The Ecologist


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Photo: PAN North America.

EPA bans toxic pesticide mix on GM crops

The Ecologist

26th November 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just withdrawn its authorization for a toxic mix of two herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be used on GM crops. The move came in response to a lawsuit claiming the initial registration was unlawful. more...
The list of sponsors for the 21st UN Climate Conference (COP21) released today includes some of the least climate-friendly multinationals. Image: Corporate Europe Observatory.

COP21 - brought to you by 200 Mt a year of coal-fired CO2

Pavlos Georgiadis

26th November 2015

As negotiators from around the world gather in Paris for what's hoped to be a groundbreaking climate summit, many will be surprised to discover that COP21 is funded by some of the world's biggest coal burners, writes Pavlos Georgiadis, and a leading financier of coal and tar sands development. Shouldn't we just ... kick them out? more...
Drought and deforestation have proved to be a volatile combination in Indonesia. Photo: David Gilbert / Greenpeace, Author provided.

As Indonesia burns, its government moves to increase forest destruction

William Laurance, James Cook University

24th November 2015

'No deforestation' pledges by global food corporations are yielding results, writes William Laurance. But now the Indonesian and Malaysian governments are calling on them to abandon their promises - even as the region's rainforests go up in smoke, cleared for new oil palm plantations. The companies must hold firm to their commitments. more...
Vanishing rainforest: soon more oil palm plantations. Seen on flight between Miri and Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo: Bernard DUPONT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sustainable palm oil? RSPO's greenwashing and fraudulent audits exposed

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

19th November 2015

A new investigation of palm oil plantations, companies and auditors has found that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is failing to deliver on its promise, writes Chris Lang. Widespread fraud, collusion between auditors and companies, conflicts of interest, and a flawed complaints system mean that RSPO-certified palm oil may be destructively and illegally produced. more...
Area of Bento Rodrigues, Minas Gerais state, affected by the release of mine tailings from the failed dams. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Tailings dam breach - 'the assassination of Brazil's fifth largest river basin'

Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes

19th November 2015

Brazil has suffered its biggest ever industrial disaster, write Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes. Breached and overflowing dams have released a massive slug of toxic muds and tailings from iron mining into the country's fifth largest river system that provides drinking water for downstream cities, destroying ecosystems in rivers and vast areas of biologically fragile ocean. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
This is the real 'Climate Smart Agriculture' - but surely not at all what the agribusiness corporations have in mind! Photo: Helena Paul.

‘Climate-Smart Agriculture' - preparing for a corporate soil and climate-grab in Paris?

Helena Paul

26th November 2015

‘Climate Smart Agriculture' can be applied to anything from industrial monocultures to agroecology, writes Helena Paul - and fertiliser, biotech and agribusiness corporations are seizing the chance to cash in. Now COP21 host France is proposing to use soils as a giant carbon sink - a fine idea in itself, but not if it's used to 'offset' continued fossil fuel emissions, and to greenwash industrial agriculture. more...
Internally displaced Rohingya residents of a camp near Sittwe carrying vital supplies of rice and cooking oil. Photo: Mathias Eick, EU/ECHO, Rakhine State, Burma, September 2013.

Genocide: Burma's Rohingya sacrificed in global scramble for oil and gas

Nafeez Ahmed

13th November 2015

As Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy takes a strong lead in Burma's elections, Nafeez Ahmed warns that the military will remain the real power in the land. And as UK, EU, US, Chinese and Gulf state energy corporations compete to exploit Burma's hydrocarbons, don't expect them to denounce the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, and anyone else in the way of their oil and gas infrastructure. more...
After four separate attempts to rein in the biotech companies failed, an estimated 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district. Photo: Christopher Pala.

Hawaii: anger rises over health impacts of pesticides used on GMO crops

Christopher Pala

4th November 2015

Hawaii has got everything, writes Christopher Pala, and not just for holidaymakers. It's also the perfect place for biotech companies to develop GMO corn varieties and spray them with toxic agrochemicals. People are getting sprayed too - and doctors report high rates of birth defects. But grassroots efforts to restrict the use of pesticides have twice been over-ruled by state courts. more...
Punta Lobos beach, Todos Santos - with the 'mindfulness' development built out across the beach. Photo: Salvemos Punta Lobos via Facebook.

Colorado State campus mega-development steals Mexican beach - you call that 'mindful'?

Viviane Mahieux

2nd November 2015

Resistance is growing in Todos Santos, Baja California, to a tourism and University campus mega-development of 4,500 homes that claims to be 'free range and locally sourced', writes Viviane Mahieux. It has already grossly disfigured one of Mexico most gorgeous beaches, while locals fear it will drain their aquifers and obliterate a harmonious community. more...
At least in Greece, the weather is warmer than in most of Europe. Photo: street scene in Monastiraki, Athens, by psyberartist via Flickr (CC BY).

Greece is the testing ground for the TTIP era of corporate rule

Pavlos Georgiadis / Sustainable Food Trust

5th November 2015

Greece is Europe's sandbox for the neoliberal free-for-all to follow if the EU and the US sign off on the TTIP trade and investment treaty, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. The termination of public services, the cut-price sell-off of public assets, the dismantling of environmental protection, the democratic closedown, the rule of corporations and finance capital ... all coming your way soon. more...
German protestors opposing TTIP and CETA in Berlin, 10th October 2015. Photo: Jakob Huber / Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

EU-Canada CETA trade deal is a back door for US to sue EU - even if TTIP fails

Maude Barlow / Global Justice Now

30th October 2015

There's been a big fuss about the 'ISDS' clauses in the TTIP trade deal that would allow US corporations to sue the EU and its member states for 'lost profits', writes Maude Barlow. But ISDS is already in CETA, the already negotiated EU-Canada trade deal - and nothing would be easier than for US companies to use it as their 'back door'. We must make sure CETA is rejected at its final hurdle. more...

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Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...
Candlelit vigil outside the Daily Mail offices in London to commemorate the estimated half million people dying every year as a result of climate change. Photo: Still from video by IndyRikki media.

Occupy Daily Mail claim 'historic' climate win

The Ecologist

27th October 2015

Climate protestors claimed a big win after a successful 48-hour vigil outside the Daily Mail's London offices with Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett that won wide support from the Mail's own journalists. More events will follow in the run up to COP21. more...
Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres taking part in a recent Art no Oil protest at the British Museum. He is taking BP to court over its alleged involvement in his 42-day kidnap and torture by a paramilitary group, during which he was kept in an insec

BBC fails to challenge BP arts sponsorship chief on kidnap and torture allegations

Chris Garrard / Art Not Oil

26th October 2015

Last week BP's Peter Mather - who claims to have 'green and yellow oil' flowing in his veins - took to the airwaves on Radio 4's The Bottom Line'. Evan Davies asked some tough questions, writes Chris Garrard - but failed to mention the shocking case of Colombian trades unionist Gilberto Torres, kidnapped and tortured for 42 days by paramilitaries employed by BP's joint venture partner. more...
Devastated mountains in Romania's Sebes Valley. Photo: Magda Munteanu / BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network).

Austrian timber giant ransacking Romania's forests

The Ecologist

21st October 2015

Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. more...
Agroecology in action: rice farm in Batad, the Philippines. Photo: Joe Coyle via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No to 'Climate Smart Agriculture', yes to agroecology

Climate Smart Agriculture Concerns

21st October 2015

Climate Smart Agriculture sounds like a great idea, write hundreds of civil society organisations worldwide. But in truth it's a PR front for international agribusiness to promote corporate agriculture, pesticides and fertilisers at COP21, with a heavy dose of greenwash. Countries must resist the siren calls - and give their support to true agroecology that sustains soil, health, life and climate. more...
Grant Shapps MP cutting away at 'red tape' to demonstrate the government's commitment to corporate deregulation no matter what the cost to health, safety and environment. Photo: Department for Communities and Local Government via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

UK's business deregulation is out of control

Christine Berry

27th October 2015

Buried in the minutes of an obscure new quango is evidence of vast corporate capture of the UK government, writes Christine Berry. The order of the day is to strip away business regulation without regard to the public costs - so long as companies save money. more...
'Beyond Petroleum' didn't work for BP - because they never really meant it. Photo: Mike Mozart of JeepersMedia and TheToyChannel on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

Eco-warrior corporations can do great things - but only if they walk the talk!

Steffen Böhm & Annika Skoglund

10th November 2015

The rise of corporate eco-activism makes a refreshing change from the usual 'campaigners versus corporation' dynamic, write Steffen Böhm & Annika Skoglund. And for companies that embark on this path - like Lush, Ecotricity and Interface - it can work out well for them and the environment. But heed the disastrous consequences for those, like BP, who said one thing, and did another. more...
'When we lied, we never meant you to believe us' - Paul Willis, VW's UK managing director. Photo: still from

No pollution? No deaths? Who does VW think it's kidding?

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

15th October 2015

It was a remarkable spectacle, writes Damian Kahya: MPs trying to get straight answers out of VW's top man in the UK over the 'dieselgate' scandal. Of course our cars gave false test results. But who would ever believe those stupid tests anyway? How many people died from all the extra pollution? None! There was no pollution! more...
A bamboo-net FAD on Farquhar Atoll, Seychelles. Photo: ICS.

Time to curb FADs, the tuna industry's floating atoll destroyers

Dr Cat Dorey / Greenpeace

14th October 2015

Declining tuna stocks are not the only consequence of an out-of-control tuna industry, writes Cat Dorey. A major tuna fishing method used in tropical seas is causing serious damage to coral reefs and attracting a huge 'bycatch' of sharks and other species. Now responsible producers and retailers are taking matters into their own hands - and you can help! more...
Wind turbines at Rossendale, England. Photo: reway2007 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Wind turbines and solar panels into nuclear weapons: the UK's new industrial strategy?

Dr Stuart Parkinson

15th October 2015

The UK government is punishing renewable energy for its success in generating 25% of the country's electricity, writes Stuart Parkinson. But there's no austerity when it comes to the bloated military-nuclear industrial sector, no matter how egregious its failures or extreme its cost overruns. Our future prosperity is being sacrificed - and its costing taxpayers billions. more...
Vertriebszentrum West - Volkswagen group's distribution centre in Germany. Photo: Duhon via Wikimedia (CC BY).

Car pollution regulator's auto industry millions

Lawrence Carter / Greenpeace Energydesk

12th October 2015

The UK's official agency for car pollution testing has taken £80 million from the auto industry in ten years, a Greenpeace investigation reveals, while its senior staff and engineers have a 'revolving door' relationship with car makers. more...
Not much fruit in Sunny D 'fruit punch'. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia via Flickr (CC BY).

Toxic innovation: Volkswagen is the tip of a destructive iceberg

Paul Levy, University of Brighton

20th October 2015

Corporations can be incredibly innovative, writes Paul Levy. But it's not always in good ways. Think of VW's clever device for fooling emissions tests, social media software that's way too intrusive for its own good, or sugary drinks marketed as 'healthy' when they're no such thing. Sadly, there's a lot of it about! more...
Kriss the croissant, a product of SPS Handel, Ostroleka, Poland. Photo: SPS Handel.

KRISS the croissant and our fatally fractured food chain

Julian Rose

13th October 2015

Industrial agriculture and industrial food processing have combined to produce something extraordinary, writes Julian Rose: 'KRISS the unrecognisable croissant'. Just don't make the mistake of confusing it with food. Devoid of nutrition, laced with hydrogenated oil and a long list of artificial ingredients, if you care about your own health and that of our planet - give KRISS a miss! more...


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