The Ecologist

 

GE: 1/25 of 1994
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NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed

3rd March 2015

Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all. more...
Baka women set off to gather food from their native forest. Increasingly the Baka are excluded from their forests in the name of 'conservation', or limited to ever-smaller areas insufficient to sustain them. Photo: ..zuzu.. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Indigenous Peoples destroyed for misguided 'conservation'

Gordon Bennett & co-authors

3rd March 2015

As we celebrate 'World Wildlife Day' today, there's little for nature's best defenders to be glad of, says human rights lawyer Gordon Bennett. Indigenous Peoples around the world are routinely attacked, starved and cut off from the lands and wildlife they have protected for millennia under a flawed and brutal model of 'conservation'. more...
The future Amazon? Keep on deforesting the Amazon, and Leticia in the Colmbian rainforest, which currently gets 2500mm of rain a year, could get as little rain as Israel's Negev Desert, with 20mm. Photo of the Negev by Francois BESSONNET via Flickr (CC BY

Without its rainforest, the Amazon will turn to desert

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2015

Mainstream climatologists predict a 15% fall in rainfall over the Amazon if it is stripped of its rainforest. But the 'biotic pump' theory, rooted in conventional physics and recently confirmed by experiment, shows that the interior of a forest-free Amazon will be as dry as the Negev desert. We must save the Amazon before it enters a permanent and irreversible dessication. more...
As ocean acidity rises, diatoms stuggle to gow in variable light conditions. Photo: Mixed diatom frustules by Carolina Biological Supply Company via Flickr (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0).

Keystone plankton 'go slow' as ocean acidity rises

Tim Radford

1st March 2015

Increasing acidity in the Southern Ocean is slowing the growth of diatoms, reports Tim Radford. Why worry? Because these tiny plankton sustain essential marine ecosystems, and are highly effective at drawing CO2 down into the deep ocean. more...
A dry branch of the Atibainha reservoir, part of the Cantareira system of reservoirs that serves Sao Paulo, 26th February 2015. Photo: Clairex via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil's ravaged forests are taking their revenge

Robert Hunziker

2nd March 2015

Thanks to massive deforestation along Brazil's Atlantic coast and the Amazon, São Paulo's reservoirs are at just 6% of their capacity and water rationing is in place. But this is just the beginning of a long term drying process that could be recreated around the world as forests are laid waste and hydrology disrupted. more...
The rate of growth in China's emissions from fossil fuels has been declining for a decade - but in 2014 it switched into reverse.

China's fossil fuel emissions fell 3% in 2014

Lauri Myllyvirta / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

27th February 2015

China has just recorded its first fall in emissions from burning fossil fuels in 15 years, writes Lauri Myllyvirta. The sharp decline has surprised analysts, and reflects the fast growing proportion of renewables in the country's power supply. more...
Industrial fumes caught in early morning sunshine in Chilwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze

27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity. more...
A burnt Maasai village. Photo: InsightShare.org.

Tanzania breaks promise - thousands of Maasai evicted to make way for lion hunt

The Ecologist

27th February 2015

Last November Tanzania's President Kikwete tweeted his promise that the evictions of indigenous Maasai people and their villages near Serengeti National Park would stop. But now another round of evictions is under way: thousands of Maasai have been evicted at gunpoint and their homes burnt to ashes. The Maasai say: 'We need your help!' more...
A Coral Cod (Cephalopholis miniata) at Lighthouse Bommie, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

US tax dollars must not finance $1bn Great Barrier Reef destruction!

The Ecologist

20th February 2015

A powerful call has gone out the the US Export-Import Bank not to finance a massive coal mine, railway, port terminal and dredged 'canal' through Australia's Great Barrier Reef with $1 billion in loans and guarantees. more...
Crossed wires? Power lines in Miango, Plateau State, Nigeria. Photo: Mike Blyth via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Privatized energy has failed us - so why is UK 'aid' exporting it?

Christine Haigh / Global Justice Now

20th February 2015

The failure of the UK's privatized electricity oligopoly - expensive, uncompetitive and slow to adopt renewable technologies - is being repeated across the global south, writes Christine Haigh: over £100 million of UK 'aid' is supporting energy privatization in the very countries that can least afford it. more...
John Muyiisa is one of the Bugula islanders dispossessed by the IFAD-supervised oil palm plantation that has robbed him of his land and livelihood - and a co-plaintiff in teh legal action that is launched today. Photo: Jason Taylor / FoEI).

UN, banks and oil palm giants feast on the stolen land of Uganda's dispossessed

Anne van Schaik & Oliver Tickell

19th February 2015

A small community in Uganda is challenging a UN-backed international oil palm venture that has expropriated small farmers and obliterated an entire forest on a Lake Victoria island to establish a vast plantation. Three years after the grab, Friends of the Earth groups are backing the islanders legal action, which is launched today. more...
Which side are you on? Global Divestment Day Amsterdam. Photo: Nichon Glerum www.nichon.nl / 350.org (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Fossil fuel divestment backlash forces the question: Which side are you on?

Kate Aronoff / Waging Nonviolence

18th February 2015

The fossil fuel industry's big reaction to Global Divestment Day shows us something important, writes Kate Aronoff - they understand the existential danger they face better than we do. To win the battle for the world's climate, as we must, the victory must be total - and there is no place for neutrality or weak compromise. more...

GE: 1/25 of 1994
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Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Presidente da Associação Hutukara Yanomami. Photo: Joelle Hernandez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

'The Falling Sky' - words of a Yanomami shaman

Sue Branford

17th February 2015

This powerful book by Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert reveals to us the world view of the Yanomami shaman, writes Sue Branford - together with many uncomfortable insights about the horrors of mainstream modern society, seen from an indigenous viewpoint as a form of organized madness that's driving the world to destruction. more...
Will we go the way of the Ancient Pueblo People? Climate models say we will, this century. Photo: Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, by Lorax via Wikimedia Commons.

Southwest USA faces long term 'megadroughts' this century

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

17th February 2015

The same pattern of severe droughts that extinguished the Ancient Pueblo culture of the southwest US in the 13th century will come back with a vengeance later this century as climate warms and dries, writes Tim Radford. And it could have precisely the same effect on the region's modern-day residents. more...
It's time to get smart about public transport! A 'bus jam' on Putney Hill, London. Photo: Chris Guy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Greening transport - we can do it, if we want to!

Rupert Read

16th February 2015

Public transport often doesn't work for travellers because it's fragmented, deregulated and operated for short-term profit, writes Rupert Read. A Green transport policy would force operators to coordinate their schedules, integrate multiple transport modes, and entice travellers out of their cars building a real public transport 'system'. more...
Tesemay Tribe members in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr.com.

Ethiopia: stealing the Omo Valley, destroying its ancient Peoples

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

16th February 2015

A land grab twice the size of France is under way in Ethiopia, as the government pursues the wholesale seizure if indigenous lands to turn them over to dams and plantations for sugar, palm oil, cotton and biofuels run by foreign corporations, destroying ancient cultures and turning Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake, into a new Aral Sea. more...
Thunderstorm in Colorado, USA, on 28th June 2013. Photo: Bryce Bradford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).)

Geoengineering - the case is not made

Clive Hamilton

14th February 2015

The geoengineering genie should remain firmly stopped up in its bottle until a robust case is made for letting it out, writes Clive Hamilton - and that's something the NRC's new report signally fails to achieve, providing no rationale for deploying the technology, or even experimenting with it. more...
Dumped the day before Valentine's - Global Divestment Day 2015 party under way in Adelaide, Australia. Photo: 350.org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Join Global Divestment Day and make fossil fuels history!

Yossi Cadan

13th February 2015

Increasing numbers of investors are waking up to the reality that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end, writes Yossi Cadan. But there's one sector that hasn't yet got the message: the fossil fuel industry itself is determined to keep on piling good money after bad. So join the worldwide divestment party this weekend and help ram the message home! more...
All that glitters is not gold ... Diamonds. Photo: Judy van der Velden via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Bushmen aren't forever - the diamonds of the Kalahari

The Ecologist

14th February 2015

Thirty years after diamonds were first discovered in Botswana's Kalahari desert, the Bushmen have been evicted, and the first diamonds have gone on sale. Happy Valentines! more...
Gigatonnes of carbon rising from the frigid Southern Ocean put an end to the last ice age. Photo: Natalie Tapson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Carbon stored deep in Antarctic waters ended the last ice age

Miguel Martinez-Boti & Gianluca Marino

12th February 2015

The last ice age came to an end following the massive release of carbon dioxide from the Southern Ocean, write Miguel Martinez-Boti and Gianluca Marino, and the signature of that event is written in planktonic shells. It's a timely reminder that the oceans contain 60 times more carbon than the atmosphere - and we want to keep it there. more...
Yes, this new luxury apartment development really is built of straw bales - the new high-precision, pre-fabricated variety, made by Modcell in one of its 'flying factories'. Photo: modcell.com.

Straw homes are a cheap and green fix for the housing crisis

Pete Walker

10th February 2015

Straw is cheap, plentiful, eco-friendly and an excellent insulator, writes Pete Walker - and officially certified prefabricated straw bale building systems are challenging traditional brick construction. So why aren't straw bale houses mushrooming on building sites across the country? Maybe they are ... more...
A Kichwa girl on the Rio Tigre blockade. Photo: David Hill.

Victory in prospect for Peru's Kichwa People after 40 years of oil pollution

David Hill

10th February 2015

A month-long blockade of the Rio Tigre deep in the Peruvian Amazon has secured promises of compensation and cleanup for Peru's Kichwa communities who have suffered 40 years of contaminated waters from oil drilling operations in their remote Amazon region. But until the funds materialize, they are holding firm in their resolve. more...
The Mirabar Resort Village, illegally built on the the land of Taiwan's 'Amis indigenous People, Shanyuan beach. Photo: Glenn Smith.

Taiwan indigenous activist - this illegal luxury hotel on our beach must go!

Glenn Smith

19th February 2015

A huge hotel development has been built on a pristine beach belonging to the 'Amis, one of Taiwan's indigenous tribes, despite numerous court rulings confirming its illegality. Glenn Smith met 'Amis campaigner Sinsing, whose fight for justice began when the government handed out eviction notices to her community - and will continue until the hotel is razed and the beach restored. more...
'They beat us at the WWF base. I nearly died.' Baka 'Pygmy', Cameroon. Photo: Survival International.

Wildlife conservation must support, not destroy, Indigenous Peoples

Stephen Corry

6th February 2015

'Conservation' is destroying those who've nurtured their surroundings for timeless generations, writes Stephen Corry - the Indigenous Peoples who have actually fashioned those precious places that we now mistake as 'natural'. It's time for a new conservation ethic that recognizes them as senior partners - not as 'squatters'' and 'poachers' to be evicted and criminalized. more...
The poster for Suvival's 'Parks Need Peoples' campaign. Image: Survival International.

India's indigenous evictions - the dark side of the Jungle Book

Tom Linton

6th February 2015

While the world gears up for Jungle Book fever, something sinister is afoot in the forests of India, writes Tom Linton. No, not Shere Khan, but zealous officials illegally evicting indigenous communities from their ancestral forests in the name of 'conservation' - and to make way for tiger tourism. And it's happening across India putting millions of people under threat. more...

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