The Ecologist


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Sunset over Heathrow. Photo: Malcolm via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No new runways! Not at Heathrow, not at Gatwick!

Keith Taylor MEP

24th October 2016

Should it be Heathrow or Gatwick? The answer, writes Keith Taylor, is neither. For climate and pollution reasons alone the UK should be scaling back on aviation, and in any case projections of future demand have been monstrously exaggerated. Step 1: a 'frequent flyer' tax on the 15% of people who take 70% of flights. more...
Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo:

Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell & Peter Strachan

20th October 2016

The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment. more...

ClientEarth against UK government in High Court over illegal air pollution

Ecologist reporter

18th October, 2016

Environmental Lawyers group ClientEarth is in court today to bring a case against the Government for failing to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in the UK more...
Sadiq Khan speaking against Heathrow expansion at a protest at Parliament Square, London, 10th October 2015. Photo: Steve Eason via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

London's 'Greenest Mayor ever'? Sadiq Khan still has a lot to prove

Caroline Russell

30th September 2016

London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised electors that he would be the 'Greenest Mayor ever'. In spite of his apparent support for a new Thames road crossing in East London and an expanded London City Airport, he still has huge opportunities to make good his pledge. And Green Assembly Members will be working hard to make sure he does. more...
During April 14 - 23, 2014, WIPP recovery teams made multiple trips into the WIPP underground, eventually reaching Panel 7, Room 7 - the suspected location of the radiological event. Photo: WIPP.

WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion

Dr Jim Green

20th September 2016

The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world's only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green - and full operations won't resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix. more...
The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie

6th September 2016

Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations. more...
Old landfill site at Cow Lane, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Zane: the lethal conspiracy of silence over contaminated land must end

Paul Mobbs

6th September 2016

The shocking death of Zane Gbangbola, killed by toxic gas from a 'forgotten' landfill under his home, exposes the UK's dangerous legacy of contaminated land, writes Paul Mobbs. Without action, these polluted sites will damage health and even kill for centuries to come. But governments, local authorities, landowners and developers are united in a shameful policy of silence and denial. 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...
How can we act in time to prevent ecosystem collapse in eutrophic waters? The answer is in the ecology. Photo: Dr. Jennifer L. Graham | US Geological Survey / eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

How to avoid system collapse? It's the ecology, stupid!

James Dyke & Patrick Doncaster

22nd August 2016

Ecosystems don't collapse a little at a time, writes JAMES DYKE, but all of a sudden. So how can we see the danger signs and act in time to save them? A new study of eutrophic lakes shows that the answer lies, not in easily-measured nutrient levels, but from a more subtle understanding of the lakes' shifting ecology and types of species: keystones, weeds and canaries. more...

Coca-Cola's second largest bottling plant in India has been shut down

18th August, 2016

New Delhi: Coca-Cola's second largest bottling plant in India has shut production due to pollution violations, the India Resource Center has confirmed after a visit to the plant yesterday. more...
Monsanto's supply of defoliant chemicals for the US's 'Operation Ranchand' in Vietnam is just the first of the alleged 'crimes' for which the company is facing trial in the peoples' tribunal. Photo: manhhai via Flickr (CC BY).

Holding Monsanto to account: the People's Tribunal

Heidi Chow

4th August 2016

This autumn the Monsanto Tribunal will assemble experts from around the world to set out the evidence against the global mega-corporation, which will stand accused of monstrous 'crimes' against people and the environment. The Tribunal's verdict will not be legally binding - this time. But on a future occasion, it may be. more...
Professor Smythe provided expert evidence in 2014 at a Public Inquiry into coalbed methane extraction in Falkirk - to the delight of these protestors for a frack-free Scotland, seen here on 7th December 2014. Photo: Ric Lander via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Exposed: Glasgow Uni's plot to cut off anti-fracking Professor

Kyla Mandel /

2nd August 2016

Internal Glasgow University emails show that it terminated geophysics professor David Smythe's email account and access to scientific papers because his concerns about the impacts of fracking were upsetting its 'industrial research partners', writes Kyla Mandel - not as part of a 'routine review' as previously stated. more...

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Tank destroyed by depleted uranium (DU) munitions on Iraq's 'Highway of Death' in the first Gulf War, February 2003. Photo: Christiaan Briggs via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Chilcot: UK insists it has 'no long-term legal responsibility to clean up DU from Iraq'

Doug Weir

11th July 2016

The Chilcot report reveals that the UK has disclaimed any duty to decontaminate the toxic, radioactive ash left behind by its DU munitions, or even monitor the impacts on human health, writes Doug Weir. But Iraq and other countries are working towards a UN Resolution this October that would hold contaminating governments like the UK and the US legally accountable for DU pollution. more...
Muckaty Traditional Owner Kylie Sambo is an objector to what she considers radioactive blackmail: education in return for accepting nuclear waste. 'As Australians we should be already entitled to that.'

Radioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia's Aboriginal people

Jim Green

1st July 2016

Australia's nuclear industry has a shameful history of 'radioactive racism' that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back! more...
Without EU directives and regulations to protect us, could scenes like this become common in the UK countryside. Waste water pond in the Pilliga Forest, NSW, Australia, June 2011. Photo: Kate Ausburn / Lock the Gate Alliance.

Brexit could lead to a bonfire of fracking regulations

Zachary Davies Boren / Energydesk

21st June 2016

Almost all UK laws that regulate fracking's impact on the environment emanate from EU directives and regulations, writes Zachary Davies Boren. Once out of the EU, the UK would be free to amend them, scrap them or simply ignore them. And given the UK's record of support for fracking and lobbying in Brussels for deregulation, that may be exactly what the Brexiteers have planned. more...
Jo Ruxton, co-producer of 'A Plastic Ocean'. Photo: via

Plastic Ocean - why the world should declare plastic 'hazardous waste'

Lesley Henderson, Brunel University London

8th June 2016

Plastic is ubiquitous around the world's oceans, writes Lesley Henderson, but although it's visible from space, it can be surprisingly elusive in the water - as she heard from Jo Ruxton, producer of the investigative documentary 'A Plastic Ocean'. Solutions to this growing hazard have also proved elusive to date, hence the film's strong focus on action: educational, cultural and legal. more...

Save our soils!

John Quinton

3rd June 2016

Britain's soils are in a bad way, writes John Quinton, and the government is doing little to help - indeed its policies are making the problems worse. So concludes yesterday's Environment Audit Committee report on soil health. But are ministers bothered? more...
At the protest last Monday 9th May 2016. Photo: Don't Drill Antrim Water via Facebook.

Locals battle fracking company drilling near drinking water reservoir

Oliver Tickell

11th May 2016

Local people are furiously trying to stop a fracking company from drilling near a drinking water reservoir serving tens of thousands of homes, after Northern Ireland planners failed to block Infrastrata's claim for 'permitted development' rights. more...
Drilling and blasting creates large volumes of radioactive dust. Photo: Andrey Serebryakov

Uranium mining threatens South Africa‘s iconic Karoo

Dr Stefan Cramer

28th April 2016

Almost entirely unknown to the outside world, and even to most local residents, hundreds of square kilometres of South Africa's Karoo dryland have been bought up by uranium mining companies, writes Dr Stefan Cramer. With no strategic assessment of the industry's devastating impacts and massive water demand, official permission could soon be granted for vast open pit mines. more...
A dust storm hits Jordan's  Zaatari refugee camp on 29th July 2012 shortly after it was established ear the northern city of Mafraq. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Jordan grapples with the environmental consequences of its refugee crisis

Doug Weir

27th April 2016

Since 1948 Jordan has taken in millions of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and most recently Syria, writes Doug Weir. Politically and economically the country has proved astonishingly resilient - but the population increase has caused huge damage to its fragile environment. Ecological degradation, pollution and resource scarcity may cause political instability unless more is done to tackle the problems. more...
Cyclists stage Die-In at Mansion House in June 2015, following death at Bank junction. Photo: Stop Killing Cyclists.

This deadly pollution must stop! London cyclists rally for health and climate

Donnachadh McCarthy

20th April 2016

Stop Killing Cyclists are staging a protest in London on 27th April to demand an end to the UK's intolerable air pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. With an estimated 40,000 people dying every year from filthy air, much of it caused by diesel cars, all are welcome to join in, denounce the government's 'polluters' friend' policies, and insist on swift action to stop the needless deaths. more...
The famous Bunda Cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight. Photo: Matt Turner.

BP's deep sea oil exploration in South Australia - no way!

Graham Readfearn /

14th April 2016

BP's plans to explore for oil in the deep seas of the Great Australian Bight came under fire today at the company's Annual General Meeting in London, writes Graham Readfearn. The drilling would risk the ocean's rich marine wildlife - while blowing a massive hole in Australia's COP21 emissions targets. more...
Patrick Holden with his dairy herd. Photo: Steph French ( / SFT.

Patrick Holden: 'cheap' food is costing the Earth, and our health

Emily Lewis-Brown

7th April 2016

Food has never been more affordable for middle class families in rich countries. But it comes at a high cost: the impact of industrial food production on health, environment and society has never been greater as Patrick Holden explained to Emily Lewis-Brown. Now the real cost of food US production will be examined in a ground-breaking conference in San Francisco. more...
Returning hair samples to a Yanomami community after testing for lead content. Photo: © Marcos Wesley / ISA.

Amazon Indians at risk in mercury poisoning crisis

Sarina Kidd / Survival International

5th April 2016

Illegal gold mining in the Amazon has a devastating effect on indigenous peoples, writes Sarina Kidd. First the miners bring disease, deforestation and even murder. Then long after they have gone, communities are left to suffer deadly mercury poisoning. Now the UN has been called on to intervene. more...
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel producer and funder of the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in the Olympic Park, London have benefitted from a proportion of the EU's €24 billion handout. Photo: .Martin. via Flickr (CC BY-ND)

Europe's biggest polluters land €24 billion carbon windfall

The Ecologist

17th March 2016

The European Union's carbon market, the EU ETS, is meant to cut pollution in a cost effective way. But a new report shows that it handed the EU's biggest emitters a €24bn bumper payout over six years. Not so much the 'polluter pays' principle but the precise opposite: people pay, and polluters profit. more...


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