The Ecologist


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Bumblebee, maybe Bombus terrestris or B. lucorum, at Fairlands Valley Park Environment Lake, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, 5 July 2013. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Our threatened bees deserve better!

Sandra Bell / Friends of the Earth

4th November 2015

On the first anniversary of the UK's National Pollinator Strategy, writes Sandra Bell, the Bee Coalition warns that bees are still under threat from highly toxic pesticides, continuing loss of habitat, and an increasingly inhospitable countryside. The Government must do more to protect our bees. more...
No signs of structural damage, but a a political earthquake took place here last week. Photo of European Parliament by Michal Sänger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Europe's big NO to half baked GMO compromises

Molly Scott Cato MEP

3rd November 2015

Political groups in the European Parliament have sent a clear message to the Commission on its GMO proposals, writes Molly Scott Cato - we are not willing to have piecemeal and vaguely-defined 'opt-out' legislation forced down our throats. more...
Women in the Mustard Fields In Uaipur Mishrikh, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Nitin Bhardwaj via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Rice, wheat, mustard ... India drives forward first GMO crops under veil of secrecy

Colin Todhunter & Oliver Tickell

3rd November 2015

Seventeen or more secret applications have been made to India's GMO regulators for trials and release of GM crops including rice, wheat, chickpeas, brinjal and mustard, write Colin Todhunter & Oliver Tickell. In a violation of the law regulators have released no information about the applications, raising fears that India's first GMOs will be released with no health, safety or environmental testing. more...
In the dark: a badger in Pembrokeshire snaffles up a tasty snack. Photo: Chris Frewin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

In the dark: badger cull cost-benefit report is state secret

The Ecologist

2nd November 2015

The Government has refused to publish its report on the cost effectiveness of England's badger cull because it is 'still in draft form'. Campaigners say the real reason is that it reveals the cull to be cruel, ineffective and incredibly expensive. more...

Ode To Gaia: Charity Auction for Resurgence

Sharon Garfinkel

2 November 2015

A Charity Auction and Fundraising Dinner in aid of The Resurgence Trust, to be held on 25 November 2015. more...
With 50 times more solar power on a 'net metering' basis than now (5% vs 0.1%), electricity costs in Pennsylvania would fall by $25 per customer. Business with solar panels in Harleysville, PA. Photo: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr (CC B

Solar power is good for consumers, good for utilities

Richard Flarend, Pennsylvania State University

30th October 2015

An analysis of power prices in the US state of Pennsylvania shows that if solar power increased from the 0.1% of electricity it supplies now, to 5%, then all customers would save $25 a year. Far from 'net metering' for solar being a 'burden' as utilities claim, it makes money for them, and their customers! more...
A bee supping nectar in a crop of oilseed rape / canola, Germany. Photo: Peter Biela via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee keepers challenge EU's bee-toxic pesticide permit

The Ecologist

29th October 2015

The EU's decision to authorise a new 'neonic' pesticide knowing it was highly toxic to bees has been challenged in the European Court. A similar permit granted to sulfoxaflor in the US has already been struck down by a federal court. more...
Tigyit coal mine. Photo: Carole Oudot / Matthieu Baudey.

Burma goes for coal - but at what cost in pollution, disease and land grabs?

Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey

29th October 2015

The president of Burma has decided that coal is the way to future wealth and prosperity, write Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey. But if the experiences of farmers and village people near Tigyit, site of the country's biggest coal mine and coal-fired power plant is anything to go by, it will bring only poverty, pollution, ill-health and land grabs to rural communities across the country. more...
Hard at work on a small farm family in India. Photo:  Mukul Soni via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The world must step off the chemical farming treadmill

Colin Todhunter

29th October 2015

Organic farming produces more nutritious food than chemical agriculture, writes Colin Todhunter, while sustaining soils and building organic matter. And we know this from real, peer-reviewed scientific studies - unlike the pseudo-science touted at us by the self-interested advocates of industrial agribusiness. more...
Smoke rises above the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukuzilla? China's nuclear boom threatens global catastrophe

Oliver Tickell

28th October 2015

China's plans for 400 nuclear reactors threaten global catastrophe, writes Oliver Tickell. In the normal way of things we could expect major accidents every few years, but with 300 reactors along China's seismically active coast, a major tsunami would be a Fukushima on steroids - wiping out much of China and contaminating the whole planet. more...
The quality of the milk those kids are drinking would be much lower if their mother was fed on GMO soy, stunting their growth. Photo: Lawrence Wright via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

GMO soy produces altered milk and stunted kids

Dr Jonathan R. Latham / Independent Science News,

26th October 2015

Mother goats fed on 'Roundup-ready' GMO soy produce milk that's much lower in fat, protein and antibodies than non-GMO controls, writes Jonathan Latham, and contains traces of GE DNA. The milk also stunts their kids' growth. more...
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom taking questions from MPs last week on the cuts to renewable energy generation. Photo: still from Parliament TV.

Minister: 'solar companies back support cuts'

Joe Sandler Clarke & Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

25th October 2015

Just as the UK's entire renewable energy industry is up in arms against fierce cuts to support for the sector, energy Minister Andrea Leadsom suggested to MPs that the measures were supported by solar firms in her constituency. They beg to differ. more...

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Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres taking part in a recent Art no Oil protest at the British Museum. He is taking BP to court over its alleged involvement in his 42-day kidnap and torture by a paramilitary group, during which he was kept in an insec

BBC fails to challenge BP arts sponsorship chief on kidnap and torture allegations

Chris Garrard / Art Not Oil

26th October 2015

Last week BP's Peter Mather - who claims to have 'green and yellow oil' flowing in his veins - took to the airwaves on Radio 4's The Bottom Line'. Evan Davies asked some tough questions, writes Chris Garrard - but failed to mention the shocking case of Colombian trades unionist Gilberto Torres, kidnapped and tortured for 42 days by paramilitaries employed by BP's joint venture partner. more...
Even this could be called 'climate smart agriculture' - because the term is undefined. Oil palm plantations on deep peat in Indonesian Borneo. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

To keep carbon in the ground, COP21 must back agroecology

Pavlos Georgiadis

24th October 2015

'Climate Smart Agriculture' advocates were out in force at the just concluded climate talks in Bonn, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. But their finely crafted corporate message presents a real threat to genuine agroecological solutions to the interlinked food, farming and climate crises. more...
The £1 plan garnered cross-party support from over 30 MPs from all parties yesterday at an action outside the House of Commons including Sir David Amess MP (Con), Mims Davies MP (Con), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con), Caroline Flint MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MP

Back our emergency £1 solar rescue plan

Sonia Dunlop / Solar Trade Association

22nd October 2015

Massive government cuts in solar 'feed in tariffs' threaten to wipe out our highly successful solar industry, writes Sonia Dunlop - and all to save £1 year off our fuel bills. Yes, that's all it would cost to keep the sector in business, employing tens of thousands of expert solar installers all over the UK. more...
What's his plan? Xi Jinping portrait by thierry ehrmann via Flickr (CC BY).

Will Hinkley C ever be built? If so, China will exact a very high price

Oliver Tickell

22nd October 2015

China's nuclear investment into the UK raises more questions than it answers, writes Oliver Tickell. The £6bn committed is nowhere near enough to see Hinkley C to completion, and EDF has few options for raising the rest elsewhere. The only answer is more Chinese money, and it won't come cheap - not for Britain, nor indeed for France's vulnerable nuclear corporations. more...
Years late, billions over budget: construction of two AP1000 reactors at Vogtle, South Carolina, October 2011. Photo: Charles C Watson Jr / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

UK-China nuclear deal won't keep our lights on

Oliver Tickell

21st October 2015

The UK's plan to get China to build and finance new nuclear power stations is based on a wish and a prayer, writes Oliver Tickell. There is no reactor design, including new Chinese ones, that we can depend on to fill our impending power generation gap. This time, the last one out won't even have to turn out the lights. more...
Can you imagine Stephen Harper here? Justin Trudeau at the 2015 Pride Toronto parade. Photo: Alex Guibord via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Canada's new Liberal government - an environmental renaissance?

Carol Linnitt /

21st October 2015

It's all change in Canada with the dramatic ousting of anti-environment Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, writes Carol Linnitt. Under the new Liberal PM Justin Trudeau things are looking a lot better for climate, science, environment, transparency and First Nations. But Canada is still set to go into the Paris climate talks with the same weak level of commitment. more...
Workers on site at Fukushima Daiichi, December 2012. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukushima - the first cancers emerge

Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

As a first 'official' cancer case is admitted at Fukushima, a study of over 400,000 young people in the prefecture identifies a 30-fold excess of thyroid cancer, writes Oliver Tickell. With the high rate and early onset of the disease the scientists fear many more cases to come - and that WHO underestimated the scale of radiation release. more...
Agroecology in action: rice farm in Batad, the Philippines. Photo: Joe Coyle via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No to 'Climate Smart Agriculture', yes to agroecology

Climate Smart Agriculture Concerns

21st October 2015

Climate Smart Agriculture sounds like a great idea, write hundreds of civil society organisations worldwide. But in truth it's a PR front for international agribusiness to promote corporate agriculture, pesticides and fertilisers at COP21, with a heavy dose of greenwash. Countries must resist the siren calls - and give their support to true agroecology that sustains soil, health, life and climate. more...
You want chlorine with that? With TTIP, we will soon be forced to eat US-style meat - hormone-fed animals, chlorine-washed chicken, beef soaked in lactic acid. Photo: Anthony Albright via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Be very scared: TTIP and 'regulatory cooperation'

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

20th October 2015

The 'regulatory cooperation' clauses in TTIP threaten to strip away vital EU protections on food, health and environment, writes Alex Scrivener. Indeed it has already begun: the mere prospect of TTIP has persuaded the EU to back off on plans to ban lactic acid-treated beef and 31 toxic pesticides. We must reject the entire package! more...
It costs a lot less than we are told: erection of a wind turbine at Alltwalis Wind Farm in Wales, set in operation December 2009. Photo: Aslak Øverås / Statkraft via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind and solar's £1.5 billion electricity price cut

Oliver Tickell

19th October 2015

The effect of wind and solar generation in the UK is to push down wholesale power prices, writes Oliver Tickell, taking over £1.5 billion off our bills in 2014 - that's 58% of the subsidies paid to renewable generators. Keep it up and the benefit will rise to over 100% of cost. more...
Will China blow up the UK's nuclear bubble? The Sizewell nuclear site (A left, B right) where state owned Chinese companies are lined up a build another nuclear power plant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The UK-China nuclear deal is an existential threat to our nation's future

Dr David Lowry & Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

The UK is embarking on a reckless endeavour in its attempted nuclear union with China, write David Lowry & Oliver Tickell. China's investments will come at a high price, one that transcends mere money and the undoubted security risk inherent in its control of key elements of our energy infrastructure. At risk is the UK's very future as a sovereign, independent nation. more...
George Monbiot at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson / TED Conference via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

China syndrome: meltdown time for pro-nuclear 'greens'

Jonathon Porritt

19th October 2015

The love affair of the 'pro-nuclear greens' with a failed technology has paved the way to the UK's destruction of its renewable energy industry, writes Jonathon Porritt, and to the imminent deal with Chinese parastatal corporations to build a new fleet of already obsolete nuclear power plants at massive cost to us all. more...
Cattle killed by the drought, district of Admitullu Jiddo Kombolcha in Ethiopia, 2009. Photo: Zeresenay Berhane Mehar / Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warming world means more drought in Horn of Africa

Alex Kirby

18th October 2015

Evidence stretching back 40,000 years shows that global warming will increase drying in a region of East Africa where drought already causes humanitarian crises, writes Alex Kirby - dashing earlier hopes of increased rainfall. more...


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