The Ecologist


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Bee on oilseed rape flower. Photo: ejausberg via Pixabay (Public Domain).

Defra stands up for bees: 'No' to NFU's neonic application

Oliver Tickell

13th May 2015

A damning expert critique of the National Farmers Union's application to use banned bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment on a third of England's oilseed rape crop this autumn has forced the UK government to refuse the NFU's demand. more...
From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen

27th April 2016

We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end. more...
Kate Kelland's article implies that the IARC considers almost everything it meets to be carcinogenic, with bacon the prime example. Photo: cyclonebill via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Industry fingerprints all over Reuters' attack on IARC over glyphosate and cancer

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

21st April 2016

The Reuters news organisation has just sullied its reputation with a disgraceful attack on the WHO's specialist body on cancer, the IARC, writes Claire Robinson. Resorting to smear, innuendo and anonymous critics, it relies heavily on discredited industry sources including tobacco defenders in its attempt to undermine IARC's view that glyphosate probably causes cancer. more...
Cyclists stage Die-In at Mansion House in June 2015, following death at Bank junction. Photo: Stop Killing Cyclists.

This deadly pollution must stop! London cyclists rally for health and climate

Donnachadh McCarthy

20th April 2016

Stop Killing Cyclists are staging a protest in London on 27th April to demand an end to the UK's intolerable air pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. With an estimated 40,000 people dying every year from filthy air, much of it caused by diesel cars, all are welcome to join in, denounce the government's 'polluters' friend' policies, and insist on swift action to stop the needless deaths. more...
Photo: Burger, Louisiana, USA by Ed Fisher aka gleam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

We are being silently poisoned: the case against glyphosate

Colin Todhunter

14th April 2016

The 'cancer industry', including charities with close links to chemicals corporations, is always keen to blame cancer victims for their morally deficient lifestyles, writes Colin Todhunter. But the real fault lies with the commercial interests touting bad food, nutritionally unbalanced and laced with toxic agrochemicals - like the ubiquitous glyphosate - and their residues. more...
Monsanto's 'probably carcinogenic' Roundup on open retails sale. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY).

European Parliament votes to ban most uses of glyphosate

Oliver Tickell

13th April 2016

The EU Parliament has responded to the health concerns of millions by calling on the Commission to severely restrict permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, including an effective ban on pre-harvest dessication of crops. more...
He's got the whole world in his hands! Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant at the Fortune Global Forum, Tuesday 3rd November 2015. Photo: Fortune Global Forum via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

While we all fixate on glyphosate, Monsanto prepares its next GM trick: RNA pesticides

JP Sottile

11th April 2016

The global pesticide and bioscience giant Monsanto is a byword for evil for millions of campaigners and concerned citizens, writes JP Sottile. But that has never stopped it getting its way with the people that matter - politicians and regulators. And now the company is on the verge of biggest victory ever - winning clearance to spray biologically active RNA sequences on US crops. more...
Breakfast at McDonalds in Maddur, Karnataka, India. Photo: Harsha K R via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

India: obesity, malnutrition and the globalisation of bad food

Colin Todhunter

4th April 2016

India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption. more...
Returning hair samples to a Yanomami community after testing for lead content. Photo: © Marcos Wesley / ISA.

Amazon Indians at risk in mercury poisoning crisis

Sarina Kidd / Survival International

5th April 2016

Illegal gold mining in the Amazon has a devastating effect on indigenous peoples, writes Sarina Kidd. First the miners bring disease, deforestation and even murder. Then long after they have gone, communities are left to suffer deadly mercury poisoning. Now the UN has been called on to intervene. more...
IARC believes the glyphosate molecule itself is damaging to health, not just commercial herbicide mixtures complete with co-formulants. Image: Benjah-bmm27 via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

WHO / IARC: glyphosate itself is the cancer and genotoxicity problem


11th March 2016

With industry spinning that glyphosate is harmful to health, if at all, only with co-formulants like tallowamine, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency IARC has just released a Q&A document (below) stating that 'pure' glyphosate poses similar cancer and genotoxicity risks as its formulations. Banning particular co-formulants, as proposed by some EU countries, does not solve the problem. more...
Forager bee pollinating a passion flower. Photo: Max Westby via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Chlorpyrifos 'may threaten survival' of Forager bees

The Ecologist

11th March 2016

The insecticide chlorpyrifos is not just highly toxic to developing human foetuses. A new study finds that it also damages the memory and learning ability of Forager bees even at very low doses, threatening the survival of this important pollinator. more...
The principle that we have a right to know what we are eating is admirably straightforward. That's why the biotech and agrochemical industries have to spin so hard to convince us that ignorance is bliss. Photo: Daniel Lobo via Flickr (CC BY).

Bill Gates: can we have an honest conversation about GMOs?

Stacy Malkan / US Right to Know

8th March 2016

Some of the world's most powerful figures tout the benefits of GMOs, writes Stacy Malkan, but what's the real story? Facts on the ground expose the PR spin, half truths and outright propaganda that has come to dominate a public conversation that is not so much about engineering genes, but engineering truth for the benefit of multinational corporations. more...

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A new study shows that 996 out of every 1,000 Germans have measurable levels of the herbicide glyphosate in their blood. Skaters on the Nymphenburg Kanal. Neuhausen, Germany. Photo: Christian Mönnig via Flickr (CC NY-C-SA).

Almost all Germans contaminated with glyphosate

Nicole Sagener /

8th March 2016

A new study shows that 99.6% of Germans are contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate, writes Nicole Sagener. The news comes as the EU puts off a crucial decision on whether to re-authorise the chemical, described by IARC as 'probably carcinogenic', until 2031. more...
US suburbia: alright for some. But access to it was regulated along strictly racial lines. Mid 20th century calendar illustration. Photo: wackystuff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Racist housing? How postwar suburban development led to today's inner-city lead poisoning

Leif Fredrickson, University of Virginia

7th March 2016

The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan is just the tip of a vast iceberg of lead contamination afflicting mainly urban black communities, writes Leif Fredrickson. A rigid 'race bar' on postwar suburban housing and mortgages left black families in inner cities, exposed to flaking lead paint in run down housing, leaded gasoline residues and lead pipework. Now is the time to correct this shocking historic injustice. more...
The Greenpeace ship James Bay was widely used in Greenpeace's iconic 'Save the Whale' campaign of the mid-1970s to obstruct the activities of killer boats intent on taking the last great whales. Photo: still from 'How to Change the World' (film by Greenpe

Changing the world with creative non-violence

Rex Weyler

12th August 2016

The Green movement is above all about leading social change, writes Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler. While facts and arguments are important, the main task is to replace mainstream justifications of the status quo with new, compelling narratives of a higher moral order. And the most powerful means of achieving this is by symbolic, non-violent direct action. more...
Kurdish Peshmerga soldier on guard at the Mosul Dam, 31st December 2014. Photo: Claus Weinberg via Flickr (CC BY).

Iraq's greatest danger yet: collapse of 'world's most dangerous dam'

Felicity Arbuthnot

7th March 2016

As if Iraq has not suffered enough under Saddam Hussein, the vicious UN sanctions regime, the US-UK occupation and the depradations of Daesh, a new threat looms that could kill a million people or more, and destroy Baghdad and a string of other cities along the Tigris river. The porous rocks beneath the Mosul dam are dissolving away and the entire edifice could collapse at any moment, releasing 11 cubic kilometres of water. more...
Farm machinery spraying glyphosate to oilseed rape. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

European Union - stop glyphosate reauthorisation!

Molly Scott Cato MEP

3rd March 2016

Next week, EU governments will vote on whether to re-authorise the weedkiller glyphosate, judged by IARC to be a probable human carcinogen, writes Molly Scott Cato. The disgraceful shenanigans of the Commission and the European Food Safety Agency to date provide a clear example of the EU and member states conspiring with corporations, against citizens. more...
Participatory barley breeding in India. Photo: Salvatore Ceccarelli .

Harnessing the power of evolution in participatory seed breeding

Salvatore Ceccarelli / Independent Science News

29th February 2016

Conventional agriculture has made an enemy of evolution as pests and diseases develop resistance to biocides and over-bred hybrids succumb to them, writes Salvatore Ceccarelli. But there is another way - for farmers to participate in breeding seed lines that are continuously adapting to their environment, with ever improving yields, flavour, pest-resistance, and other sought-after qualities. more...
Jackson Wanyama, a former worker at the Metal Refinery smelter in Mombasa, Kenya. His wife Linette passed away last October. She used to wash his clothes and had high levels of lead poisoning. He too is suffering from his exposure to lead contamination. P

Dirty business: Africa's unregulated lead battery smelting

Desirée García & Javier Marín

3rd March 2016

Africa's car battery recycling industry is anything but green, write Desirée García & Javier Marín on African Environment Day. Toxic emissions from the re-smelting of lead from old batteries is poisoning workers and nearby communities. And among the buyers of the lead are EU car companies, apparently indifferent to the death, disease and contamination they are financing. more...
A female solar engineer from Rajasthan, India - just one of many who could have benefitted from the work to create the National Solar Mission. Photo: Knut-Erik Helle via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

World Trade Organisation smashes India's solar panels industry

Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert

28th February 2016

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has found India's huge solar initiative 'guilty' of breaking trade rules, write Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert, because it gives domestic manufacturers a small 10% quota for the supply of panels, leaving up to 90% for foreign competitors. It's a warning for perils of the entire WTO system, and of even harsher trade rules like those in TPP, TTIP and CETA. more...
Insecticide spraying in Brazil, 2014. Photo: Malova Gobernador via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Zika, microcephaly, and pesticides: half-truths, hysteria, and vested interests

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

26th February 2016

Those who dare suggest that pesticides might be implicated in Brazil's microcephaly outbreak are being furiously attacked as irrational, nonsense-spouting 'conspiracy theorists', writes Claire Robinson. But the attackers have an uncanny ability to get their own facts in a twist. And among them are writers linked to industries with huge economic interests in the matter. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Another 15 years? EU set to relicense glyphosate

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

25th February 2016

The European Commission is poised to renew the licence for glyphosate - the herbicide last year deemed ‘probably carcinogenic' by the WHO - for another 15 years. The decision follows from EFSA's contrary finding, based on secret, non peer-reviewed, industry-funded studies. more...
Demonstration outside EFSA's Brussels HQ organised by Corporate Europe Observatory on 5th April 2002 marking ten years of corporate capture. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Key evidence in EU's risk assessment of glyphosate must not remain 'trade secret'

Corporate Europe Observatory

22nd February 2016

The chemical industry and the European Food Safety Authority are refusing to disclose key scientific evidence about glyphosate's risks, citing 'trade secrets' protection, writes Corporate Europe Observatory. They must be compelled to publish the 'mysterious three' scientific studies EFSA used to assess glyphosate as 'unlikely' to cause cancer to humans - contradicting the IARC's view. more...
Farmer spraying a field using a backpack and protective equipment. Photo: Day Donaldson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

'Unlawful'! EU's hasty approval of pesticides condemned

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

22nd February 2016

The European Commission was guilty of maladministration and acted unlawfully in approving pesticides for which there was insufficient safety data, the EU Ombudsman has ruled. It must now reform its practices, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, or face legal action. more...
There is another way: cotton farmers in India studying about insects as part of a course on 'integrated pest management'. Photo: S. Jayaraj / The AgriCultures Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monsanto's pride, Monsanto's fall: playing God with the Indian farmer

Colin Todhunter

19th February 2016

India's farmers are the targets of structural violence aimed at uprooting indigenous agriculture and replacing it with an intensive corporate model based on GMOs and agrochemicals, writes Colin Todhunter. But as Monsanto's GM cotton succumbs to insect infestations despite repeated pesticide applications, agroecological farming is an increasingly attractive option for cultivators. more...


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