Holland

10th October 2015

Disastrous water pollution from gold mines in El Salvador has united government and people to oppose new metal mines, writes Lynn Holland. In Central America's most water scarce country, the imperative is to keep lakes, rivers and streams clean and wholesome. But there may be a heavy price to pay, with a Canadian mining company pressing a $300 million 'compensation' claim. 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...
On 14th April 2015, a demonstration in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh against a proposed dam on the Kanhar Valley by Adivasi, Dalit protesters was met with police violence and gunfire which injured seven women and one man. Photo:

Legal 'reforms' may make violence the only option for India's eco-defenders

Arpitha Kodiveri

26th August 2015

President Modi is determined to sweep away 'obstacles to growth' including the laws that allow marginalised communities to challenge the confiscation of their lands and forests for dams, mines and other 'development' projects, writes Arpitha Kodiveri. If proposed 'reforms' are enacted, the only remaining avenue of dissent may be one of armed conflict. more...
Umef Stock in the middle of Blüemlisalp glaciers, near Kandersteg, 11th August 2007. Photo: TonnyB via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

World's glaciers melting at 'unprecedented' rate

Alex Kirby

7th August 2015

Glaciers around the world are melting on a scale without precedent in recorded history, writes Alex Kirby. Measurements of over 5,000 glaciers show that they have been retreating so fast so far this century that even if climate is stablised, the ice losses will continue for years to come. more...
Baram Dam blockade at Long Lama. Photo: Borneo Project.

Broken Promises: new film exposes Malaysia's indigenous rights violations

Jettie Word

17th August 2015

Malaysia is pushing ahead with its plans for a devastating series of 12 dams in the rainforests of Borneo that will kill a billion trees, bring death to wildlife on a stupendous scale and evict tens of thousands of indigenous people and their communities, writes Jettie Word. Now a new film honours their struggle for land, forest and freedom. more...

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California drought: New Melones Lake, near Calaveras, California, 4th June 2015. Photo: Ben Amstutz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flowing uphill to money? California's water politics in a time of drought

Will Parrish

5th August 2015

While households and small feel the brunt of California's drought, it's business as usual for agribusiness, writes Will Parrish. And despite the 'first user' principle that determines water rights, the state's indigenous tribes and the wild salmon on which they depend, have been left high and dry. The Public Trust Doctrine could change that - but only if the people demand it. more...
Detroit rises above the water ... but access to it is strictly rationed by ability to pay. Photo: Unique Day Tours in over 100 cities via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Water is a human right! Detroit's lessons for our common future

Chris Grove

4th August 2015

Detroit is the site of a neoliberal experiment that's already being repeated elsewhere, writes Chris Grove, with unpayable debt used to force the privatization of public services and the terminate democratic power and accountability. But as the city's poor find themselves cur off from water, a new, wider conception of human rights is emerging from the wreckage. more...
A tractor prepares a field by turning over the cover crop into the soil in preparation for planting at Leafy Greens, in the Salinas Valley, California, June 2011. Cover crops of barley and rye grass hold the topsoil, reducing erosion. Photo: Lance Cheung

Conserving soil: precious, finite and under threat

Jane Rickson

5th August 2015

Human existence relies on healthy soils, writes Jane Rickson. But all over the world they are being lost and degraded by inappropriate land use, reducing their capacity to produce food and store water, nutrients and carbon. Sustainable land management must be incentivised to conserve this essential resource. more...
Holed Palestinian water tanks, destroyed by armed settlers in the old city of Hebron. Photo: ISM Palestine via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Think California's drought is bad? Try Palestine's

Laith Shakir

23rd August 2015

As World Water Week kicks off in Stockholm today with a theme of 'Water for Development', the drought being deliberately inflicted on Palestinians is firmly off the agenda, writes Laith Shakir. While Israelis water their lawns, irrigate crops and swim in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinian communities a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst. more...
Whose water is it anyway? Photo: ricardo / via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

California is the 'canary in the coalmine' of global drought

Maude Barlow

1st July 2015

California's drought is a harbinger of things to come around the world, writes Maude Barlow. Because of global warming, yes - but also because the Golden State is an exemplar of the 'water as property for corporate profit' neoliberal paradigm that's taking over the world. It's now essential to assert water as a Commons - to be both justly shared, and fiercely protected! more...
Another hot, dry night falls on Sao Paulo. Photo: Rafael Vianna Croffi via Flickr (CC BY).

Megacity drought: Sao Paulo withers after dry 'wet season'

Leila Carvalho

26th June 2015

After four years of low rainfall Brazil's commercial capital, Sao Paulo, is suffering from a grim combination of high temperatures and water shortages, writes Leila Carvalho. And now the drought has given rise to a lethal plague of dengue fever. more...
The beaver kits on the River Otter.

Devon's wild beavers have babies

The Ecologist

24th June 2015

Soon after Devon's wild beavers on the River Otter escaped capture by zealous officials, they have given birth to two or even three kits - a clear indicator that they are happy in their habitat, and there to stay! more...
Ex-congressman Eduardo Veliz (white hair) leads a protest at San Cristobál airport, Galapagos, against excessive development, prior to his arrest. Photo: El Colono (Galapagos newspaper).

Galápagos rebellion against foreign investment in hotels, golf courses, luxury tourism

Jane Shaw

25th June 2015

Residents of Ecuador's Galápagos islands are mounting angry protests against government plans to open the World Heritage Site to foreign investment in luxury tourism and hotels, writes Jane Shaw. They fear for the fragile ecology of the islands, for water shortages caused by golf courses and swimming pools, and for their livelihoods which depend on current 'low intensity' tourism. more...
The melting on the southern Antarctic peninsula has been so sudden, that even the scientific expedition's supply ship seems to have been caught out. Photo: J Bamber,

Once-stable Antarctic glaciers have suddenly started melting

Bert Wouters

23rd May 2015

A dramatic shift has taken place in the glaciers of the southern Antarctic peninsula, writes Bert Wouters. Six years ago these previously stable bodies suddenly stated shedding 60 cubic kilometres of ice per year into the ocean. A stark warning of further surprises to come? more...
Is the Pepsi brand getting tarnished? Pepsi sign in Rajasthan, India, by Matthew Stevens via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

India: unlawful Pepsi plant wins police protection

The Ecologist

20th May 2015

First the Pepsi-Cola bottling company in south India caused outrage by depleting groundwater. Next it was found to be operating without valid permits.Then as protests grew the company won a High Court order giving it police protection. Now locals are vowing to keep the plant shut for good. more...
Deprived of piped water supply, a man in post-invasion Libya fills up a bottle of water from a muddy puddle. Photo: British Red Cross.

War crime: NATO deliberately destroyed Libya's water infrastructure

Nafeez Ahmed

14th May 2015

The military targeting of civilian infrastructure, especially of water supplies, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Yet this is precisely what NATO did in Libya, while blaming the damage on Gaddafi himself. Since then, the country's water infrastructure - and the suffering of its people - has only deteriorated further. more...
'Water is a human right!' - demonstration in Detroit. Photo: Detroit Water Brigade.

Detroit: 25,000 households face water shutoff this month

Tyler Van Dyke / WSWS

9th May 2015

Ignoring cries of protest from impoverished communities and fierce international criticism, Detroit will begin to serve water shut-off notices on some 25,000 households tomorrow as it prepares to privatise its water department. more...
An indigenous peoples' protest against dam building in Sarawak, February 2012. Photo: The Borneo Project.

Commerce or Corruption? The rainforest dams of Sarawak

The Borneo Project

18th June 2015

Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo already has an excess of electricity from existing hydropower dams - so why is the government determined to build a dozen more, displacing indigenous communities and flooding vast areas of rainforest? The answer, says a new documentary film by The Borneo Project, is simple - massive political corruption. more...


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