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Ecologist Special Report: Divesting from investment in fossil fuels gains momentum in the UK

Remo Bebié, Finance Dialogue,

15th May, 2017

Since the beginning of the year, increasing efforts by both public and private institutions to reduce their exposure to fossil fuel investments have emerged and over the weekend, UK campaigners further stepped up the pressure in a serious of co-ordinated Global Divestment Mobilisation (GDM) calls for continued divestment. Remo Bebié takes an overview more...

The Conflicting Interests of Climate Negotiations: Who's really running the show?

Arthur Wyns

11th May, 2017

Reporting from this month's international climate conference in Bonn - a preliminary to this year's COP23 in November - ARTHUR WYNS explores the glaring conflicts of interests which sees fossil fuel lobbyists in the same room as delegates discussing policy to avert climate catastrophe more...
While Trump tries to extend the wall across the US-Mexico frontier, seen here at Nogales, Mexico could build a solar farm along the border, generating 2GW of power, and attracting technology, investment and jobs from the North. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh vi

Mexico's expiring oil and Trump's wall: the future is solar

Jeremy Leggett

11th May 2017

Mexico's oil looks set to run out within a decade, writes Jeremy Leggett, and it can hardly rely on Trump's America to make up the difference. But Mexico enjoys abundant sunshine, and the cost of solar power generation is falling fast. Let Trump tie America's economy to debt-financed fossil fuels. Mexico's future prosperity will come from harnessing its inexhaustible solar riches. more...
Mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in celebration of indigenous culture by the artist Eduardo Kobra. Photo: Stefano Ravalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil: Amazon's Indians, rainforest under attack

Jan Rocha / Climate News Network

10th May 2017

Attacks on Amazon Indians and on their land rights are threatening vital areas of rainforest, writes Jan Rocha. Meanwhile FUNAI, the agency responsible for safeguarding indigenous tribes is being forced to withdraw from key conflict zones due to underfunding, while Indians' attempts to assert their rights are met with state violence. more...
The Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, represents the last remnant of a once vast grassland. It is just one of 27 at risk form Trump's executive order. Photo: Steve Corey via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Trump's National Monument order could open 2.7 million acres to oil, gas, coal

Lawrence Carter & Joe Sandler Clarke / Greenpeace Energydesk

12th May 2017

President Trump's recent executive order could open an area of America's most precious landscapes bigger than Yellowstone to oil drilling and coal mining, write Lawrence Carter & Joe Sandler Clarke. The 27 monuments 'under review' harbour huge volumes of oil, gas and coal: just what's needed to fuel Trump's vision of fossil fuel-led development - never mind the cost to scenery, wildlife, historic sites and indigenous cultures. more...

No Seed... No Food

Laura Briggs

10th May, 2017

With the diversity of food crops falling dramatically and just three giant corporations controlling over 75 per cent of the global seed supply, it's no wonder people feel disconnected from their food. LAURA BRIGGS learns more about a new UK Seed Co-operative which aims to redress the balance more...

Politicians take note (if you want our vote)... Renewables are now more popular than ever

Joe Ware

If UK politicians want to reunite the country and garner votes they'd do well to embrace renewables in their manifestos, writes JOE WARE more...
ADB's 'two finger salute' to the world on climate change: the Tata Mundra coal power station in India, under construction in 2010. Photo: Joe Athialy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Asian Development Bank must end its 50 year addiction to coal!

Hemantha Withanage

4th May 2017

The mighty Asian Development Bank is celebrating its 50th birthday this week in Yokohama, Japan, writes Hemantha Withanage. But the victims of ADB's $3 billion coal funding have little to be glad of - whether local communities impacted by mines and power stations, or people everywhere suffering climate change. ADB must stop financing coal now! more...
Everyday life at the Preston New Road fracking site. Photo: Mat Hope / DeSmog UK (CC BY).

Battered but steadfast: dispatch from Lancashire, England's fracking frontline

Mat Hope / DeSmog.uk

8th May 2017

The months-old protest at Preston New Road, Lancashire, is no longer just about fracking, writes Mat Hope. This dispute is now about London versus the North. It is about the government failing 'the people' from which it has become detached. It is about people sensing hopelessness and helplessness and trying to find a means to resist. And it is about holding on, steadfast, in spite of it all, knowing this is the forgotten frontline of a far greater struggle. more...
John Muir, full-length portrait, facing right, seated on rock with lake and trees in background, circa 1902. Photo: unknbown via Library of Congress (Public Domain).

Divine ecstasy of Nature: Selected Writings by John Muir

Terry Tempest Williams

17th May 2017

May this new collection of John Muir's writings reach us now and inspire another generation to fall in love with wild nature, to care for it, to know that wilderness is not optional but central to our survival in the centuries to come, writes Terry Tempest Williams - and remind us how to embrace this beautiful, broken world once again with an open heart. If we do approach the mountain, it is we who are moved. more...
The UKEF export finance agency has committed £1 billion to support Colombia's fossil fuel sector. The Barrancabermeja oil refinery on the banks of Colombia's Río Magdalena. Photo: Javier Guillot via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Leaked: UK £7 billion export credit for fossil fuel industry violates 'clean energy' pledge

Lawrence Carter / Greenpeace Energydesk

16th May 2017

Between 2011 and 2016 the UK's export finance agency UKEF provided £109m to underwrite exports of equipment to coal mines in Russia, writes Lawrence Carter - despite the agency's commitment not to support 'investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production'. And that's just a fraction of the £6.9 billion UKEF has lavished on the corrupt, polluting sector since 2000, while it was meant to be backing the clean energy technologies of the future. more...
Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Photo: Lameirasb via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them

Prakash Kashwan, University of Connecticut

26th April 2017

Who are the best guardians of forests and other wild places? Governments? Conservation NGOs? Corporations? No, writes Prakash Kashwan, it's the indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for millennia. But to be able do so, they must first be accorded rights to their historic lands and resources, both in law and in practice. Among the countries leading the way, Mexico. Among the laggards, Kenya and India. more...

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How it all began: Monsanto Tribunal Opening day, 14th October 2016. Photo: Monsanto Tribunal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tribunal judges: Monsanto isn't feeding the world - it's undermining food security

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

24th April 2017

Five international judges say Monsanto's activities have negatively affected individuals, communities and biodiversity, writes Claire Robinson. The Monsanto Tribunal's damning ruling denounces the company's harmful impacts on food sovereignty, agricultural production, access to nutrition, the natural environment, seed diversity, climate change, pollution and traditional cultural practices. more...
Chinese-built road under construction through rainforest in Mouloundou Department, Ogooue-Lolo, Gabon. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The dark legacy of China's drive for global resources

William Laurance

11th April 2017

As China pursues a startling array of energy, mining, logging, agricultural, transport and other infrastructure projects on virtually every continent, it is having an unprecedented impact on the planet, writes William Laurance. It's not that China is any worse than historic colonial powers - the difference is in the sheer scale and pace of environmental destruction, and the total lack of oversight under which Chinese mega-corporations operate. more...
These trees along Idaho's Selway River may be harboring insects, fungi and bacteria - best cut them down quick to maintain forest health! Photo: Friends of Clearwater.

Catastrophic 'anti-infestation' logging threatens US National Forests

Brett Haverstick

10th April 2017

A fresh wave of logging is hitting America's national forests, writes Brett Haverstick. But this time it's all for the sake of 'forest health' and 'fire prevention'. It might look like industrial clear-cutting to you and me, but really, it's in a good cause. And if the forests and precious ecosystems they harbor just happen to perish in the process ... well ain't that just too bad? more...
The four eastern cooling towers at the Drax biomass and coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Photo: Jonathan Brennan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No Drax! There's nothing 'sustainable' about big biomass

Frances Howe

10th April 2017

The Drax power station in Yorkshire is the UK's biggest CO2 emitter, burns more wood each year than the entire UK timber harvest, and is a major importer of coal from strife-stricken regions of Colombia, writes Frances Howe. This Thursday campaigners will target the company's AGM to highlight its impacts on forests, biodiversity, climate and communities, in the face of Drax's PR offensive to make biomass appear 'sustainable'. more...
The rich, deep color of this soil and high organic content shows exactly what healthy soil looks like. A diverse blend of crops, grasses, and cover crops creates a protective blanket that feeds and nurtures the soil. Photo: USDA-NRCS photo by Catherine Ul

How to feed the world? The answer lies in healthy soils

David R. Montgomery, University of Washington

7th April 2017

There's only one real faultline in farming, writes David R. Montgomery, and it's not the one between organic and 'conventional'. What really matters is whether farming systems are building, improving and nurturing soils - or exploiting them for short term gain. And if we want to keep humans well fed and healthy for the long term, there's only one choice to make. more...

The Ethical Foodie: I'm in huff - big time

Tim Maddams

7th April, 2017

Ethical foodie columnist TIM MADDAMS points the finger at fishing practices which may tick the sustainable criteria boxes but which perpetuate an environmentally damaging broken food production system when you take into account the bigger picture more...

Ecologist Special Report: A multinational fracking boom begins in Colombia

Sebastian Ordoñez and Daniel MacMilllen Voskoboynik

7th April, 2017

Information from Colombia's National Hydrocarbons Agency shows that at least 43 new fracking concessions have been handed out to multinational companies including Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Drummond. These concessions affect over three hundred municipalities, in the departments of Cesar, Santander, Boyacá, Cundinamarca and Tolima. SEBASTIAN ORDOÑEZ and DANIEL MACMILLEN VOSKOBOYNIK report. more...

Ecologist Special Report: The Indigenous Communities fighting oil companies in the Peruvian Amazon

Arthur Wyns

5th April, 2017

The Indigenous Peoples of Standing Rock are by no means alone in their struggle for the recognition and preservation of their native lands: a very similar story of resistance against oil extraction is taking place further south, and has been going on for almost half a century, namely the fight of the Indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon against oil pollution and oppression, writes biologist ARTHUR WYNS more...

The Food Paradox and our collective role in it...

Laura Briggs

5th April, 2017

How can we bridge the gap between ‘fast food' living and responsible consumption when mass production and a throw-away mindset still dominate the lifestyles of most people? LAURA BRIGGS has some thoughts... more...
Aerial view of Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar. Photo: via Andrew Lees Trust.

Tall tales and tailings - the truth about Rio Tinto's rare earth mine in Madagascar

Yvonne Orengo

3rd April 2017

Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar was meant to be an exemplar of 'corporate social responsibility' and environmental best practice. But the reality experienced by local communities is different, writes Yvonne Orengo, with uncompensated land seizures, food insecurity, deforestation and social deprivation. New concerns are emerging about the infringement of legal buffer zones and radiation exposure. Rio Tinto must be held responsible for its actions! more...
Coal mining on our lands comes with serious environmental consequences that we can no longer afford - as seen at the Black Thunder mjne in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Photo: courtesy of Ecoflight.

Executive Order removes climate safeguards - now, the fightback

Trip Van Noppen / EarthJustice

29th March 2017

In a potentially devastating blow to the Earth's climate, President Trump's new executive order ends the Interior Department's moratorium on coal mining on public land and begins a repeal of the landmark Clean Power Plan, writes Trip Van Noppen. But this reckless move will not pass unchallenged - the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA must tackle climate pollution, and clean energy policies can still be defended and advanced at state level. more...
Bacon with nipple: Still from 'Carnage' by Simon Amstell / BBC iPlayer.

'Carnage' imagines a vegan utopia where animals live as equals - could it happen?

Matthew Adams, University of Brighton

28th March 2017

In the year 2067, the eating of meat - carnism - will be seen as crime similar to cannibalism today, writes Matthew Adams. That is, in the fertile imagination of Simon Amstell, expressed in his BBC iPlayer film 'Carnage'. With 55 billion animals slaughtered every year for their meat, the vision looks remote. But the world will be a far better place if we begin the transition to plant-based diets - for our health, that of the planet, and not least, the animals themselves. more...
At risk: Canaima National Park in the Venezuelan Amazon headwaters. Photo: Antonio Jose Hitcher (@antoniohitcher).

Saving the Venezuelan Amazon: mega-nature reserve? Or mega-mining frontier?

Lucio Marcello

30th March 2017

Venezuela is set to hand over 12% of the nation's territory in the upper reaches of the Amazon rainforest to mining corporations, writes Lucio Marcello, with 150 companies from 35 countries poised to devastate the army-controlled 'special economic zone'. But resistance is growing, and a counter-proposal aims to protect the area's precious biodiversity, indigenous cultures and water resources in a new South Orinoco Mega Reserve. more...

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