The Ecologist


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This protestor on the Global Climate March, 29th November 2015 in Berlin, could just have a point. Photo: Jörg Farys / BUND via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Paris climate talks are doomed to failure - like all the others

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

1st December 2015

The most significant feature of COP21 is the topics that never even made it onto the agenda for discussion, writes Steffen Böhm. And the biggest of all the growth-driven economic system that ultimately thwarts all efforts at sustainability, as it drives ever increasing consumption of energy and resources. more...
Photo: Visit Exmoor via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Forget Black Friday - this is 'Buy Nothing Day'!

Vicki Hird

27th November 2015

Black Friday is yet another manifestation of a consumer culture that is both empty and destructive, writes Vicki Hird. So instead let's join in creative celebrations of Buy Nothing Day ('no purchase necessary'), and develop a new life-enhancing ethic of joyful frugality. more...
Ed Miliband still has a plan for a better future. On the campaign trail in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, 30th April 2015. Photo: Din Mk Photography via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

COP21 - the UK must lead to world to 'net zero' emissions

Ed Miliband

23rd November 2015

Earth's temperature is heading towards its highest for three million years, writes Ed Miliband. The world must move as fast as possible to 'net zero' carbon emissions - and the UK should take a lead in this global effort, enshrining the target in law, and driving a technological renewal that will assure our future prosperity. more...
Traditional Farmer in Kabaune village, Kenya working in the field with his cattle. The village has joined in planting trees in order to increase rain and water. Photo: P. Casier / CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The tremendous success of agroecology in Africa

Colion Todhunter

21st November 2015

While the Gates Foundation and conservative politicians are bigging up GMOs and agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter, a quiet revolution has been working its way across Africa. Agroecological farming, constantly adapting to local needs, customs, soils and climates, has been improving nutrition, reducing poverty, combatting climate change, and enriching farmland. more...
Blondie - one of a rough half dozen coyotes that freely roam Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA. She probably carries a mixture of genes from dogs and wolves as well as coyote, but that does not mean she's of a new species. Photo: Dave Inman via Flickr (CC

Who believes in the big bad coywolf?

Roland Kays, North Carolina State University

20th November 2015

Novel canids are hunting the forests of Eastern North America from Florida to Labrador, writes Roland Kays, where hybrids of coyote, dog and wolf have evolved into highly competitive forms. But is it the evolution of new species? If left in long term isolation, perhaps - but that's not about to happen. Genetic mixing and evolution still have a long way to run. more...
Where to get the money from to finance the transition to a low carbon economy? Simple: 'QE for climate' by the world's central banks. Photo: Pictures of Money via Flickr (CC BY).

'QE for climate' is the win-win solution for COP21

Dr. Matthias Kroll

25th November 2015

The governor of the Bank of England recently argued that the risk to the stability of the financial system from climate change is a responsibility of central banks, writes Matthias Kroll. They can begin by using QE - 'quantitative easing' - to finance the Green Climate Fund, and so stimulate the economy, rescue the climate, and save the global financial system. more...
Area of Bento Rodrigues, Minas Gerais state, affected by the release of mine tailings from the failed dams. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Tailings dam breach - 'the assassination of Brazil's fifth largest river basin'

Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes

19th November 2015

Brazil has suffered its biggest ever industrial disaster, write Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes. Breached and overflowing dams have released a massive slug of toxic muds and tailings from iron mining into the country's fifth largest river system that provides drinking water for downstream cities, destroying ecosystems in rivers and vast areas of biologically fragile ocean. more...
Dulse growing on kelp as an epiphyte: a feast fit for a king. Photo, Fiona Bird.

Seaweed on the shore, seaweed in the kitchen

Fiona Bird

26th November 2015

Fresh or dried wild seaweed may be on sale in a supermarket near you, writes Fiona Bird. But much better than supporting what may be unsustainable harvesting, gather your own at low tide on rocky shores, picking just enough for your needs. Once a poverty food, seaweed is now a sought after ingredient that expresses the 'fifth taste', umami. more...
This jaguar is in a zoo in French Guyana - not to be confuised with the wild jaguars of Mexico, now returning to their former range in the US. Photo: Yannick TURBE via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

From Yucatan to Arizona, from Sonora to New Mexico: the return of the jaguar

Kent Paterson

13th November 2015

Mexico is determined to restore populations of its largest native predator, the jaguar, to long term viability, writes Kent Paterson. That means creating millions of acres of ecological corridors across the country, and joining with US colleagues to secure large areas of habitat in southwestern states, where recent sightings give hope that jaguars are returning to their former range. more...
Thanks to the sudden withdrawal of tax benefits for community energy projects, these waters at Abingdon Lock, Oxfordshire, will remain unharnessed for many years to come. Photo: Victor Bayon (CC BY-NC-SA).

George Osborne must back down on community energy tax

Georgina Matthews

11th November 2015

Surprise changes to the Finance Bill in its third reading have withdrawn tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy projects, writes Georgina Matthews. While some societies are rushing to complete their fund-raising by the end of the month, others have been forced to close. If these measures are not withdrawn, a small but flourishing sector will be at risk. more...

Go With the Flow

Greg Neale

6th November 2015

Greg Neale looks to the future of The Resurgence Trust and presents highlights from the new issue of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine which includes a special feature on water. more...
The real trick is happening where you're not looking. 'The conjurer' by Hieronymus Bosch, painted between 1496 and 1520, is now at the Musée Municipal, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia.

'Credo': economics is a belief system - and we are ruled by fundamentalists

Paul Mobbs

6th November 2015

Economics is much more than the study of money, writes Paul Mobbs. It is a belief system, and in its 'mainstream' incarnation, one that serves a very useful purpose - for those that reap the benefits. But as Brian Davey shows in his insightful new book, it's letting the rest of us down: failing to deliver human wellbeing, while driving ecological calamity. more...

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With 50 times more solar power on a 'net metering' basis than now (5% vs 0.1%), electricity costs in Pennsylvania would fall by $25 per customer. Business with solar panels in Harleysville, PA. Photo: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr (CC B

Solar power is good for consumers, good for utilities

Richard Flarend, Pennsylvania State University

30th October 2015

An analysis of power prices in the US state of Pennsylvania shows that if solar power increased from the 0.1% of electricity it supplies now, to 5%, then all customers would save $25 a year. Far from 'net metering' for solar being a 'burden' as utilities claim, it makes money for them, and their customers! more...
Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State oil well in McKenzie County, North Dakota, east of Arnegard and west of Watford City. Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Are the fracking vampires going bust? That's how it looks

Joshua Frank

26th October 2015

The high oil prices that turned North Dakota into a boom state have turned, writes Joshua Frank. Now high-cost oil and gas are in the doldrums everywhere, production is falling - and even if prices do pick up one day, risk aversion and the relentless advance of renewables will leave lakes of oil and caverns of gas underground where they belong. Folks, the oil party really is over! more...
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom taking questions from MPs last week on the cuts to renewable energy generation. Photo: still from Parliament TV.

Minister: 'solar companies back support cuts'

Joe Sandler Clarke & Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

25th October 2015

Just as the UK's entire renewable energy industry is up in arms against fierce cuts to support for the sector, energy Minister Andrea Leadsom suggested to MPs that the measures were supported by solar firms in her constituency. They beg to differ. more...
A pair of Lappet Faced Vultures feating on a buffralo carcass in Bariadi, Shinyanga, Tanzania. Photo: jjmusgrove via Flickr (CC BY).

Vultures in crisis: poachers and poison threaten nature's undertakers

Louis Phipps, Nottingham Trent University

25th October 2015

Vultures are superbly adapted creatures for the essential role they play, efficiently disposing of the mortal remains of millions of dead animals, writes Louis Phipps. Yet we humans appear to be doing our best to kill them off - creating a vast hazardous waste problem that's costing us billions. more...
Remade by man: the Passenger Pigeon. Juvenile (left), male (center), and female (right), from 'Birds of New York' (University of the State of New York) 1910-1914. Illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), Public Domain via Patrick Coin on Flickr.

The Ecomodernist Manifesto is a program for genocide and ecocide

Derrick Jensen

10th November 2015

The idea of a 'good, or even great, Anthropocene' as promised in the Ecomodernist Manifesto is purely delusional, writes Derrick Jensen. Worse, it underlies a narrative in which the wholesale destruction of nature and of sustainable indigenous societies is repackaged as a noble mission - one whose ultimate purpose is the complete alienation of humans from the planet that spawned us. more...
Nicholas Stern at the COP15 United Nations climate Change conference, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT (CC BY-SA).

Stern warns: humanity is at climate crossroads

Kieran Cooke

23rd October 2015

Economist Nicholas Stern warns that the stakes have never been higher for radical action to be agreed at the Paris summit, writes Kieran Cooke: while we have the capacity to do all that's needed, it's far from clear that we will actually will. more...
The £1 plan garnered cross-party support from over 30 MPs from all parties yesterday at an action outside the House of Commons including Sir David Amess MP (Con), Mims Davies MP (Con), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con), Caroline Flint MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MP

Back our emergency £1 solar rescue plan

Sonia Dunlop / Solar Trade Association

22nd October 2015

Massive government cuts in solar 'feed in tariffs' threaten to wipe out our highly successful solar industry, writes Sonia Dunlop - and all to save £1 year off our fuel bills. Yes, that's all it would cost to keep the sector in business, employing tens of thousands of expert solar installers all over the UK. more...
It costs a lot less than we are told: erection of a wind turbine at Alltwalis Wind Farm in Wales, set in operation December 2009. Photo: Aslak Øverås / Statkraft via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind and solar's £1.5 billion electricity price cut

Oliver Tickell

19th October 2015

The effect of wind and solar generation in the UK is to push down wholesale power prices, writes Oliver Tickell, taking over £1.5 billion off our bills in 2014 - that's 58% of the subsidies paid to renewable generators. Keep it up and the benefit will rise to over 100% of cost. more...
Reduced to one meagre bar; old lady fighting to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr (CC BY).

As tens of thousands die, the UK must act on fuel poverty

Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex

16th October 2015

Fuel poverty is a complex problem with many causes, writes Mari Martiskainen, but it is also a deadly one for some 25,000 thousand people every year. And there is one surprisingly simple solution: a huge upgrade in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. more...
'Beyond Petroleum' didn't work for BP - because they never really meant it. Photo: Mike Mozart of JeepersMedia and TheToyChannel on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

Eco-warrior corporations can do great things - but only if they walk the talk!

Steffen Böhm & Annika Skoglund

10th November 2015

The rise of corporate eco-activism makes a refreshing change from the usual 'campaigners versus corporation' dynamic, write Steffen Böhm & Annika Skoglund. And for companies that embark on this path - like Lush, Ecotricity and Interface - it can work out well for them and the environment. But heed the disastrous consequences for those, like BP, who said one thing, and did another. 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...
Platinum Catalyst in Aqueous Solution: the oxygen atoms, in water, are red; the hydrogen molecules are white, and platinum atoms are blue-gray. High-level details of the structure can be seen in the reflections of each atom surface. Photo: Argonne Nationa

Hydrogen car price breakthrough: it's the platinum

The Ecologist

14th October 2015

Hydrogen cars - and the fuel cells that drive them - are about to get a whole lot cheaper thanks to a redesign of the platinum catalyst that makes them work, writes Oliver Tickell. By inserting atom-sized holes into the precious metal's surface, its activity can be trebled. more...
Wind turbines at Rossendale, England. Photo: reway2007 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Wind turbines and solar panels into nuclear weapons: the UK's new industrial strategy?

Dr Stuart Parkinson

15th October 2015

The UK government is punishing renewable energy for its success in generating 25% of the country's electricity, writes Stuart Parkinson. But there's no austerity when it comes to the bloated military-nuclear industrial sector, no matter how egregious its failures or extreme its cost overruns. Our future prosperity is being sacrificed - and its costing taxpayers billions. more...


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