The Ecologist


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With damming of the Tapajos river, a whole world of biodiversity, beauty and indigenous cultures will be destroyed forever. Photo: Canoe on the Tapajos by Clairex (CC BY-NC-SA).

European companies line up to bid for Amazon megadam

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

13th April 2016

Disregarding revelations of systemic political corruption in Brazil's hydropower sector, President Dilma Rousseff is ploughing ahead with a cascade of giant dams on the mighty Tapajos river. Among the companies touting to win huge construction contracts are France's EDF and Engie, and Germany's Voith and Siemens - in a consortium led by Brazil's Electrobras, which stands accused of high-level corruption over four other dam projects. more...
Still from John Pilger's film 'Utopia'.

Starvation in Australia: Utopia's dirty secret

John Pilger

12th April 2016

Australian governments have long waged a one-sided war on the continent's Aboriginal peoples, writes John Pilger. And now a new weapon has come into play: the starvation of the most remote, culturally intact communities. It's all part of a multi-faceted program of physical and cultural annihilation. And yet the world is silent. more...
Yanomami girl. Photo: Sam valadi via Flickr (CC BY).

The myth of the 'brutal savage' and the mindset of conquest

Stephen Corry

21st April 2016

The 'brutal savage' meme has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture and establishment narratives, writes Stephen Corry, despite abundant evidence that it's fundamentally wrong. But it suits today's dominant mindset of conquest, conflict and colonialism all too well, and serves to justify the ongoing genocide and expropriation of surviving Indigenous Peoples today. more...
Time, tide and sea level rise wait for no one ... so are we ready? Photo: clappstar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No planet for optimists: coastal flooding may come sooner and bigger than we think

Pete Dolack

8th April 2016

Of all the impacts of climate change, one stands out for its inexorable menace, writes Pete Dolack: rising oceans. And it's not just for distant future generations to deal with: new scientific studies show that people alive today may face 6-9 metres of sea level rise flooding well over a million including many of the world's biggest cities. So where's the emergency response? more...
Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, during the 'Asia’s Era of Infrastructure' session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January 2016. Photo: Monika Flueckiger / WEF / via Flickr (CC BY-N

New development banks propel environmental 'race to the bottom'

Bill Laurance / James Cook University

8th April 2016

New development financiers like China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are driving a global attack on the environment, writes Bill Laurance. With their fast track 'no questions asked' procedures, they are financing a wave of destructive mega-projects, giving the World Bank and other lenders the excuse to lower their already weak safeguards. more...
The Thar desert in Rajasthan, India. Photo: Nick Kenrick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Protecting God's Creation: churches commit to the green energy transition

Tim Gee / Christian Aid

19th April 2016

Pope Francis's famous encyclical on climate change is part of a broad global shift to environmental awareness among faith communities, writes Tim Gee. Christian churches and congregations are among those joining the fast growing fossil fuel divestment movement, switching to renewable energy, and reaching out to wider society to help protect our home planet, Earth. more...
South Water Caye Marine Reserve is one of seven protected areas that make up the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, at risk from oil exploration and drilling. Photo: © Antonio Busiello / WWF-US.

Industrial expansion threatens half of natural World Heritage Sites

The Ecologist

6th April 2016

Precious World Heritage Sites that protect vital biodiversity and human cultures are at risk from oil decelopment and other industries. Under threat are not just nature, wildlife, land and water but the 11 million people who depend on the 114 sites' environmental quality for their livelihoods. more...
Never again! Texaco-Chevron's toxic oil legacy at Lago Agrio in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr (CC BY).

Ecuador's next Amazon oil battle: Indigenous Peoples on the front line

Kevin Koenig / Amazon Watch

4th April 2016

The rights of nature and of indigenous communities are enshrined in Ecuador's constitution, writes Kevin Koenig. But down in the Amazon the government is going full speed ahead with oil extraction on indigenous territories whose owners are committed to keeping their forests and waters pollution-free. A mighty battle is brewing that looks certain to come to a head this year. more...
Mother and daughter: bison in the Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Bill Lile via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Buffalo slaughter in Yellowstone and the death of a spirit animal

Louise Willcox

5th April 2016

North American buffalo are officially 'vulnerable to global extinction', writes Louise Willcox, yet the US National Parks Service and Montana are intent on their wholesale slaughter. In place of a complete ecosystem with wild-roaming buffalo and grizzly bears, wildlife managers are systematically favoring the over-abundant elk that drive the politically powerful hunting industry. more...
A young lion cub resting in Massai Mara National reserve, Kenya. Photo: Ralf Κλενγελ via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Africa's lions and pastoralists share the benefits of community ecotourism

Grant Hopcraft & Sara Blackburn

5th April 2016

The conflict between lions and Africa's cattle herders goes back centuries, write Grant Hopcraft and Sara Blackburn - and lions have been the big losers in recent years. But where local people benefit from ecotourism, that ancient enmity can quickly be set aside. 'Community conservancies' around formal protected areas are helping both lions and indigenous communities to survive and thrive. more...
Wild coffee grows in these forests of the Ethiopian highlands - and nowhere else. Photo: Indrias Getachew.

Ethiopia's vulnerable tropical forests are key to securing the future of coffee

Fiona Hesselden, University of Huddersfield

24th March 2016

Coffee may be grown all around the tropics, writes Fiona Hesselden, but it originates in just one place: the 'coffee rainforests' of the Ethiopian highlands. We depend on the wild plants for new genes and varieties, yet the forests are falling fast to the advance of farmers. To preserve the forests and all their biodiversity, the original people of the forest must receive their just rewards. more...
Peoples' Representatives marching to Malacañang to confer the 'King Coal Award to President Noynoy Aquino, for his approval of 59 coal plants in the Philippines; 20th October 2015. Photo: AC Dimatatac / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Climate hypocrisy: JP Morgan's empty promises on coal

Assaad Razzouk

24th March 2016

JP Morgan's announcement that it's pulling out of coal is purest doublespeak, writes Assaad Razzouk. But it's not the only financier to engage in climate hypocrisy, as banks prepare to lend $5 trillion to build 2,440 new coal power stations. To deliver the Paris Agreement they - and the loans that would finance them - must be cancelled. more...

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The Rio Blanco community at its blockade of the Agua Zarca dam. Photo: COPINH.

Gustavo Castro Soto and the rigged investigation into Berta Cáceres’s assassination

Beverly Bell

23rd March 2016

The Government of Honduras is intent on framing the only witness to the murder of Berta Cáceres as the one guilty of the crime, writes Beverly Bell. Gustavo Castro Soto, an eco-defender from Mexico, is now in effective detention in his country's embassy in Tegucigalpa in fear of his life, having himself been injured in the attack and seen the real assassin. The US Government must break its resounding silence. more...
The Denesuline have long suffered and protested against the treatment of their people from industrial organisations causing damage to their territories and the environment. Photo: ItzaFineDay via Flickr (CC BY)

Sacred land, unholy uranium: Canada's mining industry in conflict with First Nations

Committee for Future Generations

30th March 2016

For Saskatchewan, uranium is an important part of the economy, but for the province's indigenous peoples, the land is everything. It is filled with relationships between beings who dwell together in an interconnected web. Their traditional ecological knowledge is not just a set of terms or data, but a deep, broadly-viewed reality which contains systematic respect for all creation. more...
A COPINH protestor with Honduran policeman. Photo: Felipe Canova via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Berta Caceres colleague murdered in Honduras

The Ecologist

16th March 2016

Less than two weeks after the murder of Honduran eco defender Berta Caceres, another indigenous leader has been shot dead during the violent police and military eviction of 150 families from the settled community of Rio Chiquito. International funders of the controversial Agua Zarca hydro project are now backing out.. more...
t was European colonialism and slaughter on a huge scale that marked the beginning of the end of Africa's iconic wildlife. Yet in mainstream narratives, the conservation heroes are all white, and Africans are either poachers, squatters or loyal servants.

Lies in conservation: the truth about big-game hunting and African nature reserves

Navaya ole Ndaskoi

14th March 2016

Media furore over the shooting down of a helicopter in Tanzania masks a bigger picture of commercial hunting and evictions of indigenous tribes in the name of wildlife, writes Navaya ole Ndaskoi. It's time to rethink 'white saviour' mythology and develop new models of conservation that respect and engage with African communities, recognise their achievements, and inspire a new generation of conservation heroes. more...
Fenced with barbed wire: Blackfeed Indian tipis near the Glacier Nation Park, where the NPS is excluding the Indians from their rightful access to the Park and its resources, in clear breach of an 1895 contract. Photo: Bon via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

A century of theft from Indians by the National Park Service

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

29th March 2016

George Catlin's original vision of national parks saw them as providing a refuge for 'man and beast' alike, writes Kollibri terre Sonnenblume, giving Indians a home in the 'freshness of their nature's beauty'. But soon the National Parks Service was violating promises, treaties and contracts as it perpetrated over a century of land theft from America's Indian tribes. more...
Berta Cáceres, Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner. Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize.

Berta Cáceres: her fight for human rights in Honduras continues

Verenice Bengtsson

8th March 2016

Last week the environmental and human rights activist Berta Cáceres was murdered by gunmen in an early morning attack on her home which may have been carried out by or in collusion with state agents. Now her friend and colleague Gustavo Castro, himself wounded in the attack and the only witness to Berta's murder, has been detained for questioning. more...
US suburbia: alright for some. But access to it was regulated along strictly racial lines. Mid 20th century calendar illustration. Photo: wackystuff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Racist housing? How postwar suburban development led to today's inner-city lead poisoning

Leif Fredrickson, University of Virginia

7th March 2016

The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan is just the tip of a vast iceberg of lead contamination afflicting mainly urban black communities, writes Leif Fredrickson. A rigid 'race bar' on postwar suburban housing and mortgages left black families in inner cities, exposed to flaking lead paint in run down housing, leaded gasoline residues and lead pipework. Now is the time to correct this shocking historic injustice. more...
The Baka have lived sustainably in their rainforest home for generations. Photo: Selcen Kucukustel / Atlas / Survival International.

Why Survival International has made a formal complaint to the OECD against WWF

Lewis Evans

6th March 2016

WWF’s support for 'fortress conservation' has led to serious human rights abuses for indigenous peoples, writes Lewis Evans, and nowhere more so than in Cameroon, where the Baka are considered trespassers and poachers in their own ancestral forests. A formal complaint against WWF's behaviour is now in process. more...
The land contaminated by the oil spill in Mayoriaga. Photo: Forest Peoples Programme

Peru: Amazon tribe orders oil company out after devastating spills

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

9th March 2016

The indigenous Wampis people of the Peruvian Amazon have demanded the immediate closure of a Petroperú oil pipeline after a series of devastating spills, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The company has already been found guilty of 'negligence' after previous oil spills contaminated the Wampis land and rivers. more...
Oil pollution in Ogoniland, Niger Delta. Photo: Milieudefensie via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

53,000 Nigerian oil spill victims press new Shell lawsuits

Oliver Tickell

2nd March 2016

A year after Shell was forced into a £55 million settlement with an indigenous community in Nigeria devastated by oil spills, a UK High Court judge has allowed two new such cases to proceed on behalf of some 43,000 subsistence farmers and fishers whose livelihoods have been wiped out by the same cause. more...
Reindeer and Khanty children in the Numto Nature Preserve in 2006. Photo: Irina Kazanskaya via Flickr (CC BY).

Siberia's Heavenly Lake and 'small peoples' of the High North at risk from oil drilling

Elena Sakirko & Konstantin Fomin

28th February 2016

A vital nature preserve in western Siberia, and the indigenous peoples that inhabit it, are at risk from oil development, write Elena Sakirko & Konstantin Fomin. Oil giant Surgutneftegas is already active in the Numto Park, but now they want to extend operations into its fragile wetlands, putting at risk snow cranes, the Heavenly Lake, and the survival of the Nenet and Khanty peoples. more...

Cancún's mangroves are destroyed. But hope grows again!

Miguel Rivas / Greenpeace Mexico

17th February 2016

Mexico's tourist resort of Cancún has just lost one of its greatest natural riches, writes Miguel Rivas: 57 hectares of species rich mangrove forest, bulldozed in a massive overnight attack by property developers in league with local officials. But people power can still win the battle and see the Tajamar mangroves restored. more...
Global Justice Now supporters dressed as business people from Monsanto, Diageo, SABMiller and Unilever campaigning against the Department for International Development's involvement with the 'New Alliance'. Photo: Global Justice Now via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Intensive, corporate agriculture is increasing poverty in Africa

Lawrence Woodward

11th February 2016

New research indicates that agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa are making things worse, writes Lawrence Woodward. Backed by 'development' aid, big business is forcing modern farming practices on unwilling rural communities. Only the rich benefit, while the poor carry the burden of landlessness and debt. more...


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