The Ecologist


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Cows housed indoors at a UK mega-dairy. Photo: Andrew Wasley / Ecostorm.

The march of the industrial mega-dairy - is this the future of milk?

Andrew Wasley

23rd November 2015

As falling milk prices push dairy farm out of business, new mega-dairies and feedlot operations of 700 or more cows are filling the void, writes Andrew Wasley. Never mind the pollution, slurry lagoons, and heavy plant on country lanes - do we want the cows that produce our milk confined to sheds? And what's the future for traditional dairy farmers with small, well cared for herds? more...
Fools' gold? The Hinkley Point nuclear complex in Somerset, UK. Photo: TempusVolat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Luxembourg joins Hinkley C nuclear challenge

Oliver Tickell

20th November 2015

Luxembourg will join Austria's legal challenge to the UK's support package for the Hinkley C nuclear power station. Meanwhile EDF has laid off 65 engineers working on the project in Paris, and the EU Commission has initiated proceedings against Hungary over its Paks II nuclear project with Rosatom. more...
Melka group oil palm plantations near Pucallpa, Peru, cutting deep into primary rainforest, April 2014. Photo: Rainforest Rescue via FPP.

Peru rainforest defender threatened: 'we will kill you'

The Ecologist

19th November 2015

Death threats to an indigenous forest defender in Peru have followed his success in closing down an illegal palm oil operation on his tribe's lands carried out by a member company of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, now meeting in Kuala Lumpur. more...
Area of Bento Rodrigues, Minas Gerais state, affected by the release of mine tailings from the failed dams. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Tailings dam breach - 'the assassination of Brazil's fifth largest river basin'

Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes

19th November 2015

Brazil has suffered its biggest ever industrial disaster, write Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes. Breached and overflowing dams have released a massive slug of toxic muds and tailings from iron mining into the country's fifth largest river system that provides drinking water for downstream cities, destroying ecosystems in rivers and vast areas of biologically fragile ocean. more...
Shining a light on the TPP in Chicago, 8th November 2013. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The TPP - blueprint for the 1000-year Reich of global capital

pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

16th November 2015

Thanks to New Zealand, the full text of the Trans Pacific Partnership has been made public. And as Pete Dolack writes, it's a disaster for health, environment, workers and democracy - one that will unfold over years and decades to come, as investors and corporations consolidate their power over elected governments and cement in the global rule of unaccountable capital. more...
Israel's exploitation of wind energy in the occupied Golan Heights is legal under international law because it does not deplete the territory's natural capital. But oil drilliing would violate that principle. Photo: Yuval Shoshan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Israel to annex Golan Heights after 'billion barrel' oil find

Jonathan Cook / Middle East Eye

15th November 2015

After a massive oil find in Syria's Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, Israel is asking President Obama to recognise its annexation of the territory, writes Jonathan Cook. To consolidate its hold, plans are afoot to quadruple Israeli settler numbers to 100,000. more...
'Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.' Prometheus Brings Fire by Heinrich Friedrich Füger.

Britain's race for the climate abyss - only we can stop it now!

Alan Simpson

13th November 2015

The government's policies on climate, energy and industry are not merely stupid, writes Alan Simpson. The repeated cuts to renewables and energy efficiency, combined with limitless largesse to fossil fuels, has reached the point of insanity in the face of the UK's legal obligations and the growing climate crisis. Only we, the people, can end the madness. more...
A large stack at the Sault Paper Mill, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Billy Wilson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Voluntary schemes cannot replace environmental regulation

Donal McCarthy / RSPB

16th November 2015

A new review of the performance of politically fashionable 'voluntary' approaches to environmental protection demonstrates limited effectiveness, writes Donal McCarthy. Laws and regulations play a vital role in protecting nature and the wider environment - for which voluntarism is no substitute. more...
Photo: Greg Lilly via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

An activists' guide to the 'Snooper's Charter' - and what to do about it

Paul Mobbs

12th November 2015

The recently announced Snoopers Charter 2.0 gives the state enormous powers to delve into our lives, writes Paul Mobbs. And all the more so when combined with other data to which the government has access - by simply buying it from commercial providers. If you don't like the idea, it's time to get your systems secure and shrink your digital data trail. more...
Dressed to kill ... the Essex Hunt. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Fox hunting season begins under cloud of political spin

Dr Toni Shephard

8th November 2015

The fox-hunting season is now well under way, writes Toni Shephard. But with Cameron still pressing for a Commons vote on wrecking amendments to the Hunting Act, political controversy shows no sign of subsiding. Take, for example, the proposed lifting of the limit on number of dogs that can be used for the 'observation or study' of a wild mammal. more...
Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photo: Association for Decentralised Energy via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Leaked letter: Rudd admits 25% green energy undershoot, misled Parliament

Oliver Tickell

9th November 2015

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was 'on course' to deliver on its renewable energy targets - when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and 'credits' from abroad - everything but wind and solar. more...
A Palestinan woman protecting an olive tree from destruction. Photo: via Frank M. Rafik on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Destruction of Palestinian olive trees is a monstrous crime

Dr. Cesar Chelala

7th November 2015

The uprooting and cutting down of over a million olive and fruit trees in occupied Palestine since 1967 is an attack on a symbol of life, and on Palestinian culture and survival, writes Dr. Cesar Chelala. A grave crime under international humantarian law, the arboricide is also contrary to Jewish religious teachings. more...

Law: 1/25 of 259
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The Aquatic Warbler, once endangered, and been restored to a healthy population level thanks to action taken under the EU's Nature Directives. Photo: LubosHouska via Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain).

Why isn't the UK standing up for EU Nature Laws?

Catherine Weller / ClientEarth

5th November 2015

The EU's Nature Directives have been doing a great job of protecting Europe's most threatened species and habitats and building up wildlife numbers, writes Catherine Weller, and the UK knows it. But now it's the Directives themselves that are under threat. Other EU countries are standing up for them - but not the UK. more...
After four separate attempts to rein in the biotech companies failed, an estimated 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district. Photo: Christopher Pala.

Hawaii: anger rises over health impacts of pesticides used on GMO crops

Christopher Pala

4th November 2015

Hawaii has got everything, writes Christopher Pala, and not just for holidaymakers. It's also the perfect place for biotech companies to develop GMO corn varieties and spray them with toxic agrochemicals. People are getting sprayed too - and doctors report high rates of birth defects. But grassroots efforts to restrict the use of pesticides have twice been over-ruled by state courts. more...
A truck transport huge logs in Indonesia. Photo: Hari Priyadi for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indonesia 'greenwashes' illegal timber exports

The Ecologist

3rd November 2015

Just as Indonesia's forests are going up in flames, in part as a result of illegal logging on a massive scale, the country's Trade Minister has issued a regulation that would rubber stamp exports of illegal timber - also undermining a timber agreement with the EU that's due to come into force next month. more...
The Stone's Throw Landfill, near Tallassee, AL. Photo: Jeronimo Nisa / Earthjustice.

Environmental racism in the US - black communities fight for justice

Heather Kathryn Ross / Earthjustice

11th November 2015

Landfill sites, giant hog farms, incinerators and other 'bad neighbor' industries in the US tend to be situated in African American communities, writes Heather Kathryn Ross. The Environmental Protection Agency is legally obliged to prevent 'environmental racism', but from California to Michigan, low-income communities of color have been waiting years for it to take a stand. Now, backed by Earthjustice, they are forcing the issue - in the courts. more...
Bumblebee, maybe Bombus terrestris or B. lucorum, at Fairlands Valley Park Environment Lake, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, 5 July 2013. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Our threatened bees deserve better!

Sandra Bell / Friends of the Earth

4th November 2015

On the first anniversary of the UK's National Pollinator Strategy, writes Sandra Bell, the Bee Coalition warns that bees are still under threat from highly toxic pesticides, continuing loss of habitat, and an increasingly inhospitable countryside. The Government must do more to protect our bees. more...
Women of the Dongria Kondh tribe make their way to a gram sabha hearing to determine their religious rights over the Niyamgiri mountain in Odisha, 13th August 2013. Photo: jimanish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

India's Indigenous Peoples organise to protect forests, waters and commons

Pushpa Achanta / Waging Nonviolence

7th November 2015

India's neoliberal government is attempting the mass seizure of indigenous lands, commons and forests in order to hand them over for corporate exploitation with mines, dams and plantations, writes Pushpa Achanta. But tribal communities are rising up to resist the takeover, which is not only morally reprehensible but violates India's own laws and international human rights obligations. more...
A bee supping nectar in a crop of oilseed rape / canola, Germany. Photo: Peter Biela via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee keepers challenge EU's bee-toxic pesticide permit

The Ecologist

29th October 2015

The EU's decision to authorise a new 'neonic' pesticide knowing it was highly toxic to bees has been challenged in the European Court. A similar permit granted to sulfoxaflor in the US has already been struck down by a federal court. more...
Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...
If no EU institution or state refers the ISDS provisions of TTIP and CETA to the European Court of Justice (pictured) then these symbols of sovereignty may become empty of meaning. Photo: Cédric Puisney via Flickr (CC BY).

Is TTIP legal? European Court must be asked to rule

Laurens Ankersmit & Oliver Tickell

26th October 2015

The investor protections in the US-EU TTIP treaty would privilege US corporations over the EU's own citizens and businesses, writes Laurens Ankersmit & Oliver Tickell. That would sideline EU courts and undermine the completion of the internal market. It is therefore essential that the EU Court be asked to rule whether they are legal. more...
All rights reserved! Image: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

All rights reserved! The final leaked TPP text is all that we feared

Jeremy Malcolm / EFF

12th October 2015

The leaked chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property represents a wholesale attack on internet freedom, investigative journalism, and the wider creative commons, writes Jeremy Malcolm. While massively advancing corporate financial interests in binding clauses, the parts that purport to protect information users are soft guidelines that cannot be enforced. more...
Engineers for Sandia National Laboratories carry out tests on the B61-12 nuclear bomb at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM, USA. Photo: Sandia Labs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear madness - NATO's WMD 'sharing' must end

Xanthe Hall

9th October 2015

The US's development of its new 'smart' nuclear bomb, the B61-12, is an outright violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty, writes Xanthe Hall. Yet five other 'non-nuclear' NATO nations - Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Turkey - are set to accept it onto their territories, so their own aircraft can use it in nuclear attacks. 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...
A cob of Portuguese maize: Portugal being one of the only countries in the EU to permit the cultivation of a GMO maize variety. Photo: Rosino via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

France, Germany, Poland ... ten European nations to go GMO-free

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2015

With the deadline for EU countries who wish to ban genetically GM crops drawing near, writes Oliver Tickell, Poland is the latest to register with the European Commission to go GM-free. Now the division of the EU into pro and anti-GM zones may test the single market beyond its limits. more...


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