The Ecologist


Farming: 25/50 of 1303
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Permanent pastures and wetlands are a huge and growing carbon store - like this floodplain meadow of 'pozzine' grassland near Ninu lake, south Corsica, France. Photo: Quentin Scouflaire via Flickr (CC BY).

France's plan to increase its soil carbon is an example to the world

John Quinton, Lancaster University

17th October 2015

It sounds like a modest ambition: France wants to raise the amount of carbon in its soils by 0.4% a year, writes John Quinton. But that represents a vast amount of carbon, and its capture into soils will bring a host of other benefits. We should all get with the program! more...
Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (yellow, round items) killing and escaping from a human white cell. Photo: NIAID via Flickr (CC BY).

Restrict antibiotics to medical use, or they will soon become ineffective

Laura J V Piddock, Richard Meek, Victoria Wells, Hrushi Vyas

23rd October 2015

Antibiotics have saved countless millions of lives since the 1930s, but their power is failing due to their massive use in factory farming, horticulture, aquaculture and industry, says a new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics. We must stop all inessential uses of antibiotics, or face a future where we risk death from minor injuries and routine surgery. more...
Pro-GMO philanthropist Bill Gates has been a big funder of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - he even paid for its magnificent Gates Hall. But is Cornell's Alliance for Science performing a flip on GMO safety? Photo: Anne Ruthmann Photography via Flickr (CC

Surprise - Cornell is taking the GMO safety debate to a new level!

Steven M. Druker

19th October 2015

Something important just happened at Cornell's Alliance for Science, writes Steven M. Druker. Long known as a keen promoter of genetic engineering, the organization has experienced a profound change of direction. Its new director, Sarah Davidson Evanega, has opened an inclusive scientific dialogue on the safety of GMO crops. Who says it's all 'over'? more...
Wild ponies feeding at Oostvaardersplassen, Netherlands, where a huge floodplain nature reserve has been turned over to wilderness. Photo: KONIKpaarden via Flickr (CC BY).

Rewilding is not just for nature - it's essential for our own survival

Jessica Rothwell

16th October 2015

Rewilding landscapes impoverished by human exploitation enriches nature and brings back life to an increasingly ravaged world, writes Jessica Rothwell. But more than that, it's a vital step in making human existence sustainable in the long term, depending as we do on our planet's functional ecosystems for our health and survival. It's time for people to pull back - and make space for the wild. more...
Cows near Dolwyddelan Castle in the Conwy Valley, Wales. Photo: George Frost / Gelephoto via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Britain's dairy crisis - we must account for real costs, and for true value

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

30th October 2015

The UK dairy industry is in crisis, writes Megan Perry, with falling prices forcing many farmers out of business. Smaller, more sustainable farms have been the worst casualties, while the large, intensive producers survive. We must ditch market-driven 'survival of the fittest' attitudes - and recognise both the real costs of intensification, and the true value of traditional farming. 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...
Polish farmers in tractors advancing slowly towards the Szczecin prosecutor's office, 12th October 2015, to demand that all charges are dropped. Photo: ICPPC.

Polish 'farm defenders' arrested, imprisoned

The Ecologist

13th October 2015

The might of the Polish state is turning against the country's small farmers following a series of effective protests against the sale of land in the country's western Pomerania province to foreign investors. more...
Make hay while the sun shines! This farmer in Cyprus can remain GMO-free - for now. Photo: Tony Woods via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

GM crops: an uneasy truce hangs over Europe

Mary Dobbs, Queen's University Belfast

9th October 2015

With all the EU's GMO exemptions filed, a clear majority - by number, population and area of farmland - have chosen to be GMO-free, writes Mary Dobbs. But the rules surrounding their opt-outs are complex in the extreme and many countries will find it hard to maintain their GMO-free status - specially if the Commission and the biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta choose to exercise their powers. more...
Herbicide being sprayed to keep a footpath in a residential area free of weeds. Photo: Nick Mole / PAN-UK.

Pesticide-free towns and cities - citizen power in action

Keith Tyrell / Pesticide Action Network

6th October 2015

Local authorities around the world are going pesticide-free following an initiative by a small town in Canada 25 years ago, writes Keith Tyrell. Now the movement is coming to the UK, with campaign groups setting up in towns, cities and rural communities to keep pesticides out of our streets, parks, playgrounds and allotments. more...
No GM crops here! Typical farm house amid cropland in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Germany. Photo: Domenico via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Two thirds of EU cropland, population ditch GM crops

The Ecologist

1st October 2015

Fifteen EU states have now joined the GM-free movement as the 3rd October deadline for registration nears, along with four regions. They collectively account for 65% of the EU's arable cropland, and 65% of its population, and Greenpeace expects more to sign up. more...
Pheasants reared for shooting kept on a cold and uncomfortable wire floor. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Pheasant shooting begins today - and forget the rural idyll!

Toni Shephard

1st October 2015

This is the first day of the pheasant shooting season, writes Toni Shephard. But put bucolic ideas of happy birds running around in the wild woods out of your mind. Most of the birds coming under shotgun fire today have only just been released from overcrowded factory farms. Even in death they have no dignity: most are not even eaten, but end up dumped in makeshift pits. more...
Members of the Womens' Collective of Tamil Nadu in a forest area where they are growing fruits and vegetables. Photo: WhyHunger.

Agroecology leading the fight against India's Green Revolution

Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau

29th September 2015

For the women farmers of Tamil Nadu life has long been a struggle, Sheelu Francis told Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau, all the more so following the advent of 'Green Revolution' industrial agriculture. So now women's collectives are organising to restore traditional foods and farming methods, resulting in lower costs, higher yields, improved nutrition, and a rekindling of native Tamil culture. more...

Farming: 25/50 of 1303
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A bull from Romania meets a grisly death in Gaza following trans-shipment through Israel, winter 2014. Photo: Compassion in World Farming.

EU must end its cruel exports of live animals

Peter Stevenson

3rd October 2015

The EU's long-distance trade in live cattle to the Middle East inflicts horrendous cruelty at every point from farm to slaughter, writes Peter Stevenson, as well as posing public health risks due to grossly insanitary conditions. Live animal exports for meat should be stopped and replaced with a humane trade in refrigerated meat and carcasses. more...
Wild Poppies flowering on edge of a wheat field in Essex. Beautiful - what about the bees? Photo: ukgardenphotos via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Bee-killer pesticides concentrate in wild flower pollen

Oliver Tickell

15th October 2015

Wild flower margins around arable fields can funnel deadly pesticides into the bees, wild pollinators and other insects they are intended to benefit, writes Oliver Tickell. Neonic pesticides are often far more concentrated in the wild flowers than in the crop itself. more...
Just hanging ... Orangutan trio enjoying bananas at Pesalat Rehabilitation Center, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Palm oil versus orangutans? Don't forget the human dimension

Liana Chua

28th September 2015

The orangutans of Southeast Asia make a fantastic symbol of endangered rainforests, writes Liana Chua, rousing public opposition to palm oil companies and their bulldozers. But this story of good versus evil omits the essential human dimension. To save the rainforests and their great apes, we must make forest peoples a key part of the conservation narrative. more...
Exposure to low levels of glyphosate impairs bees navigational learning. A bee in Charlotte, VA. Photo: Universal Pops via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Glyphosate harms bees' spatial learning

Beyond Pesticides

20th September 2015

A new study shows it's not just neonicotinoids that impair bees' ability to navigate to nectar and pollen sources, and to their nests: now the herbicide glyphosate has been found to have the same impact even at very low levels. more...
Old water tank in Niland, California. Photo: Kevin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The water is ours!

Javan Briggs

7th October 2015

Water is life, writes Javan Briggs. And it belongs to all of us. California's water shortage is caused, not by 'drought', but by massive long term over-pumping. And as the crisis worsens, the response under the 'water as property' model is just to pump all the harder. We must manage water as a commons - to sustain us all, not to profit the few. more...
Sun sinking in smoke from Indonesia's burning forests and peatlands, Singapore, around 6pm on 21st September 2014. Photo: Yvonne Perkins via Flickr (CC BY).

Indonesia chokes as forest and peatland fires rip

The Ecologist

21st September 2015

The burning forests and peatlands of Indonesia are once again casting a pall of choking smoke across the region, in the process releasing billions of tonnes of carbon. Promises to solve the problems stand betrayed - and COP21 commitments to tackle the problem are being weakened. more...
The beneficiary - 'chicken oligarch' Yuriy Kosyuk, whose agribusiness company has received €500 million of loans from the EBRD, financed by the EU's taxpayers. Photo: UTR News via Wikimedia (CC BY).

EU taxpayers finance Ukraine's 'chicken oligarch'

Fidanka Bacheva McGrath / CEE Bankwatch

17th September 2015

Taxpayer-financed development banks have lent €500 million to Ukraine's biggest agribusiness company so it can undercut EU chicken producers, writes Fidanka Bacheva McGrath - while polluting the environment and grabbing land from local farmers. more...
Flooding in Morigaon District, Assam, India, 30th June 2012. Photo: Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

India: 200,000 refugees in Assam's devastating floods

Sneha Krishnan

16th September 2015

India's tea capital, Assam, has been hit by devastating floods for the second time in three years, writes Sneha Krishnan. But the government has failed to address key environmental issues like deforestation and soil conservation, or involve local communities in developing solutions. So ever more fertile land is lost to erosion, and millions of the country's poorest people suffer. more...
Baka in Cameroon have been prohibited from entering the forest to gather resources they require. Photo: © Survival International.

Indigenous peoples bear the brunt of global greenwash

Amy Dickens

23rd September 2015

As ever more companies and governments pledge to 'go green' and protect forests, the world's tribal peoples should be among the main beneficiaries, writes Amy Dickens. Yet the reverse is the case. All too often the promises are purest greenwash, used to conceal the human and environmental tragedy of land-grabbing for plantations, mines, logging and even 'conservation'. more...
Intensively farmed pigs are routinely dosed with antibiotics to ward off disease and increase weight gain. Photo: Compassion in World Farming via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Antibiotic resistance - what about routine misuse in farming?

Emma Rose

11th September 2015

Doctors have been told to limit their use of antibiotics to limit the spread of microbial drug resistance, writes Emma Rose. But 40% of the UK's antibiotics are used on farms, of which 85% is fed to disease-free animals. We can no longer ignore the massive agricultural overuse of the drugs, now a major driver of antibiotic resistant infections. more...
Cattle in a their winter quarters in the Scottish Borders. More frequent testing has been key to Scotland's 'TB-free' status. Photo: Matt Cartney / MAFF via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Study: more testing essential to defeat bovine TB

Oliver Tickell

9th September 2015

A new study on the spread of bovine TB shows that only with more frequent testing of cattle will the disease be defeated in England, writes Oliver Tickell. It has already worked in Scotland, and is on the way to doing in Wales - where some herds are tested every six months. more...
Only a lucky few pheasants escape this fate. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Whitewashed - the short and miserable life of game birds

Toni Shephard

9th Sepetmber 2015

Defra's new £500,000 report on pheasant and partridge breeding is biased towards commercial shooting interests from start to finish, writes Toni Shephard. It purports to study the welfare of captive birds reared in restrictive cages, but fails to compare their lot to that of free-range birds - the only adequate baseline. more...
Weeding a cotton field in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Photo: jankie vis Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

GMO versions of 'desi' indigenous cotton threaten our organic future

Dr Vandana Shiva

9th September 2015

India's decision to release GMO cotton seeds that incorporate genes for Bt toxins into indigenous 'desi' varieties threatens disaster for the country's small and organic cotton farmers, writes Vandana Shiva. The danger is that the GMO characteristics will spread rapidly into the gene pool, contaminating India's unique heritage of cotton seed diversity. more...


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