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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...
YPG and YPJ fighters in Kobane. Photo: via Derek Wall / Open Democracy.

Western blind spot: the Kurds' war against Islamic State in Syria

Derek Wall

6th October 2014

A victory for the Kurds and their allies in Syria would be a victory for all who seek a future dictated by neither fundamentalists nor imperialists, writes Derek Wall. Is that why NATO members' have taken no effective action to help Syria's Kurds resist Islamic State - even as Kobane is set to fall, and with 160,000 Kurdish refugees trapped at the Turkish border? more...
Singer Baaba Maal inspects failed corn crops in Mauritania. The maize has gone dry and is inedible. Photo: Oxfam International.

Resisting drought: conventional plant breeding outperforms GM

Lawrence Woodward

4th October 2014

Reports show that traditional breeding techniques are years ahead of GM technologies in developing crops to withstand drought and poor soils, writes Lawrence Woodward. Yet GM advocates are sticking rigidly to their script even as the evidence mounds against them ... more...
GM Free Me gallery - including the author, bottom left. Photo: GM Free Me.

Show your face for a GM Free UK

Pat Thomas

3rd October 2014

The UK government is determined to bring GMOs to England', writes Pat Thomas, and changes in EU rules mean this could happen as soon as next year. The way to keep them out is people power - so go ahead and declare yourself 'GM FREE ME'! more...
Greenpeace action at Shell's petrol station in Davos, January 2013. Photo: Greenpeace Switzerland via Flickr.

Arctic madness: oil majors plead for lower safety standards

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

6th October 2014

Oil majors are gearing up to exploit Arctic oil, writes Mike G. But they don't want to carry the costs of all the safety equipment the US Government is demanding to protect the fragile Arctic environment from spills. And they're reluctant to give up the use of toxic chemical dispersants. more...
The Solucar PS10 solar tower near Seville in southern Spain. Photo: Alejandro Flores via Flickr.

IEA: Solar could be world's biggest power source by 2050

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

10th October 2014

Solar power could be producing over a quarter of the world's electricity within 35 years, according to the International Energy Agency. But in the US, Congress's failure to extend solar tax credits is causing projects to be withdrawn.
more...
Ripe poppies awaiting harvest near Winchester in Hampshire. Photo: Neil Howard via Flickr.

Celebrate the seeds that feed us!

Rowan Phillimore

3rd October 2014

Seeds are essential to our food and our entire lives, writes Rowan Phillimore. So join in celebrating and sharing them at a series of events this month in London, Bristol, Devon, Oxford, Lancaster, Herts - and begin the fightback against corporate domination of seeds and oppressive government regulation. more...
This 62.5 MW Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-II) at the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) was built in 1965 and closed in 1994 due to its abysmal economics and proliferation concerns. The design is the basis of the PRISM and Integral Fast Reactors being

'New' reactor types are all nuclear pie in the sky

Jim Green

2nd October 2014

There's an Alice in Wonderland flavour to the nuclear power debate, writes Jim Green. Lobbyists are promoting all sorts of new reactor types - an implicit admission that existing reactors aren't up to the job. But the designs they are promoting have two severe problems. They don't exist. And they have no customers. more...
Cacao seedlings in the nursery - raised in biochar-enriched soil. Photo: Carbon Gold.

Corporate-smart greenwash: the Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture

Climate Smart Ag Concerns

30th September 2014

The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture made its high-profile launch at the New York Climate Summit. But for a huge coalition of civil society organizations, it's a 'greenwash' initiative designed to promote intensive profit-driven industrial agriculture at the expense of small farmers, environment, and the real solutions. more...
These bananas in India are grown for their edible seed as well as their flesh. To increase food security in a warming world, we must increase the diversity of our food crops. Photo: VitaminGreen via Flickr.

In a warming world, food security means crop diversity

Sayed Azam-Ali

10th October 2014

The global homogenisation of food carries costs, writes Sayed Azam-Ali - notably the world's the increasing dependence on just a few 'elite crops', creating a precarious food system vulnerable to climate change. We must diversify our diets, and the crops that that feed us. more...
Park rangers working in  Priazovskii National Park. Photo: Dimiter Kenarov.

Ukraine - now the war is to rescue threatened nature

Dimiter Kenarov

1st October 2014

Ukraine's Priazovskii National Park epitomises the problems faced by the world's natural areas, writes Dimiter Kenarov, as it contends with inadequate funding, rising sea levels, dried-out rivers, industrial pollution and illegal hunting. And that's not to mention the war. But the staff battle on: 'If we don't do this, then who will?' more...
A radioactive emissions spike taking place during refueling from fugitive noble gas release at the Gundremmigen nuclear plant, Bavaria, Germany. Measured as kBq/m3 against time, in half-hourly intervals. Graph: Alfred Korblein.

Radioactive spikes from nuclear plants - a likely cause of childhood leukemia

Dr Ian Fairlie

29th September 2014

When nuclear reactors are refueled, a 12-hour spike in radioactive emissions exposes local people to levels of radioactivity up to 500 times greater than during normal operation, writes Ian Fairlie. The spikes may explain infant leukemia increases near nuclear plants - but operators provide no warnings and take no measures to reduce exposures. more...

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The Indigenous Peoples of Russia's Siberian region are among those opposed to oil development in the Arctic. Is that why officials blocked their representatives from attending the indigenous summit in New York? Photo: Irina Kazanskaya via Flickr.

Russia: officials block indigenous leaders from UN Assembly

The Ecologist

26th September 2014

Why so few Russian representatives at the UN's World Conference on Indigenous Peoples? Officials prevented activists - some opposing Arctic oil development - from leaving the country, damaging passports and detaining them so they missed their planes. more...
Agroecology in action: common bean, maize, and sunflower in UBC Milpa. Photo: J Hart via Flickr.

UN: only small farmers and agroecology can feed the world

Nafeez Ahmed

23rd September 2014

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using 'agroecological' methods, according to the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. more...
The secret of healthy food is healthy soil - as with these organic potatoes bursting from the ground in early June this year at Sandy lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm.

For healthy food we need living, organic soils

Hannah Bewsey & Katherine Paul / OCA

9th October 2014

Soils are naturally alive with complex 'food webs' of micro-organisms that sustain plants with moisture and nutrients, making them good to eat. But once the biota have been blitzed with agro-chemicals under industrial farming regimes, it's our health that suffers. One more reason to grow, and eat, organic! more...
An intensive feedlot for beef cattle - a key stage in the US's amazingly high emissions from beef production. Photo: Socially Responsible Agricultural Project via Flickr.

The Carbon Underground: reversing global warming

Ronnie Cummins / Organic Consumers Association

21st September 2014

As millions join in climate marches and other actions around the world, writes Ronnie Cummins, the 'mainstream' focus on energy is missing the 55% of emissions that come from mismanaged land and destroyed forests. The key is to replace industrial agriculture worldwide with productive, regenerative organic farming that puts carbon back in the soil. more...
A small farmer keeps watch over his crops from a treetop south of Arba Minch, Ethiopia. But what will he do when multinational corporations, backed by the full force of law, enter the valley? Photo: David Stanley via Flickr.

Coca-Cola is not the solution to hunger in Africa

Miriam Ross

22nd September 2014

Coca-Cola is the latest company to join the agricultural 'scramble for Africa', writes Miriam Ross. Backed by £600 million of British aid under the guise of 'food security' and 'nutrition', a vast give-away of Africa's land is under way that will condemn small farmers to landlessness and poverty. more...
Sea Shepherd crew of the Spitfire: Celine Le Diouron and Marion Selighini, both from France, and Jessie Treverton of the UK. Photo: Sea Shepherd / Barbara Veiga.

Danish Navy arrests three - for saving 'protected' dolphins

Oliver Tickell

19th September 2014

Three Sea Shepherd volunteers have been arrested for 'harrassing dolphins' and deported from the Faroe Islands. But their real crime was to save hundreds of Atlantic white-sided dolphins from slaughter. more...
Scheduled for completion in 2009, the Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant is still under construction, and Areva is no longer projecting a completion date. Costs are running at roughly triple initial estimates. Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr.

Three in every four nuclear power builds worldwide are running late

Oliver Tickell

19th September 2014

A review of the 66 nuclear reactors 'under construction' worldwide shows that 49 are running behind schedule, including all five in the US and most in China. The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change. more...
After a history of accidents at the site, the three ageing reactors at Mihama, Japan, are among those likely never to restart. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co via IAEA Imagebank / Flickr.

Rocky road ahead for Japan's nuclear restart

Jim Green and Peer de Rijk / Nuclear Monitor

26th September 2014

Japan's government is trying to get its failing nuclear power industry up and running, write Jim Green and Peer de Rijk. But in the post-Fukushima world, it faces formidable obstacles. Experts believe most reactors will never restart - and Japan's stricken utilities may have to find $30 billion or more to finance their decommissioning. more...
A deformed pig suffering, Ib Borup Pedersen believes, from the ill effects of glyphosate. Photo: Ib Borup Pedersen.

Changing to non-GMO soy transformed the health of my pigs

Ib Borup Pederson

18th September 2014

From the day that Danish pig farmer Ib Borup Pederson switched away from GM soy, his animals became healthier and more productive. Birth deformities reduced, sows became more fertile, medicine costs fell, and profits went up. The changes were linked to the reduction in the levels of the herbicide glyphosate in their feed. more...
Moussa Konate cultivating his fields. Photo: Fernando Naves Sousa.

Farmers lead composting revolution to heal African soils

Fernando Naves Sousa

14th October 2014

The soils on which African farmers depend are getting poorer, writes Fernando Naves Sousa, depleted of nutrients and organic matter. This creates a huge challenge: to reverse the trend in an environmentally responsible way, while feeding a growing population. But it can be done - using organic composting techniques. more...
Front cover design from 'The GMO Deception', edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber.

The GMO Deception

Ralph Nader

24th October 2014

Science is to corporate science as Hyperion to a satyr, writes Ralph Nader. And there is no better example of this than Monsanto's realm of GMOs, biocides, super-aggressive lawyers and tame regulators - brilliantly exposed in this new book of essays, edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber. more...
The 'flying rivers' of the Amazon are at risk from deforestation, fires and climate change. Without them, forest and farmland could turn to desert. Photo: Eli Duke via Flickr.

Drought bites as the Amazon's 'flying rivers' fail

Jan Rocha

20th September 2014

The Amazon forest both depends on, and sustains, vast 'flying rivers' that carry humid air and clouds deep into the continental interior, writes Jan Rocha. But scientists fear the flying rivers are failing due to deforestation, fire and climate change. more...
Has the BBC forgotten its commitment to impartial journalism? Photo: BBC handbook 1963, by Gordon Joly via Flickr.

The BBC, Friends of the Earth and nuclear power

Neil Crumpton

16th September 2014

At first it looked like a journalistic coup, writes Neil Crumpton - the BBC's 'scoop' that FOE was no longer opposed to nuclear power. Except that FOE remains firmly anti-nuclear as it has been for decades. The spotlight must now be turned on the BBC itself, and its little-known but shocking links to the nuclear industry more...

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