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An enormous plantation cut from the Liberian rainforest. Photo: Chulius Caesar via Flickr.

Oil palm explosion driving West Africa's Ebola outbreak

Richard Kock

29th October 2014

The medical response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been monstrously inadequate, writes Richard Kock. But so has been recognition of the underlying causes - in particular the explosive spread of industrial oil palm, which disrupts the ecology of forests and farms, and undermines local economy and traditional governance, leading to a 'perfect storm' of disease. more...
The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods. Photo: unknown.

Leaked Sellafield photos reveal 'massive radioactive release' threat

Oliver Tickell

27th October 2014

Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds abandoned 40 years ago containing hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods pose an immediate danger to public safety, photographs sent to The Ecologist reveal. The fuel and sludge in the ponds could spontaneously ignite if exposed to air, spreading intense radiation over a wide area. more...
Farmers in Ghana marching against the Plant Breeders Bill, now before the country's parliament, September 2014. Photo: Food Sovereignty Ghana.

Ghana's farmers battle ‘Monsanto law' to retain seed freedom

Chris Walker & Oliver Tickell

24th October 2014

Ghana's government is desperate to pass a Plant Breeders Bill that would remove farmers' ancient 'seed freedom' to grow, retain, breed and develop crop varieties - while giving corporate breeders a blanket exemption from seed regulations. Now the farmers are fighting back. more...
Hinkley C is 'unconstructable', says a distinguished nuclear engineer - 'like building a cathedral within a cathedral'. Artist's impression of the completed nuclear power station by EDF.

'Unconstructable' Hinkley C could end UK's nuclear dream

Chris Goodall

30th October 2014

Opponents of nuclear power hold up the planned Hinkley C as an examplar of waste and idiocy that could cost the UK over £30 billion in subsidies. Chris Goodall agrees - and fears that an impending fiasco with the 'unconstructable' and commercially disastrous EPR design may kill off the UK's nuclear aspirations for a generation. more...
'Small holder farming traditions run through my blood; there was no other way I would choose to farm, I would never run a farm that was cruel.' Tom, Bellair Haye Farm. Photo: Pig Pledge.

The future of family farming is in our hands

Holly Creighton-Hird

19th October 2014

Everyone loves family farming! And so they should, writes Holly Creighton-Hird, as family farms produce most of the world's food. But the UK Government has a funny way of showing it - favouring corporate agriculture and eliminating farm payments for small land holdings. It's up to us, the public, to support small, high welfare producers.
more...
Biology students from the National University of Kiev on a trash monitoring mission at the city's Lysa Hora nature park. Photo: Dimeter Kenarov.

Greening the revolution - Ukrainian youth joins fight for nature

Dimiter Kenarov

21st October 2014

With 300,000 hectares of forests, fields and steppes damaged by fire, the war in Ukraine has done huge damage to the country's environment, writes Dimiter Kenarov. But there has been an upside: a new green spirit is taking root, and young volunteers are stepping in to protect wild spaces. more...
Melting point: researchers study Arctic sea ice and melt ponds on the Chuckchi Sea. Photo: Kathryn Hansen / NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Arctic ice loss sends Alaskan temperatures soaring

Alex Kirby

22nd October 2014

Scientists analysing more than three decades of weather data for the northern Alaska outpost of Barrow have recorded an astonishing 7°C temperature rise, writes Alex Kirby - and the likely cause is the decline in Arctic sea ice. more...
An artist's impression of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Image: EDF Energy media library.

NAO investigates Hinkley C nuclear subsidies

Terry Macalister / The Guardian

17th October 2014

Hinkley C's subsidy package may have won European Commission approval - but now it faces a National Audit Office 'value for money' investigation, following a demand from a powerful Parliamentary committee. more...
With milkweed and other 'weeds' now facing the dual chemical assault of glyphosate and 2,4-D, what hope for the Monarch butterfly?

New seeds, old pesticides - 2,4-D and 'next generation' GMOs

Jim Goodman

27th October 2014

The US EPA has approved new GMO corn and soybean varieties resistant to both glyphosate and 2,4-D, writes Jim Goodman - and the highly toxic herbicide mix itself. In this latest escalation of the chemical war against nature there is one clear winner - Dow AgroSciences. But everyone else loses - farmers, consumers and our increasingly endangered wildlife. more...
The answer to Earth's energy needs is floating in the skies above. Photo: Conceptual Image Lab, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Earth photo courtesy of NASA/ISS Expedition 13 crew.

The Burning Answer to our energy needs

Jonathon Porritt

29th October 2014

Keith Barnham's new book reveals the giddying and glorious plethora of the solar technologies that lie at the heart of the all-renewable energy system that awaits us, writes Jonathan Porritt - making it 'one of the most exciting and genuinely hopeful books' that I've read in a long time'. more...
Owen Paterson meets Hillary Clinton. Photo: from owenpaterson.org.

Keeping the lights on

Owen Paterson

16th October 2014

Last night's speech on Britain's energy choices by former environment secretary Owen Paterson's caused widespread outrage long before it was delivered. But what exactly did he say on the night? Read on, and be surprised to discover that it makes excellent sense - in parts. more...
Picture found in Honkawa Elementary School in 2013 of the Hiroshima atom bomb cloud, believed to have been taken about 30 seconds after detonation of about 10km (6 miles) east of the hypocentre. Photo: Honkawa Elementary School / Wikimedia Commons.

The ICRP's radiation risk model is bogus science

Chris Busby

22nd October 2014

The world has been the victim of a monstrous scientific error that has understated the dangers of radiation, writes Chris Busby. Following the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, investigators used 'controls' who had been exposed to high levels of 'black rain' fallout to understate the health impacts of radiation. This bogus science still underlies risk models today. more...

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Cattle are still driving deforestation in the Amazon - but a new wave of cash crop agriculture for palm oil and other commodities is on its way. Photo: Kate Evans for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr.

Palm oil - the new threat to the Amazon

Alex Kirby

20th October 2014

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been sharply reduced in recent years, writes Alex Kirby. But analysts say that palm oil and other cash crops are set for a major expansion, while high demand for beef, and administrative chaos, may undermine efforts to reform the ranching sector. more...

Future NOW

8 November 2014

Will Gethin

Taking place in the run up to Bristol's year as Green Capital 2015, this groundbreaking spiritual ecology conference calls for Consciousness Revolution. more...
Who needs vegetables when there's deep-fried Mars Bars to eat? Photo: karendesuyo via Flickr.

Scotland: time for a National Food Service?

Pete Ritchie & Miriam Ross

15th October 2014

The Scottish diet is famous for being the worst in Europe, write Pete Ritchie and Miriam Ross. Yet the country has rich land and sea resources, and exports large quantities of high quality food. By treating food as a common good instead of leaving the market to provide, Scots can start to transform their food future. more...
The UK's first bomb test: Operation Hurricane. The plutonium implosion device was exploded at sea at the Montebello Islands, West Australia, on 3rd October 1952. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Bomb test veterans' grandchildren suffer health impacts

Chris Busby

16th October 2014

A scientific paper published this week shows that the severe health damage caused to UK bomb test veterans persists through the generations, writes Chris Busby. Their children and grandchildren are almost ten times more likely to suffer from congenital malformations than controls - and the only common cause is historic radiation exposure.
more...
Famers in Sokoine, Tanzania, examine a drought tolerant maize variety developed by the nationally-owned seed company Tanseed International Limited. Photo: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center via Flickr.

Big Biotech's African seed takeover

The Ecologist

13th October 2014

Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Limagrain are among the companies to buy into Africa's indigenous seed companies. It's all part of the corporate takeover of the continent's agriculture at the expense of the small farmers who feed most of Africa's people. more...
Greenpeace demonstration in Olkiluoto, Finland. Photo: Greenpeace Finland via Flickr.

Hinkley C will cost Britain dear - if it's ever built

Keith Barnham

15th October 2014

The UK Government promises that the Hinkley C 'EPR' nuclear reactor will lower electricity bills, but Keith Barnham shows that this is the very reverse of the truth. Our best hope is that it will never be built. Legal challenges aside, no sane investor will commit until one of the two EPR prototypes is working, which will be in 2016 at the earliest. more...
Is France determined to put an end to this kind of farming? Cattle grazing in the marais d'Olonne, Vendée, in Western France. Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr.

France's 1,000 cow factory - a second battle of the Somme

Evan Jones

17th October 2014

For all France's rhetoric about supporting the small farmer, the authorities are bending legalities to push through the country's biggest dairy farm, writes Evan Jones. This reveals the 'socialist' government true loyalties: to subsidy-driven 'free trade', and industrial agriculture that pollutes, depopulates, unemploys - and generates vast profits for a powerful elite. more...
It was Greenpeace wot won it. Image: Greenpeace.

Greenpeace victory - LEGO ends Shell promotion link

The Ecologist

9th October 2014

Following a 1 million signature Greenpeace petition, LEGO has pledged not to renew a 50-year link with the oil company Shell. The move comes as Shell bids to renew its Arctic drilling in 2015, and following revelations that it is trying to dilute environmental regulation in Arctic waters. more...
The Prostitute State

Nuclear power trumps democracy

Donnachadh McCarthy

9th October 2014

The UK's political mainstream has performed a complete U-Turn in policy on nuclear power, culminating yesterday in the European Commission's approval of a £15-20 billion subsidy package for the Hinckley C project. Donnachadh McCarthy delves into the nuclear industry's deep and far-reaching political links. more...
Hinkley Point B. Photo: Ken Grainger / geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C gets the go-ahead - but will it prove a dodgy nuclear deal too far?

Paul Dorfman

8th October 2014

The outgoing European Commission has just given the UK's controversial Hinkley C nuclear project the go-ahead, writes Paul Dorfman - approving a deal that will cost the UK public tens of billions of pounds. But now the deal faces a legal challenge in the European Court of Justice. more...
Mariana Goméz Soto. Photo: Mariana Goméz Soto.

Gold is joy for one day - Mariana Goméz Soto

Hal Rhoades / Gaia Foundation

21st October 2014

Doima, a small town in the Colombian highlands, is on the front line of battle against a giant government-backed gold mine that would fill a nearby valley hundreds of metres deep in over a billion tonnes of mine waste. Hal Rhoades met Mariana Goméz Soto, an activist in Doima's campaign to defeat the mine project. more...
What was once the Aral Sea at Muinak, Qoraqalpoghiston, Uzbekistan. Photo: so11e via Flickr.

Once a Sea - now it's the Aral Desert

Anson Mackay

16th October 2014

The Aral Sea is a well known environmental disaster zone. But this year, it got a whole worse, writes Anson Mackay, as its biggest basin dried up completely to expose a toxic, salty wasteland. With continuing irrigation and declining river flows due to climate change, the desert is only set to expand. more...
Commercial agriculture is creating an uncertain future for tribes like the ancient Hamer. Photo: Matthew Newsome.

Ethiopian tribes' ancient ways threatened by UK-backed sugar project

Matthew Newsome

10th October 2014

A massive sugar plantation and up to 700,000 migrant workers will occupy almost 2,000 sq.km of Ethiopia's Omo Valley, with the help of British aid finance. But the valley's native inhabitants have been given no choice in the matter, and are being forced to abandon their homes, lands, cattle, and entire way of life, or go to jail. more...

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