The Ecologist

 

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A farmer and cattle herder in Lawra village, Ghana - the kind of person the World Bank claims to be working for, while promoting a corporate model of agriculture that leaves them landless and destitute. Photo: Photo: P. Casier /CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

The battle for the future of farming - why is the World Bank on the wrong side?

The Rules & the Oakland Institute

18th April 2015

The World Bank exists to fight poverty. So why does it promote a profit-driven model of agriculture that enriches corporations at the expense of the small farmers who provide most of the world's food, creating poverty by stealing their land and water, depleting resources and undermining sustainable livelihoods? more...
Workers caught in pesticide drift as they work in the fields. Photo: Ecologist Film Unit / Channel 4 News.

Salad days? Semi-slavery on the 'sweating fields' of southern Spain

Almudena Serpis / EFU

16th April 2015

Lettuces, peppers and other vegetables grown under 'semi-slavery' conditions in Spain are filling supermarket shelves in the UK, writes Almudena Serpis. Workers are routinely abused, underpaid, sprayed with pesticide, and sacked if they dare complain, an C4News / Ecologist investigation has found. But now they are getting organised to defend their rights. more...
When Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon isn't kissing babies, she manages to find time to reach a friendly understanding with fracking bosses. Photo: Barbara Agnew via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Scotland's 'fracking moratorium' - a free-for-all in disguise?

Kyla Mandel / DeSmog UK

13th April 2015

Nicola Sturgeon secretly met with pro-fracking firm Ineos on the very same day that Scotland announced its shale gas moratorium, writes Kyla Mandel - giving rise to fears of a under-the-table stitch-up. more...
Conditions in US factory farms are even worse than those in the EU. Now will MEPs vote to make the higher of EU and US standards apply under TTIP? Or the lower? Photo: Farm Sanctuary via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

TTIP: Europe's food, farms and animals at risk from EuroParl backroom deal

Molly Scott Cato MEP

13th April 2015

MEPs vote tomorrow on Green measures to ensure that TTIP 'harmonisation' on food and farming means applying the highest standards, not the lowest, writes Molly Scott Cato. But will MEP's put farmers, food and animals before corporate profit? more...
Utah's Book Cliffs are no empty wasteland - but that's what the tar sands industry is set to turn them into. Photo:  Loco Steve via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness Society's 'Grand Compromise' is a fossil-fuelled sell out

Alexander Reid Ross

7th April 2015

A deal to give up 500,000 acres of public lands in Utah to the tar sands industry in return for 1.5 million acres of industry is a sacrifice too far, writes Alexander Reid Ross, as it disclaims the wider costs of massive water use and contamination in the headwaters of the Colorado River, already seriously stressed by drought. more...
Grass Fed Cattle certified under the USDA's 'Certified Grass-Fed' scheme on a farm in Maryland. Photo: F Delventhal via US Department of Agriculture on Flickr (CC BY).

Vegetarians, ranchers and conscious omnivores of the world, unite!

Ronnie Cummins

7th April 2015

Thinking people of all stripes are agreed in their opposition to cruel, exploitative animal farming, writes Ronnie Cummins. So it's time for them to move beyond sterile 'meat-eater versus vegetarian' debates, and unite in their opposition to the daily atrocities of industrial agriculture. more...
After more than century of colliery dumping, there's still plenty of coal to be picked up at Seaham Harbour. But now a far more toxic form of pollution is on its way, thanks to UGC - underground coal gasification. Photo: David Robson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

'Underground coal gasification' hell-fires threaten Tyneside and the North Sea

Paul Mobbs

3rd April 2015

After over a century of coal ash and colliery waste dumping, the Tyne and Wear coastline is no stranger to industrial pollution. But soon a horrific new technology - underground coal gasification (UCG) - will endanger human health and the environment, backed by unflinching Government support and generous lashings of taxpayers' money. more...
It's estimated that 70% of food products in US supermarkets contain GMO ingredients. With TTIP, things could soon go the same way in the UK and other European countries. Photo:  Jaro Larnos via Flickr (CC BY).

TTIP could soon bring GM foods to UK supermarket shelves

Linda Kaucher

2nd April 2015

Thanks to pro-GMO politicans and lobbying by powerful agribusiness interests the UK and other EU countries may soon find supermarket shelves flooded with GM foods, both imported and home grown, writes Linda Kaucher. We must press parliamentary candidates now to defend us from this serious and long-term debasement of our food and farming. more...
The Guardian Media Group is to divest from fossil fuels, beginning with 'worst offenders' like coal. Divesting from natural gas is expected to take five years. Photo: Steven Depolo via Flickr (CC BY).

Guardian: our divestment pledge does rule out gas and fracking!

The Ecologist

1st April 2015

The Guardian Media Group is to divest its £800m fund from fossil fuels over five years. The terms of its promise appeared to leave the door open to natural gas and fracking, But GMG now insists that it aims to ditch all fossil fuels within five years. more...
Dried beans in Blantyre Market, Malawi. Photo: Michaelphoya via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

'Heat beater' beans could feed millions in warmer world

Alex Kirby

27th March 2015

Thirty new heat tolerant varieties of bean - a staple food crop around the world's tropical regions - will help people survive in a world as much as 4C warmer that it is now, writes Alex Kirby - and look: no genetic modification! more...
Wood lizard of the Ecuadorian cloud forest, Enyalioides rubrigularis. Photo: Santiago Ron via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Letter from Ecuador - where defending nature and community is a crime

Carlos Zorrilla

25th March 2015

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world. more...
The work is hard, but the seed is free - for now! Men and women harvest the Ethiopian staple grain teff in a roadside field between Axum and Adwa in Northern Ethiopia. Photo: Alan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Carving up Africa - aid donors and agribusiness plot the great seed privatization

Ian Fitzpatrick & Oliver Tickell

26th March 2015

An elite group of aid donors and agribusiness corporations met in London this week to plan the takeover of Africa's seeds, writes Ian Fitzpatrick, replacing traditional seed breeding and saving by small farmers with a corporate model of privatized, 'improved', patented, genetically uniform and hybrid seeds in a profit-driven market. more...

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Indian children on Brazil's BR 319 road through the increasingly fragmented Amazon rainforest. Photo: Ben Sutherland via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

To forestall a mass extinction, fight forest fragmention

David Edwards

24th March 2015

Large areas of forest remain around the world, writes David Edwards, but many of them are - in biological terms - dying on their feet as their species diversity erodes due to fragmentation. To conserve the full richness of our forests, we must keep them entire and unbroken, and rebuild the continuity of forest islands. more...
The Amazon forest still looks green and verdant, but over the whole region changes are afoot, with trees maturing faster - and dying younger. Photo: Dams999 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Amazon carbon sink declines as trees grow fast, die faster

Oliver Phillips & Roel Brienen

21st March 2015

To date the Amazon has been a huge carbon sink, soaking up billions of tonnes of our emissions from fossil fuels, write Oliver Phillips & Roel Brienen. But now that's changing, as trees grow faster and die younger: the sink appears to be saturating. more...
Thousands of farmers are protesting in Warsaw, Poland, to demand an end to land grabs, corporate domination of food and farming, draconian regulation, GMO crops, and the imposition of an 'agribusiness' model that undermines their independence and the inte

Occupy agriculture! Polish farmers sit in for land and freedom

Julian Rose

19th March 2015

At the heart of Poland's capital, Warsaw, farmers have founded a flourishing encampment known as the 'Green City', writes Julian Rose. It's a focus of protest against the sell-off of their land to agribusiness, the arrival of GMO crops, and the imposition of a failed 'Western' model of farming that's creating huge corporate profits while debasing food and bankrupting small farmers. more...
Swarthmore students ready to join the Peoples Climate March, 21st September 2014 in New York City. Photo: maisa_nyc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

College fossil fuel divestment - Yes we must!

Cutler J Cleveland

18th March 2015

Univerisities' core mission is one of civilization and enlightenment, and that's incompatible with investing in fossil fuels that pose an existential threat to humanity and the planet, writes Cutler J Cleveland. It's is also financially prudent for for them to avoid sinking capital into future 'stranded assets' of unburnable carbon. more...
Ban Fracking! Anti-fracking demo in London, 26 January 2015, at which a 360,000-signature petition was handed in to Parliament. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Engineering consent for fracking: Chris Smith and the 'astroturf' consultancy

Paul Mobbs

18th March 2015

Edelman, the global PR group, has a history of aggressive 'consent engineering' for the fossil fuel industry in North America, writes Paul Mobbs. So what are they doing running 'impartial' UK bodies including a Parliamentary group on unconventional oil and gas, and the 'independent' Task Force on Shale Gas? Are they really US-style 'astroturf' bodies designed to fool us all? more...
Let them eat carbon! At the 2011 UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Photo: Ainhoa Goma / Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Let them eat carbon! The corporate plan to cook Africa in its own fossil fuels

Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry

17th March 2015

Mining corporations, politicians and big NGOs are meeting in London today to plan the future of extractive industries in Africa, write Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry. Absent African civil society and impacted communities, delegates are setting an agenda for 'resource-led development' that will cook the continent in the greenhouse gases of its plundered oil, gas and coal. more...
Fighting the land grabs: peasant farmers on Ile-a-Vache, Haiti, refuse to be moved from their ancestral lands by the US puppet government, 28th February 2014. Photo: marie-chantalle via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

World Bank's Conference on Land & Poverty is a cruel farce

Oliver Tickell

20th March 2015

On Monday the World Bank's Conference on Land and Poverty begins in the US. But farmer organizations, indigenous groups, trade unions and others denounce the whole exercise as a sham that, in tandem with other Bank initiatives, is all about accelerating corporate land grabs and robbing the poor that the Bank was founded to assist. more...
Indian tribes from the Xingu region protest at a Public Hearing for the Belo Monte dam in September 2009. Behind them stands a detachment from Brazil's National Security Force. Photo: J.Gil via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Occupy Amazonia? Indigenous activists are taking direct action - and it's working

Marc Brightman

17th March 2015

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are employing the tactics of the Occupy movement against oil companies, gold miners and illegal loggers, writes Marc Brightman. Their methods are home-grown: lacking the protection of the state, they have always had to fight their own battles. But recent campaign successes owe much to outside support. We must maintain, and strengthen, our solidarity. more...
If the Adami mine goes ahead, the Abbot Point port will be in line for a massive upgrade. But the Queensland Government is paying nothing towards the cost. Photo: Greenpeace.

Money dries up for Great Barrier Reef coal project

Marina Lou & Christine Ottery / Greenpeace Energydesk

16th March 2015

Indian coal firm Adani is struggling to finance its proposed mega coal mine in Australia's Galilee Basin, write Marina Lou & Christine Ottery, as promised government support evaporates and a major investor looks set to pull out. more...
Residents of Prek Smach commune, Kiri Sakor district at a road block they have constructed out of trees and rocks. Botum Sakor national park, Koh Kon Province, Cambodia. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Cambodia: local people risk everything to defend national park sold off to highest bidders

Rod Harbinson

24th March 2015

Botum Sakor national park is one of Cambodia's biodiversity hotspots, where indigenous tribes have long lived in harmony with the forest and its wildlife, writes Rod Harbinson. But now they are being violently evicted as the park is being sold off piecemeal to developers for logging, plantations, casinos and hotels. Now local communities are defending themselves and their land. more...
Remains of a pipeline installation on a roadside near Ain Salah, in Algeria's Tamanrasset province. Photo: Thomas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Algeria: fracking and the Ain Salah uprising

Alexander Reid Ross

14th March 2015

Deep in the Algerian Sahara, the oasis town of Ain Salah is a focus of opposition to a new wave of fracking, with violent confrontations between police and up to 40,000 protestors, writes Alexander Reid Ross. They have two main concerns: preventing pollution to the aquifer that sustains them, and keeping out foreign oil giants like Total and Halliburton. more...
A swamp forest in Louisiana, of the same kind that's already being clear-felled and chipped to supply fuel to Drax power station in Yorkshire on a fatuous 'low carbon' promise. Photo: J E Theriot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UK plans first new coal power station since 1974 - and it burns forests too!

Almuth Ernsting

17th March 2015

A new coal and biomass-fired power station could soon be built at Drax in Yorkshire, already the UK's biggest coal burner, writes Almuth Ernsting. It comes with a weak promise of possible 'carbon capture and storage' - an expensive, inefficient technology shunned elsewhere. As the Government's nuclear dream fades, could this be its equally flawed replacement? more...
Victory! Global Divestment Day City Hall action by Divest London, 14th February 2015. Photo: 350 .org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

London Assembly votes for £5 bn fossil fuel divestment - listen up, Boris!

Divest London

12th March 2015

Members of the London Assembly yesterday voted for the London Pension Fund Authority, worth £4.8 billion, to ditch all its fossil fuel investments over a 5-year period. The vote is non-binding, but the huge 15-3 margin puts strong pressure on London Mayor Boris Johnson to follow through. more...

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