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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...
The destroyed Bab Amro neighbourhood of Homs through a blooming field of poppies, 2nd May 2012. Photo: Freedom House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Climate change sparked Syria's ruinous war

Alex Kirby

6th March 2015

Climate change probably caused the savage drought that struck Syria nearly a decade ago, writes Alex Kirby - and helped to trigger the civil war that has so far claimed over 200,000 lives. more...
The pollution of Chao Lake is obvious - even from space. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Meat boom propels China's ecosystems into total collapse

John Dearing

2nd March 2015

China's farming boom has massively increased food production, writes John Dearing - especially of meat. But it has come at a massive cost: the wholesale pollution and destruction of core ecosystems. more...
The future Amazon? Keep on deforesting the Amazon, and Leticia in the Colmbian rainforest, which currently gets 2500mm of rain a year, could get as little rain as Israel's Negev Desert, with 20mm. Photo of the Negev by Francois BESSONNET via Flickr (CC BY

Without its rainforest, the Amazon will turn to desert

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2015

Mainstream climatologists predict a 15% fall in rainfall over the Amazon if it is stripped of its rainforest. But the 'biotic pump' theory, rooted in conventional physics and recently confirmed by experiment, shows that the interior of a forest-free Amazon will be as dry as the Negev desert. We must save the Amazon before it enters a permanent and irreversible dessication. more...
A dry branch of the Atibainha reservoir, part of the Cantareira system of reservoirs that serves Sao Paulo, 26th February 2015. Photo: Clairex via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil's ravaged forests are taking their revenge

Robert Hunziker

2nd March 2015

Thanks to massive deforestation along Brazil's Atlantic coast and the Amazon, São Paulo's reservoirs are at just 6% of their capacity and water rationing is in place. But this is just the beginning of a long term drying process that could be recreated around the world as forests are laid waste and hydrology disrupted. more...
Beaver dam above Lundy Lake, California. Photo: Fred Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Beavers are saving California’s wild salmon

Miria Finn / onEarth

1st March 2015

With California's wild Coho salmon populations down to 1% of their former numbers, there's growing evidence that beavers - long reviled as a pest of the waterways - are essential to restore the species, writes Maria Finn. In the process, they raise water tables, recharge aquifers and improve water quality. What's not to love? more...
MPs may make the law - but that does not make them above the law. Photo: UK Parliament via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking: MPs and Lords have derelicted their legal duties - now they must pay the price!

Jojo Mehta

26th February 2015

The rushed passage of the Infrastructure Bill with all its pro-fracking provisions and toothless 'safeguards' is an abuse of democracy. And as it's manifestly against the national and public interest, it's also in breach of both MPs' and Lords' legally binding Codes of Conduct. Now Jojo Mehta intends to hold them to account - in Court. more...
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 Flickr.com.

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: OccupyRiverWest.com.

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...
'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...

water: 1/25 of 222
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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: © HearNebraska.org 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...
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.4.3.0.0 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...

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