The Ecologist


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With lithium-air batteries, this Tesla EV could travel from Boston to Washington DC, or from London to Edinburgh, on a single charge. Photo: Niall Kennedy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Li-air battery could make oil obsolete in ten years

The Ecologist

23rd November 2015

Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, say Cambridge scientists. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future. more...
Pizol Glacier and summit in the Swiss Alps, July 2013. Photo: HD Zimmermann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Global warming reduces snows that water 2 billion people

Tim Radford

24th November 2015

New research warns that rising temperatures will reduce the mountain snow in 97 major river basins worldwide, writes Tim Radford - cutting summer water supply to 2 billion people in lowland areas who depend on the meltwaters. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
No shortage of biodiversity here - Rapture Reef sits within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument encompasses more than 140,000 square miles of ocean and coral reef habitat. Photo: NOAA's National Ocean Service via Flick

Can we halt biodiversity loss in 15 years? Yes we can!

Richard Pearson, UCL

12th November 2015

Is the aspiration to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030 - enshrined in the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals - a fairy tale? It's ambitious, writes Richard Pearson, but there are plenty of signs that the world is acting effectively to conserve its endangered habitats and species. With extraordinary effort, we can do it. more...
The quality of the milk those kids are drinking would be much lower if their mother was fed on GMO soy, stunting their growth. Photo: Lawrence Wright via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

GMO soy produces altered milk and stunted kids

Dr Jonathan R. Latham / Independent Science News,

26th October 2015

Mother goats fed on 'Roundup-ready' GMO soy produce milk that's much lower in fat, protein and antibodies than non-GMO controls, writes Jonathan Latham, and contains traces of GE DNA. The milk also stunts their kids' growth. more...
Workers on site at Fukushima Daiichi, December 2012. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukushima - the first cancers emerge

Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

As a first 'official' cancer case is admitted at Fukushima, a study of over 400,000 young people in the prefecture identifies a 30-fold excess of thyroid cancer, writes Oliver Tickell. With the high rate and early onset of the disease the scientists fear many more cases to come - and that WHO underestimated the scale of radiation release. more...
Cattle killed by the drought, district of Admitullu Jiddo Kombolcha in Ethiopia, 2009. Photo: Zeresenay Berhane Mehar / Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warming world means more drought in Horn of Africa

Alex Kirby

18th October 2015

Evidence stretching back 40,000 years shows that global warming will increase drying in a region of East Africa where drought already causes humanitarian crises, writes Alex Kirby - dashing earlier hopes of increased rainfall. 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...
For a problem-free pregnancy, don't live near here. Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, PA, operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Premature birth and problem pregnancies near fracking wells

The Ecologist

9th October 2015

A new study in the US's 'fracking capital' Pennsylvania has found that pregnant women who live near gas fracking wells are far more likely to give birth prematurely or develop problems during their pregnancies. more...
Killer Whales in Monterey Bay, California - helping to sequester the carbon emissions from those smokestacks in the background. Photo: © John Krzesinski 2012 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Predators keep the oceans' carbon pump ticking

Peter Macreadie, Euan Ritchie, Graeme Hays & Trisha B Atwood

29th September 2015

By keeping marine herbivores in check, predators from sharks to crabs are essential to keep the oceanic 'carbon pump' working - with seaweed and plankton fixing atmospheric carbon and bearing it down to deep waters and sediments before getting munched. It's time to give ocean predators the protection they deserve, for climate's sake. 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...

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There's a mammoth surprise lurking in the permafrost: 1,700 billion tonnes of frozen carbon. Let that go and the world's climate may never be the same. BC Museum Photo: Tyler Ingram via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Mammoth Arctic carbon thaw would cost us $43 trillion

Tim Radford

23rd September 2015

Something scary is lurking in the melting Arctic permafrost, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell: 1,700 Gt of carbon. That's 53 years worth of current emissions, and if we let it melt the impact would cost the world $43 tn. Or act now, and we could preserve the Arctic ice for a seventh as much. 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...
Radioactive emissions from the Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford, CT are associated with elevated breast cancer incidence in the Long Island Sound Counties. Photo: Dominion Energy vua NRC / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear power kills! The real reason the NRC cancelled its nuclear site cancer study

Chris Busby

19th September 2015

The US's Nuclear Regulatory Commission just cancelled its study into cancer near nuclear plants citing the 'excessive cost' of $8 million, writes Chris Busby. Of course that's rubbish - similar studies in the UK have been carried out for as little as £600 per site, and in any case $8 million is small change for the NRC. The real reason is to suppress the unavoidable conclusion: nuclear power kills. more...
What dark secrets have been lurking in Monsanto's filing cabinets? Finally, the truth about Roundup toxicity is coming out. Photo: Jonathan Ryan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monsanto knew all along! Secret studies reveal the truth of Roundup toxicity

Richard Gale & Gary Null / Progressive Radio Network

18th September 2015

Forty years ago Monsanto carried out detailed studies of glyphosate and Roundup toxicity, write Richard Gale & Gary Null. But they have remained buried in filing cabinets ever since. Now a determined scientist has breached the wall of secrecy - and all the evidence is that Monsanto knew just how toxic its products were all along, while claiming they were 'safe as lemonade'. more...
Beautiful but deadly: a golden sunset over the Pacific at Naraha, Fukushima, Japan. 'Scenery of Tears' Photo: Mirai Takahashi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population

Tim Deere-Jones

28th September 2015

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data. more...
Comparison of Sierra Nevada snowpack in 2015 v 2010. Photo: NASA / MODIS.

The 2015 Sierra Nevada snowpack is at a 500-year low

Valerie Trouet & Soumaya Belmecheri

15th September 2015

The lack of snow in California's Sierra Nevada is historically unprecedented, write Valerie Trouet & Soumaya Belmecheri. It's also seriously bad news for the state's water supplies - and may be an indicator of even worse to come in a warming world. 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...
This one goes all the way to the top: Prof. Nina Fedoroff of Penn State, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with shown with President G W Bush. Photo: Penn State via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

GMOs and the puppetmasters of academia - what the New York Times left out

Dr Jonathan Latham

8th September 2015

The NYT's expose of Kevin Folta's PR role as a pro-GMO shill in the employ of Monsanto barely scratched the surface of a huge web of corporate money, influence and intrigue that permeates the US's premier universities and scientific institutions, writes Jonathan Latham - from Harvard and Cornell to the AAAS. Why the reticence to name all the names? more...
No GMOs here. The harvest is in on this farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Photo: Gordon Robertson via Flickr (CC BY).

We scientists welcome Scotland's GM-free status

The undersigned 30 scientists and specialists

4th September 2015

Scotland's decision to maintain its GM-free status is in the best interests of the country, its people and its farmers, 30 scientists write to Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. It is abundantly justified by the scientific evidence and will support the sustainable, agroecological farming systems of the future. more...
Going, going ... Photo: ad for WWF by TBWA\PARIS, France via brett jordan on Flickr (CC BY).

Three trillion trees live on Earth - and we need every one of them

James Dyke

3rd September 2015

Isn't three trillion trees enough to keep our planet healthy? It sounds like a lot, writes James Dyke, but they are under threat as never before, from deliberate deforestation and climate change. Many of the 1.5 billion trees we are losing a year are in the last great rainforests - key ecosystems under threat of drying out forever under our escalating double onslaught. more...
Too beautiful to die by plastic: Laysan Albatross mate for life, live 60 years or more, and show their soft, sensitive side by preening each other. Photo: kris krüg / via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Ocean plastic plague threatens seabirds

Chris Wilcox, Britta Denise Hardesty & Erik van Sebille

1st September 2015

Already 60% of seabird species have plastic in their guts, often as much as 8% of their body weight. And with ocean plastic increasing exponentially, that figure will rise to 99% by 2050, threatening some birds' survival. Unless we act. more...
Golden rice may be a marvel of modern technology, but it is consistently outperformed in the field by native varieties. Photo: traditional rice farmer at Budid, Philippines, by Shan Sheehan via Flickr (CC BY).

Golden rice: the 'GM superfood' that fell to Earth

Glenn Stone

2nd September 2015

Golden rice was once hailed as the wonder crop that 'could save a million kids year', writes Glenn Stone. But in the 15 years since that bold prediction, the carotene enhanced GMO has been held back by persistent 'yield drag' and inconclusive nutrition outcomes. It now appears unlikely ever to fulfill its early promise. more...
The protestor is right: GMOs are indeed a science experiment. And we are the guinea pigs. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Growing doubts over GMO safety: a scientist's experience

Jonathan Latham

31st August 2015

Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about. more...


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