The Ecologist


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Donald Shadforth, a traditional owner, at the dilapidated Redbank mine tailings storage. Photo: P. Taplin.

Australia: Indigenous communities must take centre stage in 'development'

Seán Kerins

7th September 2015

Indigenous Australians are systematically deprived of the benefits of mining and other developments, writes Seán Kerins, and being left to suffer their environmental impacts. As Abbott's government prepares a bonfire of 'red tape', it's time to put Indigenous interests first, and place their communities at the centre of decision making. 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...
Best of friends? President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India en-route to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, 30th September 2014. Photo: Pete Souza / The White House via Wikimedia.

Crushed: the US and the WTO demolish India's solar energy ambitions

Charles Pierson

5th September 2015

President Obama and India's Prime Minister Modi are best of friends - aren't they? So how come the US took India to the WTO's trade court - and just won a resounding victory? And why isn't India challenging the US's own discriminatory solar subsidies? It's because of the money, writes Charles Pierson. And poor India has no choice but to play by Washington's rules. more...
Seneca Lake defense = Climate defense. Protestors at Crestwood's Senaca Lake 'compression facility', 18th August 2015. Photo: via Facebook.

Over 370 arrests for blocking NY fracked gas store

Ashoka Jegroo / Waging NonViolence

31st August 2015

Protests against plans to make an enormous storage site for fracked gas at Seneca Lake in New York state seven times bigger are gathering pace, writes Ashoka Jegroo, with 13 arrests at a gate blockade last week. But is the company, Crestwood, getting the message? more...
A demonstration of West Papuans against Indonesia's military occupation. Photo: Free West Papua campaign.

West Papua: after 50 years of cruel repression, the intoxicating smell of freedom

Jason MacLeod / Waging NonViolence

4th September 2015

Indonesia's murderous campaign of military repression in its stolen territory of West Papua continues, writes Jason MacLeod. But a courageous 50-year struggle for human rights and freedom is finally bearing fruit, with growing recognition of West Papua's right to nationhood among its Pacific neighbours. Real hopes of a better future are rising above the blood and pain. more...
Surfing at Noosa Beach, Australia. To avoid shark attack, keep out of the water at dawn and dusk, and avoid turbid estuaries. Even sharks can make mistakes. Photo: m.maddo via Flickr (CC BY).

Culling sharks doesn't work - here's what we can do instead

Jane Williamson

26th August 2015

Following six shark attacks this year on the beaches of New South Wales, Australia, the press are demanding a shark cull as a 'permanent solution' to the problem, writes Jane Williamson. Trouble is, culling is indiscriminate, ineffective, disrupts ocean ecosystems, and diverts resources from more effective responses. more...
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Photo: News Muse via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Hurricane Katrina: the worst is yet to come

Kerry Emanuel

25th August 2015

Climate change shows its true face in extreme events, writes Kerry Emanuel: the storm surge with a 12 inch head start thanks to rising sea levels, propelled by a wind that's 20 mph faster, dropping an extra inch of rain beyond the 'normal' storm. Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan are sending us a clear message: the world must get ready for bigger and badder, fast. more...
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...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. 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...
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...
The New York Steam Company commenced its piped heat distribution in the city in 1882. Steam venting from the street at 33rd and 5th Avenue, December 2007. Photo: Paul Churcher via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to tap in to an underused energy source: wasted heat

Rob Raine

10th September 2015

The single biggest energy service we all need is heat, writes Rob Raine - yet it's largely ignored in the energy policy discourse. By focusing on heat as well as power, we can accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and - because heat stores are far cheaper than batteries - keep the costs down. more...

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It'll take more than Obama's clean power plan to topple these smokestacks at the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Photo: Troy Snow via Flickr (CC BY).

Obama's 'clean power plan' is feeble and fragile

Tim Kruger

15th August 2015

President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions may look like a climate victory, writes Tim Kruger - but it's no such thing. It's feeble because the US can meet its targets by reducing emissions to 2030 more slowly than it has since 2000. And it's fragile as any future President can scrap it at will. more...
Guarani man Semião Vilhalva lies on the ground, murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend. Photo: still from video by Marcelo Zelic via Facebook.

Brazil: Guarani man murdered by ranchers' gunmen

The Ecologist

2nd September 2015

Guarani man Semião Vilhalva was murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend after his community reoccupied parts of their ancestral land from ranchers. Thousands of Guarani Indians holding on to tiny patches of their ancestral land are living in constant fear of forcible eviction. more...
View of Paradise: Garifunas on Chachahuate enjoy fishing, beach, sun, and Caribbean waters. Photo: npatterson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Honduras: Garifuna communities resist eviction and theft of land

Jeff Abbott / Waging NonViolence

12th August 2015

Pristine beaches, clear Caribbean waters, coral reefs, fertile land ... such is the homeland of the Garifuna people, writes Jeff Abbott. It's so lovely that outsiders are desperate to seize ever more of their territory to develop for mass tourism, oil palm plantations, illicit drug production ... and the land grabs have the full support of Honduras military government, backed to the hilt by Uncle Sam. 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...
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...
US Marines in amphibious assault vehicles taking part in a US military exercise in Oura Bay, Okinawa, Japan, 2nd November 2014 Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raul Moreno Jr. / US Navy via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

70 years after Hiroshima, Okinawa's long resistance to US military occupation

Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman

6th August 2015

Japan is living under the shadow of US militarism, write Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman - and most of all in Okinawa, the nation's southernmost archipelago. Against overwhelming local opposition but backed by Japan's government, the US is building a new military base that is seizing land and threatens the unique ecology of Oura Bay with its seagrass beds, dugongs and coral reefs. more...
A beetle on a male corn flower. Photo: Flávio Jota de Paula via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Biodiversity is the best defence against corn pests

Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti

14th August 2015

Farmers' first line of defence against pests is the ecosystem in and around their fields, write Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti. With widespread or indiscriminate use of pesticides essential biodiversity is lost - and the result is more frequent and serious infestations, and a decline in food security. more...
Julian Assange. Illustration: Mataparda, on a photo from Espen Moe, via Flickr (CC BY).

Julian Assange: an epic struggle for justice

John Pilger

3rd August 2015

Julian Assange's struggle for freedom is one of law and justice against vengeful state power determined at all costs to darken the light of truth that Wikileaks has cast into the murkiest of places, writes John Pilger. Now, after a long series of moral and legal victories, his release may finally be drawing near. more...
A rice field and some traditional farm houses in a small village in the South of Niigata, Japan. Photo: Norman Tannert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Japan's 'sacred' rice farmers evade TPP death sentence - for now

Nicole L Freiner

3rd August 2015

Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages. more...
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...
Back to the future with TPP and other 'trade deals'? Winston Cigarette advertisement published in Ebony magazine, July 1971, Vol. 26 No. 9. Photo: Classic Film via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Yes, trade deals really do overturn democracy

David Morris / On the Commons

28th July 2015

Forget tariffs, forget Obama's promises. The whole point of modern 'trade agreements' is to whack pesky labor, environment and health laws, writes David Morris, and so empower capital and corporate power against regulators, governments and democracy itself. Unconvinced? Just imagine what these deals would look like if they were there to empower people. more...
Protest at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Permanent Peoples' Tribunal puts fracking on trial

Dr Damien Short & Dr Tom Kerns

23rd July 2015

The damage caused by fracking to people, communities and the wider environment will be put under the legal spotlight in public hearings in the US and the UK, write Damien Short & Tom Kerns. While the 'ruling' that emerges will be non-binding, it will provide an authoritative, expert dossier of fact and argument for real legal actions to follow. more...


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