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Back to the future with TPP and other 'trade deals'? Winston Cigarette advertisement published in Ebony magazine, July 1971, Vol. 26 No. 9. Photo: Classic Film via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Yes, trade deals really do overturn democracy

David Morris / On the Commons

28th July 2015

Forget tariffs, forget Obama's promises. The whole point of modern 'trade agreements' is to whack pesky labor, environment and health laws, writes David Morris, and so empower capital and corporate power against regulators, governments and democracy itself. Unconvinced? Just imagine what these deals would look like if they were there to empower people. more...
Young participants observing the flames at the symbolic check burning ceremony. Photo: Paul Anderson / EarthJustice.

Indian Treaties are the new front in the battle against coal exports

Jan Hasselman / EarthJustice

16th July 2015

The 1865 Treaty of Point Elliot is clear, writes Jan Hasselman: the Lummi Nation has the right to fish, hunt and gather in their accustomed places in perpetuity - and they can't do that if a gigantic coal terminal is built in the Salish Sea's most productive waters. First Nations' treaty rights are now central to protecting the Pacific Northwest from destruction by fossil fuels. more...
Ethiopian teff grain. Photo: SarahTz via Flickr (CC BY).

African governments sell out their farmers in secret seeds protection deal

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

10th July 2015

African governments, ignoring the protests of their farmers and civil society, this week agreed an oppressive 'plant variety protection protocol' that will open up their countries to commercial seed monopolists, while limiting farmers rights to save, use, exchange, replant, improve, distribute and sell the seeds they have developed over countless generations. more...
One of the big debates under TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' chapter concerns animal welfare and meat safety, with US standards consistently lower than those in the EU. But the cheaper US meat could take over EU markets. Photo: US 'broiler' chicken farm b

TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' would force down standards in US and EU

Friends of the Earth Europe

13th July 2015

Dissent over the massive USA-EU TTIP trade deal is focused on the 'corporate courts' allowing investors to sue national governments, But largely neglected has been the equally serious issue of 'Regulatory Cooperation' - which would impose a huge burden of 'red tape' on EU and US legislatures, while forcing down health, safety, social and environmental standards. more...
Rapporteur Bernd Lange: 'we have given clear guidance for the Commission on what kind of deal we want. And if, at the end of the day, the agreement is bad, we will reject it. If it's good, we will vote in favour.' Photo: European Parliament.

European Parliament TTIP vote ignores citizen concerns

The Ecologist

8th July 2015

MEPs backed the TTIP EU-USA trade and investment deal by almost 2:1 today, ignoring civil society fears. New texts on key issues like ISDS appeared to address public concerns, but campaigners insist that 'the most dangerous proposals' remain. more...
Crude oil in an open toxic oil waste pit abandoned by Texaco / Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon Rainforest near Lago Agrio. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Ecocide in the Amazon - Chevron evades $9.5bn restitution order

Orlan Cazorla & Miriam Gartor

17th July 2015

After 20 years of oil spills, deforestation, waste dumping and ill health, farmers and indigenous people in the the Ecuadorian Amazon have been fighting the Chevron-Texaco corporation. But despite its three times conviction and a $9.5 billion damages award to the victims, the oil giant looks no closer to making good its damage. more...
Barack Obama and David Cameron plotting the 'Bill of Corproate Rights' that is TTIP at the Lough Erne G8 summit in June 2013. Photo: President of the European Council via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

European Parliament's TTIP vote - democracy itself is at stake

Polly Jones

8th July 2014

The European Parliament votes today on the TTIP 'trade' deal, described as a 'Bill of Corporate Rights' that will undermine democracy in both the EU and the US, writes Polly Jones. But given the extraordinary secrecy that shrouds the negotiations, few of the MEPs themselves really know what they are voting on. more...
If it's such a good idea to burn real rhino horn, how is making synthetic horn going to help? Rhino horn ready for incineration, 21st September 2014 at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Photo: IFAW via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Can 'genetically-identical' synthetic horn save the rhino?

Diogo Veríssimo

6th July 2015

Soon a artificial rhino horn may be on the market that's identical to the real thing down to its DNA, writes Diogo Veríssimo. A boon for rhinoceros conservation? Or an act of biopiracy that will enrich biotech corporations while perpetuating demand for rhino horn and confounding efforts to end its trade? more...
Decoding the cassava genome. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

TTIP could open EU to 'new biotech' GMO seeds and foods

Coroprate Europe Observatory & Inf'OGM

7th July 2015

The EU Parliament is voting tomorrow on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the USA and the EU. But do MEPs realise that the agreement could force European markets open to 'new biotech' foods and crops using advanced GM technologies that do not meet current definitions of 'GMO' within the EU? more...
Texaco's toxic signature, written in spilt oil: Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The company, now part of Chevron, has yet to compensate the victims of its pollution, or clean up. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr (CC BY).

Coming closer this month: a UN Human Rights Treaty for corporate abuses

Sam Cossar-Gilbert

1st July 2015

This month the UN is meeting to enact binding global rules on the conduct of business and transnational corporations, writes Sam Cossar-Gilbert, reversing the trend for increasing business empowerment in TTP, TTIP and TISA. The new UN Human Rights Treaty aims to provide justice for the victims of corporate criminality anywhere in the world. more...
More than a hundred people converged in Ticonderoga, NY on 7th July for a flotilla and symbolic blockade to ‪#StopOilTrains. Photo:  Rising Tide Vermont.

#StopOilTrains - How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb-train

Stephyn Quirke

9th July 2015

Two things are new in the Pacific Northwest, writes Stephyn Quirke: abnormally hot, dry weather that has even killed Chinook salmon on their run upriver to spawn; and 'bomb trains' a mile more long carrying thousands of tonnes of oil, with just a single sleep-deprived driver on board. What could possibly go wrong? more...
Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...

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A rainy night in Hiroshima, March 2012. After the US's nuclear strike on 6th August 1945, 'back rain' carried out uranium nanoparticles that caused cancer among those ingesting them. Photo: Freedom II Andres via Flickr (CC BY).

Radiation in court: landmark success for Australia's nuclear veterans

Chris Busby

24th June 2015

A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the 'official' ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby - reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain's bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers. more...
Carbon trading may be highly profitable for a select few - but if you want to fix climate change, best leave it well alone! Photo: Richard Alvin via Flickr (CC BY).

Pope Francis is right. Carbon markets will never fix the climate

Steffen Böhm, Gareth Bryant & Siddhartha Dabhi

23rd June 2015

Carbon trading has a remarkable record of failure: rewarding polluters while causing no discernible reduction in global emissions. If the COP21 UN climate negotiations in Paris are to achieve anything of value, first they must ditch the false solution of carbon markets. And thanks to Pope Francis, the idea is firmly on the agenda. more...
Ex-congressman Eduardo Veliz (white hair) leads a protest at San Cristobál airport, Galapagos, against excessive development, prior to his arrest. Photo: El Colono (Galapagos newspaper).

Galápagos rebellion against foreign investment in hotels, golf courses, luxury tourism

Jane Shaw

25th June 2015

Residents of Ecuador's Galápagos islands are mounting angry protests against government plans to open the World Heritage Site to foreign investment in luxury tourism and hotels, writes Jane Shaw. They fear for the fragile ecology of the islands, for water shortages caused by golf courses and swimming pools, and for their livelihoods which depend on current 'low intensity' tourism. more...
Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright & Emily Morris

27th June 2015

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness? more...
Milked fresh from real badgers every day! (Only kidding) Photo: ken fager via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Where Caffè Nero leads on badger-free milk, others will follow

Dominic Dyer

13th June 2015

Milk farmers in the badger cull zones hardly depend on Caffè Nero's custom, writes Dominic Dyer. So why are the pro-cull lobby so hot under the collar with the coffee chain's refusal to buy their produce? Because it could force the entire food chain to take responsibility for how milk is produced - and a very good thing too! more...
US-based Renco Group used ISDS to bully the Peruvian government after they shut down a metal smelter in La Oroya - one of the most polluted towns in the world - when the company delayed environmental improvements. The Renco Group pressured the Peruvian go

Today is the USA's last chance to ditch TTP, TTIP. Act now!

Conor J. Lynch

12th June 2015

A final vote to give President Obama 'fast track' authority to pursue the TTP and TTIP trade negotiations is will take place in the US House of Representatives today, writes Conor J. Lynch. This time, it's final. And yes, it really does matter. A 'yes' vote would represent the greatest corporate power grab of our times - and there's just hours in which to stop it. more...
A TTIP flashmob event in Hamburg - one of many protests that have won over popular opinion, and increasiongly, that of MEPs. Photo: Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Cancelled: the EU's great TTIP debate that never was

Nick Dearden

10th June 2015

A long scheduled vote on the TTIP was suddenly postponed in the European Parliament today, writes Nick Dearden. Officially, this was because there were 'too many amendments'. But in reality TTIP backers smelt defeat and ducked the democratic test. more...
What BBC / Panorama didn't want you to know: This year's GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to the locally available varieties, bringing finacial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh).

Investigation or advocacy? The BBC reveals its pro-GMO bias

Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas

10th June 2015

The Panorama programme on GM foods and crops last Monday was a masterpiece of spin, bluster, misrepresentation and outright deceit, write Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas, with the BBC's top investigatory strand hijacked to force feed the UK population with the purest of pro-GMO propaganda. more...
Salmon run on the Adam's River, BC. Photo: John Biehler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Is Canada's government trying to kill off the wild salmon?

Jeff Matthews

8th June 2015

Does the Canadian Government actually want to wipe out its wild salmon? To ordinary, sane people, the idea is completely mad, writes Jeff Matthews. But for resource extraction industries, salmon farmers and right wing neoliberal politicians, it could make perfect sense. more...
Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station. Photo: Stuart Herbert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Trawsfynydd and cancer: nuclear power kills

Chris Busby

9th June 2015

A study of cancer incidence downwind of the Trawsfynydd nuclear plant in Wales shows a doubling of risk, writes Chris Busby, mainly from breast cancer. People eating fish caught in Trawsfynydd Lake are also at elevated risk. It's yet more proof that the nuclear industry's favourite risk model is wrong, understating the actual dangers of internal radiation - ingested or inhaled - by a factor of 1,000 to 10,000. more...
A nursery of loblolly pine – approx. 500,000 in view, all waiting to be dispatched and planted (c. 1,000 acres). Photo: Drax Group.

Biomass for energy is the common sense option

Matthew Rivers

5th June 2015

Today UK campaigners against burning biomass for power will deliver a 110,000 signature petition to DECC to protest at government subsidies for the practice. But in this 'Right of Reply' article Matthew Rivers, chairman of Drax Biomass, argues that biomass combustion is sustainable, benign, and helps to conserve forests worldwide. more...
Almost one in every two of Tanzania's elephants has been lost in the last five years - but the government is more concerned to conceal the truth, than to tackle the crisis, Photo: Sakke Wiik via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tanzania in denial over 60% elephant population crash

The Ecologist

4th June 2015

After six months of denial Tanzania has finally admitted that its elephants have suffered a catastrophic 60% decline in five years. But they still refuse to accept it's caused by poaching for ivory, rampant corruption and 'above the law' smuggling networks. more...
In August 2014 climate activists blocked a digger in one of the Rhineland open-pit coal mines. Protests will resume in August 2015. Photo: 350.org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Power struggle: after Germany's renewables surge, can it keep its coal in the ground?

Melanie Mattauch

22nd May 2015

Germany's 'Energiewende' has made the country a global renewable energy powerhouse. So why have its carbon emissions gone up? Not because of nuclear closures, writes Melanie Mattauch, but because powerful fossil fuel companies have blocked effective climate action. Now the fight is on as public calls to keep the coal in the ground get too loud to ignore. more...

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