The Ecologist

 

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Why we need to better protect Britain's ancient woodlands

Laura Briggs

1st August 2016

Calls for better protection of the UK's ancient woodlands are being made by environmental groups due to a loophole in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), last revised in 2012. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...
New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...
Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall

15th July 2016

Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper. more...
Tesla Powerwall battery keeping the solar lights on after sunset. Photo: Tesla.com.

Battery revolution empowers consumers, unleashes renewables, imperils Big Energy

Emma Howard / Greenhpeace Energydesk

15th July 2016

Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities' business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it's going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. more...
New Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom visiting Wytch Farm in Dorset; the largest conventional onshore oilfield in Western Europe, with Brian James, General Manager at Perenco UK, 11th November 2015. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Dis-May-ed! DECC scrapped, Leadsom to run Environment

Oliver Tickell

14th July 2016

Campaigners fear that the abolition of DECC, the department of energy and climate change, indicates that climate will take a low priority in Theresa May's policy agenda. Meanwhile the pro-fracking, pro-nuclear Andrea Leadsom is in charge of environment department Defra. more...
Port for phospate export from the Bou Craa mine, near Laayoune Marsa Boujdour in Western Sahara, 11th March 2013. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The corporate scramble for Africa's minerals: Britain's new colonialism

Colin Todhunter

14th July 2016

Africa is being opened up like a tin of sardines to a new wave of resource extraction, writes Colin Todhunter. Masked under the soubriquets of 'investment', 'growth' and 'free trade', a handful of vast global corporations are systematically plundering the continent's mineral wealth and leaving desolation in their wake, backed to the hilt by that ever-faithful servant of capital - the UK government. more...

Ecologist New Voices - Environmental artist Gary Cook

8th July, 2016


One of our New Voices is the UK-base environmental painter and activist Gary Cook who will be writing for us about the visual arts. As an introduction to his work, the committed conservationist explains how his extraordinarily powerful 'info-canvases' educate people about the threats to wildlife and the need for immediate action to protect our most endangered species for future generations.
more...
It may be possible to transform this landscape into a green energy park, or back to wilderness - but it's not going to happen soon enough without a corresponding political transformation! Tar sands refinery at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Photo: kris k

Green transformation is a political project, not an economic one

Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig

19th July 2016

The idea that our profit-oriented, growth-driven economic system can deliver a sustainable society is a beguiling one, write Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig. But it is doomed to failure. The changes we need are in the first place political, and will be driven by a new democratic will to put people and planet before money. more...
Photo: jacinta lluch valero via Flickr (re-coloured by The Ecologist) (CC BY-SA)..

A green, cooperative Europe - for people and planet!

Colin Hines

12th July 2016

The main concerns that drove the Brexit vote - mass immigration and declining job prospects - must be taken seriously, writes Colin Hines, in the UK and across Europe. We need a new, cooperative union: of decentralised regional economies, with public investment in 'green' infrastructure driving our transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. more...
Temporary streams are set to become an increasingly common landscape feature in the UK. The River Manifold (Staffordshire, UK) already experiences annual drying due to features of the underlying bedrock. Photo: Tory Milner.

Dry rivers are living rivers - with our care and protection

Rachel Stubbington

25th July 2016

Although flowing water is fundamental to river ecosystems, temporary streams are distinctive landscape features that support surprisingly diverse communities, writes Rachel Stubbington. However, the biodiversity of these dynamic ecosystems needs greater recognition and protection. more...
Image: muffinn via Flickr (CC BY).

The Brexit con: the exit Britain needs is from neoliberal capitalism

Pete Dolack

30th June 2016

The UK's exit from the EU won't deliver for the 'victims of globalisation' whose votes were decisive in the referendum result, writes Pete Dolack. All the economic scenarios advanced to date envisage more of the 'free trade' and neoliberalism that has global empowered capital against communities and the well-paid jobs that once sustained them. Plus ca change ... more...
Photo: hit thatswitch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Higher fuel bills, less renewables, an end to nuclear power: Brexit's energy shakeout

Chris Goodall

28th June 2016

The economic impacts of the Brexit vote will very soon make themselves felt to British consumers, writes Chris Goodall - kicking off with higher fuel bills and pump prices. The good news is that nuclear power is now looking increasingly unaffordable. But renewables and green energy research are also likely to suffer, especially if under a right-wing Brexit government. more...

eco: 25/50 of 1458
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The Comida Conscience mobile restaurant. Photo: Fabrizio Uscamayta.

Abundance for everybody - 'conscious food' supports a thriving urban activist community in Bolivia

Sian Cowman

July 2016

Rooted in the Andean principles of sharing, resilience and 'Vivir Bien' (Living Well), Bolivian activists in the world's highest capital city are building cooperative, grassroots alternatives to the profit-oriented economy, writes Sian Cowman. Their weekly lunch party is just the most visible way in which they are challenging the injustice of capitalism and the fragmentation it inflicts on communities. more...
If we really want to 'take back control', let's begin with our own institutions - such as the House of Lords, and ensure it represents the full spectrum of British society. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Take back real control! A Green response to Brexit

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

18th July 2016

The winning Brexit slogan was 'Take Back Control', write Victor Anderson & Rupert Read. But leaving the EU will only increase the power of corrupt elites unless the UK reforms its own democratic governance, combats the excessive power of corporations, upholds the rights of all its citizens, decentralises its economy, and forges progressive alliances with its European partners. more...
Jo Ruxton, co-producer of 'A Plastic Ocean'. Photo: via plasticoceans.net

Plastic Ocean - why the world should declare plastic 'hazardous waste'

Lesley Henderson, Brunel University London

8th June 2016

Plastic is ubiquitous around the world's oceans, writes Lesley Henderson, but although it's visible from space, it can be surprisingly elusive in the water - as she heard from Jo Ruxton, producer of the investigative documentary 'A Plastic Ocean'. Solutions to this growing hazard have also proved elusive to date, hence the film's strong focus on action: educational, cultural and legal. more...
Farmers like Madame Fatu Kanu, near Freetown in Sierra Leone, have nothing to gain from the kind of corporate agricultural development offered by the 'New Alliance', and everything to lose. Photo: kenny lynch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EU Parliament: stop 'aid' funding billions to agribusiness in Africa

Oliver Tickell

7th June 2016

The European Parliament today called on the Commission and member states like the UK to stop funding the 'New Alliance' plan to force export-oriented agribusiness onto Africa. Instead they want support for small-scale family farms and agroecology. more...

The Resurgence Trust

The Resurgence Trust has owned and run The Ecologist website since 2012. Since then, we have offered this website as a free service to an international community that shares our agenda of seeking positive solutions to the challenges of climate change, social justice and ethical living. more...
Replace your halogen GU10 with an LED version like this one, and cut power demand from 50W to just 5W. Photo: Nicolas von Wilcke / KlaresLicht via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The urgent case for an mass switch to LED lighting

Chris Goodall

7th June 2016

LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. more...
The smoke rises above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - no, not from the recent fires that afflicted the city, but from the highly polluting plant processing tar sand into oil. Photo: kris krüg / DeSmogBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Jeremy Leggett

7th June 2016

The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe? more...
Installing a Solarcentury 'Sunstation', which embeds into the roof rather than sitting above it. Photo: Solarcentury.

Innovation for the global energy transformation: the Solarcentury Sunstation

Jeremy Leggett

1st June 2016

In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation's solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation - including its new 'Sunstation' - an integrated 'snap-on' solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs. more...
The European Parliament in Brussels. Accountable? More than you might think. But deliberately excluded from real power in the EU. Photo: alex.ch via Flickr (CC BY).

We must localise the EU and curb corporate power - but does that mean in or out?

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read & Thomas Wallgren

31st May 2016

The EU referendum debate is taking place between different wings of the corporate elite, dominated by assumptions in favour of big business, free trade and endless economic growth, write Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read & Thomas Wallgren. But to vote for a sustainable future we must adopt a very different, local perspective - one you'll never find in UK's 'mainstream' media. more...
Red clover cover crop at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire: it may not be high-tech, but that's not to say it's anti-science! Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic farmers are not anti-science - we leave that to the genetic engineers

Elizabeth Henderson

24th May 2016

Those opposed to the mass release of GM crops and foods inadequately tested for health and ecological safety are routinely accused of being anti-science, writes Elizabeth Henderson. But it's the GM corporations and their academic allies that are suppressing scientific research, and organic farmers that are building alliances with independent scientists for a future of safe, healthy food. more...
Paying coal power stations like this one at Ratcliffe-on-Soar near Junction 24 of the M1 to stay open is not the answer. Photo: UniversityBlogSpot via Flickr (CC BY).

To keep the lights on, pay people to use less electricity

Chris Goodall

17th May 2016

Government plans to pay coal and diesel generators to stay open the winter after next to 'keep the lights on' betray dangerously old-fashioned thinking, writes Chris Goodall. Not only would it subsidise our dirtiest electricity - it's also incredibly costly. Why not just pay people to reduce their demand when power supplies are stretched? more...
If laws currently being debated by Brazilian lawmakers are passed, we can expect huge tracts of the Amazon to go up in flames in coming years, like these 2011 fires along the Rio Xingu. Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory via Flickr (CC BY).

Ecocide in Brazil: new laws threaten Amazon devastation

Jan Rocha

12th May 2016

Amidst the turmoil of the presidential impeachment, writes Jan Rocha, right wing members of Brazil's Congress are set to pass new laws that would build new roads across the Amazon, open up indigenous reserves to industrial exploitation, and create a surge in carbon emissions from burning forests. more...
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the picket line supporting the junior doctors' strike, 26th April 2016. Photo: Garry Knight via Flickr (Public Domain).

In the Corbyn era, Greens must move from socialism to ecologism

Rupert Read

10th May 2016

Where does the Green Party go now? Last week's uninspiring election results show that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour poses a serious challenge to us Greens, who can no longer succeed by being merely left wing. We must fulfil our own destiny, representing a distinct, authentic ecological strand in politics, making the case for living as if we only had one planet - as is in fact the case. more...

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