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A farmer and cattle herder in Lawra village, Ghana - the kind of person the World Bank claims to be working for, while promoting a corporate model of agriculture that leaves them landless and destitute. Photo: Photo: P. Casier /CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

The battle for the future of farming - why is the World Bank on the wrong side?

The Rules & the Oakland Institute

18th April 2015

The World Bank exists to fight poverty. So why does it promote a profit-driven model of agriculture that enriches corporations at the expense of the small farmers who provide most of the world's food, creating poverty by stealing their land and water, depleting resources and undermining sustainable livelihoods? more...
The dazzling pace of development in China comes at a human cost - of those dispossessed to make way for it all. Tianmu is one of the villages in the way of the expansion of Tianjin, pictured. Photo: Yang Aijun / World Bank via Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).

Tianjin, China: a village 'land grab' protest spells trouble for the Communist state

Samantha Hoffman & Jonathan Sullivan

11th April 2015

Rising anger by China's dispossessed - those displaced from their homes, villages and farms to make way for ever-expanding cities and infrastructure - is posing an existential threat to the ruling regime, write Samantha Hoffman & Jonathan Sullivan. At the root of the problem is the state's inability to tackle endemic official corruption and deliver justice to its citizens. more...
Let them eat carbon! At the 2011 UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Photo: Ainhoa Goma / Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Let them eat carbon! The corporate plan to cook Africa in its own fossil fuels

Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry

17th March 2015

Mining corporations, politicians and big NGOs are meeting in London today to plan the future of extractive industries in Africa, write Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry. Absent African civil society and impacted communities, delegates are setting an agenda for 'resource-led development' that will cook the continent in the greenhouse gases of its plundered oil, gas and coal. more...
Fighting the land grabs: peasant farmers on Ile-a-Vache, Haiti, refuse to be moved from their ancestral lands by the US puppet government, 28th February 2014. Photo: marie-chantalle via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

World Bank's Conference on Land & Poverty is a cruel farce

Oliver Tickell

20th March 2015

On Monday the World Bank's Conference on Land and Poverty begins in the US. But farmer organizations, indigenous groups, trade unions and others denounce the whole exercise as a sham that, in tandem with other Bank initiatives, is all about accelerating corporate land grabs and robbing the poor that the Bank was founded to assist. more...
Residents of Prek Smach commune, Kiri Sakor district at a road block they have constructed out of trees and rocks. Botum Sakor national park, Koh Kon Province, Cambodia. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Cambodia: local people risk everything to defend national park sold off to highest bidders

Rod Harbinson

24th March 2015

Botum Sakor national park is one of Cambodia's biodiversity hotspots, where indigenous tribes have long lived in harmony with the forest and its wildlife, writes Rod Harbinson. But now they are being violently evicted as the park is being sold off piecemeal to developers for logging, plantations, casinos and hotels. Now local communities are defending themselves and their land. more...
A ranger looks at the skull of an elephant killed by poachers - a frequent side-effect of development projects that open up remote forests to human access. Photo: Ralph Buij, Author provided.

Roads to ruin: the G20's ecocidal infrastructure rampage

Bill Laurance

16th March 2015

What's needed to pull the world's economy out of recession? According to the G20, it's a massive wave of 'infrastructure' development worth as much $70 trillion, writes Bill Laurance. But all the roads, mines, dams, pipelines and 'development corridors' will inflict massive damage on wildlife populations and natural havens, not to mention local communities that stand in the way. more...
In happier times, a Kwegu family on a maize field next to the Omo river. Photo: via Survival International.

Ethiopia: Kwegu tribe starves, victims of dam and land grabs

Oliver Tickell

13th March 2015

The Kwegu people of Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley are facing starvation because of the loss of their land to a huge sugar plantation, the destruction of their forest and the damming of the Omo river - supported by a UK, EU and World Bank funded 'aid' program. more...
After a crash in the price of tobacco, Malawian farmers in Chiradzulu district have opted for crop diversification and a path to food security. Photo: Travis Lupick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Agroecology can feed Africa - not agribusiness

Ian Fitzpatrick

10th March 2015

Corporate interests have skewed the entire development agenda for agriculture in Africa, writes Ian Fitzpatrick. Instead of investing in sustainable, small scale farming along agroecological principles that raise production and support rural communities, governments - including the UK's - are backing destructive industrial farming and land grabs. more...
Sorghum, one of the crops that feeds Africa, is of little interest to profit-oriented corporate agriculture. Photo: Janki via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Land and seed laws under attack as Africa is groomed for corporate recolonization

GRAIN / AFSA / The Ecologist

12th February 2015

Across Africa, laws are being rewritten to open farming up to an agribusiness invasion - displacing the millions of small cultivators that now feed the continent, and replacing them with a new model of profit-oriented agriculture using patented seeds and varieties. The agencies effecting the transformation are legion - but they are all marching to a single drum. more...
Ancient grassland at Rampisham Down SSSI, West Dorset, that will soon be shaded over by solar panels unless the planning application is 'called in'. Photo: RSPB.

Pickles must protect Rampisham Down SSSI from solar farm

Martin Harper

5th February 2015

An ancient grassland SSSI at Rampisham could be saved following a government decision to put an 'hold' notice on the West Dorset Council's planning consent for a huge solar farm, writes Martin Harper. Now Eric Pickles must 'call in' the case to a public inquiry, or set a truly dreadful precedent for our most precious nature sites. more...
The Mirabar Resort Village, illegally built on the the land of Taiwan's 'Amis indigenous People, Shanyuan beach. Photo: Glenn Smith.

Taiwan indigenous activist - this illegal luxury hotel on our beach must go!

Glenn Smith

19th February 2015

A huge hotel development has been built on a pristine beach belonging to the 'Amis, one of Taiwan's indigenous tribes, despite numerous court rulings confirming its illegality. Glenn Smith met 'Amis campaigner Sinsing, whose fight for justice began when the government handed out eviction notices to her community - and will continue until the hotel is razed and the beach restored. more...
Lands of the Gassol community allocated to Dominion Farms, showing the link road constructed by UBRBDA and the community's use of the lands for grazing. Photo: Centre for Environmental Education and Development.

Nigerian farmers face destitution from 300 sq.km land grab backed by UK aid

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2015

Development secretary Justine Greening is facing questions over UK involvement in a massive land-grab in Nigeria that is evicting local farmers from 300 square kilometres of fertile farmland to clear the way for a rice farm owned and controlled from the US and Canada. A 45,000-strong community faces landlessness and destitution. more...

development: 1/25 of 160
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Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) by Noel Reynolds via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

The other reason I joined UKIP - to save our nightingales!

Mark Reckless MP

1st January 2015

When Tory MP Mark Reckless jumped ship to join UKIP last September, one of his reasons - missed by mainstream media - was his outrage at Medway Council's plan to build 5,000 houses on an internationally important sanctuary for nightingales, after ministers tipped the wink that they would 'green-light' the scheme. more...
England's nightingales have suffered a 90% population crash in 40 years, but Medway Council has decided that its 'protected' SSSI sanctuary is fair game for development. Photo: John Bridges / RSPB.

Nightingales at risk as housebuilding threatens 'protected' SSSI breeding site

Robin McKie, the Guardian Environment

1st January 2015

Disaster threatens England's nightingales, already down 90% in 40 years, if ministers fail to block a plan to build 5,000 homes on SSSI breeding site in Kent. But as Robin McKie writes, the government is showing no sign of intervening, as campaigners warn of an 'open season' for development on our most important wildlife sites. 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...
Stonehenge itself may benefit from the tunneling - but at the expense of the its wider landscape in the 27 sq.km World Heritage Site. Photo: Todd via Flickr.

Stonehenge World Heritage Site at risk from A303 tunnel plans

Kate Fielden

13th December 2014

The government's plans to tunnel the A303 under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has one grievous flaw, writes Kate Fielden. The tunnel is too short, so huge portals and graded junctions at both ends would lie entirely within the WHS causing huge damage to landscape and wipe out archaeological remains. more...
Solar reflectors being cleaned at the Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Combined Cycle Thermo-Solar Power Plant in Morocco. The World Bank provided technical assistance and managed the overall project. Photograph: Dana Smillie / World Bank.

World Bank to focus on 'all forms of renewable energy'

John Vidal / the Guardian

25th November 2014

The president of the World Bank has promised to back out of financing coal developments, and instead target its finance at 'every dimension of renewable energy' under a new climate-friendly strategy. more...
Zekiye Ozdemir and Gulseren Caliskan, both 70, maintain their daily vigil directly in front of a large iron police barrier  at the construction site on the edge of Validebag Grove, Istanbul. Photo: Nick Ashdown.

'Fake environmentalists' battle for Istanbul's last forest

Nick Ashdown

26th November 2014

After Gezi Park, another battle for one of Istanbul's increasingly rare green spaces is raging, writes Nick Ashdown - and this time it's on the city's Asian side. Demonstrators are holding a 24-hour vigil on the edge of an 'illegal' construction site at Validebag Grove - despite having been repeatedly detained and attacked by police. more...
Digital Green records a discussion on best agronomic practice with an Ethiopian farmer for dissemination among his peers. Photo: Digital Green.

New technologies can help poor farmers - just not the ones you're thinking of

Tony Juniper

18th November 2014

Modern technology has a lot to offer small farmers in poor countries, writes Tony Juniper - just not the GMOs and pesticides that are widely touted. But how about film, digital communications and smart phones? These new media can empower farmers and allow them to share knowledge and experience of how to produce more, from less. more...
The view from Port Meadow, before and after. Original photos from Save Port Meadow.

Oxford University must put right the damage it has caused

Matthew Sherrington

14th November 2014

The country's first ever retrospective EIA finds that eight five-storey accommodation blocks built by Oxford University caused 'substantial' damage to historic views of the City's dreaming spires, writes Matthew Sherrington. Planners and University want to 'learn lessons' and move on - but campaigners are determined to cut the carbuncles down to size ... more...
Saved - for now. Hopwas Woods, Staffordshire. Photo: James Broad / Woodland Trust.

Ancient Woodland saved from quarrying

Oliver Tickell

31st October 2014

Lafarge Tarmac has withdrawn its bid to quarry Hopwas Woods following a huge local and national campaign. It's a victory to celebrate - but as the Woodland Trust points out, it also shows that none of our ancient woodland is truly safe from destructive development. more...
An enormous plantation cut from the Liberian rainforest. Photo: Chulius Caesar via Flickr.

Oil palm explosion driving West Africa's Ebola outbreak

Richard Kock

29th October 2014

The medical response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been monstrously inadequate, writes Richard Kock. But so has been recognition of the underlying causes - in particular the explosive spread of industrial oil palm, which disrupts the ecology of forests and farms, and undermines local economy and traditional governance, leading to a 'perfect storm' of disease. more...
Texaco's signature, written in oil, at Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr.

Latin American progressives and environmental duplicity

Daniel Macmillen

26th October 2014

Left wing governments across the Americas are faced with a dilemma, writes Daniel Macmillen - high social spending programs financed by income from destructive mining and hydrocarbon extraction - or a slower but sustainable development path that puts ecology, equity and justice first. Their answer - a constant pushing back of the resource frontier. 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...
The women of the village of Akbarpura in Alwar District, Rajasthan, have formed a self help microfinancing group. They meet every fortnight and collect money from each of their members on which they give out small loans - for a new buffallo or a water-pum

Loan sharking and microfinance: What's the difference?

David Hulme & Mathilde Maitrot

7th October 2014

Microfinance - lending poor people small sums to capitalise sustainable, profitable livelihoods and businesses - is widely lauded as a 'good thing'. And at its best, so it is. But some micro-lenders in south Asia operate with the methods, and ethics, of loan sharks, write David Hulme & Mathilde Maitrot. Can microfinance save its soul? more...

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