The Ecologist

 

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The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

Tar sands industry faces 'existential' $246 billion loss

Gregory McGann

27th November 2014

The exploitation of Canada's tar sands is more than just an environmental catastrophe, writes Gregory McGann. It's also an turning into an economic disaster, with massive investments at risk as falling oil prices leave the tar sands stranded. more...
Zekiye Ozdemir and Gulseren Caliskan, both 70, maintain their daily vigil directly in front of a large iron police barrier  at the construction site on the edge of Validebag Grove, Istanbul. Photo: Nick Ashdown.

'Fake environmentalists' battle for Istanbul's last forest

Nick Ashdown

26th November 2014

After Gezi Park, another battle for one of Istanbul's increasingly rare green spaces is raging, writes Nick Ashdown - and this time it's on the city's Asian side. Demonstrators are holding a 24-hour vigil on the edge of an 'illegal' construction site at Validebag Grove - despite having been repeatedly detained and attacked by police. more...
The Red Dacca banana (Musa acuminata) growing on Zanzibar, East Africa - smaller, plumper, softer and sweeter than the yellow Cavendish varieties, with a slight raspberry-banana flavor. Photo: Harvey Barrison / Wikimedia Commons.

Why is Bill Gates backing GMO red banana 'biopiracy'?

Adam Breasley & Oliver Tickell

24th November 2014

The Gates Foundation has sunk $15 million into developing GMO 'super bananas' with high levels of pre-Vitamin A, writes Adam Breasley. But the project is using 'stolen' genes from a Micronesian banana cultivar. And what exactly is the point, when delicious, popular, nutritious 'red bananas' rich in caroteinoids are already grown around the tropics? more...
Shell's Oloibiri oil well in Nigeria, the first sunk in West Africa, in 1956. Photo: Rhys Thom via Flickr.

Nigeria: Shell's false oil spill claims exposed in court

Sarah Shoraka

23rd November 2014

A London court has forced Shell to disclose documents about its pipelines and oils spills in Nigeria, writes Sarah Shoraka - and they reveal that the company has lied about the scale of oil spills in previous legal actions, and concealed the terminally poor condition of its pipelines. more...
Never mind the drinking water aquifers and the national park - the South Downs is one of England's most cherished landscapes that could be opened up for fracking. Photo: Jaydee! via Flickr.

Fracking is safe. Radiation is harmless. And pigs have wings

Dr David Lowry

21st November 2014

Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos, Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the Environment Agency and its ex-boss Lord Smith all suffer from a blind spot, writes David Lowry - the dangers of fracking, its radioactive emissions and the toxic chemicals that threaten to pollute our aquifers. As for official advice that 'regulation needs to be strongly and robustly applied' - pass the Tippex! more...
UKIP MEP and energy spokesman Roger Helmer poses with Maritsa Noon, chief executive of the pro-fossil fuel, climate change denying Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, at the 7th Heartland Institute Climate Conference in May 2012. Photo: rogerhelm

UKIP uncut - acoloytes of America's far-right corporate gunslingers

Alex Stevenson & Oliver Tickell

21st November 2014

Would UKIP be riding so high if voters knew of the party's links with powerful right-wing US corporate interests promoting fossil fuels, denying climate change, opposing gun control, and supporting big tobacco, teaching creationism in schools, healthcare privatisation and the lifting of nuclear power regulation? An Ecologist investigation exposes the real UKIP. more...
Denounced to the police for illegal logging, but no action taken - Señor Adeuzo Mapes Rodríguez, aka 'Capelon'.

Peru: indigenous leaders murdered for protecting their forests

The Ecologist

18th November 2014

As Peru prepares to host UN climate talks, Global Witness exposes the murder of Peruvian eco-defenders - 57 killed since 2002, including indigenous leaders protecting their forests from illegal logging ignored by police and Government. more...
A typical small farm in Russia of the kind that provides much of the nation's food. Photo: Vmenkov CC.

Want to double world food production? Return the land to small farmers!

GRAIN

22nd November 2014

All over the world, small farmers are being forced off their land to make way for corporate agriculture, writes GRAIN - and it's justified by the need to 'feed the world'. But it's the small farmers that are the most productive, and the more their land is grabbed, the more global hunger increases. We must give them their land back! more...
Stop this and we might just save the world. Photo: EPA, CC BY.

US-China climate deal: at last the big players are talking the right language

Mike Berners-Lee

14th November 2014

Efforts to tackle climate change have failed to make the slightest difference to the exponential increase in CO2 emissions, writes Mike Berners-Lee. The US-China deal at last offers hope that things could change - but to make it work other countries must come on board, and promises must transform into binding commitments. more...
Paid for by taxpayers? Oil rigs moored in Cromarty Firth. Invergordon, Scotland, UK. Photo: Berardo62 via Flickr.

Breach of promise: G20 spending $88 bn a year on fossil fuel subsidies

Alex Kirby

13th November 2014

Despite promises to phase out subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries, a new report G20 governments are still providing them with massive financial help, writes Alex Kirby. The UK alone is spending over £1.2 billion per year to support fossil fuel exploration and production at home and abroad. more...
Mitra Wicks: 'my skin was more luminous and I was left revelling in a self-satisfied haze of leafy liberation'.

Virtuous veganism for health, beauty and pleasure

Mitra Wicks

15th November 2014

Setting aside her fondness for meaty delicacies, Mitra Wicks decided to follow the celebrity vegan trend. Buoyed along by the gastronomic pleasures of London's finest vegan restaurants, she declares the change a success - in terms of health, wellbeing, beauty ... and reducing the exploitation of animals in industrial farming. more...
The Carajas railroad, almost 900km long, connects the Grande Carajas iron and manganese mine in the heart of the Amazon to coastal port of San Luis.

Brazil - 10% of national parks and indigenous lands face mining threat

Luke Parry

7th November 2014

Legislation put forward by Brazil's re-elected President Dilma Rousseff would open up to 10% of protected areas to mining, writes Luke Parry. The effect would be to gut nature conservation in Brazil, already in a perilous state due to underfunding and growing pressure for the development of mines, dams, farms and plantations. more...

Fo: 1/25 of 1764
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Cod smolts among seagrass. Photo: John Carroll.

For the love of cod, let's save our disappearing seagrass

Richard K. F. Unsworth

4th November 2014

Seagrass provides a key marine habitat, writes Richard Unsworth - it stablises the sea floor, sustains rich ecosystems, soaks up excess nutrients, sequesters carbon dioxide, feeds dugongs, and nurtures young cod. Hadn't we better stop wiping out some 1,500 sq.km of seagrass meadows every year? more...
The 'Bridge of the Gods' crossing the Columbia River Gorge. Photo: Mark Stevens via Flickr.

US oil boom threatens pristine North-West with crude transport corridors

Valerie Brown / Climate News Network

11th November 2014

America's expanding oil production threatens the pristine Pacific Northwest region of the country with a rash of new oil terminals along the coast, writes Valerie Brown, and hugely expanded traffic of freight trains loaded with hundreds of cars of crude oil heading for California refineries. more...
Rice porage is the perfect food for weaning babies - apart from the sometimes high levels of arsenic. Photo: Arun Joseph via Flickr.

Rice can have high levels of arsenic - so why isn't it regulated in our food?

Andy Meharg

8th November 2014

Rice can often contain high levels of arsenic, writes Andy Meharg. But while levels of this highly toxic element are tightly regulated in water, the EU has set no limits for arsenic in food. This needs to change, fast - and until it does, be careful not to feed too much rice to babies and small children ... more...
We have the technology - but which? IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. Photo: IPCC Photo / David Plas, via Flickr, © Belspo / Nevens.

IPCC: rapid emissions cuts vital to stop worst impacts of climate change

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

3rd November 2014

The IPCC's most important ever assessment of global warming warns that the world must cut its carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon, writes Damian Carrington - and the cost is affordable. But in fact, emissions are rising at record levels, and the IPCC's strong support for unproven-at-scale CCS technology will leave many mystified. more...
Saved - for now. Hopwas Woods, Staffordshire. Photo: James Broad / Woodland Trust.

Ancient Woodland saved from quarrying

Oliver Tickell

31st October 2014

Lafarge Tarmac has withdrawn its bid to quarry Hopwas Woods following a huge local and national campaign. It's a victory to celebrate - but as the Woodland Trust points out, it also shows that none of our ancient woodland is truly safe from destructive development. more...
Hurricane Sandy brought this blackout to Lower Manhattan in October 2012. Unless Britain's nuclear power stations perform implausibly well this winter, we could well be sharing the experience. Photo: Reeve Jolliffe via Flickr.

UK faces serious winter blackout risk - National Grid's rosy nuclear forecast fails reality test

Chris Goodall

31st October 2014

The National Grid's forecast for UK power supply this winter relies on overstating the availability of increasingly unreliable nuclear power stations, writes Chris Goodall. Realistic estimates of nuclear, gas and coal power station availability shrink the 'safety margin' to zero. more...
Glowing pumpkins of the night, our to eat, not just to fright. Photo: Andrea Verganic via Flickr.

The great Hallowe'en pumpkin rescue

Gavin Ellis

31st October 2014

Every Hallowe'en the UK throws away enough pumpkin to make 360 million portions of pumpkin pie, soup, or cake, writes Gavin Ellis - a shocking waste in these hungry times. Hence a bold new initiative to rescue all those pumpkins from landfill, and turn them into delicious food we can all enjoy as part of our seasonal festivities. more...
A worker at the Natural Fruit factory. Photo from naturalfruit.co.th.

Thailand: migrant labour investigator 'not guilty'

The Ecologist

29th October 2014

A charge of 'criminal defamation' against Andy Hall, the Finnwatch migrant labour researcher who revealed the plight of migrant food sector workers in Thailand, was dismissed today. But with another three civil and criminal cases pending, he's back in court tomorrow. more...
Texaco's signature, written in oil, at Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr.

Latin American progressives and environmental duplicity

Daniel Macmillen

26th October 2014

Left wing governments across the Americas are faced with a dilemma, writes Daniel Macmillen - high social spending programs financed by income from destructive mining and hydrocarbon extraction - or a slower but sustainable development path that puts ecology, equity and justice first. Their answer - a constant pushing back of the resource frontier. more...
A typical riverside indigenous village in the Peruvian Amazon near Loreto. Photo: Thomas Stromberg via Flickr.

Peru: Amazon Indians sue government to title indigenous lands

The Ecologist

28th October 2014

Peruvian law requires the government to recognise indigenous peoples's ownership of their lands. Yet 594 communities with claims to 20 million hectares of land remain with no secure title - leaving their forests open to illegal logging, plantations and settlement. Now one village is taking its demands to the courts. more...
The Balbina Dam reservoir. Photo: via Greenpeace.

Brazil's giant dam programme is a climate disaster

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace

28th October 2014

Brazil's newly elected Dilma Rousseff is committed to completing the disastrous Belo Monte dam, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson. Worse, she looks certain to press ahead with the industrialisation of the Amazon, with 61 hydroprojects in the pipeline. And new scientific findings about the massive climate impacts of tropical forest dams are not about to stop her. more...
'The view from my sister's window'. Greenpoint, NY, NY. Photo: Susan via Flickr.

What if your backyard was a slaughterhouse?

Laura Lee Cascada

3rd November 2014

When three giggling teenage girls in an SUV called 'BACON' at Laura Lee Cascada as she conducted a peaceful slaughterhouse vigil, she realised - those girls don't yet realise that 'bacon' has a mom. And there is only one way to create that missing connection - through love, empathy, understanding and perseverance. more...
Farmers in Ghana marching against the Plant Breeders Bill, now before the country's parliament, September 2014. Photo: Food Sovereignty Ghana.

Ghana's farmers battle ‘Monsanto law' to retain seed freedom

Chris Walker & Oliver Tickell

24th October 2014

Ghana's government is desperate to pass a Plant Breeders Bill that would remove farmers' ancient 'seed freedom' to grow, retain, breed and develop crop varieties - while giving corporate breeders a blanket exemption from seed regulations. Now the farmers are fighting back. more...

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