The Ecologist

 

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Cornish community carries on fighting a 'Super Quarry' development in Marine Conservation Zone

Amy Hall

20th June, 2016

There are now some 50 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in England and Wales. Amy Hall reports on how campaigners fighting the re-opening of a Cornish quarry in one of the zones are effectively testing what the designation really means and how much protection it guarantees. more...

Change The System - Not The Climate

Asoka Bandarage

16th June, 2016

Those most affected by climate change are those least responsible and the international policy frameworks in place to protect them don't work making it a moral issue. But we must believe that the larger goals of environmental sustainability and social justice can be achieved - if we just work together writes Asoka Bandarage more...
HMS Dragon's Lynx helicopter fires infra red flares during an exercise over a Type 45 destroyer of the kind that won't work in warm seas. Photo: Dave Jenkins / Defence Images via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Now will our politicians take climate change seriously?

Richard Galustian

14th June 2015

Rising temperatures are now affecting countries' ability to wage war, writes Richard Galustian, with Britain's new Type 45 destroyers left without power as warm Gulf and Mediterranean seas close down their engines. Will this, finally, force our politicians to understand that climate change is real and dangerous? more...
Drone footage documents a primary drainage canal cutting through an identified 'No Go' area of buffer forest in an IOI oil palm concession in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Photo: Bjorn Vaugn / Greenpeace.

Palm oil giant IOI, rainforest destroyer, must make good its damage!

Annisa Rahmawati / Greenpeace

10th June 2016

Over 300 major food companies used to buy palm oil from IOI, writes Annisa Rahmawati. But after the company was found to be destroying vast areas of Indonesia's rainforest and draining peatlands to make new palm oil plantations, it has been deserted by its customers. Now IOI must go beyond just sticking to the rules, and start actively repairing the damage it has caused. more...
Last month's record low sea ice in the Arctic is bad news for the global climate, and for the polar bears who depend on the ice for their hunting. Photo: Patrick Kelley / US Coast Guard via Flickr (Public Domain).

Arctic ice recedes to record low for May

Tim Radford

10th June 2016

After 12 successive months of record high global temperatures, yet another record has been broken, writes Tim Radford: the lowest May sea ice extent ever observed in the Arctic - over half a million square kilometers under the previous low, set in 2004. more...
Cargill soya terminal handling mainly GMO produce at Santarem, Brazil, between Rio Amazonas and rio Tapajos. Photo: Sara y Tzunki (Cecilia e Francesco) via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No 'old' GMOs, no 'new' GMOs, no GMOs in the EU, no GMOs in Africa!

Molly Scott Cato

9th June 2016

The European Parliament has had a great week, writes Molly Scott Cato MEP - for those who oppose GMOs in food and farming. MEPs voted on five occasions to say no to GMOs, and gave their support to agroecology as the only sustainable way to feed the world. more...

What price cotton? Too high when sustainability standards are not being met

Keith Tyrell, Isabelle Roger and Richard Holland

8th June, 2016

In an independent cotton sustainability ranking released earlier this week by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK, Solidaridad and WWF, just eight out of 37 companies make it out of the red zone. Only home furnishing giant IKEA, which tops the list, is in the green zone. more...
Vezo fishers primarily use only traditional fishing methods - their boats have no motors and the dive without scuba gear. Thriving markets for shark fin and sea cucumbers, however, are changing many aspects of the way they live. Photo: © Garth Cripps.

Madagascar's 'sea nomads' are the new ocean defenders

Charlie Gardner

8th June 2016

The Vezo, Madagascar's indigenous 'sea nomads', are travelling hundreds of miles to the remote 'Barren Isles', the Indian Ocean's largest locally-managed marine protected area, writes Charlie Gardner. Drawn by valuable shark fins and sea cucumbers, sold into Chinese markets, the Vezo are now joining with local fishers to protect the ecosystem and expel illegal divers. more...
Farmers like Madame Fatu Kanu, near Freetown in Sierra Leone, have nothing to gain from the kind of corporate agricultural development offered by the 'New Alliance', and everything to lose. Photo: kenny lynch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EU Parliament: stop 'aid' funding billions to agribusiness in Africa

Oliver Tickell

7th June 2016

The European Parliament today called on the Commission and member states like the UK to stop funding the 'New Alliance' plan to force export-oriented agribusiness onto Africa. Instead they want support for small-scale family farms and agroecology. more...
The smoke rises above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - no, not from the recent fires that afflicted the city, but from the highly polluting plant processing tar sand into oil. Photo: kris krüg / DeSmogBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Jeremy Leggett

7th June 2016

The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe? more...

Solving the problem of safer drinking water with simple technologies

Chhavi Sharma, International Programmes Manager with Ashden

6th June, 2016

Later this week, an organisation that has helped make safer drinking water available to families in Indonesia will receive the new Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water 2016. Here, Chhavi Sharma, explores the importance of using sustainable energy technologies to supply safer drinking water around the world. more...
The twin EPR reactor complex at Taishan, China, showing the completed concrete domes sealing in the reactor vessels and heads. Photo: from drone video footage by China Free Press, HK.

EDF, CGN press ahead with 'unsafe' Chinese nuclear plant

Oliver Tickell

3rd June 2016

Twin nuclear reactors at Taishan in China have been sealed into their concrete domes despite fears that the reactor vessels have serious metallurgical defects. No safety test data has been released by the two companies in charge, EDF and CGN, to show that the reactors will not crack in operation, releasing radioactivity. more...

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Save our soils!

John Quinton

3rd June 2016

Britain's soils are in a bad way, writes John Quinton, and the government is doing little to help - indeed its policies are making the problems worse. So concludes yesterday's Environment Audit Committee report on soil health. But are ministers bothered? more...
Wind farms such as these in Palm Springs, California could be the answer to low-cost energy throughout the US. Photo: Prayitno Hadinata via flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Renewable Energy Closes ‘The Gap'

2nd June, 2016

The REN 21 Renewables Global Status Report

The Renewables 2016 Global Status Report just published by REN21 - The Renewables Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century - shows that renewables are now firmly established as competitive, mainstream sources of energy in many countries around the world, closing the gap between the energy haves- and have-nots more...

Who gets to influence the climate negotiations?

Pavlos Georgiadis, Renee Karunungan and Anna Pérez Català

1st June, 2016

The influence of fossil fuel corporations was strongly questioned by developing countries in the post-Paris meeting of the climate change negotiations in Bonn last week. Climate Trackers Pavlos Georgiadis, Renee Karunungan and Anna Pérez Català highlight the key issues that were debated more...
Installing a Solarcentury 'Sunstation', which embeds into the roof rather than sitting above it. Photo: Solarcentury.

Innovation for the global energy transformation: the Solarcentury Sunstation

Jeremy Leggett

1st June 2016

In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation's solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation - including its new 'Sunstation' - an integrated 'snap-on' solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs. more...
GM soy and corn are now a major export for Brazil, Argentina and other South American countries, as from this cornfield near Sao Paulo. But GMO agribusiness is having severe impacts on health and environment, and importers are increasingly demanding non-G

Scientific error, omission and misrepresentation: the Royal Society on GM crops

Soil Association

27th May 2016

The Royal Society has form on GM crops, writes the Soil Association - consistently Gung-ho! for the last 20 years, while refusing to engage with critics of the technology or even accept the existence of any problems. Its latest effort represents more of the same, while exposing this once August body to ridicule for its egregious scientific howlers. more...
Cover image for 'Monsanto Years' by Neil Young.

The Monsanto Years: Neil Young rocking for a greener world

Pat Thomas

31st May 2016

Celebrities have a unique ability to engage people in environmental campaigns, writes Pat Thomas. Neil Young is a case in point: his latest album, The Monsanto Years, conveys an eloquent message of the dangers of GMOs and corporate power, and his upcoming European tour offers green campaigners a unique opportunity to engage a broader public in the fight for a green future. more...

Institutes from around the world are making deposits to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Crop Trust

26th May, 2016

From sheep food to chili peppers - the new seed stores being deposited this week at the Arctic Vault take the world a step closer to future food security say the participating organisations more...
Red clover cover crop at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire: it may not be high-tech, but that's not to say it's anti-science! Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic farmers are not anti-science - we leave that to the genetic engineers

Elizabeth Henderson

24th May 2016

Those opposed to the mass release of GM crops and foods inadequately tested for health and ecological safety are routinely accused of being anti-science, writes Elizabeth Henderson. But it's the GM corporations and their academic allies that are suppressing scientific research, and organic farmers that are building alliances with independent scientists for a future of safe, healthy food. more...

Climate Negotiations: tackling the big questions before COP22

Georgiadis Pavlos

16th May 2016

The UN intersessional negotiations on climate change (UNFCCC) which started in Bonn last week enter their second week with the big question - how to find and allocate by 2020 the $100bn as agreed in the Paris Agreement. Climate tracker Pavlos Georgiadis reports. more...
Badger, seen at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

Alas poor Brock! The insanity of the badger cull

Martin Hancox

27th May 2016

The lives of all the thousands of badgers slaughtered in the name of TB eradication have been lost in vain, writes Martin Hancox. The cryptic reservoir of bovine TB is the cattle themselves, and no amount of badger killing will make the slightest difference to the problem. Once we have grasped this reality the solution is astonishingly simple: improved TB testing that picks up all infected cattle. more...
President Barack Obama and other world leaders at the Nulcear Security Summit in Washington DC, 1st April 2016. His visit to Hiroshima this wekk will show whether he's really taking it seriously. Photo: Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Flickr (CC

Obama in Hiroshima: time to say 'sorry', and Ban the Bomb!

Linda Pentz Gunter

24th May 2016

President Obama should overcome political constraints in Hiroshima this week to say 'sorry' for the nuclear bombs, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Even more important, he must change his stance on nuclear weapons - abandoning the US's $1 trillion WMD modernization program and lifting the threat of world-destroying nuclear conflict. more...
Once a mangrove forest full of life, now a sterile shrimp farm. The hard labour of destroying mangrove forests and building and operating shrimp farms is often performed by slaves. Photo: Tracy Hunter via Flickr (CC BY).

World must end slavery - for the environment as well as human rights

Kevin Bales, University of Hull

18th May 2016

Slavery is a terrible thing for the world's estimated 36 million slaves, writes Kevin Bales. But it's also an environmental disaster. Many slaves are forced to work in destructive activities like clearing forests for mines, farms and plantations - making slave labour the world's third biggest 'country' in terms of CO2 emissions. It really is time to end slavery! more...

UK Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett will step down this summer

Susan Clark

May 16th, 20016

She's the leader who's taken the UK Green Party into the mainstream but Natalie Bennett has announced she will not stand for a third term and will be stepping down from the 'top job' this summer more...

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