The Ecologist


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Floods in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2004. 17% of the country may be permanently inundated by rising seas by 2050, displacing 18 million people. Photo: dougsyme via Flickr (CC BY).

Earthquakes, superstorms ... and other little-known perils of climate change

Matthew Blackett / Coventry University

2nd November 2015

Climate change will impact the world in many ways, writes Matthew Blackett. Some of them may be good, like more rain in African drylands and coral atolls adapting to rising seas. But most of them - like coastal flooding, long term drought, earthquakes and stronger tropical storms - will be very challenging. We must increase the resilience of the most vulnerable countries without delay. more...
Southern Resident Orca near East Point, Saturna Island, 12th July 2011. Photo: Miles Ritter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'Fragile Waters': we must stop starving Southern Resident Orcas to extinction

Kathleen Haase

24th November 2015

The Southern Resident Orcas of Puget Sound have plenty of problems, writes Kathleen Haase. But as the film 'Fragile Waters' makes clear, there's a common thread: us. Whether it's over-fishing Chinook salmon or polluting the ocean with toxic chemicals, we are driving them to extinction - and if we don't soon mend our ways, it will be too late. more...
View across Lake Ohrid with small boats. Photo: Jaime Pérez via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Macedonia: EBRD's planned destruction of Lake Ohrid Biosphere Reserve

Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry

27th October 2015

UNESCO's Lake Ohrid-Prespa Biosphere Reserve at Mount Galicica, Macedonia, is at risk from a raft of aggressive developments, write Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry: tourism complexes, a new expressway and ski resort all threaten its tranquility and stunning diversity of wildlife, backed by loans from the EU's taxpayer-funded Bank, the EBRD. more...
For a problem-free pregnancy, don't live near here. Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, PA, operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Premature birth and problem pregnancies near fracking wells

The Ecologist

9th October 2015

A new study in the US's 'fracking capital' Pennsylvania has found that pregnant women who live near gas fracking wells are far more likely to give birth prematurely or develop problems during their pregnancies. more...
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, an area affected by fracking licences. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT for CIFOR on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences

The Ecologist

6th October 2015

Brazil is about to auction hundreds of fracking blocks across the country - extending deep into the Amazon forest including the territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous peoples. Registered bidders include BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. more...
Easter Island butterfly fish are one of at least 140 species endemic to the regions waters. Photo: Eduardo Sorenson, The Pew Charitable Trusts (CC BY-SA).

Easter Island is the perfect spot for a marine reserve

Callum Roberts

12th October 2015

Chile's announcement of a 630,000 marine protected area around Easter Island is altogether welcome, writes Callum Roberts. It forms part of a trend of very large marine reserve declarations that will play a vital role in preserving endangered fish stocks and vital oceanic biodiversity. more...
The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe.

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...
All hail our fracking future! Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to an IGas site in Gainsborough on 13th January 2014, flanked by company officials. Photo: Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking will only dig our fossil fuel addiction deeper

Oliver Tickell

16th September 2015

A new report on fracking and climate change from the Task Force on Shale gas presents a rosy picture of the fuel's role as a climate-friendly 'bridge' to a renewable energy future, writes Oliver Tickell. But the truth is the precise opposite - it's a climate disaster that will only delay the arrival of clean energy. more...
'Oil Refinery at Oxymoron'. Artwork by Wyatt Wellman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

China syndrome: fracked oil and Saudi Arabia's big gamble hit sinking global economy

James Meadway /

10th September 2015

For anyone who believes in the ineffable wisdom of 'free' markets, the current sinkaway oil price takes some explaining, writes James Meadway. Saudi Arabia's big gamble that it could put US shale oil out of business by over-pumping has now collided with China's falling demand for energy. Result: oil producers everywhere are swimming in red ink. Where will it all end? more...
Criatg Bennett, new Executive Director of Friends of the Earth (EWNI). Photo: Rob Monk / Friends of the Earth EWNI.

FoE's new CEO Craig Bennett: 'We have people on our side everywhere'

John Vidal / Guardian Environment

5th September 2015

They tried to influence government - but that's not working any more, writes John Vidal. So Friends of the Earth's new boss is taking a more radical approach rooted in community activism. And as he prepares for a storm of protest over fracking and cuts to wind and solar, he's ready to take on George Osborne in an 'ideological war' for the future of Britain. more...
Seneca Lake defense = Climate defense. Protestors at Crestwood's Senaca Lake 'compression facility', 18th August 2015. Photo: via Facebook.

Over 370 arrests for blocking NY fracked gas store

Ashoka Jegroo / Waging NonViolence

31st August 2015

Protests against plans to make an enormous storage site for fracked gas at Seneca Lake in New York state seven times bigger are gathering pace, writes Ashoka Jegroo, with 13 arrests at a gate blockade last week. But is the company, Crestwood, getting the message? more...
A demonstration of West Papuans against Indonesia's military occupation. Photo: Free West Papua campaign.

West Papua: after 50 years of cruel repression, the intoxicating smell of freedom

Jason MacLeod / Waging NonViolence

4th September 2015

Indonesia's murderous campaign of military repression in its stolen territory of West Papua continues, writes Jason MacLeod. But a courageous 50-year struggle for human rights and freedom is finally bearing fruit, with growing recognition of West Papua's right to nationhood among its Pacific neighbours. Real hopes of a better future are rising above the blood and pain. more...

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Fracking - not for shale! Photo: 70023venus2009 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Fracking fast-track stacks odds against planning refusal

Oliver Tickell

13th August 2015

New measures to compel local councils to speed up frackers' planning applications have a clear intention, writes Oliver Tickell - to make it ever harder for planners to refuse permission. more...
There's coal in them thar hills outside Merthyr Tydfil. But Caerphilly councillors have just voted to leave it where it is, under the ground. Photo: Stuart Herbert (CC BY-NC-SA).

Campaigners celebrate as Caerphilly councillors vote: the coal stays in the ground

Guy Shrubsole

7th July 2015

Caerphilly councillors yesterday refused permission for a huge open cast coal mine in South Wales that's fiercely opposed by local people furious at its impacts on air, landscape, tranquillity and climate, writes Guy Shrubsole. Coming so soon after the rejection of fracking in Lancashire, the message is clear: fossil fuels are best left safely underground. more...
This is what was really doing the damage: industrial whaling by Britain, by ships like the Petrel, now an eerie hulk beached up on South Georgia Island. Photo: Christopher Michel via Flickr (CC BY).

Whatever our emotions tell us, not all whaling is the same

David Lusseau

30th July 2015

The Faroe Islands' annual 'grindadráp', in which hundreds of pilot whales are slaughtered with knives and hooks, is a horrifying spectacle, writes David Lusseau. But unlike industrial whaling it poses no threat to the species. And is it really any worse than the industrial factory farming that we routinely ignore? more...
Danish Faroese whale hunters in a sea of red. Photo: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd.

The blood of the whales is on Danish hands

Captain Paul Watson

28th July 2015

Hundreds of pilot whales were slaughtered in Faroes waters last week alone, writes Captain Paul Watson. But in 2011 no whales were killed while Sea Shepherd vessels patrolled. The difference? Since 2014 the Royal Danish Navy has defended the whale hunt. more...
Lancashire protesters make their feelings on Cuadrilla's fracking plans plain, 18th September 2011. Photo: Justin Woolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cuadrilla will appeal Lancashire's fracking refusal

Kyla Mandel & Ben Lucas /

24th July 2015

Shale gas company Cuadrilla will appeal Lancashire's decision to refuse permission to frack, write Kyla Mandel & Ben Lucas. The planning battle will last well into 2016, as campaigners prepare to fight all the way. more...
Protest at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Permanent Peoples' Tribunal puts fracking on trial

Dr Damien Short & Dr Tom Kerns

23rd July 2015

The damage caused by fracking to people, communities and the wider environment will be put under the legal spotlight in public hearings in the US and the UK, write Damien Short & Tom Kerns. While the 'ruling' that emerges will be non-binding, it will provide an authoritative, expert dossier of fact and argument for real legal actions to follow. more...
Workers at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lancashire's fracking victory was even greater than we knew

Damien Short

21st July 2015

The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice. more...
Now it could be fracked: North Meadow, a traditional uncultivated water meadow of 110 acres, contains 80% of the UK population of the Snakeshead Fritillary. Photo: Nick Warner via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fracking go-ahead in SSSI wildlife sites, groundwater sources

Adam Vaughan / Guardian Environment

17th July 2015

Breaking a clear pre-election promise, the government will allow fracking to take place in the UK's most precious wildlife sites and in vital groundwater source areas, writes Adam Vaughan. more...
22 Pilot whales lined up on the shore at Hvannasund, Faroe Islands. Photo: Rosie Kunneke / Sea Shepherd.

Denmark must stop the Faroe Islands cetacean slaughter

Captain Paul Watson / Sea Shepherd

17th July 2015

This year's 'Grind' in the Faroe Islands was as bloody as ever, writes Captain Paul Watson, who witnessed the slaughter of a pod of 22 pilot whales with vicious hooks and long knives. If Denmark wants to be considered a 'civilised' nation, it must stop its aggressive support for the cruel and barbaric tradition. more...
Where is the Love? That'll be at the Earth First Gathering in the Peak District, 19th-24th August. And much more besides ... Photo: Vertigogen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Earth First! summer gathering - the resurgence

Indra donFrancesco

17th July 2015

Next month is the time for green activists to get together in the glorious Peak District, coordinate future actions on everything from fracking to road-building and climate change ... and of course, share the love, writes Indra donFrancesco, Yes, it's the Earth First! summer gathering, and there's never been stronger reasons to go. more...
Repower Balcombe members launch their solar coop in April 2014. Photo: RePower Balcombe via Facebook.

Beyond fracking: Balcombe's renewable future

Joe Nixon / RePowerBalcombe

13th July 2015

When fracking came to Balcombe in West Sussex in 2013, it divided village opinion, writes Joe Nixon. But the community is now united in its commitment to locally owned renewable energy, with solar projects on schools and farm buildings, and plans just in for a new 5MW solar farm. more...
No, not a fracking rig: a biogas purification plant in Lund, Sweden. Photo: Petter Duvander via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Safe, low carbon, inexpensive: the renewable alternatives to fracking

Keith Barnham

8th July 2015

In its haste to get fracking, the UK Government is neglecting safe, clean alternatives that could be providing low-carbon gas and heat energy, writes Keith Barnham. The technologies are already well established in other European countries and are picking up fast here too - so why the insistence that only fossil fuels can deliver the UK's energy needs? more...
Frack off! Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Secret report: fracking could hurt house prices, health and environment

Adam Vaughan & Rowena Mason / Guardian Environment

2nd July 2015

House prices could fall 7% near fracking rigs, according to the 'secret' Defra report on fracking in rural areas, only published in full after a legal battle, while leakage of waste water could damage human health and contaminate food. more...


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