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Our obsolescent economy: modern capitalism and 'throwaway culture'

Steven Gorelick

26 September, 2017

We live in a throwaway society. Innovation in the tech industries mean ever more powerful products come to market. But the death of repair shops and a culture of reliance is not simply the result of shiny new things. Corporations, and capitalism itself, requires planned obsolesce, argues STEVEN GORELICK more...
Greenham Farm smallholders. Photo: Abbie Trayler Smith / ELC.

Ecological agriculture: investing today in tomorrow's farms

Phil Moore

22nd May 2017

Ecological farming has taken root in the UK, writes Phil Moore: drawing inspiration from the past while employing the latest ideas and techniques from organic, no-dig, permaculture, agroecology and agroforestry methods. But with agricultural fields selling for up to £10,000 an acre, there's a big difficultly for many would-be eco-farmers: access to land. Now, with public support, that's a problem the Ecological Land Cooperative is determined to solve. more...

Alternative Brexit? Could this be the change the Greens have been waiting for?

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

31st March, 2017

Many eco-minded Brits are rightly worried about the prospect of a ‘hard Brexit'. But what if another ‘alternative' Brexit that delivered a Greener economy were possible? VICTOR ANDERSON and RUPERT READ of Green House have just delivered a new report on Brexit and trade from an ecological perspective. Here, they share their key findings with the Ecologist... more...
Who says nature is not worth valuing in economic measurements? Sadly, most mainstream economists. Photo: Golden Pond on the University of Victoria campus, BC, Canada, by Nick Kenrick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment - this must change

Judith Schleicher & Bhaskar Vira, University of Cambridge

15th March 2017

Orthodox economic measures like Gross Domestic product fail to measure the things that matter most, write Judith Schleicher & Bhaskar Vira: like human wellbeing and ecological health. This creates a systematic bias in 'development' policies that must urgently be addressed if we are to build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable society more...

Decarbonising the UK economy

Joe Ware

26th January, 2017

Ultimately the UK Government's new industrial strategy has the potential to use government investment to shift the country in the right direction for the environment. But we need more than just ‘public money,' we need the public's money too writes JOE WARE more...
With most luxury apartments in central London sold off-plan to overseas investors who often leave them empty or use them for a few weeks a year, the UK's social fabric is suffering from unrestricted capital inflows. Photo: Andrea Kirkby via Flickr (CC BY-

Progressive protectionism - the Green case for controlling our borders

Colin Hines

13th January 2017

The green movement's squeamish social liberalism has left it to the political right to exploit public concerns about population and immigration, writes Colin Hines. We must make the progressive case for controlling our borders, and restricting not just migration but the free movement of goods, services and capital where it threatens environment, wellbeing and social cohesion. more...
Google's not playing about: its commitment to run its data centres around the world on 100% renewable energy represents a systemic shift. Photo: Google's London offices by Marcin Wichary via Flickr (CC BY).

Trump, carbon neutrality and the next phase of business sustainability

Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan

14th December 2016

The President-elect may be determined to lead America down an environmentally damaging path, writes Andrew J. Hoffman. But he may find few in the corporate world, where a growing number of major players are committed to eliminating CO2 emissions and making sustainability a core element of their business systems and supply chains, leading to global green transformation. more...
Flyer for the Lucas Plan conference in Birmingham on 26th November 2016.

The Lucas Plan: how Greens and trade unionists can unite in common cause

David King, Breaking the Frame

2nd November 2016

Forty years ago workers at Lucas Aerospace created a detailed plan to transition out of the arms industry and into green, sustainable products and technologies, writes David King. it never happened, yet the Lucas Plan provides a blueprint for similar initiatives today to build a deep-rooted, broad-based movement for social, economic and ecological progress. more...
Solar panels and wind turbine at Westmill Farm, Oxfordshire, which hosts several community financed renewable energy cooperatives. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Massive support for community renewable energy

Oliver Tickell

6th September 2016

A new opinion poll of 2,000 adults reveals more than two thirds of the public support renewable energy schemes where projects are undertaken at a community level and local people receive financial benefit. The support even extends to wind and solar farms close to people's homes. more...
Natalie Bennett campaigning in Cambridge during the general election of 2015. Photo: Rama via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

It's time to take back REAL control!

Natalie Bennett

5th September 2016

It's time for UK citizens to #takebackREALcontrol by challenging the anti-democratic powers that control our country, our economy and our lives, retiring Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett told her party conference this weekend in this barnstorming speech. And that's a challenge only the Greens are prepared to take on. more...

Why the degrowth debate is gaining momentum

Nick Meynen

2nd September, 2016

Reporting from The 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest - which continues today and tomorrow - NICK MEYNEN explores the new narrative of ‘sufficiency' being discussed and and asks will it catch on before it's too late? more...
Friends of the Earth South Korea is working with the students and teachers to build 'Solar Cooperatives' on the roofs of class rooms, with the electricity generated used to power these new 'solar schools'. Photo: FOEI.

G20: Dodged taxes could finance renewable power for world's poorest 50%

Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert

2nd September 2016

As the G20 meet in China this weekend, it's time for governments to finally get tough on the world's tax dodgers, write Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert. The missing tax revenues would be able to finance a 100% renewable electricity system covering half the planet by 2030 - a major step in raising living standards and tackling climate change. more...

economy: 1/25 of 147
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The costs of 'growth': Shanghai skyscrapers barely breaking the all-engulfing smog layer. Photo: erhard.renz via Flickr (CC BY).

To deliver sustainable development, first give up on 'growth'

Jason Hickel, LSE

1st September 2016

The global economy has already outgrown the Earth, writes Jason Hickel. Yet even the UN insists that we need decades of continued economic growth to end poverty. The truth is the precise reverse: we must end growth - not just to save our planet but to refocus the economy on meeting human needs. more...
Olive harvest at Surif in the West Bank, Palestine. Photo: Palestine Solidarity Project via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Rooted in the soil: the birth of agro-resistance in Palestine

Jonathan Cook

19th August 2016

For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture, writes JONATHAN COOK. But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative way to resist peacefully, increasing resilience and prosperity in rural West Bank communities, and forging international alliances in the global movement for good food and farming. more...
Photo: Roderick Eime via Flickr (CC BY).

Hugh's 'War on Waste' is great - but we need to grasp the bigger picture

Sam Earle

3rd August 2016

Last week's 'War on Waste' - throwaway coffee cups were the deserving target - was an exemplar of effective single-issue campaigning by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. But the answers to our waste problems go way beyond recycling. We must begin to plan a societal transition to a post-consumer culture of caring, sharing, and knowing when we have enough. more...
Tesla Powerwall battery keeping the solar lights on after sunset. Photo: Tesla.com.

Battery revolution empowers consumers, unleashes renewables, imperils Big Energy

Emma Howard / Greenhpeace Energydesk

15th July 2016

Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities' business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it's going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. more...
It may be possible to transform this landscape into a green energy park, or back to wilderness - but it's not going to happen soon enough without a corresponding political transformation! Tar sands refinery at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Photo: kris k

Green transformation is a political project, not an economic one

Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig

19th July 2016

The idea that our profit-oriented, growth-driven economic system can deliver a sustainable society is a beguiling one, write Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig. But it is doomed to failure. The changes we need are in the first place political, and will be driven by a new democratic will to put people and planet before money. more...
Photo: jacinta lluch valero via Flickr (re-coloured by The Ecologist) (CC BY-SA)..

A green, cooperative Europe - for people and planet!

Colin Hines

12th July 2016

The main concerns that drove the Brexit vote - mass immigration and declining job prospects - must be taken seriously, writes Colin Hines, in the UK and across Europe. We need a new, cooperative union: of decentralised regional economies, with public investment in 'green' infrastructure driving our transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. more...
The Comida Conscience mobile restaurant. Photo: Fabrizio Uscamayta.

Abundance for everybody - 'conscious food' supports a thriving urban activist community in Bolivia

Sian Cowman

July 2016

Rooted in the Andean principles of sharing, resilience and 'Vivir Bien' (Living Well), Bolivian activists in the world's highest capital city are building cooperative, grassroots alternatives to the profit-oriented economy, writes Sian Cowman. Their weekly lunch party is just the most visible way in which they are challenging the injustice of capitalism and the fragmentation it inflicts on communities. more...
If we really want to 'take back control', let's begin with our own institutions - such as the House of Lords, and ensure it represents the full spectrum of British society. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Take back real control! A Green response to Brexit

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

18th July 2016

The winning Brexit slogan was 'Take Back Control', write Victor Anderson & Rupert Read. But leaving the EU will only increase the power of corrupt elites unless the UK reforms its own democratic governance, combats the excessive power of corporations, upholds the rights of all its citizens, decentralises its economy, and forges progressive alliances with its European partners. more...
Replace your halogen GU10 with an LED version like this one, and cut power demand from 50W to just 5W. Photo: Nicolas von Wilcke / KlaresLicht via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The urgent case for an mass switch to LED lighting

Chris Goodall

7th June 2016

LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. more...
Installing a Solarcentury 'Sunstation', which embeds into the roof rather than sitting above it. Photo: Solarcentury.

Innovation for the global energy transformation: the Solarcentury Sunstation

Jeremy Leggett

1st June 2016

In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation's solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation - including its new 'Sunstation' - an integrated 'snap-on' solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs. more...
Ed Miliband still has a plan for a better future. On the campaign trail in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, 30th April 2015. Photo: Din Mk Photography via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

COP21 - the UK must lead to world to 'net zero' emissions

Ed Miliband

23rd November 2015

Earth's temperature is heading towards its highest for three million years, writes Ed Miliband. The world must move as fast as possible to 'net zero' carbon emissions - and the UK should take a lead in this global effort, enshrining the target in law, and driving a technological renewal that will assure our future prosperity. more...
Traditional Farmer in Kabaune village, Kenya working in the field with his cattle. The village has joined in planting trees in order to increase rain and water. Photo: P. Casier / CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The tremendous success of agroecology in Africa

Colion Todhunter

21st November 2015

While the Gates Foundation and conservative politicians are bigging up GMOs and agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter, a quiet revolution has been working its way across Africa. Agroecological farming, constantly adapting to local needs, customs, soils and climates, has been improving nutrition, reducing poverty, combatting climate change, and enriching farmland. more...
Where to get the money from to finance the transition to a low carbon economy? Simple: 'QE for climate' by the world's central banks. Photo: Pictures of Money via Flickr (CC BY).

'QE for climate' is the win-win solution for COP21

Dr. Matthias Kroll

25th November 2015

The governor of the Bank of England recently argued that the risk to the stability of the financial system from climate change is a responsibility of central banks, writes Matthias Kroll. They can begin by using QE - 'quantitative easing' - to finance the Green Climate Fund, and so stimulate the economy, rescue the climate, and save the global financial system. more...

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