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A tractor spraying unknown chemicals in the British countryside. Photo: Billy Ridgers, author provided.

Thank you Greens! Now other parties too must keep us safe from pesticides

Georgina Downs

14th April 2015

The Green Party manifesto, published today, pledges to enact long overdue restrictions on the use of toxic pesticides to protect rural residents and children from adverse health impacts, writes Georgina Downs. Now all political parties must follow where the Greens have led. more...
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexipus) caterpillar feeding on butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), a relative of milkweed. Photo: Martin LaBar via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Neonicotinoid link to Monarch butterfly decline

Jonathan Latham

9th April 2015

Monarch caterpillars are vulnerable to neonicotinoid toxicity at concentrations as low as 1 part per billion, writes Jonathan Latham, and that makes them vulnerable to residues from commercial crops - and even more so from horticultural use in plant nurseries! more...
A helicopter of the San Jose Vector Control Agency spraying an unknown pesticide in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Don McCullough via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

EPA fail: refuses to ban 'brain damage' pesticide

Patti Goldman / Earth Justice

1st April 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just failed farm workers and their families by refusing to ban a neuro-toxic pesticide that causes severe brain damage in utero and to exposed children, writes Patti Goldman - imposing only weak, inadequate restrictions based on flawed science. It must do better! more...
No, Monsanto's 'Roundup' glyphosate-based herbicide is not safe enough to drink. It's 'probably carcinogenic to humans' - and that's official! Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

IARC: Glyphosate 'probably carcinogenic'

Oliver Tickell

23rd March 2015

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled the world's biggest herbicide, glyphosate, as 'probably carcinogenic'. Another four widely used organophosphate insecticides may also pose a cancer risk. more...
A pack of Bayer's 'Calypso' pesticide that contains the bee-toxic neonicotinoid Thiacloprid, complete with the 'not harmful to bees' logo - as sold in Germany.

Bees victory in pesticide battle - Bayer libel action dismissed

Oliver Tickell

12th March 2015

Chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany over its claims that its pesticide Thiacloprid harms bees. Now pressure is growing on the EU to add the neonicotinoid to the three already banned. more...
Would the US tolerate a hostile military presence in Tijuana? So why do we expect Russia to welcome the advance of NATO to its borders in Ukraine? Photo: Jesus overlooks Tijuana from a hillside above the city; by Nathan Gibbs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Ukraine and the Cuban missile crisis - we must choose peace over annihilation

William R. Polk

28th February 2015

As tensions grow between US-dominated NATO and Russia, former cold warrior William R. Polk hears the echoes of the Cuban missile crisis - only this time, it's Russia that feels forced to fight for its vital strategic interests. We must hear the lessons of 1962 Cuba - and negotiate a just and durable peace, before we sleep-walk into a world-destroying war. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup - a converging pattern of toxicity from farm to clinic to laboratory

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji / ISIS

25th February 2015

As scientific evidence grows of the many ways in which glyphosate - pipe-cleaner, herbicide and antibiotic - damages the environment and health, governments and regulators turn a blind eye, writes Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji, and the EU has even raised allowable residue levels. It's time for us all to put bans in place wherever we can! more...
'Poison Spring' front cover (cut). Image; Bloomsbury.

Poison Spring - the secret history of the EPA

Carol Van Strum

2nd April 2015

Ever since its creation in 1970 the US-EPA has been a failing organization, writes Carol Van Strum in her review of 'Poison Spring' - serving the corporations it was there to regulate, falsifying data, suppressing the truth about pesticide toxicity, and crushing whistleblowers. more...
A seal caught up in plastic pollution near Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Photo: Nels Israelson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Five to 12 million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean each year

Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox

4th April 2015

An unimaginably large volume of plastic debris is reaching the world's oceans every year, write Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox - and it's set for a ten-fold increase over the next decade, adding to the already terrible toll on marine life from turtles to seals, sea birds and fish. The solution must be to give waste plastic value - if we can find a way. more...
Plastic waste on the 'Mayan Riviera', Quintana Roo, Mexico. Photo: John Schneider via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Fighting the plastic plague in our oceans

Dr Mae-Wan Ho

13th February 2015

On current trends the world will contain 33 billion tonnes of plastic by 20150, writes Mae Wan Ho, and much of it will litter the oceans, concentrating toxins and damaging marine life throughout the food chain. The alternative is to classify the most toxic plastics as 'hazardous waste', and for all plastics to be reused and recycled in 'closed loop' systems. 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...
Children gather around an unexploded shell fired by Kiev forces into a residential area of Eastern Ukraine. Photo: Colonel Cassad (cassad-eng.livejournal.com).

Russian aggression and the BBC's drums of nuclear war

Oliver Tickell

30th January 2015

The drums of war are beating on the BBC and other mass media, writes Oliver Tickell - naked propaganda about fictitious 'Russian aggression' intended to soften us up for a war that could wipe out life on Earth. We must refuse to fall for the endlessly repeated lies, and tell our politicians that our highest priority of all is peace. more...

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A child brushes his teeth in lead-contaminated water in Klity Creek, Thailand. Photo: Human Rights Watch.

Thai communities poisoned by illegal lead mine waste

The Ecologist

22nd January 2015

For 16 years the Thai government has ignored the plight of a community where toxic lead mine waste is causing severe chronic poisoning - defying both a 2013 court order, and its international obligations. It's just one of many toxic sites across Thailand that need to be cleaned up - but the government's main concern is to encourage further industrialisation. more...
A California Condor near the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon. Photo: George Kathy Klinich via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Condors or lead ammunition? We can't have both

Dawn Starin

21st January 2015

The recent death of Ventana the condor in Los Angeles zoo illustrates a simple truth, writes Dawn Starin: wild condors cannot survive so long as the dead amimals they eat are riddled with lead from spent ammunition. With lead poisoning to blame for 60% of condor deaths, it's time to ban lead ammunition across their entire range - and beyond. more...
Aboriginal stories say Fitzroy Island on the Great Barrier Reef was connected to the mainland. It was, at least 10,000 years ago. Felix Dziekan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA) / felixtravelblog.de.

Deep time: Aboriginal stories tell of when the Great Barrier Reef was dry land

Nick Reid & Patrick Nunn

29th January 2015

Stories told by Australia's Aboriginal peoples tell of the time, over 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age came to an end, and sea levels rose by 120 metres, write Nick Reid & Patrick Nunn. The narratives tally with the findings of contemporary science, raising the question: what is it about Aborigines and their culture than so accurately transmitted their oral traditions across thousands of generations? more...
Eocene fauna of North America, on a 1964 mural made for the US government-owned Smithsonian Museum. Photo: Jay Matternes / Wikimedia Commons.

Sudden global warming 55m years ago was much like today

David Bond

5th January 2014

The Earth's current warming is looking similar to what took place 55 million years ago, writes David Bond. And if it works out that way, the news is good: we may avoid a mass extinction. On the other hand, the poles will melt away completely, and it will take hundreds of thousands of years for Earth to get back to 'normal'. more...
Contaminated land in West Yorkshire, England - the site of a former chemicals factory. Photo: Engineering at Cambridge via Flickr.

Death by landfill - cutting 'green tape' costs lives

Paul Mobbs

22nd December 2014

As Cameron 'cuts the green crap' Paul Mobbs remembers how the decisions of a Conservative government 20 years ago to go easy on the owners of contaminated land and old waste dumps have led to present day blight, ill-health and death. Now brow-beaten regulators and politicians in hock to party funders are doing it all over again. more...
This roman aqueduct near Haifa in modern-day Israel took water to Caesaria, the civilian and military capital of Judaea. But ultimately, most of the water flowed to Rome itself - if in virtual form. Photo: C. J.™ via Flickr.

The food-water-energy nexus defeated the Romans. It could defeat us too

Jonathan Bridge

13th December 2014

As well as being masters of water engineering, the Romans also engaged in a long distance trade in water across the Mediterranean - embodied in grain, oil, wine, cloth, metals and other goods. They also discovered the food-water-energy nexus - and not in a good way. We need to heed the warnings from Roman history. more...
The garbage that builds up incessantly on the Praia de Achados beach presents formidable obstacle to loggerhead turtles seeking nesting sites. Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Over 268,000 tonnes of ocean plastic - neglect it at our peril

Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull

11th December 2014

The oceans are awash with plastic, write Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull, with dire effects on marine wildlife mistaking it for food. But it's not just big animals like basking sharks, turtles and albatrosses that suffer. The very worst damage may be caused by particles too small for the eye to see, and the toxic chemicals that cling to them. more...
Stonehenge itself may benefit from the tunneling - but at the expense of the its wider landscape in the 27 sq.km World Heritage Site. Photo: Todd via Flickr.

Stonehenge World Heritage Site at risk from A303 tunnel plans

Kate Fielden

13th December 2014

The government's plans to tunnel the A303 under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has one grievous flaw, writes Kate Fielden. The tunnel is too short, so huge portals and graded junctions at both ends would lie entirely within the WHS causing huge damage to landscape and wipe out archaeological remains. more...
Downtown East Liverpool. Photo: Caitlin Johnson.

Appalachia: a small city's fight against toxic waste incineration

Caitlin Johnson

5th December 2014

East Liverpool, a small city by the Ohio river, is a cancer-ridden dumping ground for the detritus of the global economy, writes Caitlin Johnson. With its filthy power station, coal ash lake, 1,300 fracking wells, silica sand mountains and a huge toxic waste incinerator, the city's people need your help in their fight for environmental justice. more...
Wolves - to reduce farm animal predation, don't shoot them! Photo: USFWS Midwest, CC BY.

Shot in the foot? Killing wolves, lynx, cougar increases farm predation

Niki Rust

4th December 2014

Farmers who shoot wolves and other predators to save their animals from predation are actually having the opposite effect, writes Niki Rust. The disruption that killing predators has on the stability of their families and packs actually causes more, not less predation. Ultimately, we're better off learning to live with predators. more...
Spaying agro-chemicals on a windy day. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr.

Negligent and unlawful: EFSA's latest guidance on pesticide use and exposure

Georgina Downs

4th December 2014

After an apparent cave-in to Europe's pesticide industry, the European Food Safety Authority's latest guidance on pesticides conflicts with European law, writes Georgina Downs - by ignoring the real-life agrochemical exposure of rural residents. Commission President Juncker must step in and demand the withdrawal of this disgraceful document. more...
The possible lengthening of ice-free periods may affect polar bears before the end of the century. Photo: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

With melting Arctic ice, Canada's polar bears face wipe-out by 2100

Tim Radford

6th December 2014

The expected melting of sea ice in Canada's Arctic Archipelago will progressively render huge areas unable to support viable polar bears populations, writes Tim Radford. By 2100 the polar bears could be pushed out altogether. more...
The Real Costs of Fracking - front cover.

Exposed: what fracking really does to you, your family, pets and food

Allison Wilson

25th February 2015

America's shale gas boom threatens families, pets, and food, writes Allison Wilson. Fresh from her reading of 'The Real Costs of Fracking', she finds a host of adverse health impacts on those living near fracking sites, the toxic pollution of the food chain, and a wall of corporate and official secrecy. more...

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