The Ecologist


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UK Prime Minister David Cameron is all for innovation - and that includes highly innovative interpretations of UN Resolution 2249 to permit military force, and of the right to 'self defence' to justify attacking distant targets that present no threat. Pho

Syria: an illegal war for energy, capital and empire

Colin Todhunter

28th November 2015

As protestors gather to oppose yet another illegal war in the Middle East, Colin Todhunter asks why David Cameron is so keen to bomb. Of course there's access to oil and routes for gas pipelines, but beyond that, it's about re-entrenching militarism into our national culture, and re-asserting the dominance of capital over people. more...
Photo: PAN North America.

EPA bans toxic pesticide mix on GM crops

The Ecologist

26th November 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just withdrawn its authorization for a toxic mix of two herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be used on GM crops. The move came in response to a lawsuit claiming the initial registration was unlawful. more...
Doing your toxicology in a computer has three big advantages (for the chemical industry): it's quick, cheap, and can be manipulated to systematically understate the real health hazards. Photo: Alejandro Juárez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Triumph of digital toxicology: why the US won't regulate deadly chemicals

Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman

27th November 2015

A six-month investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated toxicology research carried out entirely on computers - and this 'in silico' science often trumps both biology and epidemiology when it comes to regulatory action, or lack of it. The result? Toxic substances remain in everyday products. more...
Blondie - one of a rough half dozen coyotes that freely roam Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA. She probably carries a mixture of genes from dogs and wolves as well as coyote, but that does not mean she's of a new species. Photo: Dave Inman via Flickr (CC

Who believes in the big bad coywolf?

Roland Kays, North Carolina State University

20th November 2015

Novel canids are hunting the forests of Eastern North America from Florida to Labrador, writes Roland Kays, where hybrids of coyote, dog and wolf have evolved into highly competitive forms. But is it the evolution of new species? If left in long term isolation, perhaps - but that's not about to happen. Genetic mixing and evolution still have a long way to run. more...
Israel's exploitation of wind energy in the occupied Golan Heights is legal under international law because it does not deplete the territory's natural capital. But oil drilliing would violate that principle. Photo: Yuval Shoshan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Israel to annex Golan Heights after 'billion barrel' oil find

Jonathan Cook / Middle East Eye

15th November 2015

After a massive oil find in Syria's Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, Israel is asking President Obama to recognise its annexation of the territory, writes Jonathan Cook. To consolidate its hold, plans are afoot to quadruple Israeli settler numbers to 100,000. more...
This jaguar is in a zoo in French Guyana - not to be confuised with the wild jaguars of Mexico, now returning to their former range in the US. Photo: Yannick TURBE via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

From Yucatan to Arizona, from Sonora to New Mexico: the return of the jaguar

Kent Paterson

13th November 2015

Mexico is determined to restore populations of its largest native predator, the jaguar, to long term viability, writes Kent Paterson. That means creating millions of acres of ecological corridors across the country, and joining with US colleagues to secure large areas of habitat in southwestern states, where recent sightings give hope that jaguars are returning to their former range. more...
Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd at the 'Vote Out Trident' CND protest outside the Ministry of Defence,  London, 13 April 2015. Photo: RonF / The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Jeremy Corbyn is right to reject Trident

Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret'd)

9th November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn came under attack yesterday for his refusal to countenance the use of nuclear weapons, writes Commander Robert Green. But his stance is honourable and both legally and strategically correct - especially with his opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear missile system. more...
He listened! 'No KeyStone XL' protest in Washington, DC 18th November 2012. Photo: John Duffy ( via Flickr (CC BY_NC-SA).

Obama rejects KXL pipeline - it's the climate!

Oliver Tickell

6th November 2015

US President Obama today refused to permit the 1,200 mile Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska that would have carried 800,000 barrels of oil a year of tarsands oil into the US, citing climate concerns. more...
After four separate attempts to rein in the biotech companies failed, an estimated 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district. Photo: Christopher Pala.

Hawaii: anger rises over health impacts of pesticides used on GMO crops

Christopher Pala

4th November 2015

Hawaii has got everything, writes Christopher Pala, and not just for holidaymakers. It's also the perfect place for biotech companies to develop GMO corn varieties and spray them with toxic agrochemicals. People are getting sprayed too - and doctors report high rates of birth defects. But grassroots efforts to restrict the use of pesticides have twice been over-ruled by state courts. more...
The Stone's Throw Landfill, near Tallassee, AL. Photo: Jeronimo Nisa / Earthjustice.

Environmental racism in the US - black communities fight for justice

Heather Kathryn Ross / Earthjustice

11th November 2015

Landfill sites, giant hog farms, incinerators and other 'bad neighbor' industries in the US tend to be situated in African American communities, writes Heather Kathryn Ross. The Environmental Protection Agency is legally obliged to prevent 'environmental racism', but from California to Michigan, low-income communities of color have been waiting years for it to take a stand. Now, backed by Earthjustice, they are forcing the issue - in the courts. more...
Punta Lobos beach, Todos Santos - with the 'mindfulness' development built out across the beach. Photo: Salvemos Punta Lobos via Facebook.

Colorado State campus mega-development steals Mexican beach - you call that 'mindful'?

Viviane Mahieux

2nd November 2015

Resistance is growing in Todos Santos, Baja California, to a tourism and University campus mega-development of 4,500 homes that claims to be 'free range and locally sourced', writes Viviane Mahieux. It has already grossly disfigured one of Mexico most gorgeous beaches, while locals fear it will drain their aquifers and obliterate a harmonious community. more...
Solar panels, and the price we pay for them, have already fallen to earth. Coming up next, batteries. Photo: International Space Station, 2011, by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Batteries and renewables - believe the hype!

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace Energydesk

5th November 2015

What's the new 'big thing' in energy? Of course, cheap, abundant solar power is very new and very big. But to make it work on a really large scale we need to be able to store its energy to use when we need it, not just when the sun is shining. Soon the batteries will be there to make that possible - at a price we can afford. And that will be a very big thing, indeed. more...

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Don't let pesky nano-particles in candy spoil your children's Halloween. Photo: Cozy Coffin Motel by Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

Ban the tiny horrors in our Halloween candy!

Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield / Center for Food Safety

31st October 2015

The European Parliament voted this week to regulate nano-materials in the pending EU law on novel foods, write Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield. But no such moves are taking place in the US. Let's make this the last time our children are exposed to these hazardous substances in their Halloween candy! more...
At least in Greece, the weather is warmer than in most of Europe. Photo: street scene in Monastiraki, Athens, by psyberartist via Flickr (CC BY).

Greece is the testing ground for the TTIP era of corporate rule

Pavlos Georgiadis / Sustainable Food Trust

5th November 2015

Greece is Europe's sandbox for the neoliberal free-for-all to follow if the EU and the US sign off on the TTIP trade and investment treaty, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. The termination of public services, the cut-price sell-off of public assets, the dismantling of environmental protection, the democratic closedown, the rule of corporations and finance capital ... all coming your way soon. 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...
German protestors opposing TTIP and CETA in Berlin, 10th October 2015. Photo: Jakob Huber / Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

EU-Canada CETA trade deal is a back door for US to sue EU - even if TTIP fails

Maude Barlow / Global Justice Now

30th October 2015

There's been a big fuss about the 'ISDS' clauses in the TTIP trade deal that would allow US corporations to sue the EU and its member states for 'lost profits', writes Maude Barlow. But ISDS is already in CETA, the already negotiated EU-Canada trade deal - and nothing would be easier than for US companies to use it as their 'back door'. We must make sure CETA is rejected at its final hurdle. more...
Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...
Southern Resident Orca near East Point, Saturna Island, 12th July 2011. Photo: Miles Ritter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'Fragile Waters': we must stop starving Southern Resident Orcas to extinction

Kathleen Haase

24th November 2015

The Southern Resident Orcas of Puget Sound have plenty of problems, writes Kathleen Haase. But as the film 'Fragile Waters' makes clear, there's a common thread: us. Whether it's over-fishing Chinook salmon or polluting the ocean with toxic chemicals, we are driving them to extinction - and if we don't soon mend our ways, it will be too late. more...
Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State oil well in McKenzie County, North Dakota, east of Arnegard and west of Watford City. Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Are the fracking vampires going bust? That's how it looks

Joshua Frank

26th October 2015

The high oil prices that turned North Dakota into a boom state have turned, writes Joshua Frank. Now high-cost oil and gas are in the doldrums everywhere, production is falling - and even if prices do pick up one day, risk aversion and the relentless advance of renewables will leave lakes of oil and caverns of gas underground where they belong. Folks, the oil party really is over! more...
Prime-Minister-elect Justin Trudeau on CBC News. Photo: Can Pac Swire via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Is lagging on climate change an electoral liability?

David Konisky & Matto Mildenberger

23rd October 2015

Political earthquakes in Canada and Australia have seen climate-sceptic leaders replaced by new ones committed to effective climate action, write David Konisky & Matto Mildenberger. It may be going too far to say that's why they were elected - but these elections do show that green policies are no electoral drawback. 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...
Victims of the pine bark beetle: Lodgepole pines in Summit County, Colorado. They may not look pretty, but these dead trees are an ecological godsend. Photo: V Smoothe via Flickr (CC BY).

In defense of the Bark Beetle: a keystone species of Western forest ecosystems

Chad Hanson

28th October 2015

Bark beetles are invariably presented as terrible, forest killing pests, writes Chad Hanson. But in truth forest biodiversity depends on them to create the snags for insects to burrow in, woodpeckers to feed off, and countless birds and even pine martens to nest in. So when you hear politicians calling for bark beetle 'salvage' logging, send them off with a flea in the ear! more...
Pro-GMO philanthropist Bill Gates has been a big funder of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - he even paid for its magnificent Gates Hall. But is Cornell's Alliance for Science performing a flip on GMO safety? Photo: Anne Ruthmann Photography via Flickr (CC

Surprise - Cornell is taking the GMO safety debate to a new level!

Steven M. Druker

19th October 2015

Something important just happened at Cornell's Alliance for Science, writes Steven M. Druker. Long known as a keen promoter of genetic engineering, the organization has experienced a profound change of direction. Its new director, Sarah Davidson Evanega, has opened an inclusive scientific dialogue on the safety of GMO crops. Who says it's all 'over'? more...
Colleen Brennan and Nancy Kile of the Sisterhood to Protect Sacred Water rally outside the Nuclear Regulatory Hearings in Crawford. Photo: Rosy Torres / WNV (CC BY).

Water first! Lakota women and ranchers lead charge to close toxic uranium mine

Suree Towfighnia / Waging NonViolence

13th October 2015

The impending renewal of the license for a uranium mine in Nebraska has ignited a years long resistance among those - most of them women - for whom good health and safe, clean water in the Ogallala aquifer is as important as life itself, writes Suree Towfighnia. But for others, jobs and money come first. Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must reach its decision. more...
For a problem-free pregnancy, don't live near here. Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, PA, operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Premature birth and problem pregnancies near fracking wells

The Ecologist

9th October 2015

A new study in the US's 'fracking capital' Pennsylvania has found that pregnant women who live near gas fracking wells are far more likely to give birth prematurely or develop problems during their pregnancies. more...


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