The Ecologist


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Women in Jepara's teak forest area harvest ground nuts, Central Java, Indonesia, June, 2009. Photo: Murdani Usman / Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Local communities, not global financiers, are the best forest managers

Isaac Rojas / Friends of the Earth International

2nd November 2015

A new paradigm of forest conservation is gaining ground, writes Isaac Rojas: 'financialising' them and the climate and ecological services they provide to global investors. But this is a false solution - and one that excludes the local and indigenous forest communities who can truly be relied upon to sustain their sylvan heritage. more...
All rights reserved! Image: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

All rights reserved! The final leaked TPP text is all that we feared

Jeremy Malcolm / EFF

12th October 2015

The leaked chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property represents a wholesale attack on internet freedom, investigative journalism, and the wider creative commons, writes Jeremy Malcolm. While massively advancing corporate financial interests in binding clauses, the parts that purport to protect information users are soft guidelines that cannot be enforced. more...
Old water tank in Niland, California. Photo: Kevin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The water is ours!

Javan Briggs

7th October 2015

Water is life, writes Javan Briggs. And it belongs to all of us. California's water shortage is caused, not by 'drought', but by massive long term over-pumping. And as the crisis worsens, the response under the 'water as property' model is just to pump all the harder. We must manage water as a commons - to sustain us all, not to profit the few. more...
Scotland's Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil with Kimberley Stoddart, a tenant of West of Scotland Housing Association. Photo: Scottish Government via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Community Energy Fortnight - to participate is to resist!

Jonathon Porritt

11th September 2015

This year's Community Energy Fortnight is taking place at a strange time, writes Jonathon Porritt, with the entire renewable energy industry under government attack as never before. What can we do about it? For a start, by joining in some of the hundreds of events that are taking place across the UK! more...
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. Cairn Gleamnach in the foreground, Drumderg wind farm behind. Photo: Stuart Anthony via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Who owns the wind?

Adam Ramsay

29th July 2015

The wind is a force of nature over which only someone with extraordinary delusions of grandeur can truly claim ownership, writes Adam Ramsay. But to prevent that, we must assert our belief that wind, sun and other drivers of our renewable future are a common heritage for us all to benefit from. more...
Quechua mother and child in the Sacred Valley near Qosqo (Cusco), Peru. Photo: Thomas Quine via Flickr (CC BY).

Enclosing the indigenous commons in highland Peru

Arthur Scarritt

14th July 2015

Under the guise of a land-titling project, Peru is breaking up and privatising indigenous common lands across the Andean highlands, writes Arthur Scarritt. While the law provides for communal titling and democratic votes, in practice there's no provision for communities to exercise these rights, and the many are being dispossessed in favour of large, 'efficient' market-oriented producers. more...
Whose water is it anyway? Photo: ricardo / via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

California is the 'canary in the coalmine' of global drought

Maude Barlow

1st July 2015

California's drought is a harbinger of things to come around the world, writes Maude Barlow. Because of global warming, yes - but also because the Golden State is an exemplar of the 'water as property for corporate profit' neoliberal paradigm that's taking over the world. It's now essential to assert water as a Commons - to be both justly shared, and fiercely protected! more...
Officers on anti-burglary patrols in the West Midlands, where dispersal powers have been used following burglaries. Photo: West Midlands Police via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Freedom of speech, assembly, protest? All are nixed by new police powers

Josie Appleton

26th June 2015

UK police now have free rein to create 'dispersal zones' in public places, writes Josie Appleton. This allows them to exclude people for anything from street drinking to looking suspicious, being homeless, protesting, or merely 'congregating'. This represents a serious breach of our Common Law and Magna Carta rights. 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...
A young Bonobo: the species is at riosk as logging in the Congo Basin fragments their forest habitat and opens up new areas to poachers. Photo: via Greenpeace.

End the Congo logging chaos for rainforest, people and bonobos!

Raoul Monsembula / Greenpeace Africa

1st June 2015

Industrial logging in the world's second largest rainforest is out of control, writes Raoul Monsembula, and spells disaster for both wildlife and forest people. There is an alternative: community forestry has just been enshrined in law. But resources must be committed to law enforcement in Congo and abroad, and to empowering forest communities. 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...

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'Water is a human right!' - demonstration in Detroit. Photo: Detroit Water Brigade.

Detroit: 25,000 households face water shutoff this month

Tyler Van Dyke / WSWS

9th May 2015

Ignoring cries of protest from impoverished communities and fierce international criticism, Detroit will begin to serve water shut-off notices on some 25,000 households tomorrow as it prepares to privatise its water department. more...
Local community forest land cleared and planted by Golden Veroleum in Butaw District, Sinoe County, previously contained areas of high­ quality forest many stories high. A woman from a nearby village described that

To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge

Forest Peoples Programme

14th May 2015

The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver. 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...
Devil's Springs in the Florida Everglades, where a deep crevice leads to submerged caverns. Photo: Phil's 1stPix via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Earth Day on the River of Grass

Grant A. Mincy

25th April 2015

President Obama Earth Day appearance on the Florida Everglades' failed to disguise the truth, writes Grant A. Mincy - that governmental and corporate domination of ecosystems brings their all too predictable destruction. It's not national parks that will save our nature, but restoration of the commons and their management by local communities. more...
Paris-based Veolia and Suez are aggressive global companies running public water supply in cities around the world. But water in Paris itself (see here at La Defense) has been taken back under municipal control and ownership. Photo:  jean-marc via Flickr

Our public water future - closing out the corporate profiteers

Satoko Kishimoto

17th April 2015

Private water companies have never been more aggressive in their sabotaging of efforts to 'make water public', writes Satoko Kishimoto, with legal threats and challenges launched under 'free trade' agreements. But as citizens worldwide reject corporate water profiteering, the trend of water re-municipalisation has gathered unstoppable momentum. more...
Utah's Book Cliffs are no empty wasteland - but that's what the tar sands industry is set to turn them into. Photo:  Loco Steve via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness Society's 'Grand Compromise' is a fossil-fuelled sell out

Alexander Reid Ross

7th April 2015

A deal to give up 500,000 acres of public lands in Utah to the tar sands industry in return for 1.5 million acres of industry is a sacrifice too far, writes Alexander Reid Ross, as it disclaims the wider costs of massive water use and contamination in the headwaters of the Colorado River, already seriously stressed by drought. 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...
Glen Canyon beneath the dam, 2008. Photo: Jim Trodel via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Lake Powell is dead! Long live Glen Canyon!

Grant A. Mincy

28th March 2015

Drought is returning Lake Powell, impounded behind the Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado river, back to desert, writes Grant A. Mincy - and a fine thing too! As nature turns billions of dollars of infrastructural abomination to junk, this creates the chance to reclaim our commons and recreate ravaged ecosystems. more...
Wood lizard of the Ecuadorian cloud forest, Enyalioides rubrigularis. Photo: Santiago Ron via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Letter from Ecuador - where defending nature and community is a crime

Carlos Zorrilla

25th March 2015

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world. more...
The Westmill renewable energy cooperative in Oxfordshire - a new model for the UK's energy future? Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

With corporate energy, we're stuck in the dark ages - let's switch to public ownership

Calum McGregor

23rd March 2015

Britain's corporate energy oligarchy has failed us, writes Calum McGregor. It's given us widespread fuel poverty, unfair tariffs, constant price hikes, billions siphoned off to shareholders, and chronic under-investment in renewables. Now is the time for a new model: public and co-operative ownership of energy infrastructure under participative democratic control. more...
Orange roughy - one of the vulnerable fish species caught on the high seas. Photo: CSIRO Science Image (CC BY).

End high seas fishing for fairness and sustainability

Reg Watson

9th March 2015

What's the solution to the over-exploitation of fish on the high seas, outside territorial boundaries? Ban it altogether, argues Reg Watson. It would make little difference to the total fish catch, poor coastal countries would reap huge benefits, and the fishing fleet's fuel burn would be slashed. The main losers? Rapacious industrial factory-fishers. more...
Lands, skies, waters, all the common heritage of humankind, all of us to share in Earth's bounty. Photo: Channory Point, North West Scotland, by Kristian Dela Cour (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Reclaiming our birthright: paychecks from Earth and Sky

Peter Barnes

24th February 2015

Alaska has put in place a 'citizen's income' paid to every resident by right - their dividend from the state's oil and gas wealth. The principle should be applied everywhere, writes Peter Barnes, compensating us for the enclosure and exploitation of the global commons, our shared inheritance of land, water and sky. more...
Ghanaian farmer Alanig Bawa drying cowpeas in his yard. Photo: Tree Aid via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Don't 'abhor' us - abhor GMO scientists laden with conflicts of interest!

Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour / Food Sovereignty Ghana

17th February 2015

Africa's biotech establishment is deploying its biggest guns to attack NGOs opposed to GMO crops to help push through Ghana's corporation-friendly Plant Breeders Bill - a key element in the corporate enclosure of Africa's farming, seeds and agricultural heritage. more...


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