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The Dalmatian pelican suffered large declines in the last centuries due to habitat loss and degradation and persecution, but thanks to habitat management and restoration the population in Europe is recovering and the species is no longer at risk. Photo: B

One fifth of Europe's birds are in danger of extinction

The Ecologist

3rd June 2015

Conservation projects have pulled several endangered European birds back from the brink of extinction, but habitat loss, industrial farming, over fishing and climate change all represent growing threats that requires broader and deeper change in the EU and beyond. 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...
Women in India preparing to dry their farm produce using Sunbest equipment. Photo: Ashden.

Solar heat - transforming rural enterprises around the tropics

Anne Wheldon

4th June 2015

Solar energy is not just about electricity, writes Anne Wheldon. It's also about heat - and three innovative projects highlighted by the Ashden Awards are showing how solar heat can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of food processing and farming, while helping agricultural businesses increase profits. more...
This time, it's tear gas: masked man at a farmers and student protest in Colombia, August 2013. Photo: Nick Jaussi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Colombia's first steps of resistance against Monsanto's chemical war

W.T. Whitney Jr

8th June 2015

The mass spraying of glyphosate in Colombia, both on farmland and in the 'war on drugs', is a direct an attack on small scale farmers, rural communities and FARC rebels, writes W.T. Whitney Jr. But since the chemical was declared a 'probable carcinogen' Colombia has restricted aerial applications. The first step in a wider backlash against the toxic herbicide? more...
Matare, a Nuer settlement along Baro River, Gambela Region, Ethiopia, in quieter times. Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia 2005 / Getachew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesser known story of India's role in Ethiopian land grabs

Mohammad Amir Anwar

15th June 2015

It's not just western corporations that are moving into large-scale agribusiness in Ethiopia, writes Mohammad Amir Anwar. Indian investors have acquired rights to some 6,000 sq.km of land much of it in the ecologically sensitive Gambela region, where unconsulted Nuer and Anuak peoples are suffering from forest clearance. more...
March Against Monsanto 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, probably the single country most adversely impacted by Monsanto's mission for world domination. Photo: March Against Monsanto via Facebook.

Marching on Monsanto - we demand food freedom!

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

28th May 2015

Monsanto has a simple purpose, writes Pete Dolack: to control the world's food supply, monopolizing seeds and agrochemicals to extract profit from every bite of food we eat. Caring nothing for the disease, poverty and destruction that it causes, it has suborned politicians, governments and regulators to its will. But millions are determined to stop it. more...
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...
From the front cover of 'The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy' by Michael McCarthy.

The Moth Snowstorm: nature, joy, and the great thinning

Chris Rose

30th June 2015

In his new book environmental journalist Michael McCarthy bears witness to the astonishing decline in the once common wildlife of our countryside of the last few decades. But as Chris Rose writes, he does far more than bemoan the losses as he shares with us the joy that he still discovers in nature. more...
Chipotle Mexican Grill. Photo: Mike Mozart of JeepersMedia and TheToyChannel on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

As Chipotle goes GMO-free, Monsanto's worst fear is coming true

Jonathan Latham

20th May 2015

Next to McDonalds, Burger King and KFC, Chipotle's Mexican Grill is a minnow, writes Jonathan Latham. But its decision to go GMO-free will ultimately compel all America's consumer-facing food brands to follow suit - because that's what their customers want. Could this be the beginning of the end of GMOs? That's what Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta fear. 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...
The edge of an experimental sheep grazing exclusion zone (to the right) within Al Talila Reserve, Palmyra, photographed in March 2008 in the midst of an intense drought period. Sheep quasi uncontrolled grazing was allowed to the left of the fence. Grazing

Over-grazing and desertification in the Syrian steppe are the root causes of war

Gianluca Serra

5th June 2015

Civil war in Syria is the result of the desertification of the ecologically fragile Syrian steppe, writes Gianluca Serra - a process that began in 1958 when the former Bedouin commons were opened up to unrestricted grazing. That led to a wider ecological, hydrological and agricultural collapse, and then to a 'rural intifada' of farmers and nomads no longer able to support themselves. more...
Prince Charles during the Big Jubilee Lunch on Piccadilly, 4th june 2012. Photo:  chego-chego via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Get on with badger cull, Prince Charles told Blair

The Ecologist

13th May 2015

In a private letter to Tony Blair released today Prince Charles strongly urged Tony Blair to expedite a badger cull in 2005, raising the spectre of a third 'food scare' that would strike down British farming on the scale of BSE and Foot & Mouth disease. more...

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Hares beware - a early action of the new Conservative government is expected to be a repeal of the Hunting with Dogs Act, opening the way to hare-coursing in the English countryside. Photo: oneshotonepic via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Green crap is coming our way - so let's be prepared!

Oliver Tickell

11th May 2015

As Cameron appoints his cabinet, we had better get prepared for the 'green crap' that's about to be unleashed on us, writes Oliver Tickell - the return of fox-hunting, badger-culling, road building and nuclear power, the arrival of GM food and crops, more cuts to wind and solar power and the underfunding of home insulation. more...
Pollinators are finding it increasingly hard to get by under industrial farming regimes. This Common Carda bumblebee is supping on a Clover flower on acid grassland near pond, New Ferry Butterfly Park - an urban nature reserve in Merseyside. Photo: Richar

If modern farming can't sustain bees, how much longer can it sustain us?

Dave Goulson

11th May 2015

Our bees and wider farmland ecosystems have been seriously harmed by neonicotinoids, writes Dave Goulson. But that's just the start of the damage that modern farming is doing to wildlife in a countryside stripped of wild flowers and drenched by cocktails of pesticides. The problem is not just neonics, but the entire model of industrial agriculture. more...
Where were the GMO 'humanitrian' lobbyists? Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa demanding an end to the eviction of Oromo farmers for agricultural 'development' projects, 24th May 2014. Photo: Gadaa.com via Flickr (CC B

The devil in disguise: unmasking the 'humanitarian' GMO narrative

Colin Todhunter

18th May 2015

Corporate lobbyists and their tame politicians love to present GMOs as being humanitarian in purpose, writes Colin Todhunter - as if they exist only to feed the starving millions. But if that's the case, why are they silent on genocidal land grabs, agrochemical poisonings and the destruction of efficient, productive smallholder farming? more...
Local community forest land cleared and planted by Golden Veroleum in Butaw District, Sinoe County, previously contained areas of high­ quality forest many stories high. A woman from a nearby village described that

To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge

Forest Peoples Programme

14th May 2015

The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver. more...
This small cultivator of fresh vegetables in China is probably practising agroecology already! Photo: Jing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Can agroecology save us from 'scorched-earth' agriculture?

Professor Henrietta Moore

6th May 2015

Industrial agriculture has become a prime driver of many of the world's most serious problems, writes Henrietta Moore: the loss of wild and farmed biodiversity, huge climate-changing emissions, and the entrapment of small farmers in ever-deepening cycles of poverty. But there is a solution: the widespread adoption of agroecological farming. more...
An accidental bush fire at Captain Creek in Central Queensland that started on a nearby farm. But most of the bush clearance is deliberate - and it's taking place on a huge scale. Photo: 80 trading 24 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Why is Australia topping WWF's world deforestation league?

Martine Maron & Bill Laurance

30th April 2015

A new WWF report puts eastern Australia among the world's deforestation hotspots, write Martine Maron & Bill Laurance - estimating that 3-6 million hectares of native forest will be cleared there over the next 15 years. Queensland's new Labor government could reverse the destructive policies - but will it turn a new leaf? more...
Agrochemicals are routinely sprayed right up to the boundary line with residential properties, causing severe ill-health to rural residents. Photo: UK Pesticides Campaign.

It's not just glyphosate and neonicotinoids! Why we need a pesticide-free future

Georgina Downs

30th April 2015

The risk of cancer from the world's top herbicide, glyphosate, is just the tip of the iceberg of health damage caused by exposure to pesticides and other toxic agrochemicals, writes Georgina Downs. It's time for governments to correct their scandalous failure to protect rural residents from the cocktails of poisons sprayed on crops. more...
Something to celebrate: an orangutan swings through the jungle near Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Nick Leonard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Orangutans' reprieve: EuroParl votes to limit biofuels

The Ecologist

28th April 2015

Rainforests around the world and the wildlife they sustain have a rosier future after the European Parliament voted to limit the growth of biofuels such as palm oil in the transport sector. more...
To pollinate California's huge monocultural almond farms bees are trucked in from all over the US, even flown in from Australia, because there's not the quantity or diversity of plants to sustain wild bee colonies or wild pollinators. Photo: Steve Corey v

Bee collapse is the result of their enslavement in industrial monocultures

Allan Stromfeldt Chris­tensen

2nd May 2015

Bee 'colony collapse disorder' cannot be ended by easy technofixes, writes Allan Stromfeldt Christensen. The real problem is the systematic abuse of bees in vast industrial monocultures, as they are trucked or flown thousands of miles from one farm to the next, treated with insecticides and antibiotics, and fed on 'junk food'. more...
A truck carries palm fruit for processing from a rainforest plantation in Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Banks raising $400m for palm oil expansion 'must examine high risks'

Oliver Tickell

20th April 2015

Banks preparing to launch a $400m bond issue for a global palm oil giant with a history of legal violations and broken standards have been warned of their 'high risk client' and the 'extreme and outstanding' social and environmental conflicts in the palm oil agribusiness sector. more...
The Monarch butterfly has become an icon of the anti-GMO movement following the species' population collapse in North America - poisoned by 'Bt' GMO crops and starved out by the the destruction of its food plants by massive application of glyphosate on 'r

The existential crisis facing GMOs - they don't work and we don't want them

Colin Todhunter

21st April 2015

The GMO industry has legitimised itself via a vast network of lobbyists and the assiduous capture of the politicians, regulators and scientists that should be holding it to account, writes Colin Todhunter. But as the failure of the GM revolution and its disastrous impacts become ever more evident, the industry's legitimacy is fast eroding away. more...
A farmer and cattle herder in Lawra village, Ghana - the kind of person the World Bank claims to be working for, while promoting a corporate model of agriculture that leaves them landless and destitute. Photo: Photo: P. Casier /CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

The battle for the future of farming - why is the World Bank on the wrong side?

The Rules & the Oakland Institute

18th April 2015

The World Bank exists to fight poverty. So why does it promote a profit-driven model of agriculture that enriches corporations at the expense of the small farmers who provide most of the world's food, creating poverty by stealing their land and water, depleting resources and undermining sustainable livelihoods? more...
A Palestinian child clambering in a date palm on an Israeli settlement farm - from cover of the HRW report 'Ripe for Abuse - Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank'.

Ripe for abuse - Palestinian child labour in Israel's West Bank settlement farms

Human Rights Watch / The Ecologist

29th April 2015

Palestinian children as young as 11 work on Israeli farms in the occupied West Bank, an HRW investigation reveals. While the EU buys produce worth $300m a year from the illegal 'settlements', undocumented child labourers are exposed to pesticides, paid well below the minimum wage, enjoy no employment rights, and toil long hours in hot fields and greenhouses. more...

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