The Ecologist


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Pheasants reared for shooting kept on a cold and uncomfortable wire floor. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Pheasant shooting begins today - and forget the rural idyll!

Toni Shephard

1st October 2015

This is the first day of the pheasant shooting season, writes Toni Shephard. But put bucolic ideas of happy birds running around in the wild woods out of your mind. Most of the birds coming under shotgun fire today have only just been released from overcrowded factory farms. Even in death they have no dignity: most are not even eaten, but end up dumped in makeshift pits. more...

UN development goals miss the point: it's all about power

Nick Dearden / Global Justice Now

28th September 2015

The Sustainable Development Goals are a wish list that few could disagree with, writes Nick Dearden. But the delivery plan is to rely on 'free' markets, corporations and technocratic government - although these 'solutions' are at the root of the problems the SDGs aim to solve. more...
Protesters from Bund, the German FoE NGO, demand climate action now at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 11 June 2015. But the delegates were unable to deliver. Photo: UNclimatechange via Flickr (CC BY).

Bonn climate talks end with no draft text for Paris

Henner Weithöner / Climate News Network

10th September 2015

'Unbearably tardy' climate negotiations have ended in failure, writes Henner Weithöner. Without even a draft text at this late stage, the chances of a meaningful deal emerging from the crucial UN summit in Paris are looking paper-thin. more...
Only a lucky few pheasants escape this fate. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Whitewashed - the short and miserable life of game birds

Toni Shephard

9th Sepetmber 2015

Defra's new £500,000 report on pheasant and partridge breeding is biased towards commercial shooting interests from start to finish, writes Toni Shephard. It purports to study the welfare of captive birds reared in restrictive cages, but fails to compare their lot to that of free-range birds - the only adequate baseline. more...
Tar sands processing in Alberta, Canada is a huge source of emissions in its own right. Canada is one of the countries putting forward an 'inadequate' target, with no credible plan to deliver it. Photo: Williamson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Emissions cuts pledges too weak to achieve 2C 'safety limit'

Alex Kirby

3rd September 2015

Promises made by governments to cut their greenhouse emissions come nowhere near stopping global warming rising above the 2C danger level, writes Alex Kirby. And in many cases the laws and policies needed to deliver them are absent. more...
This cull is not the answer to TB in cattle - and now the question will be settled in the High Court. Photo: the badger march outside Parliament, 8th June 2013, by David Clare via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Brian May: I'll take Dorset badger cull to the High Court

The Ecologist

30th August 2015

The government's decision of extend the badger cull to Dorset, and persist with the Somerset and Gloucestershire culls, is 'completely irrational', say badger protection groups - and now they intend to prove it in a High Court legal action, forcing an end to the killing. more...
It may not be to your taste, but the trade in mammoth tusk carvings, like this one on show at the Treasure Island Hotel, Las Vegas, is depressing the price of elephant ivory and helping to preserve the species. Photo: Cheryl Q via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our elephants, don't ban mammoth ivory - encourage it!

Douglas MacMillan

27th August 2015

There is widely held belief that there' only one way to protect rhinos, elephants and other endangered species poached for the international wildlife trade, writes Douglas MacMillan: a complete trade ban. But it's a dangerous misconception. By raising prices and engaging criminal networks, bans speed up extinction rather than preventing it. 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...
COP19 Climate March against the influence of fossil fuel companies on the negotiations, November 16 2013. Photo: Jamie Henn / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

COP21 is the 'no hope' Climate Summit - but there's still everything to play for

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

14th August 2015

If you're expecting COP21 in Paris to save the world's climate you're in for a disappointment, writes Alex Scrivener. For governments, climate is secondary to the really big issues - like endless economic growth and ever-increasing corporate profit. But there's still plenty campaigners can do to shame politicians, businesses and investors into meaningful action. more...
Radioactive warning signs at a Czech processing plant storage facility where 'yellowcake' uranium ore is processed. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

#COP21: don't nuke the climate!

Peer de Rijk

22nd August 2015

Nuclear energy is a failed technology that's never been safe, affordable or effective at reducing carbon emissions, writes Peer de Rijk. But that won't stop the world's nuclear lobbyists from thronging to COP21 in Paris determined to secure a place for nuclear power among the 'solutions' to climate change. We must make sure they fail. more...
Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis recticulata) and oxpeckers photographed on safari at Samburu, Kenya. Photo: roger smith via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Giraffes aren't dangerous - but some are endangered

Matt Hayward

11th August 2015

Giraffe numbers have fallen from 140,000 in 16 years to just 80,000, writes Matt Hayward, and sub-species in East and West Africa are close to extinction. However trophy hunting has led to big population increases in private game reserves in southern Africa. To secure the giraffes' future, beware of simplistic narratives. more...
This is what was really doing the damage: industrial whaling by Britain, by ships like the Petrel, now an eerie hulk beached up on South Georgia Island. Photo: Christopher Michel via Flickr (CC BY).

Whatever our emotions tell us, not all whaling is the same

David Lusseau

30th July 2015

The Faroe Islands' annual 'grindadráp', in which hundreds of pilot whales are slaughtered with knives and hooks, is a horrifying spectacle, writes David Lusseau. But unlike industrial whaling it poses no threat to the species. And is it really any worse than the industrial factory farming that we routinely ignore? more...

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Danish Faroese whale hunters in a sea of red. Photo: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd.

The blood of the whales is on Danish hands

Captain Paul Watson

28th July 2015

Hundreds of pilot whales were slaughtered in Faroes waters last week alone, writes Captain Paul Watson. But in 2011 no whales were killed while Sea Shepherd vessels patrolled. The difference? Since 2014 the Royal Danish Navy has defended the whale hunt. more...
Contaminated earth storage area within the Iitate Village evacuated zone, December 2014. Photo: Eric Schultz / EELV Fukushima via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Japan and IAEA risk Fukushima victims' lives with forced return

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace Japan

29th July 2015

A massive decontamination exercise is under way in Iitate Village near Fukushima, writes Kendra Ulrich: step one in a plan to force 6,000 residents back into the evacuated zone in 2017. But as radiation levels remain stubbornly high, it looks like the real plan is to 'normalize' nuclear catastrophe, while making Iitate residents nuclear victims twice over - and this time, it's deliberate. more...

Fox hunting is political poison for David Cameron and the Tory Party

Dominic Dyer

20th July 2015

Last week David Cameron backed down over his plans to bring back fox hunting by 'fatally amending' the Hunting Act, writes Dominic Dyer. The way he spun it, it was all about SNP interference in English law, but the real problem was opposition within the Conservative Party, which increasingly sees blood sports as a barbaric relic that alienates voters of all persuasions. more...
22 Pilot whales lined up on the shore at Hvannasund, Faroe Islands. Photo: Rosie Kunneke / Sea Shepherd.

Denmark must stop the Faroe Islands cetacean slaughter

Captain Paul Watson / Sea Shepherd

17th July 2015

This year's 'Grind' in the Faroe Islands was as bloody as ever, writes Captain Paul Watson, who witnessed the slaughter of a pod of 22 pilot whales with vicious hooks and long knives. If Denmark wants to be considered a 'civilised' nation, it must stop its aggressive support for the cruel and barbaric tradition. more...
The South Shropshire hunt out on a public road. Photo: League Agaisnt Cruel Sports.

Hunting Act 'amendment' is repeal in disguise

Robbie Marsland

10th July 2015

Next Tuesday MPs will be voting on an 'amendment' to the Hunting Act that outlaws fox hunting and other cruel sports, writes Robbie Marsland. But its effect would be to make the law a dead letter - so full of holes as to permit the return of full-blown hunting with dogs. MPs must vote down this 'repeal by stealth'. more...
China has chosen its energy future - and it will be renewable. A huge windfarm in Xinjiang. Photo: Mike Locke via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

China's climate pledge for green growth spells doom for coal exporters

John Mathews

3rd July 2015

Renewable energy is all go in China, as set out in its climate pledge this week, writes John Mathews, with huge growth planned for wind and solar. The one big loser - coal exporters who can expect falling sales volumes in coming years. Wake up Australia! more...
Texaco's toxic signature, written in spilt oil: Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The company, now part of Chevron, has yet to compensate the victims of its pollution, or clean up. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr (CC BY).

Coming closer this month: a UN Human Rights Treaty for corporate abuses

Sam Cossar-Gilbert

1st July 2015

This month the UN is meeting to enact binding global rules on the conduct of business and transnational corporations, writes Sam Cossar-Gilbert, reversing the trend for increasing business empowerment in TTP, TTIP and TISA. The new UN Human Rights Treaty aims to provide justice for the victims of corporate criminality anywhere in the world. more...
Carbon trading may be highly profitable for a select few - but if you want to fix climate change, best leave it well alone! Photo: Richard Alvin via Flickr (CC BY).

Pope Francis is right. Carbon markets will never fix the climate

Steffen Böhm, Gareth Bryant & Siddhartha Dabhi

23rd June 2015

Carbon trading has a remarkable record of failure: rewarding polluters while causing no discernible reduction in global emissions. If the COP21 UN climate negotiations in Paris are to achieve anything of value, first they must ditch the false solution of carbon markets. And thanks to Pope Francis, the idea is firmly on the agenda. more...
Captive foxes held in a 'fox farm' barn as discovered by investigators. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Kidnapped fox cubs explode the myth that hunting is ‘wildlife management'

Dr Toni Shephard

21st June 2015

The discovery of a secret 'fox farm' apparently linked to the Middleton Hunt exposes the lie that is used to justify fox hunting, writes, Dr Toni Shephard: that it's a legitimate means of wildlife control. On the contrary, foxes are deliberately fattened up for the kill, also indicating possible violations of the 2004 Hunting Act, which prohibits the hunting of wild animals, including foxes, with dogs. more...
Wind power in China at Urumqi, Xinjiang province. Photo: Asian Development Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

World must wake up to China's energy revolution

Kieran Cooke

15th June 2015

China's success in driving down its fossil fuel burn will raise chances of a success at this year's Paris climate talks, writes Kieran Cooke - but first the world must appreciate the changes China is making, and how clean energy is catalysing a broader economic transformation. more...
The Bois Dormoy is a unique green oasis in the heart of metropolitan Paris and its multicultural community. It should be treasured, not destroyed! Photo; via Bois Dormoy on Facebook.

Paris must remember: climate solutions are small, local, green, and begin at home

Marc Brightman

17th June 2015

As Paris prepares for COP21 in Paris, Marc Brightman finds that the city is in the grip of a benign but ignorant authoritarianism that is ready to trample on much-loved green spaces like the Bois Dormoy, reclaimed from dereliction by the multicultural local community, which represent real solutions to the global problems of food, climate, the future of our cities, and our place in nature. more...
Friends of the Earth supporters protesting at the UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn today, denouncing the lack of progress. Photo: Friends of the Earth Europe via Flickr (All rights reserved).

Germany takes the heat as climate talks close with no progress

Oliver Tickell

11th June 2015

UN climate talks in Bonn ended today without the progress needed to secure agreement at the Paris COP in December - shortly after the G7 issued aspirational climate promises devoid of action, and heedless of warnings that Germany is already suffering the impacts of climate change. more...
Almost one in every two of Tanzania's elephants has been lost in the last five years - but the government is more concerned to conceal the truth, than to tackle the crisis, Photo: Sakke Wiik via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tanzania in denial over 60% elephant population crash

The Ecologist

4th June 2015

After six months of denial Tanzania has finally admitted that its elephants have suffered a catastrophic 60% decline in five years. But they still refuse to accept it's caused by poaching for ivory, rampant corruption and 'above the law' smuggling networks. more...


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