The Ecologist


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Old water tank in Niland, California. Photo: Kevin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The water is ours!

Javan Briggs

7th October 2015

Water is life, writes Javan Briggs. And it belongs to all of us. California's water shortage is caused, not by 'drought', but by massive long term over-pumping. And as the crisis worsens, the response under the 'water as property' model is just to pump all the harder. We must manage water as a commons - to sustain us all, not to profit the few. more...
Sun sinking in smoke from Indonesia's burning forests and peatlands, Singapore, around 6pm on 21st September 2014. Photo: Yvonne Perkins via Flickr (CC BY).

Indonesia chokes as forest and peatland fires rip

The Ecologist

21st September 2015

The burning forests and peatlands of Indonesia are once again casting a pall of choking smoke across the region, in the process releasing billions of tonnes of carbon. Promises to solve the problems stand betrayed - and COP21 commitments to tackle the problem are being weakened. more...
Burn all our fossil fuels, and all the ice in Antarctica will melt, causing sea levels to rise 58m. The Ellsworth Range in Antarctica as seen from the IceBridge DC-8, 22nd October 2012. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY).

Let fossil fuels rip for an ice-free Antarctica

Tim Radford

18th September 2015

Scientists warn that burning up the planet's remaining fossil fuel would cause all Antarctic ice to melt and lead to 58m of sea level rise over 10,000 years, writes Tim Radford. But devastating impacts would strike much sooner, with oceans rising by 3m a century for the next millennium. 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...
The beneficiary - 'chicken oligarch' Yuriy Kosyuk, whose agribusiness company has received €500 million of loans from the EBRD, financed by the EU's taxpayers. Photo: UTR News via Wikimedia (CC BY).

EU taxpayers finance Ukraine's 'chicken oligarch'

Fidanka Bacheva McGrath / CEE Bankwatch

17th September 2015

Taxpayer-financed development banks have lent €500 million to Ukraine's biggest agribusiness company so it can undercut EU chicken producers, writes Fidanka Bacheva McGrath - while polluting the environment and grabbing land from local farmers. more...
Flooding in Morigaon District, Assam, India, 30th June 2012. Photo: Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

India: 200,000 refugees in Assam's devastating floods

Sneha Krishnan

16th September 2015

India's tea capital, Assam, has been hit by devastating floods for the second time in three years, writes Sneha Krishnan. But the government has failed to address key environmental issues like deforestation and soil conservation, or involve local communities in developing solutions. So ever more fertile land is lost to erosion, and millions of the country's poorest people suffer. more...
Baka in Cameroon have been prohibited from entering the forest to gather resources they require. Photo: © Survival International.

Indigenous peoples bear the brunt of global greenwash

Amy Dickens

23rd September 2015

As ever more companies and governments pledge to 'go green' and protect forests, the world's tribal peoples should be among the main beneficiaries, writes Amy Dickens. Yet the reverse is the case. All too often the promises are purest greenwash, used to conceal the human and environmental tragedy of land-grabbing for plantations, mines, logging and even 'conservation'. more...

Victory! Corbyn's political earthquake will resound long and deep

Oliver Tickell

12th September 2015

The magnitude of Corbyn's victory today represents an irreversible seismic shift in British politics, writes Oliver Tickell. Finally the Tories face serious, principled opposition that will reveal them as the far-right ideologues they truly are. The reverberations will echo far, wide, long and deep, including to the US where the socialist Bernie Sanders is well on his way to winning the Democratic nomination. more...
Intensively farmed pigs are routinely dosed with antibiotics to ward off disease and increase weight gain. Photo: Compassion in World Farming via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Antibiotic resistance - what about routine misuse in farming?

Emma Rose

11th September 2015

Doctors have been told to limit their use of antibiotics to limit the spread of microbial drug resistance, writes Emma Rose. But 40% of the UK's antibiotics are used on farms, of which 85% is fed to disease-free animals. We can no longer ignore the massive agricultural overuse of the drugs, now a major driver of antibiotic resistant infections. more...
Construction will soon begin at the Fylde solar farm in Lancashire. Toyota Solar Array under construction at Burnaston, UK. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Solar farm approved at rejected fracking site

Ben Lucas /

11th September 2015

A stones throw from where Cuadrilla lost its bid to develop a fracking operation in Lancashire, a solar farm has just won planning permission with widespread local support, writes Ben Lucas. However a 194-turbine offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight has been refused planning consent. more...
Linevo and its water reservoir formed by a dam on Koinikha, a small river falling into Ob. The giant Novosibirsk Electrode Factory is on the background. Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Russia - has the world's biggest country turned against the environment?

Lucy E J Woods

22nd September 2015

While other countries apply themselves to environmental challenges from climate change to nature protection, Russia - with its massive wealth of nature and natural resources - is stubbornly refusing to take part, writes Lucy E J Woods. And as the economy declines, the pressure is on: to ignore environmental regulations, and clamp down on environmental defenders. more...
Maybe he has a better idea? Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide on a spacewalk, 5th September 2012. Photo: Fragile Oasis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Osborne's nuclear fantasies - can you hear me Major Tom?

Doug Parr

10th September 2015

This week Chancellor George Osborne told Parliament that the power from the planned Hinkley C nuclear plant would be cheaper than onshore wind, writes Doug Parr. That could be true on Planet Zog - but here on Earth the reverse is the case. Exactly what are Osborne and his Treasury mandarins smoking? more...

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Photo: Greg Webb / IAEA via Flickr (CC BY).

Is radiation good for you? The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission could decide it is

Karl Grossman

10th September 2015

The well-founded idea that nuclear radiation is dangerous even at the lowest levels is under attack, writes Karl Grossman. Three determined nuclear enthusiasts have filed petitions to the NRC calling on it to apply the doctrine of 'radiation hormesis' - that low levels of radiation actually stimulate the immune system and promote better health. Disagree? You'd better act fast. 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...
Only a lucky few pheasants escape this fate. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Whitewashed - the short and miserable life of game birds

Toni Shephard

9th Sepetmber 2015

Defra's new £500,000 report on pheasant and partridge breeding is biased towards commercial shooting interests from start to finish, writes Toni Shephard. It purports to study the welfare of captive birds reared in restrictive cages, but fails to compare their lot to that of free-range birds - the only adequate baseline. more...
'Oil Refinery at Oxymoron'. Artwork by Wyatt Wellman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

China syndrome: fracked oil and Saudi Arabia's big gamble hit sinking global economy

James Meadway /

10th September 2015

For anyone who believes in the ineffable wisdom of 'free' markets, the current sinkaway oil price takes some explaining, writes James Meadway. Saudi Arabia's big gamble that it could put US shale oil out of business by over-pumping has now collided with China's falling demand for energy. Result: oil producers everywhere are swimming in red ink. Where will it all end? more...
Weeding a cotton field in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Photo: jankie vis Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

GMO versions of 'desi' indigenous cotton threaten our organic future

Dr Vandana Shiva

9th September 2015

India's decision to release GMO cotton seeds that incorporate genes for Bt toxins into indigenous 'desi' varieties threatens disaster for the country's small and organic cotton farmers, writes Vandana Shiva. The danger is that the GMO characteristics will spread rapidly into the gene pool, contaminating India's unique heritage of cotton seed diversity. more...
Wind turbines along a mountain ridge in Galicia, Spain. Photo: Luis Alves via Flickr (CC BY).

The archaic nature of 'baseload' power

Michael Mariotte

7th September 2015

Nuclear power advocates cling like limpets to the idea of 'baseload' power, writes Michael Mariotte. No surprise there - it's the only selling point they've got. It's just too bad the idea is obsolete. Variable renewables combined with stronger grids, energy storage and responsive demand can do a better job for less money. No wonder the shills are getting desperate. more...
The true cost of the three nuclear power stations at Sizewell, England were concealed under state ownership. But they still cost us a bomb. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Nuclear power is expensive everywhere!

David Toke

7th September 2015

The notion that nuclear is cheaper outside the UK is a myth, writes David Toke. Yes, it looks more expensive here - but only because new stations like Hinkley C have to compete in an electricity marketplace, making it harder to conceal the true costs like we used to. more...
Is it all a pipe-dream? Artist's impression of the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Image: EDF Energy.

Hinkley C nuclear plant postponed indefinitely

Oliver Tickell

4th September 2015

EDF has indefinitely postponed its Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, England, as a new IEA analysis shows that its power will cost UK energy users three times more than it should, writes Oliver Tickell. A similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget - and may never be completed. 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...
Millions marched against the Iraq war - and history has shown us to be right. Yet the UK 'establishment' is still dominated by the warmongers who brought death and devastation to the Middle East. Photo: Tom Sparks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Support the Iraq war, hold the keys to worldly power

Craig Murray

3rd September 2015

Supporters of the Iraq War dominate the UK's public institutions, despite its dismal failure. Why? Because it's the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus and all its dogmas, writes Craig Murray, from TTIP to austerity and the corporate takeover of public services. But now, with the rise of Corbyn and the SNP, the deep state is finally facing a real challenge. more...
A pre-harvest spray, probably of a glyphosate-based weed-killer, is applied to an oilseed rape (canola) crop in Occold, Norfolk. Photo: Tim Parkinson via Flickr (CC BY).

Keep glyphosate out of our food!

Peter Melchett

3rd September 2015

Following scientific confirmation of the severe hazards to health caused by residues of glyphosate weed killers in food, the Soil Association is calling on bakers and retailers to stop 'pre-harvest' spraying on arable crops. The SA's Peter Melchett just sent out this letter - adapt as necessary and send to retailers, bakers, makers of cereals, pasta, biscuits and others. more...
Solar deals are now being struck in Texas, USA, for under $60 / MWh. Duke Energy’s 14MW Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas with nearly 215,000 photovoltaic solar panels. Photo: Duke Energy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The solar age is upon us

Chris Goodall

1st September 2015

Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. more...
Best of friends? President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India en-route to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, 30th September 2014. Photo: Pete Souza / The White House via Wikimedia.

Crushed: the US and the WTO demolish India's solar energy ambitions

Charles Pierson

5th September 2015

President Obama and India's Prime Minister Modi are best of friends - aren't they? So how come the US took India to the WTO's trade court - and just won a resounding victory? And why isn't India challenging the US's own discriminatory solar subsidies? It's because of the money, writes Charles Pierson. And poor India has no choice but to play by Washington's rules. more...


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