The Ecologist


Fo: 25/50 of 2051
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Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...
Even this could be called 'climate smart agriculture' - because the term is undefined. Oil palm plantations on deep peat in Indonesian Borneo. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

To keep carbon in the ground, COP21 must back agroecology

Pavlos Georgiadis

24th October 2015

'Climate Smart Agriculture' advocates were out in force at the just concluded climate talks in Bonn, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. But their finely crafted corporate message presents a real threat to genuine agroecological solutions to the interlinked food, farming and climate crises. more...
Logging road and cut logs awaiting collecting in the Laos rainforest. Photo: Denis Smirnov.

Leaked WWF report: illegal logging in Laos 'a worst-case scenario'

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

22nd October 2015

Forests in Laos are disappearing at a ferocious rate under the impact of rampant illegal logging which accounts for 90% or more of the industry, with lucrative export markets in Vietnam and China, writes Chris Lang. more...
Even though the Baram dam is on hold, logging of the reservoir area and surrounding forest is proceeding apace. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Indigenous activists celebrate bitter victory over rainforest dam moratorium

Rod Harbinson / Mongabay

22nd October 2015

As indigenous activists opposing hydropower dams on their territories gather this weekend in the rainforests of Sarawak, Malaysia, they have good news to celebrate, writes Rod Harbinson: a giant dam on the Baram river has been put on hold. But the forests are still being logged, local people have been stripped of land rights, and a programme of 12 giant dams is still official policy. more...
Devastated mountains in Romania's Sebes Valley. Photo: Magda Munteanu / BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network).

Austrian timber giant ransacking Romania's forests

The Ecologist

21st October 2015

Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. more...
A guard admires a rainforest vista near Elephant Valley. Photo: William F. Laurance.

Cambodia's 'Elephant Valley' brings new hope to a last precious rainforest

William Laurance

24th October 2015

An initiative to re-home abused, over-worked domestic elephants is supporting the conservation of one of Cambodia's last and most species-rich rainforests, writes William Laurance. Growing ecotourism in the area, attracted by the elephants, is engaging indigenous communities in forest protection and helping to stave off the pressure from loggers and plantations. more...
Victims of the pine bark beetle: Lodgepole pines in Summit County, Colorado. They may not look pretty, but these dead trees are an ecological godsend. Photo: V Smoothe via Flickr (CC BY).

In defense of the Bark Beetle: a keystone species of Western forest ecosystems

Chad Hanson

28th October 2015

Bark beetles are invariably presented as terrible, forest killing pests, writes Chad Hanson. But in truth forest biodiversity depends on them to create the snags for insects to burrow in, woodpeckers to feed off, and countless birds and even pine martens to nest in. So when you hear politicians calling for bark beetle 'salvage' logging, send them off with a flea in the ear! more...
Pro-GMO philanthropist Bill Gates has been a big funder of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - he even paid for its magnificent Gates Hall. But is Cornell's Alliance for Science performing a flip on GMO safety? Photo: Anne Ruthmann Photography via Flickr (CC

Surprise - Cornell is taking the GMO safety debate to a new level!

Steven M. Druker

19th October 2015

Something important just happened at Cornell's Alliance for Science, writes Steven M. Druker. Long known as a keen promoter of genetic engineering, the organization has experienced a profound change of direction. Its new director, Sarah Davidson Evanega, has opened an inclusive scientific dialogue on the safety of GMO crops. Who says it's all 'over'? more...
Sue Lloyd Roberts, over a drink on a terrace next to Covent Garden, 2012. Photo: Bogdan Adrian Bisa via Facebook.

Sue Lloyd Roberts - the BBC must make sure her work continues

Oliver Tickell

14th October 2015

Sue Lloyd Roberts, the brilliant investigative journalist who died yesterday, was a unique phenomenon in the BBC, writes Oliver Tickell - fearless, rooting out the dirtiest of secrets, fighting the cause of the oppressed, abused, exploited and downtrodden. Now the BBC must keep her mission alive with a new, independent unit dedicated to human rights worldwide. more...
Not much fruit in Sunny D 'fruit punch'. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia via Flickr (CC BY).

Toxic innovation: Volkswagen is the tip of a destructive iceberg

Paul Levy, University of Brighton

20th October 2015

Corporations can be incredibly innovative, writes Paul Levy. But it's not always in good ways. Think of VW's clever device for fooling emissions tests, social media software that's way too intrusive for its own good, or sugary drinks marketed as 'healthy' when they're no such thing. Sadly, there's a lot of it about! more...
Cows near Dolwyddelan Castle in the Conwy Valley, Wales. Photo: George Frost / Gelephoto via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Britain's dairy crisis - we must account for real costs, and for true value

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

30th October 2015

The UK dairy industry is in crisis, writes Megan Perry, with falling prices forcing many farmers out of business. Smaller, more sustainable farms have been the worst casualties, while the large, intensive producers survive. We must ditch market-driven 'survival of the fittest' attitudes - and recognise both the real costs of intensification, and the true value of traditional farming. more...
Kriss the croissant, a product of SPS Handel, Ostroleka, Poland. Photo: SPS Handel.

KRISS the croissant and our fatally fractured food chain

Julian Rose

13th October 2015

Industrial agriculture and industrial food processing have combined to produce something extraordinary, writes Julian Rose: 'KRISS the unrecognisable croissant'. Just don't make the mistake of confusing it with food. Devoid of nutrition, laced with hydrogenated oil and a long list of artificial ingredients, if you care about your own health and that of our planet - give KRISS a miss! more...

Fo: 25/50 of 2051
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Flames break through from deep peatland in burning Indonesian rainfoirest. Photo: Greenpeace via Youtube video (see embed).

Indonesian forest fires will emit more CO2 than UK

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

8th October 2015

Thanks to massive forest clearance for palm oil plantations combined with drought conditions in this 'El Nino' year, writes Zachary Davies Boren, rainforest and peatland fires across Indonesia are set to emit more carbon than the UK, while covering millions of square kilometres with choking smoke. more...
An Ecotricity wind turbine in Swaffham, Norfolk. Photo: Nick Ford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UK rigging power market against clean energy

Alex Kirby

7th October 2015

Ecotricity boss Dale Vince has accused the government of rigging the electricity market, writes Alex Kirby, by showering fossil fuels and nuclear power with huge subsidies, while taxing renewables and insisting they must 'stand on their own two feet'. more...
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, an area affected by fracking licences. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT for CIFOR on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences

The Ecologist

6th October 2015

Brazil is about to auction hundreds of fracking blocks across the country - extending deep into the Amazon forest including the territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous peoples. Registered bidders include BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. more...
34 people were killed at the 2009 protest for indigenous rights at Bagua, Peru. Photo: anonoymous via powless / Flickr (CC BY).

Neoliberals with chainsaws: deforestation in Peru and the future of the Amazon

Clément Doleac

5th October 2015

Peru is in hot competition with Brazil to be the main focus of Amazonian deforestation, writes Clément Doleac. A neoliberal government desperate to hand over the country's forests, oil, gas, minerals and indigenous lands for corporate exploitation is unafraid to break national laws, turn a blind eye to air and water pollution, and respond to any challenges with overwhelming violence. more...
sHellNo! Flotilla Departure Blockade in Seattle's Elliott Bay, 15th June 2015. Photo: Jeff Dunnicliff / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Shell's retreat from the Arctic - what tipped the scales?

Louise Rouse / Greenpeace Energydesk

30th September 2014

When Shell decided to quit its Arctic oil exploration it cited 'insufficient quantities' of oil and gas, writes Louise Rouse. But that was not the whole story: what tipped the balance was a combination of investor discontent, reputational damage and public opposition on an unprecedented scale. more...
Members of the Womens' Collective of Tamil Nadu in a forest area where they are growing fruits and vegetables. Photo: WhyHunger.

Agroecology leading the fight against India's Green Revolution

Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau

29th September 2015

For the women farmers of Tamil Nadu life has long been a struggle, Sheelu Francis told Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau, all the more so following the advent of 'Green Revolution' industrial agriculture. So now women's collectives are organising to restore traditional foods and farming methods, resulting in lower costs, higher yields, improved nutrition, and a rekindling of native Tamil culture. more...
Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...
The derelict Crowood Petrol Station next to the dual carriageway on the Cumbernauld Road as you enter the wee town of Chryston on the edge of Glasgow. Photo: byronv2 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

VW wipeout: the end of fossil fuels looms near

Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall

29th September 2015

VW's pollution cheating has caused thousands of premature deaths, write Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall, creating costs that could destroy the company's entire shareholder equity. But this is no 'Black Swan' event. It is an early example of the existential threat to the fossil fuel economy. more...
Plenty more where that came from under the desert sands. Garage in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Jon Bowen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Yemen in dust, blood and flames, and the world is silent. Could it be oil?

Martha Mundy

25th September 2015

There's a plan afoot in Yemen, writes Martha Mundy, but no one is telling you about it. It's a plan so big that a country of 20 million people has to be starved and bombed into total submission, yet the world is indifferent. Yes, its oil. Lots of oil, and gas too, and lakes of fossil water, all lurking beneath the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula. How do we know? Because they told us. more...
Just hanging ... Orangutan trio enjoying bananas at Pesalat Rehabilitation Center, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Palm oil versus orangutans? Don't forget the human dimension

Liana Chua

28th September 2015

The orangutans of Southeast Asia make a fantastic symbol of endangered rainforests, writes Liana Chua, rousing public opposition to palm oil companies and their bulldozers. But this story of good versus evil omits the essential human dimension. To save the rainforests and their great apes, we must make forest peoples a key part of the conservation narrative. more...
Is this what you want your pension fund to finance? Open pit coal mine near Hailar, Inner Mongolia. Photo: Herry Lawford via Flickr (CC BY).

Exposed: UK Councils' £14 billion fossil fuel gamble

The Ecologist

24th September 2015

UK local authorities have £14 billion invested in fossil fuels, campaigners revealed today. Now they should re-invest it in solar energy, new housing and other areas that generate local and global benefits - as well as providing better security for pension holders. more...
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee questions George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Hinkley C and other issues, 8th September 2015. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Shame upon them! The government's nuclear lies exposed

Oliver Tickell

23rd September 2015

The UK government and its Chancellor George Osborne are grossly misleading the public over the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, writes Oliver Tickell. Osborne's claim that nuclear is the 'cheapest low carbon technology' is the very reverse of the truth. He and his nuclear plans must be stopped. more...
The city of Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port, is among those to join the divestment movement. Port Waratah Coal Loader and freight train carrying steel. Photo: OZinOH via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Divestment pledges rise 50-fold to $2.6 trillion

The Ecologist

22nd September 2015

Pledges by investors to divest from fossil fuels have soared to $2.6 trillion - 50 times more than a year ago. 'Now is the time to divest', says Leonardo di Caprio, one of the latest to join the movement, which even includes Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port. more...


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