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An enormous plantation cut from the Liberian rainforest. Photo: Chulius Caesar via Flickr.

Oil palm explosion driving West Africa's Ebola outbreak

Richard Kock

29th October 2014

The medical response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been monstrously inadequate, writes Richard Kock. But so has been recognition of the underlying causes - in particular the explosive spread of industrial oil palm, which disrupts the ecology of forests and farms, and undermines local economy and traditional governance, leading to a 'perfect storm' of disease. more...
In Ghana, more than 100,000 straw coloured fruit bats are harvested as bushmeat every year. But the country is not affected by the Ebola epidemic. Photo: Diana Ranslam, CC BY-NC.

Ebola: don't blame the bats!

Alexandra Kamins, Marcus Rowcliffe & Olivier Restif

23rd October 2014

Bats serve as a natural reservoir for the Ebola - but we cannot blame them for the epidemic. In Ghana alone people eat over 100,000 fruit bats a year as 'bushmeat', yet the country has escaped the epidemic. Much more research is needed to discover the mechanisms of transmission, and to devise effective, appropriate interventions. more...
Farmers in Ghana marching against the Plant Breeders Bill, now before the country's parliament, September 2014. Photo: Food Sovereignty Ghana.

Ghana's farmers battle ‘Monsanto law' to retain seed freedom

Chris Walker & Oliver Tickell

24th October 2014

Ghana's government is desperate to pass a Plant Breeders Bill that would remove farmers' ancient 'seed freedom' to grow, retain, breed and develop crop varieties - while giving corporate breeders a blanket exemption from seed regulations. Now the farmers are fighting back. more...
Children in the town of Gueckedou, the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. Photo: ©afreecom / Idrissa Soumaré / European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr.

Love in the time of Ebola

Dr. Glen Barry / EcoInternet

26th October 2014

The human family must come together now to stop Ebola in West Africa or risk a global pandemic that could potentially kill billions, writes Glen Barry. And that will mean solving, with equity and justice, the disease's root causes: rainforest loss, poverty, war and overpopulation. more...
The Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) has declined by 88% since 1995, due to multiple causes: habitat loss in Africa; disease in its UK breeding grounds, and hunting between the two. Photo: Alan Shearman via Flickr.

African habitat loss driving migrating birds' decline

The Ecologist

16th October 2014

A new report reveals huge declines in the UK's migratory birds that winter deep in Africa's rainforests. Shorter distance migrants are performing much better, with some recording big population increases. more...
Famers in Sokoine, Tanzania, examine a drought tolerant maize variety developed by the nationally-owned seed company Tanseed International Limited. Photo: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center via Flickr.

Big Biotech's African seed takeover

The Ecologist

13th October 2014

Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Limagrain are among the companies to buy into Africa's indigenous seed companies. It's all part of the corporate takeover of the continent's agriculture at the expense of the small farmers who feed most of Africa's people. more...
Homes of Sengwer people stand burning in Embobut, Kenya. Photo: Forest Peoples Programme.

World Bank 'failing to protect Kenya forest dwellers'

John Vidal / The Guardian

30th September 2014

The eviction of Kenya's Sengwer forest people in a World Bank financed project was a failure of the Bank's duty to protect indigenous people, according to an internal report. The Bank's directors are to decide on how to respond today - but if they follow their own management's advice, the evictions will continue. more...
A small farmer keeps watch over his crops from a treetop south of Arba Minch, Ethiopia. But what will he do when multinational corporations, backed by the full force of law, enter the valley? Photo: David Stanley via Flickr.

Coca-Cola is not the solution to hunger in Africa

Miriam Ross

22nd September 2014

Coca-Cola is the latest company to join the agricultural 'scramble for Africa', writes Miriam Ross. Backed by £600 million of British aid under the guise of 'food security' and 'nutrition', a vast give-away of Africa's land is under way that will condemn small farmers to landlessness and poverty. more...
Moussa Konate cultivating his fields. Photo: Fernando Naves Sousa.

Farmers lead composting revolution to heal African soils

Fernando Naves Sousa

14th October 2014

The soils on which African farmers depend are getting poorer, writes Fernando Naves Sousa, depleted of nutrients and organic matter. This creates a huge challenge: to reverse the trend in an environmentally responsible way, while feeding a growing population. But it can be done - using organic composting techniques. more...
What will GM crops ever do for her? Neil Palmer / CIAT, CC BY-SA

Kenya chooses GMOs - but there are smarter ways to feed Africa

Andrew Adam-Bradford

9th August 2014

GM crops may benefit agribusiness, writes Andrew Adam-Bradford. But they offer little to Africa or the millions of farming communities that feed the continent. Rather than impose corporate 'solutions', governments should invest in indigenous agro-ecological farming. more...
Women at Isatou Ceesay's workshop for upcycled products. Photo: author supplied.

Gambia - recycling for women's wealth and independence

Louise Hunt

13th August 2014

Plastic waste, often burning, is a constant companion in Gambia, a poor country where few enjoy formal rubbish collection, writes Louise Hunt. Now a pioneering project to upcycle waste plastic is beginning to tackle the problem - and in the process enhancing women's social and economic status. more...
Aglogbloshie - burning off plastic to get to valuable metals. Photo: qamp.net via Flickr.

E-waste in Ghana: where death is the price of living another day

Nele Goutier

7th August 2014

Attempts to recycle E-waste and donations of old electronic devices are harming poor people's health and devastating the environment, writes Nele Goutier. Agbogbloshie, once an idyllic landscape of wetlands and small farms, is now the most toxic place in the world ... more...

Africa: 1/25 of 133
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A child leans against a wall made of USAID food aid containers in the flood-destroyed area of Bahere Tsege in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Photo: Liz Lucas / Oxfam America.

Obama food aid ravages Third World farmers

James Bovard

27th July 2014

The US taxpayers who finance foreign food aid surely believe they are feeding starving people, writes James Bovard. But the truth is the reverse - it is undermining indigenous agriculture in recipient countries - creating famine and chronic malnutrition, while sabotaging self-sufficiency. more...
Deyeatee and Comfort, JogBahn Clan women leaders, reading the petition. Photo: Jason Taylor for Friends of the Earth, 2014.

Liberia - communities join to fight the palm oil land grab

Jacinta Fay & Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor

18th July 2014

Liberia's Jogbahn Clan is at the forefront of efforts to resist the grab of Indigenous Peoples' land and forests for palm oil plantations. But according to the country's President, they are only 'harrassing and extorting' international investors. more...
A tobacco farmer in Marondera District, Zimbabwe. Photo: Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture.

Tobacco - Zimbabwe's forests are going up in smoke

Ray Mwareya

22nd July 2014

A flood of smallholders that have benefited from Zimbabwe's land reform are turning to tobacco as their crop of choice, reports Ray Mwareya. But the economic gains are coming at a terrible cost - the accelerating destruction of the country's forests. more...
Mali elephants by Carlton Ward Jr.  / carltonward.com.

Why do the local people protect the elephants?

Susan Canney

14h July 2014

Mali's elephants have lived for millennia in the inhospitable Sahara, writes Susan Canney. But with their survival at risk from a host of modern, 21st century threats, local people are coming together to protect them - and finding that they too are benefiting. more...
Little bee eaters on the Okovango River,  Botswana. Photo: amattox mattox via Flickr.

Okovango Delta is 1,000th World Heritage Site

The Ecologist

23rd June 2014

Botswana's Okavango Delta, one of the most iconic natural areas on the planet, has been listed as 1,000th World Heritage site today. The decision follows the advice of IUCN, UNESCO's advisory body on nature. more...
Threat on the horizon. The iconic Serengeti - home to one of the world’s greatest wildlife migrations - could be bisected by a mining-boom highway. Photo: William Laurance.

Africa's ecosystems imperilled by mining frenzy

William Laurance

24th June 2014

Africa sustains some of the most spectacular ecosystems on the planet - from the Sergengeti to the Congo Basin to the Eastern Arc forests. But those ecosystems and their iconic wildlife are now facing their greatest peril, writes William Laurance - a mining boom of unprecedented intensity. more...
Fewer than 400 West African giraffes survive. Photo: Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Only 80,000 giraffes left in Africa

The Ecologist

21st June 2014

On the first-ever World Giraffe Day, the world's tallest land mammal is threatened by conflict with humans, habitat loss, war, and disease. One subspecies, the West African giraffe, is down to 400 individuals. more...
'The Secret World of Oil' by Ken Silverstein - front cover. Image via Gawker.com.

A descent into Big Oil's inferno

Louis Proyect

8th July 2014

In Ken Silverstein's 'The Secret World of Oil', Louis Proyect investigates the uber-wealthy middlemen of oil, inhabiting a pampered universe of moral squalor and depravity - one in which Tony Blair found himself completely at home. more...
Celebrating. Photo: Jason Taylor for Friends of the Earth 2014.

When our land is free, we're all free

Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor & Jacinta Fay

7th May 2014

Across Africa, corporations are grabbing community land and water - and nowhere more than in Liberia, where half the country has already been lost. But one community has shown it's possible to overcome intimidation, organize and resist. more...
Koudioube village women working in the forest. Photo: Jason Florio / Concern Universal.

Community forestry is defusing Africa's longest-running conflict

Louise Hunt

5th May 2014

Civil war in Casamance, a forested area of Senegal, has been fought for 30 years, while an illegal timber trade has boomed amid the insecurity. Louise Hunt reports on how community forestry is bringing peace to the region - and restoring life to the forests. more...
The Gemasolar plant near Seville: Pointing the way ahead? Photo: DESERTEC Foundation.

Round-the-clock solar power comes of age

Paul Brown

1st May 2014

With the help of some clever engineering, writes Paul Brown, the power of the Sun can now produce electricity on demand - day and night, bright or cloudy. The key technology has just won a prestigious DESERTEC Award. more...
A giant tree of the Congo basin rainforest. Photo: Corinne Staley via Flickr.com.

Congo rainforest 'browning' as temperatures rise

Tim Radford

30th April 2014

Scientists have found that the world's second greatest rainforest, the Congo, is losing its green, writes Tim Radford. As temperatures rise and rainfall reduces, the forest canopy is taking on a browner hue, and this could be an early signal of worse damage to come. more...
The 2014 Goldmine Prize winners - official photo.

2014 Goldman winners - fighting coal, dams, palm oil, fracking, toxic waste

Sophie Morlin-Yron

28th April 2014

Six environment heroes, one from each continent, are honoured for their work today - fighting threats from giant coal mines to forest destruction, fracking, high dams, illegal development and toxic waste dumps. Sophie Morlin-Yron reports. more...

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