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How can we act in time to prevent ecosystem collapse in eutrophic waters? The answer is in the ecology. Photo: Dr. Jennifer L. Graham | US Geological Survey / eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

How to avoid system collapse? It's the ecology, stupid!

James Dyke & Patrick Doncaster

22nd August 2016

Ecosystems don't collapse a little at a time, writes JAMES DYKE, but all of a sudden. So how can we see the danger signs and act in time to save them? A new study of eutrophic lakes shows that the answer lies, not in easily-measured nutrient levels, but from a more subtle understanding of the lakes' shifting ecology and types of species: keystones, weeds and canaries. more...
Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land. Photo: Greenpeace.

Brazil's indigenous peoples fight Amazon dams threat

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

1st August 2016

Brazil's new neoliberal government is intent on building a massive new dam deep in the Amazon rainforest on the on the Tapajós river, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson, obliterating the indigenous territory of the Munduruku people in defiance of their constitutional rights. more...
Muskrat Falls on 23rd October 2011, before dam construction commenced. Photo: innovationtrail via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Controversial dam robs, poisons Canada's indigenous Innu people

Colin Samson, University of Essex

14th July 2016

A new dam on indigenous lands at Muskrat Falls will join a network of other hydroelectric projects spanning Innu territories across the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, writes Colin Samson. The continual violation of Innu rights imperils their ability to enjoy healthy and sustainable lifestyles - and follows in a long tradition of indigenous land theft in North America. 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...
Children in the South Hebron Hills village of Susiya, where water is increasingly scarce: permits to dig wells and water tanks are rarely granted. One local well was recently demolished by settlers and an old car was pushed down it. Photo: kelleelund via

In the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is using water as a weapon of war

Ramzy Baroud

4th July 2016

Israel is inflicting 'water starvation' on Palestinian communities, writes Ramzy Baroud, with residents of all-Jewish settlements in the West Bank each receiving thirty times more water than their Palestinian neighbours. Meanwhile resistance to the Occupation is routinely punished by water closures and the destruction of water infrastructure, contrary to international humanitarian law. more...
Karen people gather to protect their rivers. Photo: Kesan Media.

Saving the Salween: Southeast Asia's last major undammed river

Tom Fawthorp

13th June, 2016

The free-flowing Salween is the last big undammed river in Southeast Asia, home to a flurry of endangered species including tigers and clouded leopards, writes Tom Fawthrop in Hpa-an, Karen State, Myanmar. And thanks to support from both the indigenous Karen people, and senior officials in China who see the huge ecotourism potential of the river and its dramatic gorge, it could just stay that way. more...
Last month's record low sea ice in the Arctic is bad news for the global climate, and for the polar bears who depend on the ice for their hunting. Photo: Patrick Kelley / US Coast Guard via Flickr (Public Domain).

Arctic ice recedes to record low for May

Tim Radford

10th June 2016

After 12 successive months of record high global temperatures, yet another record has been broken, writes Tim Radford: the lowest May sea ice extent ever observed in the Arctic - over half a million square kilometers under the previous low, set in 2004. 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...
A small settlement in Bangladesh's Sundarbans, which extends into India to make the world's greatest mangrove forest - a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Area that is home for both people and countless wildlife species. Photo: Marufish via Flickr (CC BY-S

Exim Bank of India - stop support for the Rampal Coal Power plant!

Johan Frijns / Banktrack

26th May 2016

The Rampal coal power plant in Bangladesh, near the world's greatest mangrove forest, is a deeply misconceived project that must be abandoned, writes Johan Frijns in this Open Letter to the Exim Bank of India - which is planning to finance its construction. It would severely damage the precious local environment and wildlife, while adding to global climate change and sea level rise. more...
At the protest last Monday 9th May 2016. Photo: Don't Drill Antrim Water via Facebook.

Locals battle fracking company drilling near drinking water reservoir

Oliver Tickell

11th May 2016

Local people are furiously trying to stop a fracking company from drilling near a drinking water reservoir serving tens of thousands of homes, after Northern Ireland planners failed to block Infrastrata's claim for 'permitted development' rights. more...
Farmers on the storm ... Madhya Pradesh, 31st July 2013. Photo: Rajarshi MITRA via Flickr (CC BY).

Militarism and Monsanto or Gandhi and Bhaskar Save? The agroecology alternative

Colin Todhunter

9th May 2016

The corporate war on traditional farming is nowhere fiercer than in India, writes Colin Todhunter. After decades of the 'Green Revolution' that have impoverished the nation's soils, water, biodiversity and cultivators alike, agribusiness is poised for its final strike. But now the small scale farmers who produce most of the country's food are rediscovering ancient agroecological alternatives. more...
Water vole in Arundel, England. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

Citizens' science to save our water voles - volunteers needed!

Emily Thomas & Nida Al-Fulaij / PTES

28th April 2016

UK water voles face an uncertain future after widespread habitat loss and predation by American mink, write Emily Thomas and Nida Al-Fulaij. But you can help by joining a UK-wide monitoring scheme run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species that's recruiting nature-loving volunteers to survey local lakes, rivers, ditches and streams for signs of these lovable but elusive creatures. more...

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Drilling and blasting creates large volumes of radioactive dust. Photo: Andrey Serebryakov

Uranium mining threatens South Africa‘s iconic Karoo

Dr Stefan Cramer

28th April 2016

Almost entirely unknown to the outside world, and even to most local residents, hundreds of square kilometres of South Africa's Karoo dryland have been bought up by uranium mining companies, writes Dr Stefan Cramer. With no strategic assessment of the industry's devastating impacts and massive water demand, official permission could soon be granted for vast open pit mines. more...
A dust storm hits Jordan's  Zaatari refugee camp on 29th July 2012 shortly after it was established ear the northern city of Mafraq. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Jordan grapples with the environmental consequences of its refugee crisis

Doug Weir

27th April 2016

Since 1948 Jordan has taken in millions of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and most recently Syria, writes Doug Weir. Politically and economically the country has proved astonishingly resilient - but the population increase has caused huge damage to its fragile environment. Ecological degradation, pollution and resource scarcity may cause political instability unless more is done to tackle the problems. more...
At risk - Laguna Verde in Paramo Santurban, Colombia. Photo: Grupo Areas Protegidas CORPONOR via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Colombia: there's no place for clean water under 'free trade'

Pete Dolack

14th April 2016

The latest country to be hooked under 'free trade' agreements is Colombia, writes Pete Dolack, sued for tens of billions of dollars by US and Canadian gold mining companies for valuing its national parks and the high-altitude Andean wetlands that provide 70% of the nation's water above the profits of foreign corporations. Free trade or clean water? You can't have both. more...
With damming of the Tapajos river, a whole world of biodiversity, beauty and indigenous cultures will be destroyed forever. Photo: Canoe on the Tapajos by Clairex (CC BY-NC-SA).

European companies line up to bid for Amazon megadam

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

13th April 2016

Disregarding revelations of systemic political corruption in Brazil's hydropower sector, President Dilma Rousseff is ploughing ahead with a cascade of giant dams on the mighty Tapajos river. Among the companies touting to win huge construction contracts are France's EDF and Engie, and Germany's Voith and Siemens - in a consortium led by Brazil's Electrobras, which stands accused of high-level corruption over four other dam projects. more...
A COPINH protestor with Honduran policeman. Photo: Felipe Canova via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Berta Caceres colleague murdered in Honduras

The Ecologist

16th March 2016

Less than two weeks after the murder of Honduran eco defender Berta Caceres, another indigenous leader has been shot dead during the violent police and military eviction of 150 families from the settled community of Rio Chiquito. International funders of the controversial Agua Zarca hydro project are now backing out.. more...
A Mélange of Ice ... a glacier pours from the Greenland ice sheet between two mountain peaks into a narrow valley on its journey to the sea. Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory via Flickr (CC BY).

Greenland's darkening ice is melting faster

Tim Radford

15th March 2016

A dusty film of pollution is muting the reflective whiteness of Greenland's pristine icecap and making it vulnerable to accelerated melting rates, writes Tim Radford. And as warming continues, the declining reflectivity of the ice is accelerating the process. more...
Beaver in the Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland. Photo: Dunnock_D via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Beavers and the coming revolution in Scotland's countryside

Louise Ramsay

8th March 2016

After beavers' reintroduction to Scotland, landowners have accused the native rodents of damaging the environment, causing floods, and worse, writes Louise Ramsay. But the public have rallied to the cause of these charming, beneficial creatures, leaving conservative landowners isolated. Could the shift in sentiment trigger long overdue change in the Scottish countryside? 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...
The land contaminated by the oil spill in Mayoriaga. Photo: Forest Peoples Programme

Peru: Amazon tribe orders oil company out after devastating spills

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

9th March 2016

The indigenous Wampis people of the Peruvian Amazon have demanded the immediate closure of a Petroperú oil pipeline after a series of devastating spills, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The company has already been found guilty of 'negligence' after previous oil spills contaminated the Wampis land and rivers. more...
Jaguar at Pilpintuwasi, near Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo: worldsurfr via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The Shaman's cure: a Gaian awakening

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2016

An encounter with a Colombian shaman led Peter Bunyard on a spiritual journey into and beyond the living, breathing, transpiring Amazon rainforest, providing key insights into the essential role of the great tropical forests in the workings of Gaia. He emerged re-energised from his visions - and inspired to redouble his efforts to save our wondrous planet. more...
Signs of beavers in riparian woodland near  Tumba, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Holmberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Give beavers permanent British residence!

Nigel Willby & Alan Law, University of Stirling

28th February 2016

Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish. more...
Reindeer and Khanty children in the Numto Nature Preserve in 2006. Photo: Irina Kazanskaya via Flickr (CC BY).

Siberia's Heavenly Lake and 'small peoples' of the High North at risk from oil drilling

Elena Sakirko & Konstantin Fomin

28th February 2016

A vital nature preserve in western Siberia, and the indigenous peoples that inhabit it, are at risk from oil development, write Elena Sakirko & Konstantin Fomin. Oil giant Surgutneftegas is already active in the Numto Park, but now they want to extend operations into its fragile wetlands, putting at risk snow cranes, the Heavenly Lake, and the survival of the Nenet and Khanty peoples. more...
 last month announced an amendment to the Energy Policy and Modernization Act to help families in Flint, Michigan who have been exposed to lead poisoning through contaminated drinking water. But it will do nothing to put those responsible for the crisis i

Flint water crisis - will anyone be prosecuted?

Jane F. Barrett, University of Maryland

18th February 2016

Amid the growing call for those guilty of causing Flint, Michigan's water crisis to be prosecuted, Jane F. Barrett finds little prospect of criminal charges under the Safe Drinking Water Act. But federal, state and common laws offer prosecutors a range of potential charges, from malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance to involuntary manslaughter. more...

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