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Organic apples from the tree. Photo: Veronica Olivotto via Flickr.

A tale of two apple farms - can big be beautiful for organic growers?

Andrew Wasley

11th November 2014

The organic movement faces a dilemma. Should it hold to its roots and stick with traditional production methods and local distribution? Or embrace technology and supermarkets, and feed as many mouths as possible? Andrew Wasley meets two very different organic apple producers ... more...
A commercial solar installation under way in the south of England. Photo: Adrian Arbib / Renewable energy Cooperative - r-eco.coop.

Solar power is getting cheaper quicker than the IPCC thought

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

4th November 2014

The cost estimates for solar PV used by the IPCC in its latest report fail to take into account recent price falls for the technology, reports Helle Abelvik-Lawson, and exaggerate financing costs. The result is to understate the importance of PV in a low carbon future. more...
Bill Gates speaking at Stanford University. Photo: Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

Gates Foundation 'feeds the world' with corporate agriculture

GRAIN

5th November 2014

The Gates Foundation is spending half a billion dollars a year to 'feed the world', most of it aimed at Africa. But as GRAIN discovers, it is imposing a model of high-tech, high-input 'green revolution' farming, complete with GMOs, agro-chemicals and a pro-business neoliberal agenda, all in in alliance with corporate agriculture. more...
Rice porage is the perfect food for weaning babies - apart from the sometimes high levels of arsenic. Photo: Arun Joseph via Flickr.

Rice can have high levels of arsenic - so why isn't it regulated in our food?

Andy Meharg

8th November 2014

Rice can often contain high levels of arsenic, writes Andy Meharg. But while levels of this highly toxic element are tightly regulated in water, the EU has set no limits for arsenic in food. This needs to change, fast - and until it does, be careful not to feed too much rice to babies and small children ... more...
A welcoming committee at Christmas Island - site of the UK's Grapple X and Grapple Y bomb tests. But do these children, or their parents, know about the long term legacy of uranium pollution? Photo: Philip via Flickr.

The 'forgotten' uranium isotope - secrets of the nuclear bomb tests revealed

Chris Busby

4th November 2014

Papers reluctantly released by the UK Government in the bomb test veterans' legal case for compensation reveal what it has long denied, writes Chris Busby - that bomb fallout is rich in uranium, and that most of its radioactivity is concentrated in the 'forgotten' but highly active isotope U-234, explaining much of the substantial, long term damage to veterans' health. more...
Sellafield - the B30 pond, possibly 2006.

The Ecologist places leaked Sellafield fuel pond photos in public domain

The Ecologist

31st October 2014

The full set of photos of Sellafield's highly dilapidated and dangerous B29 and B30 cooling ponds as leaked to us are placed in the public domain. more...
Hurricane Sandy brought this blackout to Lower Manhattan in October 2012. Unless Britain's nuclear power stations perform implausibly well this winter, we could well be sharing the experience. Photo: Reeve Jolliffe via Flickr.

UK faces serious winter blackout risk - National Grid's rosy nuclear forecast fails reality test

Chris Goodall

31st October 2014

The National Grid's forecast for UK power supply this winter relies on overstating the availability of increasingly unreliable nuclear power stations, writes Chris Goodall. Realistic estimates of nuclear, gas and coal power station availability shrink the 'safety margin' to zero. more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust claims victory in the court of public opinion

The Ecologist

3rd November 2014

The Court of Appeal last month ruled that England's Badger cull is lawful despite the lack of independent supervision. But on the eve of a fresh Parliamentary debate, and with public opinion backing the badgers all the way, the Badger Trust is the clear winner where it really matters - in public hearts and minds. more...
Boston in bloom - sunflower at the Eglestone Community Orchard. Photo: Alvin Kho via Facebook.

Making it happen - a community orchard in downtown Boston

Orion Kriegman

7th November 2014

A orchard garden has taken root on a long-vacant lot in an economically and racially divided neighborhood of Boston, writes Orion Kriegman. In the making it has united a community, helped to heal deep scars of violence, and inspired a wider reclamation of the urban commons. more...
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...
Pete the Temp in mid-performance. Photo: Pete the Temp.

Pete the Temp: combatting climate change with captivating comedy

Sophie Morlin-Yron

1st November 2014

Pete the Temp's remarkable 'spoken word' show is challenging, inspiring, terrifying and amusing audiences across Britain, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron. But it's performance with a purpose - to engage people in a positive fight to protect the Earth from catastrophic climate change. And so far, it seems to be working ... 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...

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Yucca Mountain, the site of the US's 'cancelled' repository for high level nuclear waste. Photo: White House via Wikimedia Commons.

Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump is all too 'undead'

John LaForge

1st November 2014

The Yucca Mountain radioactive dump may have been officially 'cancelled', writes John LaForge, and with very good reason. But like all those zombies out for Hallowe'en last night, it's not dead yet, as US nuclear regulators declare that the site perfectly meets nuclear waste storage requirements. more...
'The view from my sister's window'. Greenpoint, NY, NY. Photo: Susan via Flickr.

What if your backyard was a slaughterhouse?

Laura Lee Cascada

3rd November 2014

When three giggling teenage girls in an SUV called 'BACON' at Laura Lee Cascada as she conducted a peaceful slaughterhouse vigil, she realised - those girls don't yet realise that 'bacon' has a mom. And there is only one way to create that missing connection - through love, empathy, understanding and perseverance. 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...
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...

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