The Ecologist


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The motor of a USFWS boat encrusted with quagga mussels on Lake Mead, Nevada. Photo: USFWS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Don't move a mussel - a tiny invader is threatening our water and wildlife

Yannic Rack

18th February 2015

The zebra and quagga mussels, exotic invaders from the Caspian, are already causing huge damage in North America by 'biofouling' and disrupting native ecosystems, writes Yannic Rack. And now Britain is having to gear up for an impending invasion that threatens a costly meltdown of our aquatic biodiversity. more...
Will we go the way of the Ancient Pueblo People? Climate models say we will, this century. Photo: Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, by Lorax via Wikimedia Commons.

Southwest USA faces long term 'megadroughts' this century

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

17th February 2015

The same pattern of severe droughts that extinguished the Ancient Pueblo culture of the southwest US in the 13th century will come back with a vengeance later this century as climate warms and dries, writes Tim Radford. And it could have precisely the same effect on the region's modern-day residents. more...
Tesemay Tribe members in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. Photo: Rod Waddington via

Ethiopia: stealing the Omo Valley, destroying its ancient Peoples

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

16th February 2015

A land grab twice the size of France is under way in Ethiopia, as the government pursues the wholesale seizure if indigenous lands to turn them over to dams and plantations for sugar, palm oil, cotton and biofuels run by foreign corporations, destroying ancient cultures and turning Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake, into a new Aral Sea. more...
Water is Life! - Milwaukee in solidarity with those fighting water shutoffs in Detroit. Photo:

Citizens worldwide mobilize against corporate water grabs

Victoria Collier

15th February 2015

The US and other governments are pushing a failed model of water privatization, writes Victoria Collier - but water is a human right, not just a commodity to be traded for profit or monopolized by corporations, and citizens and communities worldwide are fighting back, from Detroit to Cochabamba, from Berlin to Malaysia, to reclaim their water commons. more...
From the front cover of 'Adventures in the Anthropocene' by Gaia Vince, published by Random House.

Adventures in the Anthropocene - a journey to the heart of the planet

Robert Hunziker

2nd June 2015

Gaia Vince's remarkable book is far more than a litany of the problems of global warming and mass extinction, writes Robert Hunziker. It's also an inspiring account of how people can respond to such crises in wonderful, imaginative, creative ways, achieving seemingly impossible tasks from seeding glaciers in the Himalayas, to holding back the desert with dew. more...
'Fracking Tories' have now reserved for themselves the right to frack anywhere they want - if they win the election! Photo: Teacher Dude via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Government reneges on 'no fracking' promise

Oliver Tickell

5th February 2015

The latest version of the Infrastructure Bill released today has been amended to avoid defining the areas that will be protected from fracking, leaving that to 'regulations' to be pushed through after the general election. So if the Tories win, get ready for fracking everywhere! more...
Parched aricultural land in California’s drought-hit San Joaquin Valley. Photo: Pete Souza / White House via Wikimedia Commons.

California drought: rains bring scant relief

Kieran Cooke

29th January 2015

California's worst drought on record is far from over, writes Kieran Cooke. But while residents are getting used to dusty cars and parched lawns, the state's massive agricultural sector is still growing water-intensive crops like rice. How crazy is that? more...
Art Tanderup and wife at Harvest the Hope. Photo: © via Flickr.

Art Tanderup: How Nebraskans are winning the fight against Keystone XL

Kate Aronoff / Waging Nonviolence

30th January 2015

Nebraska has become ground zero for the fight against Keystone XL, and Art Tanderup - farmer and retired schoolteacher - has become a leading voice in the struggle. He spoke to Kate Aronoff about the divisive impact of the pipeline on the local community, threats to the Ogallala Aquifer, and the urgent need to shift to clean, renewable energy sources. more...
A beaver in the River Otter, Devon, feeds on an overhanging willow branch. Photo: David Land via Devon Wildlife Trust.

Devon's beavers will stay wild and free

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2015

Natural England announced today that the wild beavers living on Devon's River Otter will be allowed to remain free under a 're-introduction' licence granted to Devon Wildlife Trust. more...
The Abengoa at Gila Bend, AZ, uses an innovative thermal energy storage system with molten salt as the energy storing media, combined with concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. Photo: US Dept of Energy.

Concentrating Solar Power will soon be beating fossil fuels

Chris Goodall

2nd February 2015

CSP, the 'other' solar power technology, has been largely forgotten as solar PV price falls have transformed energy markets, writes Chris Goodall. But it's set to take a big role in the future energy mix, and huge price falls are coming. Just one question - how to reduce CSP's thirst for water? more...
The biggest stitch up since the Bayeux Tapestry? Here Harold Earl of Wessex is shown swearing an oath to deliver the English crown to Duke William of Normandy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Parliament's fracking examination must be inclusive and impartial

Paul Mobbs

13th January 2015

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has just begun to take oral evidence from a very select group of witnesses, writes Paul Mobbs in this open letter. Sadly its choices betray a systematic bias to industry and establishment figures - while community groups are entirely excluded. more...
Fishing boats on Sasyk Lyman were abandoned following the collapse of its marine fishery. Photo: Dimeter Kenarov.

A failed Soviet irrigation project brings eco-apocalypse to SE Ukraine

Dimiter Kenarov

29th December 2014

In 1976, it looked like a good idea: to divert the waters of the Danube into a salt-water lagoon on Ukraine's Black Sea coast, and irrigate millions of hectares of arid steppe land, writes Dimiter Kenarov. But the result has been human and environmental disaster on an epic scale. more...

water: 50/75 of 266
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This roman aqueduct near Haifa in modern-day Israel took water to Caesaria, the civilian and military capital of Judaea. But ultimately, most of the water flowed to Rome itself - if in virtual form. Photo: C. J.™ via Flickr.

The food-water-energy nexus defeated the Romans. It could defeat us too

Jonathan Bridge

13th December 2014

As well as being masters of water engineering, the Romans also engaged in a long distance trade in water across the Mediterranean - embodied in grain, oil, wine, cloth, metals and other goods. They also discovered the food-water-energy nexus - and not in a good way. We need to heed the warnings from Roman history. more...
January-October 2014 average air temperature anomalies over land and sea surface temperature anomalies over the oceans (relative to the 1961-1990 average) from the HadCRUT. data set. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 set to be the hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd December 2014

The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Their latest report, issued today at the UN climate talks in Lima, shows exceptional heat and flooding in many parts of the world. more...
Uvas Dam and Reservoir, California, February 1, 2014. Photo: Ian Abbott via Flickr.

Climate change and the downfall of California's big agriculture

Joshua Frank

5th December 2014

Thanks to cheap water and plentiful sunshine, California grows most of the US's fruit, vegetables and nuts, writes Joshua Frank. But with the drought looking ever more permanent, the $40 billion industry is facing a terminal crisis. It's only a matter of time before we have to rely on local produce - so let's make a start now! more...
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has declared an Emergency in Gaza City, following extreme weather and severe flooding. Photo: UNWRA.

Flood 'emergency' strikes Gaza City

The Ecologist

29th November 2014

Following Israel's destruction of much of Gaza's civilian infrastructure in Israel's summer 2014 attacks, the territory's drainage systems have been unable to cope with heavy rains, and the UN has declared a state of emergency in Gaza City. more...
The Balbina Dam reservoir. Photo: via Greenpeace.

Brazil's giant dam programme is a climate disaster

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace

28th October 2014

Brazil's newly elected Dilma Rousseff is committed to completing the disastrous Belo Monte dam, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson. Worse, she looks certain to press ahead with the industrialisation of the Amazon, with 61 hydroprojects in the pipeline. And new scientific findings about the massive climate impacts of tropical forest dams are not about to stop her. more...
Baaba Maal inspects failed corn crops in Mauritania. Photo: Oxfam International via Flickr.

Climate renews famine risk to Africa's Sahel

Alex Kirby

5th November 2014

With rising population and food demand far outstripping supply, the Sahel is vulnerable to a new humanitarian crisis, writes Alex Kirby. Rainfall is expected to increase with climate change, but higher temperatures will overwhelm the benefits. more...
Skilful heather burning can enhance biodiversity, according to the Moorland Association. Recently burnt heather at Ramshaw Rocks, Staffordshire. Photo: Paul via Flickr.

England's 'upland Amazon' destroyed for grouse shooting

Paul Brown

9th October 2014

The repeated burning of England's upland moors - carried out so more grouse can be reared for lucrative shooting parties - is seriously damaging a unique and valuable ecosystem, writes Paul Brown - destroying ages-old peat, reducing its capacity to retain water, and releasing megatonnes of carbon to the atmosphere. more...
What was once the Aral Sea at Muinak, Qoraqalpoghiston, Uzbekistan. Photo: so11e via Flickr.

Once a Sea - now it's the Aral Desert

Anson Mackay

16th October 2014

The Aral Sea is a well known environmental disaster zone. But this year, it got a whole worse, writes Anson Mackay, as its biggest basin dried up completely to expose a toxic, salty wasteland. With continuing irrigation and declining river flows due to climate change, the desert is only set to expand. more...
The North Saskatchewan River in the Kootenay Plains. Photo: Alan Ernst.

Fighting for the foothills: protect the headwaters of North Saskatchewan!

Carol Linnitt

13th October 2014

Much of Alberta, Canada has already been damaged by industrial clearfelling, or lost to the tar sands industry, writes Carol Linnitt. But now there's a chance to keep 'the most beautiful example of pristine eastern slopes Rockies out into the foothills' as wilderness, in the North Saskatchewan's unspoilt headwaters. more...
A beaver in Scotland, where they are being re-introduced. Photo: Paul Stevenson via

Save the free beavers of England!

Alasdair Cameron / Friends of the Earth

25th September 2014

Deep in rural Devon, the word is that the Government intends to trap the wild-living beaver family on the River Otter next month, and consign them to captivity. But as Alasdair Cameron writes, this is not only unnecessary and unpopular, but probably illegal as well. more...
The 'flying rivers' of the Amazon are at risk from deforestation, fires and climate change. Without them, forest and farmland could turn to desert. Photo: Eli Duke via Flickr.

Drought bites as the Amazon's 'flying rivers' fail

Jan Rocha

20th September 2014

The Amazon forest both depends on, and sustains, vast 'flying rivers' that carry humid air and clouds deep into the continental interior, writes Jan Rocha. But scientists fear the flying rivers are failing due to deforestation, fire and climate change. more...
Ashaninka traveling by boat from eastern Peru to visit neighbors in Acre state, Brazil. Photo: © Mike Goldwater / Survival.

Assassination in the Amazon

Oliver Tickell

11th September 2014

Four Indian leaders who have opposed illegal logging in their forests have been shot dead in eastern Peru as they traveled by boat to an indigenous meeting in Brazil. The murders followed pleas to Peruvian authorities for protection, and warnings by Brazilian officials that the Indians were in extreme danger. more...
Tel Aviv beach. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Gaza's revenge: Israelis swim in Palestinian shit

Sam Bahour

11th September 2014

Consecutive Israeli military assaults have caused huge damage to Gaza's water and sewage systems, writes Sam Bahour. One result is that almost all Gaza's water is unfit for human consumption. Another is the tide of raw Palestinian sewage lapping on the beaches of Tel Aviv. So who should we feel most sorry for? more...


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