The Ecologist


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Holed Palestinian water tanks, destroyed by armed settlers in the old city of Hebron. Photo: ISM Palestine via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Think California's drought is bad? Try Palestine's

Laith Shakir

23rd August 2015

As World Water Week kicks off in Stockholm today with a theme of 'Water for Development', the drought being deliberately inflicted on Palestinians is firmly off the agenda, writes Laith Shakir. While Israelis water their lawns, irrigate crops and swim in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinian communities a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst. more...
Whose water is it anyway? Photo: ricardo / via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

California is the 'canary in the coalmine' of global drought

Maude Barlow

1st July 2015

California's drought is a harbinger of things to come around the world, writes Maude Barlow. Because of global warming, yes - but also because the Golden State is an exemplar of the 'water as property for corporate profit' neoliberal paradigm that's taking over the world. It's now essential to assert water as a Commons - to be both justly shared, and fiercely protected! more...
Another hot, dry night falls on Sao Paulo. Photo: Rafael Vianna Croffi via Flickr (CC BY).

Megacity drought: Sao Paulo withers after dry 'wet season'

Leila Carvalho

26th June 2015

After four years of low rainfall Brazil's commercial capital, Sao Paulo, is suffering from a grim combination of high temperatures and water shortages, writes Leila Carvalho. And now the drought has given rise to a lethal plague of dengue fever. more...
The beaver kits on the River Otter.

Devon's wild beavers have babies

The Ecologist

24th June 2015

Soon after Devon's wild beavers on the River Otter escaped capture by zealous officials, they have given birth to two or even three kits - a clear indicator that they are happy in their habitat, and there to stay! 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...
The melting on the southern Antarctic peninsula has been so sudden, that even the scientific expedition's supply ship seems to have been caught out. Photo: J Bamber,

Once-stable Antarctic glaciers have suddenly started melting

Bert Wouters

23rd May 2015

A dramatic shift has taken place in the glaciers of the southern Antarctic peninsula, writes Bert Wouters. Six years ago these previously stable bodies suddenly stated shedding 60 cubic kilometres of ice per year into the ocean. A stark warning of further surprises to come? more...
Is the Pepsi brand getting tarnished? Pepsi sign in Rajasthan, India, by Matthew Stevens via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

India: unlawful Pepsi plant wins police protection

The Ecologist

20th May 2015

First the Pepsi-Cola bottling company in south India caused outrage by depleting groundwater. Next it was found to be operating without valid permits.Then as protests grew the company won a High Court order giving it police protection. Now locals are vowing to keep the plant shut for good. more...
Deprived of piped water supply, a man in post-invasion Libya fills up a bottle of water from a muddy puddle. Photo: British Red Cross.

War crime: NATO deliberately destroyed Libya's water infrastructure

Nafeez Ahmed

14th May 2015

The military targeting of civilian infrastructure, especially of water supplies, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Yet this is precisely what NATO did in Libya, while blaming the damage on Gaddafi himself. Since then, the country's water infrastructure - and the suffering of its people - has only deteriorated further. more...
'Water is a human right!' - demonstration in Detroit. Photo: Detroit Water Brigade.

Detroit: 25,000 households face water shutoff this month

Tyler Van Dyke / WSWS

9th May 2015

Ignoring cries of protest from impoverished communities and fierce international criticism, Detroit will begin to serve water shut-off notices on some 25,000 households tomorrow as it prepares to privatise its water department. more...
An indigenous peoples' protest against dam building in Sarawak, February 2012. Photo: The Borneo Project.

Commerce or Corruption? The rainforest dams of Sarawak

The Borneo Project

18th June 2015

Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo already has an excess of electricity from existing hydropower dams - so why is the government determined to build a dozen more, displacing indigenous communities and flooding vast areas of rainforest? The answer, says a new documentary film by The Borneo Project, is simple - massive political corruption. more...
Photo: New Era Colorado Foundation.

American revolution: cities seize control of essential local services

Max Holleran

9th May 2015

Fed up with being gouged by profit-driven corporations, let down by state neglect and under-investment, urban communities across the US are taking control of local services like public transport, energy, water, internet and telecoms, writes Max Holleran - bringing better service, lower prices and clean energy. more...
The sacred water of Gosainkunda Lake at the headwaters of the Trishuli River, soon to be changed forever by the construction fo a succession of high dams. Photo: Yosarian via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

In Nepal's next big quake, hydropower dams threaten catastrophe

Michael Buckley

4th May 2015

A spate of hydroelectric dam building in Nepal means that future earthquakes could send inland tsunamis flooding down the steep mountain valleys, writes Michael Buckley. Disaster was averted in last month's quake - a badly damaged dam was not yet filled. But despite the risks and the damage to river ecology, tourism and rural livelihoods, there's no sign of any policy shift. more...

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Oil wells in the Bakken Oil Field of North Dakota, USA. Photo: Alan Graham McQuillan PhD ARPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Future dustbowl? Fracking ravages Great Plains land and water

Tim Radford

4th May 2015

The fracking boom has caused massive vegetation loss over North America's rangelands, writes Tim Radford, as 3 million hectares have been occupied by oil and gas infrastructure and 34 billion cubic metres of water have been pumped from semi-arid ecosystems. more...
A boy herding cattle near Mentao refugee camp in Burkina Faso. More than 18 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region are hungry and malnourishedas a result of the crisis. Photo: DFATD | MAECD via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Rebellion and hunger - how drought and food scarcity are fanning the flames of war

Nafeez Ahmed

13th May 2015

Food and water shortages and sharp price hikes in the necessities of life are driving civil unrest and rebellion across the Middle East and North Africa, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Adding to the problem, many of the afflicted countries are of strategic importance for their oil and gas, putting them on the front line of destabilizing 'counter-terrorism' operations. more...
Achta and her family fled drought in Northern Chad after drought killed all their animals: goats, sheep, camels and cattle. Photo: © World Food Programme / Chris Terry, supported by the EU, via Flickr (CC NY-NC-ND).

Don't mention climate change! Europe's response to the refugee crisis is doomed to fail

Assaad W. Razzouk

24th April 2015

The more EU politicians try to look in control of the Mediterranean refugee emergency, the more it's obvious they aren't, writes Assaad W. Razzouk. A key driver of the crisis is climate change, which is causing drought across North Africa. Europe must now tackle the root causes of the crisis, and admit its own culpability in precipitating it. more...
A protest in Kafr ad Dik village in February 2012 against the theft of land by nearby 'settlers'. Now it's the village's soil that is being stolen. Photo: KafrAdDeek via Wikimedia Commons (CC Public Domain).

Israelis steal fertile soil from Palestinian farms

The Ecologist

22nd April 2015

Not satisfied with seizing Palestinian land and water, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have found a new way to enrich themselves at their neighbors' expense - by stealing their fertile soil and transporting it to their own farms and gardens. more...
Protest at Coca Cola's bottling plant at Plachmada, Kerala. The plant has since been closed for rampant pollution. Photo: kasuga sho via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Campaigners defeat Coca-Cola plant in South India

The Ecologist

21st April 2015

Local campaigners fearful of water shortages and industrial pollution have forced state authorities to cancel an unpopular plan to allocate land for a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Tamil Nadu, India. more...
Paris-based Veolia and Suez are aggressive global companies running public water supply in cities around the world. But water in Paris itself (see here at La Defense) has been taken back under municipal control and ownership. Photo:  jean-marc via Flickr

Our public water future - closing out the corporate profiteers

Satoko Kishimoto

17th April 2015

Private water companies have never been more aggressive in their sabotaging of efforts to 'make water public', writes Satoko Kishimoto, with legal threats and challenges launched under 'free trade' agreements. But as citizens worldwide reject corporate water profiteering, the trend of water re-municipalisation has gathered unstoppable momentum. more...
A 2009 protest in Argentina's Santa Fe province against water privatization to Suez. Photo: International Rivers via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

TTIP won't stop public services being run for ordinary people? Tell that to Argentina

Nick Dearden

17th April 2015

Now it's Argentina's turn to be sued in a secret 'free trade' court run by the World Bank, writes Nick Dearden. After bringing a profiteering water company that was missing all its service and quality targets back into public ownership, the country has been ordered to pay $405 million 'compensation'. more...
Lake Baikal at Irkutskiy Raion, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. Photo: Fedor Stroganov via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lake Baikal: World Heritage ecosystems at risk from Mongolian dam

Anson Mackay

19th April 2015

Russia's Lake Baikal is under threat by a massive dam and pipeline on the main river that feeds into it, that would supply mines with power and water, writes Anson Mackay. In line to fund the project? The World Bank. more...
A gigantic dam under construction on the Upper Mekong River.

Damming Tibet: China's destruction of Tibet's rivers, environment and people

Michael Buckley

13th April 2015

When Michael Buckley took a white water rafting trip in Tibet in 2005, he had no idea of the adventure he was embarking on - a ten-year investigation of China ruthless exploitation of Tibet's mineral and hydroelectric resources, and its systematic attack on indigenous Tibetans, their culture and their survival on the land. more...
A 'money-burning' event organised by the Miami Tea Party to oppose a 46,000 acre conservation land purchase - but were the 'protestors' all actors? So it would seem. Photo: from Youtube video by Miami Tea Party.

Tea Party's fake protestors for Big Sugar against Florida Everglades

Oliver Tickell

8rg April 2015

The Tea Party of Miami put up a convincing demo last week to oppose a 'land grab' that would see 46,000 acres of sugar farm land restored for Everglades conservation. Just one problem - the 'protestors' were actors each being paid $75 for the two-hour shift. more...
Rajendra Singh believes conservation is vital to combat future 'water wars' and climate change. Photo: Deccan Chronicle.

'Water man of India' makes rivers flow again

Pramila Krishnan

8th April 2015

The revival of traditional rainwater harvesting has restored flow to rivers in India's driest state, Rajasthan - thanks to the tireless efforts of Rajendra Singh, recent winner of a Stockholm water prize. And as Pramila Krishnan discovered in a fascinating meeting, Singh's techniques, and his philosophy, are of truly global significance. more...
As California's drought bites, its $500 fines for 'water waster' households, but the water's still flowing for the state's powerful agribusiness sector. Photo: Malcolm Carlaw via Flickr (CC BY).

California drought: agribusiness, fracking untouched by water rationing

Evan Blake

5th April 2015

California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water. more...
Boreholes being drilled at Beckermet, Cumbria. For future disposal of radioactive waste? So locals fear, but no one is telling. Photo: Radiation Free Lakeland.

To dump nuclear waste, first they must dump democracy!

Marianne Birkby

2nd April 2015

In the last act of the dying Parliament, MPs quietly voted to dump democratic planning processes to expedite a 'facility' for the high level nuclear waste in geologically fractured Cumbria, writes Marianne Birkby - so over-ruling strong and highly effective local opposition. Shame on them! more...


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