The Ecologist


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The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Photo: News Muse via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Hurricane Katrina: the worst is yet to come

Kerry Emanuel

25th August 2015

Climate change shows its true face in extreme events, writes Kerry Emanuel: the storm surge with a 12 inch head start thanks to rising sea levels, propelled by a wind that's 20 mph faster, dropping an extra inch of rain beyond the 'normal' storm. Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan are sending us a clear message: the world must get ready for bigger and badder, fast. more...
The EFSA headquarters: closed to science and dissent, open to industry 'experts' and lobbyists. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Naked corruption: the scandal of glyphosate re-assessment in Europe

Dr Nancy Swanson and Dr Mae Wan Ho

24th August 2015

The EU's 'rapporteur state' on glyphosate, Germany, has recommended re-approval of the herbicide with its daily intake increased by 67%, write Drs Nancy Swanson and Mae Wan Ho. The verdict is based on a re-assessment carried out by Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies, based on unpublished industry studies. It should be rejected outright. more...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...
Children whose development was impaired by their mother's use of thalidomide in a swimming pool. Photo: via Luciana Christiante / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Dr Frances Kelsey: thalidomide and the precautionary principle

Helena Paul & Philip Bereano

25th August 2015

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dr Frances Kelsey, write Helena Paul & Philip Bereano. In 1960, she defied her bosses at the FDA to prevent the licensing of thalidomide in the USA, saving thousands from being born with serious deformities. Her tough approach to minimising the risk from new drugs contains lessons we ignore at our peril. more...
On 14th April 2015, a demonstration in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh against a proposed dam on the Kanhar Valley by Adivasi, Dalit protesters was met with police violence and gunfire which injured seven women and one man. Photo:

Legal 'reforms' may make violence the only option for India's eco-defenders

Arpitha Kodiveri

26th August 2015

President Modi is determined to sweep away 'obstacles to growth' including the laws that allow marginalised communities to challenge the confiscation of their lands and forests for dams, mines and other 'development' projects, writes Arpitha Kodiveri. If proposed 'reforms' are enacted, the only remaining avenue of dissent may be one of armed conflict. more...
The New York Steam Company commenced its piped heat distribution in the city in 1882. Steam venting from the street at 33rd and 5th Avenue, December 2007. Photo: Paul Churcher via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to tap in to an underused energy source: wasted heat

Rob Raine

10th September 2015

The single biggest energy service we all need is heat, writes Rob Raine - yet it's largely ignored in the energy policy discourse. By focusing on heat as well as power, we can accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and - because heat stores are far cheaper than batteries - keep the costs down. more...
It'll take more than Obama's clean power plan to topple these smokestacks at the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Photo: Troy Snow via Flickr (CC BY).

Obama's 'clean power plan' is feeble and fragile

Tim Kruger

15th August 2015

President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions may look like a climate victory, writes Tim Kruger - but it's no such thing. It's feeble because the US can meet its targets by reducing emissions to 2030 more slowly than it has since 2000. And it's fragile as any future President can scrap it at will. more...
Guarani man Semião Vilhalva lies on the ground, murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend. Photo: still from video by Marcelo Zelic via Facebook.

Brazil: Guarani man murdered by ranchers' gunmen

The Ecologist

2nd September 2015

Guarani man Semião Vilhalva was murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend after his community reoccupied parts of their ancestral land from ranchers. Thousands of Guarani Indians holding on to tiny patches of their ancestral land are living in constant fear of forcible eviction. more...
View of Paradise: Garifunas on Chachahuate enjoy fishing, beach, sun, and Caribbean waters. Photo: npatterson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Honduras: Garifuna communities resist eviction and theft of land

Jeff Abbott / Waging NonViolence

12th August 2015

Pristine beaches, clear Caribbean waters, coral reefs, fertile land ... such is the homeland of the Garifuna people, writes Jeff Abbott. It's so lovely that outsiders are desperate to seize ever more of their territory to develop for mass tourism, oil palm plantations, illicit drug production ... and the land grabs have the full support of Honduras military government, backed to the hilt by Uncle Sam. more...
President Barrack Obama. Photo: White House.

Obama unveils deep cuts to power plant emissions

Dan Roberts / Guardian environment

4th July 2015

Obama has delighted climate campaigners with this 'clean Power Plan' that will force states to make deep cut in carbon emissions from power stations, writes Dan Roberts. But not everyone is happy, and legal challenges loom. more...
Baram Dam blockade at Long Lama. Photo: Borneo Project.

Broken Promises: new film exposes Malaysia's indigenous rights violations

Jettie Word

17th August 2015

Malaysia is pushing ahead with its plans for a devastating series of 12 dams in the rainforests of Borneo that will kill a billion trees, bring death to wildlife on a stupendous scale and evict tens of thousands of indigenous people and their communities, writes Jettie Word. Now a new film honours their struggle for land, forest and freedom. more...
US Marines in amphibious assault vehicles taking part in a US military exercise in Oura Bay, Okinawa, Japan, 2nd November 2014 Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raul Moreno Jr. / US Navy via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

70 years after Hiroshima, Okinawa's long resistance to US military occupation

Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman

6th August 2015

Japan is living under the shadow of US militarism, write Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman - and most of all in Okinawa, the nation's southernmost archipelago. Against overwhelming local opposition but backed by Japan's government, the US is building a new military base that is seizing land and threatens the unique ecology of Oura Bay with its seagrass beds, dugongs and coral reefs. more...

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A beetle on a male corn flower. Photo: Flávio Jota de Paula via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Biodiversity is the best defence against corn pests

Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti

14th August 2015

Farmers' first line of defence against pests is the ecosystem in and around their fields, write Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti. With widespread or indiscriminate use of pesticides essential biodiversity is lost - and the result is more frequent and serious infestations, and a decline in food security. more...
Julian Assange. Illustration: Mataparda, on a photo from Espen Moe, via Flickr (CC BY).

Julian Assange: an epic struggle for justice

John Pilger

3rd August 2015

Julian Assange's struggle for freedom is one of law and justice against vengeful state power determined at all costs to darken the light of truth that Wikileaks has cast into the murkiest of places, writes John Pilger. Now, after a long series of moral and legal victories, his release may finally be drawing near. more...
A rice field and some traditional farm houses in a small village in the South of Niigata, Japan. Photo: Norman Tannert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Japan's 'sacred' rice farmers evade TPP death sentence - for now

Nicole L Freiner

3rd August 2015

Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages. more...
California drought: New Melones Lake, near Calaveras, California, 4th June 2015. Photo: Ben Amstutz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flowing uphill to money? California's water politics in a time of drought

Will Parrish

5th August 2015

While households and small feel the brunt of California's drought, it's business as usual for agribusiness, writes Will Parrish. And despite the 'first user' principle that determines water rights, the state's indigenous tribes and the wild salmon on which they depend, have been left high and dry. The Public Trust Doctrine could change that - but only if the people demand it. more...
Detroit rises above the water ... but access to it is strictly rationed by ability to pay. Photo: Unique Day Tours in over 100 cities via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Water is a human right! Detroit's lessons for our common future

Chris Grove

4th August 2015

Detroit is the site of a neoliberal experiment that's already being repeated elsewhere, writes Chris Grove, with unpayable debt used to force the privatization of public services and the terminate democratic power and accountability. But as the city's poor find themselves cur off from water, a new, wider conception of human rights is emerging from the wreckage. more...
Back to the future with TPP and other 'trade deals'? Winston Cigarette advertisement published in Ebony magazine, July 1971, Vol. 26 No. 9. Photo: Classic Film via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Yes, trade deals really do overturn democracy

David Morris / On the Commons

28th July 2015

Forget tariffs, forget Obama's promises. The whole point of modern 'trade agreements' is to whack pesky labor, environment and health laws, writes David Morris, and so empower capital and corporate power against regulators, governments and democracy itself. Unconvinced? Just imagine what these deals would look like if they were there to empower people. more...
Protest at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Permanent Peoples' Tribunal puts fracking on trial

Dr Damien Short & Dr Tom Kerns

23rd July 2015

The damage caused by fracking to people, communities and the wider environment will be put under the legal spotlight in public hearings in the US and the UK, write Damien Short & Tom Kerns. While the 'ruling' that emerges will be non-binding, it will provide an authoritative, expert dossier of fact and argument for real legal actions to follow. more...
'Hey Monsanto! If you're so proud why won't you label it?' Vermonters at the march Against Monsanto, 25th May 2013. Photo: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Defend GMO labeling - say no to Monsanto's DARK Act today!

Katherine Paul / Organic Consumers Association

21st July 2015

The US Congress votes this Thursday on the infamous 'DARK Act' that would abolish states' right to label GM foods, writes Katherine Paul. This 'Mother of all Monsanto Protection Acts' would also outlaw state GMO bans and even prevent the FDA from pre-market safety-testing GM ingredients. Send a clear message now to your member of Congress. more...
'DDT is good for me!' - detail of Penn Salt chemicals advertisement in Time magazine June 30, 1947. Photo: Crossett Library via

Ruthless power and deleterious politics: from DDT to Roundup

Evaggelos Vallianatos

18th July 2015

Just as the chemical industry and its shills once proclaimed the safety of DDT, they are doing the same today with the herbicide glyphosate which has penetrated throughout the food chain, writes Evaggelos Vallianatos. And once again it is a toxic lie that threatens species, ecosystems and people. It's time to demand a new kind of agriculture, and a future free of all pesticides. more...
The Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, where two AP1000 reactors are under construction, and subject to long delays and cost overruns. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Nugen's AP1000 nuclear reactor - is it any better than the EPR?

Chris Goodall

17th July 2015

As nuclear projects using the EPR design run into long delays and huge costs overruns, industry hopes are pinned on the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, writes Chris Goodall. But with eight AP1000 projects around the world going the way of the EPR, is it really a wise choice for the UK's Moorside nuclear site? more...
Young Mursi cattle herders. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

US, UK, World Bank among aid donors complicit in Ethiopia's war on indigenous tribes

Will Hurd

22nd July 2015

USAID, the UK's DFID and the World Bank are among those covering up for severe human rights abuses against indigenous peoples in Ethiopia's Omo Valley, inflicted during forced evictions to make way for huge plantations, writes Will Hurd. Their complicity in these crimes appears to be rooted in US and UK partnership with Ethiopia in the 'war on terror'. more...
David Lavalee out in the field, filming 'To the Ends of the Earth'.

To the ends of the Earth: a filmmaker's journey

David Lavallee

4th September 2015

It's tough being a filmmaker on the front line of environmental defense, writes David Lavallee - challenging corporate control of the Earth's resources, not to mention governments and security services, all of them intent on extracting every last drop of oil and gas from the world's most pristine places. All the more so when holding a camera makes you an instant 'eco-terrorist'. more...
Scientists working inside positive pressure personnel suit at biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory of the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Frederick, Maryland. Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / Public Domain.

GMO and glyphosate wars rage

Oliver Tickell

16th July 2015

Three in one: EFSA set to re-licence glyphosate based on secret industry studies; Monsanto moves against IARC verdict that glyphosate is a 'probable carcinogen'; and new science shows that FDA principle of GMO 'substantial equivalence' is bunk. more...


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