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A child in one of the 'unrecognised' Bedouin villages of the Negev desert, Israel: an Israeli citizen, but one less equal than others. Photo: Physicians for Human Rights - Israel via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Don't build Jew-only towns on the rubble of Bedouin villages

Jewish Coalition for the Bedouin of Um al-Hiran and Atir

26th January 2016

Israel's government is now free to expel 1,200 of its Bedouin citizens from their 'unrecognised' villages in the Negev desert, following a Supreme Court decision not to hear their appeal. Now only one thing can save the Bedouin, their communities and their way of life: an international outcry. more...
Ducks by their pond on a small farm near Ostróda, Northern Poland. Photo: Leszek Kozlowski via Flickr (CC BY).

Polish government backs small farmers' and food sovereignty

Julian Rose / ICPPC

25th January 2016

Since Poland's new government was elected last October it has moved to protect the country's 1.3 million small farmers, writes Julian Rose. First it freed those arrested for protesting corporate land grabs, now it is seeking to lighten oppressive hygiene regulations, and next it may support a new Food Act that would ban GMOs, and legislate for national food security and food sovereignty. more...
The Monument Butte project area is all public lands and minerals managed by the BLM. The BLM has already opened up wide swaths of the Uinta Basin for the oil and gas industry, effectively turning our public lands into an industrial zone. Photo: WildEarth

President Obama: Keep our oil and gas in the ground!

Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, Waterkeeper Alliance &...

15th January 2016

Now that the US is signed up to ambitious Paris targets to limit warming, it too must play its part in keeping fossil fuels under the ground, write leading US campaigners. So let's make an immediate start by halting all new federal oil and gas leasing on public lands pending a full climate and environmental impact study. more...
Flooded, embanked tributary of the River Eden in Cumbria. Image from a small unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: Neil Entwistle @salfordhydro .

Changes to our rivers and floodplains have exacerbated flooding

Neil Entwistle & George Heritage

12th January 2016

Changes to natural drainage processes in headwaters, rivers, floodplains and river channels has increased the UK's vulnerability to heavy rainfall, write Neil Entwistle & George Heritage. And to put things right, we must first gather the detailed evidence of what took place in recent floods. The Environment Agency must publish all its data, maps and images - now! more...
EPR nuclear plant under construction at Olkiluoto in Finland in 2009 - the year it was due for completion. It may finally be ready in 2018 - or then, it may not. Photo: kallerna via Wkimedia (Public Domain).

EDF may sell €3bn stake in UK nuclear to fund Hinkley C

Terry Macalister / the Guardian & Oliver Tickell

8th January 2016

The cash-strapped French energy giant EDF may sell off profitable stakes in its in its eight existing UK nuclear reactors to raise money for the Hinkley Point C project. But with no example of the EPR design planned for Hinkley even near completion, it may all prove a risk too far. more...
Original illustration for The Rural Manifesto by Clifford Harper.

Equality in the countryside

Land Workers Alliance & The Land

7th January 2016

At a time when the Labour Party is discovering its egalitarian roots, inequality is as much of an issue in the countryside as in the city, states this 'Rural Manifesto' from the Land Workers Alliance and The Land. The neglect and exclusion of Britain's rural poor and landless farmers must end. more...
A tribal elder from the Tagbanua tribe in Quezon municipality, central Palawan. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Philippines islanders unite to resist 'land grab' palm oil companies

Rod Harbinson

7th January 2016

Farmers on Palawan are being tricked into giving land away to palm oil companies with local government support, writes Rod Harbinson. Under the palm oil company 'leases' the farmers lose all rights to their land, never receive any money, and are saddled with 25 years of debt. Those who resist the land grabs are now in fear for their lives following the murder of a prominent campaigner. more...
A farmer at work on his tractor amid oilseed rape (canola) in Oakwood, Derbyshire, England. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To control flood - and drought - we must involve farmers

Colin Tudge

2nd January 2015

Building resilience to flood and drought is all about working with farmers, writes Colin Tudge. Simple things like ploughing across slopes, not up and down them, planting trees, and caring for soils, can make a huge difference in helping rainwater to sink into the ground, not run off. And to make it happen, the government must take a lead. more...
A beaver pond in Bamff, Scotland. Photo: Paul Ramsay / beaversatbamff.blogspot.co.uk.

Time to bring back Nature's flood management engineer - the beaver

Louise Ramsay

30th December 2015

As climate change brings more rain, Britain is suffering from the extinction here of our native flood engineer - the beaver. Louise Ramsay says it's high time to re-introduce these charismatic rodents all over Britain. more...
UNEP scientists investigating an oil-contaminated site in the Niger Delta accompanied by Ogoni community guides. Photo: Victor Temofe Mogbolu / UNEP.

Nigerian farmers' win right to sue Shell in Netherlands courts

The Ecologist

18th December 2015

In a landmark judgment today, four Niger Delta farmers have won the right to sue Dutch oil multinational Shell in the Netherlands courts after oil spills destroyed their farms and fish ponds. The case sets a precedent for other victims of corporate environmental and human rights harms around the world. more...
A pair of beaver dams in Bamff, Perthshire. Photo: Paul Ramsay.

Carlisle floods: bring back the trees, and the beavers!

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The key to reducing the risk of more floods like those in Carlisle is to realise that conventional 'flood defence' can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. We must embrace natural solutions to holding back flood waters: more trees; and bring back the beavers! more...
Beavers nuzzling in the Tay Valley. Photo: Scottish Wild Beaver Group via website.

Scotland's wild beaver 'shoot to kill' policy is illegal and wrong

Louise Ramsay

5th December 2015

Native wild beavers in their natural range are meant to receive stringent protection under European and Scottish law, writes Louise Ramsay. But farmers have declared 'open season' on the small but growing population, shooting them at will, while the Scottish Government and its wildlife agency look the other way. more...

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Soil is where our food comes from - so why don't we look after it as well as organic farmers? Photo: Soil Association.

It's time to celebrate and protect the soils that feed us!

Peter Melchett

4th December 2015

Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming. more...
Traditional Farmer in Kabaune village, Kenya working in the field with his cattle. The village has joined in planting trees in order to increase rain and water. Photo: P. Casier / CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The tremendous success of agroecology in Africa

Colion Todhunter

21st November 2015

While the Gates Foundation and conservative politicians are bigging up GMOs and agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter, a quiet revolution has been working its way across Africa. Agroecological farming, constantly adapting to local needs, customs, soils and climates, has been improving nutrition, reducing poverty, combatting climate change, and enriching farmland. more...
Dulse growing on kelp as an epiphyte: a feast fit for a king. Photo, Fiona Bird.

Seaweed on the shore, seaweed in the kitchen

Fiona Bird

26th November 2015

Fresh or dried wild seaweed may be on sale in a supermarket near you, writes Fiona Bird. But much better than supporting what may be unsustainable harvesting, gather your own at low tide on rocky shores, picking just enough for your needs. Once a poverty food, seaweed is now a sought after ingredient that expresses the 'fifth taste', umami. more...
This is the real 'Climate Smart Agriculture' - but surely not at all what the agribusiness corporations have in mind! Photo: Helena Paul.

‘Climate-Smart Agriculture' - preparing for a corporate soil and climate-grab in Paris?

Helena Paul / EcoNexus

26th November 2015

‘Climate Smart Agriculture' can be applied to anything from industrial monocultures to agroecology, writes Helena Paul - and fertiliser, biotech and agribusiness corporations are seizing the chance to cash in. Now COP21 host France is proposing to use soils as a giant carbon sink - a fine idea in itself, but not if it's used to 'offset' continued fossil fuel emissions, and to greenwash industrial agriculture. more...
DCNS and Nass&Wind designed this 'Winflo' floating wind turbine.

With floating platforms, offshore wind cost set to plunge

Paul Brown

11th November 2015

Floating wind turbines offer huge falls in the cost of offshore wind power, writes Paul Brown, and could be generating power in UK waters at well under the cost of new nuclear by 2020, provided adequate support. more...
Even though the Baram dam is on hold, logging of the reservoir area and surrounding forest is proceeding apace. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Indigenous activists celebrate bitter victory over rainforest dam moratorium

Rod Harbinson / Mongabay

22nd October 2015

As indigenous activists opposing hydropower dams on their territories gather this weekend in the rainforests of Sarawak, Malaysia, they have good news to celebrate, writes Rod Harbinson: a giant dam on the Baram river has been put on hold. But the forests are still being logged, local people have been stripped of land rights, and a programme of 12 giant dams is still official policy. 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...
Hero of the hour: Nicky Lowden McCrimmon gives a signature shortly after his victory in defeating a feeble land reform bill, followed by a standing ovation of almost 300 SNP members. Photo: Jen Stout.

SNP's land rebellion - we want radical reform, not watered-down compromise!

Jen Stout / Bella Caledonia

17th October 2015

It may not be on tonight's telly, but there's only one story on the lips of SNP members at their party's conference in Aberdeen, writes Jen Stout - the grassroots revolt against the feeble land reform bill advanced by the party leadership, rejected outright by members in a decisive vote. Now the SNP must come up with a bill that's as 'radical' as Nicola Sturgeon's speeches. more...
Polish farmers in tractors advancing slowly towards the Szczecin prosecutor's office, 12th October 2015, to demand that all charges are dropped. Photo: ICPPC.

Polish 'farm defenders' arrested, imprisoned

The Ecologist

13th October 2015

The might of the Polish state is turning against the country's small farmers following a series of effective protests against the sale of land in the country's western Pomerania province to foreign investors. more...
34 people were killed at the 2009 protest for indigenous rights at Bagua, Peru. Photo: anonoymous via powless / Flickr (CC BY).

Neoliberals with chainsaws: deforestation in Peru and the future of the Amazon

Clément Doleac

5th October 2015

Peru is in hot competition with Brazil to be the main focus of Amazonian deforestation, writes Clément Doleac. A neoliberal government desperate to hand over the country's forests, oil, gas, minerals and indigenous lands for corporate exploitation is unafraid to break national laws, turn a blind eye to air and water pollution, and respond to any challenges with overwhelming violence. more...
The beneficiary - 'chicken oligarch' Yuriy Kosyuk, whose agribusiness company has received €500 million of loans from the EBRD, financed by the EU's taxpayers. Photo: UTR News via Wikimedia (CC BY).

EU taxpayers finance Ukraine's 'chicken oligarch'

Fidanka Bacheva McGrath / CEE Bankwatch

17th September 2015

Taxpayer-financed development banks have lent €500 million to Ukraine's biggest agribusiness company so it can undercut EU chicken producers, writes Fidanka Bacheva McGrath - while polluting the environment and grabbing land from local farmers. more...
The Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran, scheduled for demolition after a Supreme Court judgment that its residents rights would not be violated by their forced eviction to make way for a Jewish town. Photo: 7amleh.org.

Israel resumes ethnic cleansing of the Negev - the Prawer Plan revived?

Alia Al Ghussain

11th September 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron is receiving Israel's Benjamin Netenyahu into his Downing Street home just as Israel embarks on its ethnic cleansing of the Negev, writes Alia Al Ghussain. The imminent demolition of the 'unrecognised' Bedouin village of Umm Al Hiran and the eviction of its residents looks like the realization of the 'Prawer Plan' to Judaize the desert. more...
No GMOs here. The harvest is in on this farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Photo: Gordon Robertson via Flickr (CC BY).

We scientists welcome Scotland's GM-free status

The undersigned 30 scientists and specialists

4th September 2015

Scotland's decision to maintain its GM-free status is in the best interests of the country, its people and its farmers, 30 scientists write to Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. It is abundantly justified by the scientific evidence and will support the sustainable, agroecological farming systems of the future. more...

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