The Ecologist


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There gold in them thar coffee grounds ... Photo: Dominick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thanks Hugh - now let's stop throwing away the coffee grounds!

Rhodri Jenkins, University of Bath

2nd August 2016

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a done a great job exposing the scandal of Britain's billions of non-recyclable coffee cups, writes Rhodri Jenkins. But what about the coffee itself? The grounds can be used for everything from compost and biodiesel to boutique chemicals and supercapacitors - yet the vast majority of the world's 9m tonnes a year of waste coffee ends up in landfill. more...
Photo: Roderick Eime via Flickr (CC BY).

Hugh's 'War on Waste' is great - but we need to grasp the bigger picture

Sam Earle

3rd August 2016

Last week's 'War on Waste' - throwaway coffee cups were the deserving target - was an exemplar of effective single-issue campaigning by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. But the answers to our waste problems go way beyond recycling. We must begin to plan a societal transition to a post-consumer culture of caring, sharing, and knowing when we have enough. more...

Solving the problem of safer drinking water with simple technologies

Chhavi Sharma, International Programmes Manager with Ashden

6th June, 2016

Later this week, an organisation that has helped make safer drinking water available to families in Indonesia will receive the new Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water 2016. Here, Chhavi Sharma, explores the importance of using sustainable energy technologies to supply safer drinking water around the world. more...
Wild coffee grows in these forests of the Ethiopian highlands - and nowhere else. Photo: Indrias Getachew.

Ethiopia's vulnerable tropical forests are key to securing the future of coffee

Fiona Hesselden, University of Huddersfield

24th March 2016

Coffee may be grown all around the tropics, writes Fiona Hesselden, but it originates in just one place: the 'coffee rainforests' of the Ethiopian highlands. We depend on the wild plants for new genes and varieties, yet the forests are falling fast to the advance of farmers. To preserve the forests and all their biodiversity, the original people of the forest must receive their just rewards. more...
Coffee cup. Photo: Kordite via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's 3 billion waste coffee cups a year: let those who profit pay the cost

Donnachadh McCarthy

18th March 2016

Our insatiable appetite for expensive coffee is causing a global trail of waste and destruction, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. Following the successful campaign for a 5p plastic bag levy, it's time to move on to a much larger 25p levy on disposable coffee cups - making those that profit from the waste carry the cost of its disposal. more...
An Eastern Mountain Gorilla forages on a hillside just outside of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. A large deforested buffer zone of inedible tea plants has been constructed in order to keep the gorillas from leaving the park and disrupting loca

Uganda: Save Kafuga Forest and gorillas from tea plantations

Richard Sadler

27th January 2016

Mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are at risk from tea plantations that would obliterate the adjacent Kafuga Forest, a vital buffer zone for local people, writes Richard Sadler. Deprived of foods, herbs, medicines and clean water from the forest, human pressure on the gorillas would inevitably increase, and expose them to potentially lethal diseases. more...
Pipetting winegrape DNA samples in the lab during marker-assisted selection. Photo: Dan Ng (CC BY-SA).

GMO-free molecular genetics launch golden age of disease-resistant grapes

Andrew Walker

22nd February 2015

Advanced molecular genetic techniques are allowing scientists to breed disease resistance from wild grape varieties into susceptible domestic cultivars used for making wine, writes Andrew Walker. And it's all being done by conventional plant breeding accelerated by the use of DNA markers - with not a GMO in sight! more...
Fish on a fishing boat

New EU fish reforms anger artisan fishermen

Victor Paul Borg

31 July, 2012

More than seven out of ten edible marine species in the EU are over-fished and coastal communities are dying. So you might think new draft reforms would help reverse this trend. Not so, says Victor Paul Borg, who investigates the impact of changes that the community fishermen themselves do not want more...
Britain’s forgotten foods

Britain’s forgotten foods

Grace Philip

31st May, 2012

With Jubilee fever hotting up, Grace Philip argues that it’s time to pay attention to another part of our heritage: our tasty native produce more...
In season now: what to eat during June

In season now: what to eat during June

Tahsin Pak

28th May, 2012

Professional forager Fergus Drennan tells Tahsin Pak how to make the most of the free food in season this month more...
The A to Z of livestock

The A to Z of smallholdings

Lisa Stephens

8th May, 2012

Take one Alpaca, a scattering of silkworms, a couple of cows and a group of goats, and you could just be the next Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Lisa Stephens presents the A to Z of smallholdings more...
How to…give your cocktail a green-over

How to…give your cocktail a green-over

Amy Hall

8th May, 2012

Forget Pimms: eco-friendly cocktails not only taste great, they don’t cause a headache for the planet either. Amy Hall shows you how to give your tipple an eco-friendly spin more...

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Shrimp sifting

In season now: what to eat during May

Amy Halls

30th April, 2012

Slow Food UK CEO, Cat Gazzoli, dips into the UK's forgotten flavours to bring us her gastronomic pick for May more...
Top 10... alternatives to sugar

Top 10...alternatives to sugar

Mark Briggs

Want to give up sugar while still indulging your sweet tooth? Mark Briggs rounds up 10 natural alternatives more...
Five of the best… country pubs

Five of the best… country pubs

Rachael Stubbins

23rd April, 2012

Fresh, locally sourced produce, real ale and cosy fireplaces: the Great British country pub is one foodie tradition that’s not going anywhere. Rachael Stubbins rounds up five of the best more...
Monty Halls: ‘I will defend fishermen to my dying day’

Monty Halls: ‘I will defend fishermen to my dying day’

Ruth Styles

16th April, 2012

A marine biologist by trade and a conservationist by nature, Monty Halls is an unlikely champion for the fishing industry. A classic case of gamekeeper turned poacher? Not so says Halls. As he explains to Ruth Styles, nothing is simple when it comes to sustainable fish more...
loch fyne oysters

Food of love: why 'aphrodisiac' oysters could be the sustainable alternative to meat

Matilda Lee

12th April, 2012

Oysters need a thriving natural eco-system and ultra clean water to survive. And as Matilda Lee discovered on a visit to Loch Fyne Oysters, they even find their own food. So are oysters the green choice? more...
How to… make your own Easter eggs

How to… make your own Easter eggs

Rachael Stubbins

4th April, 2012

Less waste and fewer food miles make homemade Easter eggs the greener alternative to supermarket chocolate. Time to get creative more...
In season now: what to eat during April

In season now: what to eat during April

Ben Hudson

2nd April, 2012

Celebrate Easter by tucking into a plate of seasonal Jersey Royals. Albert Bartlett’s Tim Ward explains why they’re wonderful and rounds up his April favourites more...
Green cuisine: why low carbon eating can help save the planet

Green cuisine: why low carbon eating can help save the planet

Ben Martin

12th March, 2012

Forget low carb; it’s all about low carbon this March. And with everyone from Sir Paul McCartney to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall getting stuck in for Climate Week, there’s no excuse not to try it more...
Top 10... alternatives to wheat

Top 10... alternatives to wheat

Bethany Hubbard

9th March, 2012

Whether it’s because of GM or gluten; if you’re giving wheat the chop, there’s an eco-friendly alternative to suit you more...
Roadkill: sickening or sustainable?

Roadkill: sickening or sustainable?

Ben Martin

20th February, 2012

The idea of eating meat sourced from the roadside - whether deer, pheasant, fox or even otter - might sound revolting to you but for some, it's a gastronomic opportunity and a way of avoiding factory farmed meat more...
ethical chocolate

How to... buy ethical chocolate

Bethany Hubbard

14th February, 2012

If you haven't sorted the valentines present out yet, we've rounded up some sugary (and eco friendly) suggestions more...
Five of the best... ways to green up your kitchen

Five of the best... ways to green up your kitchen

Laurie Tuffrey

6th February, 2012

Home experts Andrew Leech and Chris Askew explain how to make your kitchen a greener place to be more...
In season now: what to eat in February

In season now: what to eat during February

Ben Hudson

30th January, 2012

It's the month of love, so warm the cockles by tucking in to wonderful seasonal fare. Big Barn founder, Anthony Davidson, shares his February favourites more...


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