The Ecologist


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Bison are roaming free in Germany - so why not Scotland? Photo: Felix Kaestle.

Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible

Paul Jepson

22nd July 2015

Rewilding is now firmly on the agenda, writes Paul Jepson, and that brings a huge opportunity to re-invigorate conservation. But we must look to creating new functional ecosystems for the future, rather than trying to recreate a lost and perhaps imagined past. more...
Pope Francis. Photo: © Mazur / via Catholic Church England and Wales / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The system is intolerable: the change we need is in our hands

Pope Francis

18th July 2015

The world has become intolerable for people everywhere, and for Earth herself, says Pope Francis. Profound, transformative change leading to social and economic justice is now an absolute necessity and something we must all fight for. We must also act to safeguard the Earth herself, our common home. more...
The real battle is only just beginning. Riot police in Syntagma late in the night after large demonstration of 'Indignados', in Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece, 29th June 2011. Photo: Ggia via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Greece - the real fight is only just beginning

Oliver Tickell

14th July 2015

Supporters of Greece's fight for sovereignty are unanimous in blaming the evil troika for its humiliating defeat, writes Oliver Tickell. But the real fault is with Syriza for their needless, shameful surrender. Now, as the real battle begins, we must hold firm with the Greek people against neoliberal occupation. more...
The Vandana Shiva Reader (Culture Of The Land), front over (cut).

Green Revolution: wonderful science, catastrophic consequences

Colin Tudge

12th July 2015

In her new book The Vandana Shiva Reader, the celebrated campaigner and scientist deplores the way in which the Green Revolution forced India's poorest farmers off their land, writes Colin Tudge. Now she fears even worse outcomes in Africa where a GMO-fuelled farming revolution is under way. more...
Path to riches? A woman rummages through mining overburden in search of left-over coal to sell at Jugsalai, Jharkhand. India. Photo: Akshay Mahajan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Climate change? Let them eat coal!

Brendan Montague /

21st July 2015

Coal companies and their 'sceptic' shills have almost given up on denying climate change, writes Brendan Montague. The new message is that coal is essential ... to end world poverty! And those who advocate climate action are 'harsh, cold-hearted' beasts. The one thing that hasn't changed? It's all lies. more...
There's more to health and wellbeing than the NHS! Out cycling on the Folkestone to Hythe Coastpath last summer. Photo: Gareth Williams via Flickr (CC BY).

Health and wellbeing are at the heart of our Green future

Natalie Bennett

3rd July 2015

The NHS is one of our greatest institutions and we must defend it to the hilt, writes Natalie Bennett. But to build the healthy society we all want and deserve, we need joined up policies across the policy spectrum, valuing human wellbeing above crude economic growth. more...
Frack off! Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Secret report: fracking could hurt house prices, health and environment

Adam Vaughan & Rowena Mason / Guardian Environment

2nd July 2015

House prices could fall 7% near fracking rigs, according to the 'secret' Defra report on fracking in rural areas, only published in full after a legal battle, while leakage of waste water could damage human health and contaminate food. more...
Canunda wind farm, near Millicent, south-eastern South Australia. A composite of three photos, combined using Photomatix Pro. Early morning. Photo: David Clarke via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal closures give South Australia the chance to go 100% renewable

Mark Diesendorf

18th July 2015

Moving to 100% clean, renewable energy is a win-win option for South Australia, writes Mark Diesendorf. First of all it's highly doable over a 25-year transition period. It will also bring lower power prices, more employment, better health and a cleaner environment. What's not to like? more...
The Pacific Ocean, seen from high above. Photo: blueforce4116 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

To live within planetary boundaries, we must contract the global economy

Samuel Alexander

5th July 2015

We have a problem, writes Samuel Alexander. Even the most eco-friendly rich world lifestyles are overconsuming resources and over-dumping wastes. To put us on track to 'single planet living' will mean far deeper changes than any yet envisaged, including deliberate 'degrowth'' and the abandonment of consumer culture. more...
Image: Breaking the Frame.

Exposing technocracy - the mindset of industrial capitalism

David King

27th June 2015

Technology is crucial to all the big issues, but criticism is hampered by mythologies and structures of power, writes David King. Designed by and for corporate interests, modern industrial technologies embody a 400-year old technocratic philosophy of control of nature and people which must be confronted. more...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking out against austerity outside Parliament, 27th May 2015. Photo: Sleeves Rolled Up via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Labour's choice: neoliberalism, more neoliberalism - or Jeremy Corbyn?

Ben Whitham

4th July 2015

Within minutes of Labour's election defeat its MPs were denouncing Miliband for failing to 'embrace aspiration' and alienating 'wealth creators', writes Ben Whitham. But the real problem was that he never expressed a coherent alternative to neoliberalism and austerity, presenting at best a 'Tory lite' agenda that failed to inspire. And who are the real wealth creators anyway? more...
Radical Bankers gather in their social centre in an abandoned bank. Photo: The Source Brighton.

Anti-austerity movement revives radical urban squatting

Almudena Serpis

24th June 2015

Long a feature of British urban life, domestic squatting has now been criminalised, writes Almudena Serpis. But suddenly two social centres have come to life in a squatted bank in Brighton, and a long abandoned pub in London, reviving the rebellious spirit of the squatting movement, and promulgating a radical anti-austerity message that evokes the struggles in Greece, Spain and beyond. more...

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General Audience with Pope Francis. Photo: © Mazur / via Flickr / Catholic Church England and Wales (CC BY-NC-SA).

Social and environmental justice: the struggle is one!

Pope Francis

28th June 2015

We must beware an 'environmental' agenda that excludes the human dimension, Pope Francis writes in his recent Encyclical: the poor are least to blame for the ecological and climate crises, yet they are its primary victims. Humanity must make enduring decisions about the world we and our children will share. more...
The Inauguration Mass For Pope Francis, 19th march 2013. Photo: Catholic Church England and Wales via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Pope Francis's climate letter is a radical attack on the logic of the market

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

18th June 2015

The Encyclical published today by Pope Francis represents a profound religious and philosophical challenge to the mainstream narratives of our times, writes Steffen Böhm, and a major confrontation with the great corporate, economic and political powers, as it spells out the potential of a new world order rooted in love, compassion, and care for the natural world. more...
Photo: Troed-Y-Rhiw Farm via Facebook.

To support 'green' farming, officials must learn that small is beautiful

Alicia Miller / Sustainable Food Trust.

16th June 2015

It's a hard life being an organic farmer, writes Alicia Miller - and specially when it comes to engaging with a bureaucracy that's trying to 'green' our agriculture. Should small scale farmers change their farming practices to fit in with it? Or the other way round? more...
Salmon run on the Adam's River, BC. Photo: John Biehler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Is Canada's government trying to kill off the wild salmon?

Jeff Matthews

8th June 2015

Does the Canadian Government actually want to wipe out its wild salmon? To ordinary, sane people, the idea is completely mad, writes Jeff Matthews. But for resource extraction industries, salmon farmers and right wing neoliberal politicians, it could make perfect sense. more...
Prophetik by Jeff Garner on display at Eco Fashion Week 2012 in Vancouver, April 2012. Photo: Jason Hargrove via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Sustainable fashion is slow fashion - because fast comes at a price

Ruth Styles

8th June 2015

The mainstream fashion industry is trapped in a competitive spiral of ever shorter and faster sales and production cycles, writes Ruth Styles - and that inevitably stresses both textile workers and natural resources. But there is another way: the way of 'slow fashion' in which clothes are timeless, beautiful and made to last. more...
Photo: jacinta lluch valero via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Green growth or steady state? Rival visions of a green economy

Guy Shrubsole

24th July 2015

Sooner or later, humanity will have to accept the constraints of a finite world, writes Guy Shrubsole. But two rival economic visions offer conflicting paths to sustainability. In fact, it's time to stop arguing and get on with it - going for green growth in the near term, while aiming for a deeper societal transformation. more...
Image: 'Smiley Refraction' by Lemsipmatt via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Happy New World? Human capital and the corruption of happiness

William Davies

3rd August 2015

A transformative, progressive political agenda focused on human wellbeing has morphed into a new form of behavioral management, writes William Davies. Happiness itself has been packaged, commoditised and put to the service of capital - and if you haven't got it, the Happy New World has no place for you. more...
Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum) in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Elton Harding via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Endangered species don't need an Ark - they need a Living Planet!

Derrick Jensen

11th June 2015

While we face 'hard choices' about which species and ecosystems to conserve, it's odd how we face no such quandaries over which of our frivolous luxuries to refrain from, or what murderous weapons system not to build, writes Derrick Jensen. And of course, there's no question at all of tackling the root causes of global ecocide. more...
If you want to improve education for the poor, like these school children in Sierra Leone, handing over hundreds of millions of pounds to global corporations is not the way to do it. Photo: bobthemagicdragon via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Giving aid money to big business doesn't solve poverty. Who knew?

Kevin Smith

23d May 2015

The UK government has showered £500 million of its aid budget on 'partnerships' with global corporations that are meant to help the poor, writes Kevin Smith. Surprise - an independent assessment has found that the only ones to benefit were the companies themselves. This ideologically-driven farce must stop now! more...
The edge of an experimental sheep grazing exclusion zone (to the right) within Al Talila Reserve, Palmyra, photographed in March 2008 in the midst of an intense drought period. Sheep quasi uncontrolled grazing was allowed to the left of the fence. Grazing

Over-grazing and desertification in the Syrian steppe are the root causes of war

Gianluca Serra

5th June 2015

Civil war in Syria is the result of the desertification of the ecologically fragile Syrian steppe, writes Gianluca Serra - a process that began in 1958 when the former Bedouin commons were opened up to unrestricted grazing. That led to a wider ecological, hydrological and agricultural collapse, and then to a 'rural intifada' of farmers and nomads no longer able to support themselves. more...
Young fishers with their catch on the opening day after a temporary fisheries closure. Small-scale fisheries support the livelihoods of at least 500 million people worldwide - Andavadoaka, Madagascar. Photo: Garth Cripps / Blue Ventures.

Sustainable abundance - rebuilding fisheries to support coastal communities in Madagascar

Alasdair Harris

12th May 2015

Marine conservation is usually expressed in austere and negative terms, writes Alasdair Harris, with strict quotas and exclusion zones. But the truth is the exact opposite: it's about working with natural ecosystems to unlock their productive potential, creating sustainable wealth and abundance for fishing communities while enhancing marine biodiversity. more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
Culling feral cats on Tasmania, similar to this one by the Rufus River in NSW - actually made them more abundant, not less. Photo: sunphlo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cullers beware - killing 'pest' animals can increase their abundance

Christopher Johnson

8th May 2015

A study of feral cats in Tasmania shows that culling them to reduce their impact on native wildlife had a paradoxical effect - their population went up! If you can't take 'pest' animals out faster than they can reproduce and move in from nearby areas, writes Christopher Johnson, you're better off not bothering at all. more...


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