The Ecologist


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Artists impression of the Garden Bridge planned for the Thames in London. Photo: Garden Bridge Trust.

Everything in the Garden Bridge is lovely!

Bee Emmott

3rd September 2015

The Garden Bridge will offer a new kind of green space in the heart of the city, strengthening London's status as the greenest capital in Europe, writes Bee Emmott. It will benefit the health and wellbeing of local communities and visitors alike. more...
Artists impression of 'Garden Bridge' by Heatherwick Studio. Not immediately obvious is that it will block views from Southbank along the river to St Pauls Cathedral.

London's Garden Bridge: a damaging folly at public expense

Will Jennings

26th August 2015

It sounded wonderful: a futuristic 'garden bridge' across the Thames dripping with flowers and foliage, writes Will Jennings. But really it's a private enclosure of valuable public space, mature trees and views, backed by £60m of taxpayers money, that delivers no benefits to London's wildlife, environment or transport needs. more...
Detroit rises above the water ... but access to it is strictly rationed by ability to pay. Photo: Unique Day Tours in over 100 cities via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Water is a human right! Detroit's lessons for our common future

Chris Grove

4th August 2015

Detroit is the site of a neoliberal experiment that's already being repeated elsewhere, writes Chris Grove, with unpayable debt used to force the privatization of public services and the terminate democratic power and accountability. But as the city's poor find themselves cur off from water, a new, wider conception of human rights is emerging from the wreckage. more...
Roofscape: the 'BedZED' (Beddington Zero Energy Development), the UK's largest and first carbon-neutral eco-community, was completed in 2002. Photo: Tom Chance from Peckham via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Scrapping 'zero carbon' homes is policy vandalism

Gordon Walker

20th July 2015

The UK Government has ditched the requirement for new homes to be 'zero carbon' from April 2016, writes Gordon Walker. With builders already geared up to meet the challenge, this needless reversal will raise energy bills and carbon emissions for a century or more to come, and send out all the wrong signals for the Paris climate talks. more...
Solitary Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) nectaring on Small Scabious in Jo's wild flower meadow, Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Sowing wildflower meadows, and leaving Nature in charge

Jo Cartmell

10th July 2015

When Oxeye daises looked like taking over her mini-meadow, Jo Cartmell was tempted to intervene. But instead, she held back and let nature take its course. Now, a few seasons later, the floral diversity has only increased, taking in some unexpected but welcome arrivals - along with their insect companions, all making their home on what used to be an unloved patch of lawn. 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...
Holidays are associated with happiness - who knew? But that does not mean we have to build a new London runway, as these pleasure seekers on the beach at Lyme Regis demonstrate. Photo: Clive A Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

London needs a new runway because holidays 'make you happy'. Really?

Chris Goodall

2nd July 2015

With the UK's business air travel falling, the Airport Commission says we need a new London runway to make us happy! But all their data really shows is that people who go on holiday lead happier lives than those who don't, writes Chris Goodall, and that people enjoy holidays: a flimsy basis on which to expand airport capacity, and blow the UK's emissions targets out of the water. more...
An event to commemorate Ying Tao, 26, who died on 22nd June at the scene of the crash at Bank junction, run over by a tipper truck. Photo: Donnachadh McCarthy.

Tonight, join the silent roar: stop killing cyclists!

Donnachadh McCarthy

29th June 2015

Following a monstrous spate of cyclist deaths in London, protestors are gathering outside the Bank of England tonight to demand: stop killing cyclists! The UK's peaceful cycling revolution is now under way, writes Donnachadh McCarthy, who invites us all to join the movement to make our cities safe for humans. more...
Another hot, dry night falls on Sao Paulo. Photo: Rafael Vianna Croffi via Flickr (CC BY).

Megacity drought: Sao Paulo withers after dry 'wet season'

Leila Carvalho

26th June 2015

After four years of low rainfall Brazil's commercial capital, Sao Paulo, is suffering from a grim combination of high temperatures and water shortages, writes Leila Carvalho. And now the drought has given rise to a lethal plague of dengue fever. more...
A paved front garden in Chingford, outer London - one of 7 million around the country. Photo: William Warby via Flickr (CC BY).

Keep our front gardens green!

Jenny Jones

30th June 2015

It's time to halt the loss of the nation's front gardens to dreary paving, writes Jenny Jones. Green gardens protect against floods, provide homes for wildlife, keep cities cool in summer, and help us all feel happier. Now, with 7 million gardens already paved over, we must protect those that remain. 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...
The JNF-sponsored Yatir Forest advances over a hill towards the Bedouin village of Atir. Photo: Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag.

Israel's Forest of Yatir to expand over Bedouin village

Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag & The Ecologist

23rd June 2014

It should be good news, but it's not. Israel's largest man-made forest is set for enlargement, but at the expense of a village where a Bedouin community has lived since they were resettled there in 1956. Its sister village is to be demolished so a new Jewish town can be built on its ruins. more...

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Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright & Emily Morris

27th June 2015

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness? more...
The Bois Dormoy is a unique green oasis in the heart of metropolitan Paris and its multicultural community. It should be treasured, not destroyed! Photo; via Bois Dormoy on Facebook.

Paris must remember: climate solutions are small, local, green, and begin at home

Marc Brightman

17th June 2015

As Paris prepares for COP21 in Paris, Marc Brightman finds that the city is in the grip of a benign but ignorant authoritarianism that is ready to trample on much-loved green spaces like the Bois Dormoy, reclaimed from dereliction by the multicultural local community, which represent real solutions to the global problems of food, climate, the future of our cities, and our place in nature. more...
Jonny Walker (centre) and supporters of Keep Streets Live at a 'busk-in' on Oxford's Cornmarket, 27th May 2015, to protest the Labour Council's plans to criminalise busking and other 'non-compliant' behaviour. Photo: Keep Streets Live.

Oxford Council - drop your plan to criminalise music and street art!

Jonny Walker

11th June 2015

Oxford Council's Executive Board meets today to decide whether to criminalise 'noncompliant' busking, pavement art, cycling and other activities in the City's vibrant public spaces, punishable with a £1,000 fine. Jonny Walker wrote them this Open Letter. more...
Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York, nestled alongside the Hudson River. Photo: Tony Fischer via Flickr (CC BY).

Indian Point - the nuclear bombshell in New York City's backyard

Karl Grossman

12th May 2015

Following the accidental fire in a transformer at the troubled Indian Point nuclear site last weekend, and the unplanned release of oil into the Hudson River, calls are growing for the two remaining power plants to be shut down, writes Karl Grossman. The NRC is likely to extend its expiring licenses for another 20 years - but New York State could still refuse it a water use permit. more...
Photo: New Era Colorado Foundation.

American revolution: cities seize control of essential local services

Max Holleran

9th May 2015

Fed up with being gouged by profit-driven corporations, let down by state neglect and under-investment, urban communities across the US are taking control of local services like public transport, energy, water, internet and telecoms, writes Max Holleran - bringing better service, lower prices and clean energy. more...
Six Spot Burnet Moth and Large Skipper Butterfly supping nectar on Common Knapweed. Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Jo's mini meadow - our beautiful and vital insects

Jo Cartmell

7th May 2015

First Jo Cartmell converted her uninspiring front lawn into a 'mini-meadow' full of wild flowers. Next, she waited the return of insect life - not for very long as it turned out. Barely a few years into the project, a remarkable profusion of bees, beetles, moths and butterflies were buzzing and humming around the blooms ... more...
Isn't she lovely ... ! Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) has reached agreement with the US-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority to develop, build and operate a 'first-of-its-kind gateway entertainment city' in South Korea integrated with a

Aerotropolis alert! Airport mega-projects driving environmental destruction worldwide

Rose Bridger

8th May 2015

Governments and corporations are driving a global wave of ecologically disastrous airport-centered mega-projects each destroying as much of 100 of farmland and forests - sucking water, resources and economic activity from surrounding areas, excluding host communities and locking in high-carbon infrastructure for decades to come. more...
Precious little harmony here: a building site in Beijing. But change is on the way. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Amid the smoke and chaos of 'development', China seeks a return to ancient harmony

Thembi Mutch

19th May 2015

China is struggling with a myriad of environmental challenges, writes Thembi Mutch, as the country 'develops' at breakneck speed with massive construction projects, and industrial expansion. But amid the chaos and filth, the Chinese people are mindful of their history and ancient principles of harmony with nature - something that many are working hard to restore. more...
Kentish Town Road, London, at Camden Lock - where the car is king, cyclists are princes, and the thousands of pedestrians have to make do with what's left to them. Photo: Paolo Margari via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Stand up for pedestrians - the forgotten travellers

Colin Pooley

30th March 2014

Our road space is dominated by, and planned for, motor vehicles, writes Colin Pooley - leaving while people on foot are crammed on to narrow pavements, obstructed by 'street furniture', made to wait long periods to cross busy roads, and exposed to traffic noise and emissions. It's time put pedestrians first! 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...
A typically dark, narrow Cairo street in the Boulaq El Dakrour district. Photo: Patrick Keddie.

Beginning to see the light ... shining the sun's rays into Cairo's dark streets

Patrick Keddie

4th February 2015

Egyptian researchers have come up with a solution to the a lack of sunlight in Cairo's narrow and dingy streets, writes Patrick Keddie: a sine-wave panel that reflects light as soon as the sun rises. Initial tests indicate a potential five-fold increase in light levels. more...
London Mayor Boris Johnson and actress Barbara Windsor enjoy a street party in Tower Hamlets with the Rocky Park Urban Growers - a local project to plant vegetables and transform a neglected space in the community.

Boris progresses 'Greater London National Park'

The Ecologist

23rd December 2014

London Major Boris Johnson has taken a key first step towards a new Greater London National Park to safeguard the city's green spaces, waterways and natural treasures - and open them up for people to enjoy. more...
The August 2013 petcoke storm over the southeast side of Chicago. Photo: Anthony Martinez.

Petcoke: the toxic black dust coming to a community near you

Ben Whitford

9th December 2014

It's the fossil fuel industry's latest stroke of genius - a coal substitute that's cheaper, dirtier and more toxic than coal itself, writes Ben Whitford. The waste product of refining heavy oil from Canada's tar sands, petcoke is stored in open mountains around Chicago's 'Slag Valley', sending plumes of sticky black dust over poor neighborhoods every time the wind blows. more...


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