The Ecologist


Africa: 1/25 of 186
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Some rhinos are more equal than others ... and this Asian Rhino in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal is, it appears, less equal than its African cousins. Photo: Joshua Alan Davis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Africa's rhinos grab the cash while their Asian cousins head for extinction

David Tosh

2nd October 2015

Two of Asia's three rhino species are 'critically endangered', writes David Tosh, yet the lion's share of rhino conservation resources is lavished on Africa. The reason is simple: Africa's rhinos generate more cash from tourism. But should this really be the point? 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...
Women in Zorro village, Burkina Faso, desseding their cotton. But what chance have they got in global commodity markets that are systematically rigged against them? Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

GM cotton: a false promise for Africa's farmers

Arya Tajdin

27th August 2015

The idea that GMO cotton offers hope to Africa's impoverished cotton farmers is facile and fraudulent, writes Arya Tajdin. In fact it only adds to their vulnerability. Their real problems lie in the structural oversupply of subsidized cotton on world markets, and the flood of 'kifua' - dead white man's clothing - that undermines the continent's textile industries. more...
Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis recticulata) and oxpeckers photographed on safari at Samburu, Kenya. Photo: roger smith via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Giraffes aren't dangerous - but some are endangered

Matt Hayward

11th August 2015

Giraffe numbers have fallen from 140,000 in 16 years to just 80,000, writes Matt Hayward, and sub-species in East and West Africa are close to extinction. However trophy hunting has led to big population increases in private game reserves in southern Africa. To secure the giraffes' future, beware of simplistic narratives. more...
Cecil the lion, photographed in April 2010 in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Photo: Daughter#3 via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Africa has half as many lions as 20 years ago - but don't blame trophy hunting

Lochran Traill & Norman Owen-Smith

2nd Ausgust 2015

The killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the Lion has put a welcome spotlight on the alarming decline of Africa's lions, write Lochran Traill & Norman Owen-Smith. But to save the species, we should not obsess about trophy hunting, but tackle much more serious problems - like snaring and habitat fragmentation. more...
Agbogbloshie employs some 6,000 young men recycling wastes from around the world in the job-scarce city of Accra, Ghana. Photo: Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Agbogbloshie: Ghana's 'trash world' may be an eyesore - but it's no dump

Dagna Rams

10th August 2015

Most accounts of Agbogbloshie, the e-waste site in Accra, Ghana, persistently miss the point, writes Dagna Rams. Far from being a simple 'dump' for the world's trash, it is a huge recycling operation that pays for the wastes it receives, employs thousands of young men who would otherwise lack jobs, and plays a huge role in the national and global economy. more...
Ethiopian teff grain. Photo: SarahTz via Flickr (CC BY).

African governments sell out their farmers in secret seeds protection deal

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

10th July 2015

African governments, ignoring the protests of their farmers and civil society, this week agreed an oppressive 'plant variety protection protocol' that will open up their countries to commercial seed monopolists, while limiting farmers rights to save, use, exchange, replant, improve, distribute and sell the seeds they have developed over countless generations. more...
Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...
Flyer (cut) for the concert taking place in London this Sunday 14th June. Image: Baka Beyond.

Two musicians' quest to save the forest people of Cameroon - Martin & Su of Baka Beyond

Matthew Newsome

10th June 2015

When Martin Cradick and Su Hart travelled to West Africa in 1992, little did they know the journey would set their lives on a whole new direction, writes Matthew Newsome. Inspired by the Baka people of Cameroon's rainforest and the joy that resonates through their music, they are now dedicated to saving this vulnerable people using their magical music to reach into people's hearts. more...
Rice farmers and their children greeting visitors to Brong-Ahafo village, Ghana. The seeds they grow, and the land they grow them on, are essential to their survival. Photo: Eileen Delhi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Africa's farmers fight the corporate takeover of seeds, land and food

Chris Walker

4th June 2015

Lured by promises of aid and investment, African governments are rewriting laws to create lucrative opportunities for corporate agribusiness, writes Chris Walker - while consigning their own farmers to servitude and landlessness. But now farmers are rising up, as in Ghana where a new 'Monsanto law' threatens to end their right to grow, save and share their ancestral seeds. more...
A young Bonobo: the species is at riosk as logging in the Congo Basin fragments their forest habitat and opens up new areas to poachers. Photo: via Greenpeace.

End the Congo logging chaos for rainforest, people and bonobos!

Raoul Monsembula / Greenpeace Africa

1st June 2015

Industrial logging in the world's second largest rainforest is out of control, writes Raoul Monsembula, and spells disaster for both wildlife and forest people. There is an alternative: community forestry has just been enshrined in law. But resources must be committed to law enforcement in Congo and abroad, and to empowering forest communities. more...
Keromela Anek sits with some of her neighbors in Apaa. Photo: Phil Wilmot / WNV.

How a Ugandan grandmother fought the President for her community's land - and won

Phil Wilmot / Waging NonViolence

9th June 2015

A new tactic of non-violent resistance secured a future for the people of Apaa, Uganda, after a violent government-backed land grab had threatened to turn their village and farmland over to a sports hunting business, writes Phil Wilmot. The unlikely leader was Anek, a respected grandmother of the village, whose naked protest sent both troops and government ministers packing. more...

Africa: 1/25 of 186
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Farmers in rural Nigeria protesting at Wilmar's destruction of their crops, trees and farmland. Photo: FOEI / ERA.

Deforestation, exploitation, hypocrisy: no end to Wilmar's palm oil land grabs

Anne van Schaik & Godwin Ojo

27th May 2015

With the deadline due this year for the full implementation of Wilmar's 'No peat, no deforestation, no exploitation' promise, the oil palm giant is keen to push its green image in Europe. But for communities suffering its land grabs in Nigeria, nothing has changed. While Wilmar spins green rhetoric, its bulldozers are still destroying vast swathes of forest and farmland. more...
Titan II ICBM in an underground missile silo complex in Arizona, USA. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY).

Pressing ahead with Trident, only the UK hasn't noticed: it's time to get rid of nuclear weapons

Dr David Lowry

21st May 2015

Important developments are unfolding at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty negotiations in New York this week, writes David Lowry. These include the surprisingly large scale of the US's warhead scrapping, and a grassroots rebellion against the nuclear states led by South Africa. But the UK and its media remain aloof from it all - intent on renewing Trident no matter what. more...
Women from RUWFAG. Photo: Global Justice Now.

Ghana's women farmers resist the G7 plan to grab Africa's seeds

Heidi Chow

22nd May 2015

Sharing and saving seed is a crucial part of traditional farming all over Africa, writes Heidi Chow. Maybe that's why governments, backed by multinational seed companies, are imposing oppressive seed laws that attack the continent's main food producers and open the way to industrial agribusiness. But Ghana's women farmers are having none of it. more...
Reuben Sempui seated on a rock on the peak of the volcano Suswa. Photo: Simone Sarchi.

Kenya's Maasai determined to overcome the challenges of drought and climate change

Simone Sarchi

16th May 2015

Persistent droughts are undermining the self-sufficiency of Maasai communities in the Great Rift Valley and worsening their living conditions, writes Simone Sarchi. Now these fearless warriors are fighting the battle against climate change through adaptation, education and technology, and by making peace with traditional enemies. 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...
Without a cooperative, trans-boundary approach to wildlife conservation, Africa will struggle to conserve its biodiversity - like these elephants in the Masai Mara, Tanzania. Photo:  R∂lf Κλενγελ via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Only co-operative, trans-boundary conservation can save Africa's environment

Willem Daniel Lubbe

29th May 2015

Africa's poor environmental record has its roots in colonialism, which cut artificial boundaries through peoples and ecosystems, and left a rigid 'fortress conservation' ethic, writes Willem Daniel Lubbe. It's time for countries to adopt a new pan-African environmentalism, and transcend their colonial past. more...
Allanblackia trees and a woman participating in the Novella project which aims to increase the incomes of hundreds of thousands of African farmers. Photo: Charlie Pye-Smith / World Agroforestry Centre via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Forest foods - the tasty, resilient, sustainable answer to world hunger

Bhaskar Vira

1st June 2015

Forest foods are a vital source of nutrition for millions of people, writes Bhaskar Vira, and we need to make them an even bigger part of our diets for the sake of health, biodiversity, local economies, and to increase food global security in a warming world. more...
The education and health care model that British taxpayers are financing across Africa - in partnership with for-profit multinational corporations. Photo of White River Primary school, sponsored by Coca-Cola, by Roo Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Coca-Cola schools - British aid pushing corporate education and health on world's poorest

Nick Dearden

28th April 2015

British taxpayers are forcing private health care and schooling onto many of the world's poorest countries including Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mozambique, writes Nick Dearden - backing a huge neoliberal experiment whose only certain outcomes are high costs, low standards and massive corporate profits. 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...
Phyllis Omido, 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for Africa, galvanized the community in Mombasa to shut down a smelter that was causing lead poisoning among its workers and local residents. (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

Lead poisoning - fighting industrial pollution in Kenya is a dangerous business

Sophie Morlin-Yron

Monday 20 April 2015

Lead poisoning from industrial pollution has imposed a terrible toll on Kenyans, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron, and single mother Phyllis Omido is no exception - lead from a nearby metal refinery badly damaged her own son's health. But it was when she decided to fight back against the polluters that a whole new realm of threats and dangers opened up. more...
Nigerian refugees from Boko Haram attacks in Gagamari camp, Diffa region, Niger. Photo: EC / ECHO / Anouk Delafortrie via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Nigeria's resource curse: Boko Haram and the poverty of plenty

Joshua Goldfond

10th June 2015

After six decades of oil exploitation, Nigeria's failure to provide for its citizens and develop its economy has exposed a hollowed-out state that benefits only the politicians and plutocrats, writes Joshua Goldfond. This is the environment in which Boko Haram has flourished, and as Nigeria proves incapable of effective action or reform, there's no end in sight to the nation's misery. more...
Lions being transported for a canned hunt. Photo: Campaign Against Canned Hunting.

Canned hunting is not protecting wild lions!

Dominic Dyer

25th March 2015

Two thirds of Africa's lions have been lost in 35 years, and would-be hunters are increasingly shooting captive, farmed and often tame lions in 'canned hunts'. Claims are that this helps to preserve wild lion populations - but Dominic Dyer fears the reverse is the case. more...
The work is hard, but the seed is free - for now! Men and women harvest the Ethiopian staple grain teff in a roadside field between Axum and Adwa in Northern Ethiopia. Photo: Alan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Carving up Africa - aid donors and agribusiness plot the great seed privatization

Ian Fitzpatrick & Oliver Tickell

26th March 2015

An elite group of aid donors and agribusiness corporations met in London this week to plan the takeover of Africa's seeds, writes Ian Fitzpatrick, replacing traditional seed breeding and saving by small farmers with a corporate model of privatized, 'improved', patented, genetically uniform and hybrid seeds in a profit-driven market. more...


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