The Ecologist

 

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WITNESS: South Africa's Parliament split over future of fracking

Jasper Finkeldey

5th December, 2016

Eight years ago the first exploration applications for unconventional gas extraction were submitted in South Africa. Last week fracking finally received official attention from South Africa's legislature during a debate that revealed how the country's different political parties gauge the benefits and risks linked to the drilling technique. JASPER FINKELDY was at that debate. more...
'Entry forbidden - Law number 26834 - Law number 28736 - Zone of restricted access owing to the presence of indigenous peoples living in isolation'. Sign in the Manu National Park, Peru. Photo: oarranzli via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Amazon: rainforest road threatens Peru's last isolated tribes

Oliver Tickell

1st December 2016

Peru's Congress may soon approve a road through remote rainforest which is home to the country's last uncontacted tribes. The link to the Inter-Oceanic highway would open the area up to land grabs, wood cutting and gold mining, and expose vulnerable indigenous people to diseases to which they have no immunity. more...
Flaring at the Scott Township fracking well, Pennsylvania. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Climate? What climate? IEA backs fossil-fuelled future

Oliver Tickell

30th November 2016

The International Energy Agency's latest World Energy Outlook is calling for increased investment in new oil and gas, writes Oliver Tickell, while minimising the fast-growing and ever lower-cost contribution to world energy supply of renewables like wind and solar. more...
A recent demonstration in the British Museum to denounce BP's sponsorship. Photo: Kristian Buus / Art Not Oil.

In the age of Trump, Big Art must cut off Big Oil!

Chris Garrard

29th November 2016

With Trump denying climate change and threatening to reject the Paris Agreement, it's more important than ever for society to hold a firm ethical line, writes Chris Garrard. The last thing we need is our most revered museums and galleries muddying the water by courting the sponsorship of leading climate criminals. more...

Czechs angry at severe water loss caused by Polish mining

Claudia Ciobanu

28th November, 2016

The Turow open-pit lignite mine is drying up water sources on both sides of the Polish-Czech border. In light of plans to expand mining at Turow, Czechs are now rebelling against putting up with damages from a foreign mine they get no benefits from CLAUDIA CIOBANU reports more...

How Solar power is bringing food security to Africa

Joe Ware

25th November, 2016

Malawi is a country on the front line of climate change. Unlike nations ravaged by a typhoon or rich western cities swamped with floodwater, the kind of impacts Malawians face barely raise a flicker of interest in the media. Compared to a hurricane, a few degrees of temperature rise and shifting rainfall patterns sound mild, but in reality they have the potential to be far more devastating writes JOE WARE more...
Local communities in Pitas are monitoring the area in order to prevent the project from expanding into the remaining 1,000 acres of mangrove forest. The sign reads: Future for indigenous peoples. Photo: Camilla Capasso / FPP.

'Poverty alleviation' shrimp farms destroy mangrove forest, grab indigenous land

Camilla Capasso

17th November 2016

A government-led shrimp farming project meant to tackle extreme poverty in northern Sabah, Malaysian, won local support in 2010 by promising job opportunities for impoverished indigenous communities. Six years on, mangrove forests local people depend on for food, materials and income are closed off and being cleared - but the jobs have yet to materialise. more...
A fisher going to set his fishing gear at rapids at Don Sahong on the Mekong River. Photo: International Rivers via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Don Sahong Dam - disaster in the making that must be halted!

Save the Mekong Coalition

17th November 2016

The construction of the Don Sahong Dam in Laos PDR must be halted until full information on the project's impacts - in particular the fate of millions of fish that migrate each year through the Hou Sahong channel now being dammed - has been published, writes the Save the Mekong Coalition in this open letter sent today to the project developers. more...
A logging truck in Asia Pulp and Paper's PT Wira Karya Sakti pulpwood forest license. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2005. Now APP is financing forest restoration through the Belantara Foundation. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY

Hope for forests at COP22

Tony Juniper

15th November 2016

COP22 has revealed signs of real momentum toward an effective role for tropical forests in achieving a low carbon future, writes Tony Juniper. Now for the hard bit - connecting with realities on the ground to make it happen. This will mean working with indigenous and other forest communities to support and reward their conservation efforts, while harnessing large-scale international carbon finance. more...
John Letts harvesting his biodiverse crop of heritage wheat on an organic farm in Buckinghamshire. Photo: Adrian Arbib for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine.

Farming with the grain - John Letts and his evolutionary 'made for organic' heritage seeds

Oliver Tickell

10th November 2016

To feed the world we must abandon not just GMOs but all diversity-destroying selective crop breeding, organic farmer John Letts told Oliver Tickell. Only by using biodiverse local seed mixtures that evolve in the field can food production adapt to climate change without ever-increasing chemical inputs, and meet human needs for wholesome nourishment. more...
Up Coal Creek without a solar panel? UP C45ACCTE 7507 leads coal buckets through the s-curve near Coal Creek Junction, on the Orin Sub, Powder River Basin. Photo: Jerry Huddleston via Flickr (CC BY).

President Trump: up Coal Creek without a (solar) panel?

Mark Barteau, University of Michigan

10th November 2016

Trump has pledged to ditch the Paris Agreement, scrap Obama's clean power plan, get coal miners back to work, and 'make America great again' on the back of a huge expansion of fossil fuel production, writes Mark Barteau. But he will run into serious difficulties, not least states going their own renewable ways, cheap natural gas, and weak international demand for coal. more...
Red squirrel among dead bracken at Kinrara, northern Scotland. Photo: Paul Buxton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Red squirrels return to Scotland's Caledonian forest

Oliver Tickell

15th November 2016

A project to reintroduce red squirrels to isolated areas of regenerating forest in the Scottish Highlands gets under way this month. This will increase both the numbers and the range of red squirrels in the UK, and help to regenerate their native Caledonian forest habitat. more...

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The Arts Interview - Edward Parker, Environmental Photographer

Gary Cook, Arts Editor

4th November, 2016

After decades of travelling the globe documenting environmental issues, UK photographer Edward Parker has turned his lens closer to home with a new book on the Ancient Trees of the National Trust. He talks to Arts Editor, GARY COOK more...

The huge environmental costs of salmon farms in South America

Florencia Ortúzar

1st November, 2016

There are currently over 3,000 applications to establish new salmon farms in the Patagonian regions of Magallanes and Aysen waiting for approval. Have we leaned nothing from the damage to the environment caused by Chile's salmon farms asks Florencia Ortúzar more...
Longleaf Pine Regeneration in South Carolina. Photo: Justin Meissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix

Nina Skorupska / Renewable Energy Association

27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal. more...

THE ETHICAL FOODIE - Back to Basics

Tim Maddams

20th October, 2016

We refer to them as kitchen basics - milk and eggs - but how often do we stop to think about the true cost of their production? Not often enough writes TIM MADDAMS more...
Well cared-for animals are crucial to food security and sustainable farming systems around the world. Photo: Paul Woods via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The future of our food depends on small farmers and well cared-for livestock

Philip Lymbery / CIWF

19th October 2016

Abusive farming of animals in factory farms is one of the great cruelties of the modern age, writes Philip Lymbery. While some may justify it as necessary to 'feed the world', it is no such thing. The answer lies in supporting small scale traditional farmers, and respecting the livestock that are intrinsic to sustainable agriculture across the planet. more...
Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo: ineos.com.

Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell & Peter Strachan

20th October 2016

The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment. more...
Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui meeting Prince Charles in 2010 after being awarded a major prize for his humanitarian and ecological work

This is my cry of alarm, please listen to me!

17th October, 2016

Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people

Today, the Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people in the state of Rondônia, Brazil has issued the following plea for help to stop illegal logging and mining on their lands. The letter is unedited. more...

WITNESS: Colombia's indigenous Wayuu suffer the effects of climate change, drought and rising food prices

Laura Dixon - La Guajira, Colombia

17th October, 2016

La Guajira, a dusty but spartanly beautiful region in Colombia's desert north is in the grips of a crisis. Climate change, desertification and water shortages have combined to create a perfect storm for the local rural community: a drought so severe some places did not feel a drop of rain for three years writes LAURA DIXON more...
Agroecology is not just for the developing world: Amish farmer, USA. Photo: Ashley Morris via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Agroecology cools the planet - so why are Governments backing agribusiness?

Kirtana Chandrasekaran

14th October 2016

It' a perfect win-win solution for World Food Day, writes Kirtana Chandrasekaran: agroecology that sequesters carbon into soils, making them more fertile, productive and resilient, while also supporting sustainable livelihoods and tackling climate change. But instead governments are desperately trying to attract agribusiness investment that does the precise opposite. 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...
Crop 'dusting' with pesticide a few miles north of Ripley, Mississippi. Photo: Roger Smith via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Monsanto on trial? Or 21st century capitalism?

Pete Dolack

13th October 2016

The organizers of tomorrow's International Monsanto Tribunal describe it as a 'moral trial', while the company dismisses it as a 'mock trial' and 'stunt'. The truth, writes Pete Dolack, is that it's about much more than this one company. On trial is the entire neoliberal system of 'free market' finance and monopoly capitalism. more...
Lancashire: a local demonstration against fracking - 'Nanas to the front. Advance!' Photo: Victoria Buchan-Dyer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking trumps climate change, pollution, health - and democracy

Tony Bosworth / FoE

13th October 2016

Last week the EU ratified the Paris Agreement to limit climate change, writes Tony Bosworth. So how did Communities Secretary Sajid Javid mark the occasion? By overturning Lancashire's democratic rejection of fracking, so giving a whole new fossil fuel industry the green light to let rip. Hypocrisy? The word hardly does justice to our government's mendacity. more...
Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories.

Superbug-infected pigs get into Britain unchecked, contaminate food chain

Andrew Wasley / Bureau of Investigative Journalism

14th October 2016

Regulatory failures are allowing Danish pigs infected with lethal antibiotic-resistant bacteria into British farms, writes Andrew Wasley, with contaminated pork found in UK supermarkets, and three human infections recorded. The official response? Deny there's a problem, take no action, and hope for the best. Six people may have died from the bug in Denmark, but the UK is safe, surely? more...

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