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Women from RUWFAG. Photo: Global Justice Now.

Ghana's women farmers resist the G7 plan to grab Africa's seeds

Heidi Chow

22nd May 2015

Sharing and saving seed is a crucial part of traditional farming all over Africa, writes Heidi Chow. Maybe that's why governments, backed by multinational seed companies, are imposing oppressive seed laws that attack the continent's main food producers and open the way to industrial agribusiness. But Ghana's women farmers are having none of it. more...
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) at RSPB Medmerry, West Sussex England. Photo: BiteYourBum.Com Photography via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

We must defend Europe's wildlife laws!

Martin Harper

12th May 2015

Europe's most important laws for wildlife, the EU's Nature Directives, are under threat in from a recently launched 'review', writes Martin Harper. The official purpose is to make the laws more effective, but in reality it's all part of the Commission's agenda to strip away regulations that impede business in its pursuit of profit. more...
Nightingale in full song, perched in a hawthorn bush. Photo: Kev Chapman via Flickr (CC BY).

Don't let our nightingales go quietly!

Chris Rose

7th May 2015

Nightingales, famous for the entrancing beauty of their song, have declined by 90% over the last 50 years, writes Chris Rose, and are heading towards their very own silent spring. The first step to saving this wonderful bird must be for us to fully appreciate it, and the terrible loss its extinction would represent. more...
A nightingale in full song. Photo: courtesy of David Plummer Images.

Moonlit melody - the resurgent nightingales of Knepp

Hazel Sillver

7th May 2015

At the inspiring new 3,500 acre 'wildland' of the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, the nightingale is making itself at home amid the thorny thickets, writes Hazel Sillver. That's proof to any that need it that the bird's extinction is far from inevitable - if only we can muster the will to save it! It also offers a wonderful opportunity to hear its magical song ... more...
Six Spot Burnet Moth and Large Skipper Butterfly supping nectar on Common Knapweed. Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Jo's mini meadow - our beautiful and vital insects

Jo Cartmell

7th May 2015

First Jo Cartmell converted her uninspiring front lawn into a 'mini-meadow' full of wild flowers. Next, she waited the return of insect life - not for very long as it turned out. Barely a few years into the project, a remarkable profusion of bees, beetles, moths and butterflies were buzzing and humming around the blooms ... more...
Small fishing boats at Lyme Regis, Dorset, where England's first big marine Protected Area was designated. Photo: Sue Hasker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

To protect our seas, first we must reclaim them from 'Big Fishing'

Horatio Morpurgo

10th April 2015

There's strong public support for protecting marine wildlife, writes Horatio Morpurgo - so why aren't politicians championing the cause? Labour and Tories alike fear to challenge the big fishing companies that have come to believe they own Britain's offshore waters and seabed. Now it's up to use to prove they're wrong. more...
The work is hard, but the seed is free - for now! Men and women harvest the Ethiopian staple grain teff in a roadside field between Axum and Adwa in Northern Ethiopia. Photo: Alan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Carving up Africa - aid donors and agribusiness plot the great seed privatization

Ian Fitzpatrick & Oliver Tickell

26th March 2015

An elite group of aid donors and agribusiness corporations met in London this week to plan the takeover of Africa's seeds, writes Ian Fitzpatrick, replacing traditional seed breeding and saving by small farmers with a corporate model of privatized, 'improved', patented, genetically uniform and hybrid seeds in a profit-driven market. more...
Indian children on Brazil's BR 319 road through the increasingly fragmented Amazon rainforest. Photo: Ben Sutherland via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

To forestall a mass extinction, fight forest fragmention

David Edwards

24th March 2015

Large areas of forest remain around the world, writes David Edwards, but many of them are - in biological terms - dying on their feet as their species diversity erodes due to fragmentation. To conserve the full richness of our forests, we must keep them entire and unbroken, and rebuild the continuity of forest islands. more...
Humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean near Pitcairn Island. Photo: Robert Irving / Darwin Initiative via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Clear blue water! Pitcairn Islands reserve is Britain's biggest conservation initiative ever

Nick Hurd and Zac Goldsmith

20th March 2015

The the creation of almost a million sq.km of the South Pacific as a fully protected marine area builds on a long Conservative tradition of protecting the natural environment, write Nick Hurd & Zac Goldsmith - and as factory trawlers close in on Pitcairn's pristine waters, the initiative could not have been more timely. more...
Seed saving in Malawi: farmer Maria Banda's cupped hands holding cowpea seeds. Photo: Stephen Greenberg / ACBIO.

Grabbing Africa's seeds: USAID, EU and Gates Foundation back agribusiness seed takeover

Stephen Greenberg & Oliver Tickell

23rd March 2015

The latest salvo in the battle over Africa's seed systems has been fired, writes Stephen Greenberg, with the Gates Foundation and USAID playing puppet-masters to Africa's governments - now meeting in Addis Ababa - as they drive forward corporation-friendly seed regulations that exclude and marginalize the small farmers whose seeds and labour feed the continent. more...
Where ice meets ocean - Antarctic coastline by McKay Savage via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Antarctic warmth brings more snow, reducing sea level rise

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

18th March 2015

Rising temperatures will result in more snow falling in Antarctica, and the build-up of ice will reduce sea level rise from other sources. But as the extra weight of ice makes Antarctica's glaciers flow faster, the continent will still be a net contributor to sea level rise. more...
Indigenous rangers like Yugul Mangi senior women (from left to right) Edna Nelson, Cherry Daniels and Julie Roy, are crucial guardians of the outback environment. Photo: Emilie Ens, Author provided.

Remote Indigenous communities are vital for our fragile ecosystems

Craig Moritz, Emilie-Jane Ens & Jon Altman

23rd March 2015

Australia's aboriginal communities inhabit remote Outback regions of enormous importance for wildlife conservation, write Craig Moritz, Emilie-Jane Ens & Jon Altman - and they, and the land management services they provide, are essential to maintain both biodiversity and ancient indigenous knowledge. So why is Prime Minister Tony Abbott putting all that at risk? more...

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Residents of Prek Smach commune, Kiri Sakor district at a road block they have constructed out of trees and rocks. Botum Sakor national park, Koh Kon Province, Cambodia. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Cambodia: local people risk everything to defend national park sold off to highest bidders

Rod Harbinson

24th March 2015

Botum Sakor national park is one of Cambodia's biodiversity hotspots, where indigenous tribes have long lived in harmony with the forest and its wildlife, writes Rod Harbinson. But now they are being violently evicted as the park is being sold off piecemeal to developers for logging, plantations, casinos and hotels. Now local communities are defending themselves and their land. more...
Baka women set off to gather food from their native forest. Increasingly the Baka are excluded from their forests in the name of 'conservation', or limited to ever-smaller areas insufficient to sustain them. Photo: ..zuzu.. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Indigenous Peoples destroyed for misguided 'conservation'

Gordon Bennett & co-authors

3rd March 2015

As we celebrate 'World Wildlife Day' today, there's little for nature's best defenders to be glad of, says human rights lawyer Gordon Bennett. Indigenous Peoples around the world are routinely attacked, starved and cut off from the lands and wildlife they have protected for millennia under a flawed and brutal model of 'conservation'. more...
A burnt Maasai village. Photo: InsightShare.org.

Tanzania breaks promise - thousands of Maasai evicted to make way for lion hunt

The Ecologist

27th February 2015

Last November Tanzania's President Kikwete tweeted his promise that the evictions of indigenous Maasai people and their villages near Serengeti National Park would stop. But now another round of evictions is under way: thousands of Maasai have been evicted at gunpoint and their homes burnt to ashes. The Maasai say: 'We need your help!' more...
Sorghum, one of the crops that feeds Africa, is of little interest to profit-oriented corporate agriculture. Photo: Janki via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Land and seed laws under attack as Africa is groomed for corporate recolonization

GRAIN / AFSA / The Ecologist

12th February 2015

Across Africa, laws are being rewritten to open farming up to an agribusiness invasion - displacing the millions of small cultivators that now feed the continent, and replacing them with a new model of profit-oriented agriculture using patented seeds and varieties. The agencies effecting the transformation are legion - but they are all marching to a single drum. more...
Ancient grassland at Rampisham Down SSSI, West Dorset, that will soon be shaded over by solar panels unless the planning application is 'called in'. Photo: RSPB.

Pickles must protect Rampisham Down SSSI from solar farm

Martin Harper

5th February 2015

An ancient grassland SSSI at Rampisham could be saved following a government decision to put an 'hold' notice on the West Dorset Council's planning consent for a huge solar farm, writes Martin Harper. Now Eric Pickles must 'call in' the case to a public inquiry, or set a truly dreadful precedent for our most precious nature sites. more...
Hayes Valley Farm Seed Library. Photo: edibleoffice via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The seed saving rebellion is growing - and banging at the Commission's door

Ben Raskin

29th January 2015

A year ago today, Europe-wide protests defeated an EU regulation that would have outlawed many seed saving activities, writes Ben Raskin. Now growers are taking matters into their own hands, saving and developing open-pollinated seeds - and campaigning for a seed regulation that supports them, not the monopolist seed corporations. more...
The helmeted hornbill, before and after. Photo: Environmental Investigation Agency.

Red alert! Hornbills at risk from wildlife trade

The Ecologist

2nd February 2015

We all know about the risk to elephants and rhinos from the illegal wildlife trade, but now the helmeted hornbills of Borneo and Sumatra are at risk as online traders find ready buyers for their carved beaks in China. more...
A California Condor near the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon. Photo: George Kathy Klinich via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Condors or lead ammunition? We can't have both

Dawn Starin

21st January 2015

The recent death of Ventana the condor in Los Angeles zoo illustrates a simple truth, writes Dawn Starin: wild condors cannot survive so long as the dead amimals they eat are riddled with lead from spent ammunition. With lead poisoning to blame for 60% of condor deaths, it's time to ban lead ammunition across their entire range - and beyond. more...
Pioneer's PR39F58 maize at Werktuigendagen, Belgium 2009. Photo: Bdk via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

EuroParl votes in new era of GMO farming

13 January 2015

Oliver Tickell

Following a disgraceful EU stitch-up, the European Parliament today passed a law permitting EU-wide GMO crop cultivation. With regulation and safeguards devolved to member states, and only limited 'opt-out' rights, it is a recipe for chaos that GM corporations will ruthlessly exploit. more...
Fresh green chickpeas on sale in Varanasi, India. Photo: © Jorge Royan (royan.com.ar) via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Obama - stand up for Seed Freedom and Food Democracy

Vandana Shiva

23rd January 2015

President Obama will shortly be on his way to India. In this Open Letter, Vandana Shiva invites him to join in securing the essential human freedoms to seeds and food - and to set aside any plans to pressure India into changing its laws to allow the corporate domination of life. more...
The launch of the South West Seed Savers Coop at Embercombe Farm. Photo: SWSSC.

Farmers join to save the seeds that feed us

Ashley Wheeler

6th January 2015

Farmers and growers in south-west England have united to reclaim the lost skill of seed saving, writes Ashley Wheeler. They are determined to grow, develop, share and disseminate open-pollinated seeds, and oppose EU laws granting commercial plant breeders a legal monopoly on the seeds that sustain our lives. more...
Mind who you call stupid ... Palaeolithic men and tiger, Africa, 100,000 - 2,000,000 years ago. Image: via cantabriatotal.com.

Dear Carl, it's time to rethink Homo 'sapiens'

Dr Gianluca Serra

26th January 2015

In this imaginary letter to the father of modern taxonomy and ecology, Carl Linnaeus, about the current status of life on Earth, Gianluca Serra suggests renaming the human species from the self-satisfied 'wise' to 'obtuse' - if only to spare us from the ridicule we so richly deserve for our collective insanity. more...

Telling Stories of the Future

Spring 2015

Schumacher College

To celebrate 25 years at the forefront of environmental education, Schumacher College are launching a new short course programme: Soul, Spirit and Story. more...

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