The Ecologist


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A cob of Portuguese maize: Portugal being one of the only countries in the EU to permit the cultivation of a GMO maize variety. Photo: Rosino via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

France, Germany, Poland ... ten European nations to go GMO-free

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2015

With the deadline for EU countries who wish to ban genetically GM crops drawing near, writes Oliver Tickell, Poland is the latest to register with the European Commission to go GM-free. Now the division of the EU into pro and anti-GM zones may test the single market beyond its limits. more...
Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...
It's not just VWs. Photo: Luc via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

It's not just VWs - we need fewer cars, and less driving

Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck

25th September 2015

With all diesel cars failing EU clean air standards in real world driving, and the worst 22 times over the limit, there's only one real solution, write Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck: adopt sustainable transport strategies to keep cars off our streets and break our dependence on them. more...
Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design.

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...
A pile of pants? Golf Diesel. Photo: Peter P. via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

How Volkswagen got caught cheating emissions tests by a clean air NGO

Paul Nieuwenhuis

23rd September 2015

The discovery that Volkswagen has been 'gaming' vehicle emissions tests has taken the world by storm, writes Paul Nieuwenhuis. But it comes as no surprise to campaigners who have long been aware of the huge gap between 'official' emissions and real word pollution. Where were the regulators? And why did it take an NGO to uncover the scandal? more...
Radioactive emissions from the Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford, CT are associated with elevated breast cancer incidence in the Long Island Sound Counties. Photo: Dominion Energy vua NRC / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear power kills! The real reason the NRC cancelled its nuclear site cancer study

Chris Busby

19th September 2015

The US's Nuclear Regulatory Commission just cancelled its study into cancer near nuclear plants citing the 'excessive cost' of $8 million, writes Chris Busby. Of course that's rubbish - similar studies in the UK have been carried out for as little as £600 per site, and in any case $8 million is small change for the NRC. The real reason is to suppress the unavoidable conclusion: nuclear power kills. 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...
The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe.

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...
What dark secrets have been lurking in Monsanto's filing cabinets? Finally, the truth about Roundup toxicity is coming out. Photo: Jonathan Ryan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monsanto knew all along! Secret studies reveal the truth of Roundup toxicity

Richard Gale & Gary Null / Progressive Radio Network

18th September 2015

Forty years ago Monsanto carried out detailed studies of glyphosate and Roundup toxicity, write Richard Gale & Gary Null. But they have remained buried in filing cabinets ever since. Now a determined scientist has breached the wall of secrecy - and all the evidence is that Monsanto knew just how toxic its products were all along, while claiming they were 'safe as lemonade'. more...
Intensively farmed pigs are routinely dosed with antibiotics to ward off disease and increase weight gain. Photo: Compassion in World Farming via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Antibiotic resistance - what about routine misuse in farming?

Emma Rose

11th September 2015

Doctors have been told to limit their use of antibiotics to limit the spread of microbial drug resistance, writes Emma Rose. But 40% of the UK's antibiotics are used on farms, of which 85% is fed to disease-free animals. We can no longer ignore the massive agricultural overuse of the drugs, now a major driver of antibiotic resistant infections. more...
Photo: Greg Webb / IAEA via Flickr (CC BY).

Is radiation good for you? The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission could decide it is

Karl Grossman

10th September 2015

The well-founded idea that nuclear radiation is dangerous even at the lowest levels is under attack, writes Karl Grossman. Three determined nuclear enthusiasts have filed petitions to the NRC calling on it to apply the doctrine of 'radiation hormesis' - that low levels of radiation actually stimulate the immune system and promote better health. Disagree? You'd better act fast. more...
The protestor is right: GMOs are indeed a science experiment. And we are the guinea pigs. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Growing doubts over GMO safety: a scientist's experience

Jonathan Latham

31st August 2015

Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about. more...

regulation: 1/25 of 132
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The EFSA headquarters: closed to science and dissent, open to industry 'experts' and lobbyists. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Naked corruption: the scandal of glyphosate re-assessment in Europe

Dr Nancy Swanson and Dr Mae Wan Ho

24th August 2015

The EU's 'rapporteur state' on glyphosate, Germany, has recommended re-approval of the herbicide with its daily intake increased by 67%, write Drs Nancy Swanson and Mae Wan Ho. The verdict is based on a re-assessment carried out by Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies, based on unpublished industry studies. It should be rejected outright. more...
Badger at dusk, British Wildlife Centre. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

English Nature - no more badger cull licences!

Iain McGill & Veterinary colleagues

21st August 2015

English Nature's decision to licence England's badger cull has no scientific basis, write Iain McGill and 26 other distinguished vets in this Open Letter to EN's Chief Scientist. Science Advisory Committee and Board. The body must urgently re-examine the entire issue before issuing any more licences to kill badgers. more...
Children whose development was impaired by their mother's use of thalidomide in a swimming pool. Photo: via Luciana Christiante / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Dr Frances Kelsey: thalidomide and the precautionary principle

Helena Paul & Philip Bereano

25th August 2015

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dr Frances Kelsey, write Helena Paul & Philip Bereano. In 1960, she defied her bosses at the FDA to prevent the licensing of thalidomide in the USA, saving thousands from being born with serious deformities. Her tough approach to minimising the risk from new drugs contains lessons we ignore at our peril. more...
Thugs throwing rocks at illegal timber investigators from Agent Green in Romania, 24th May 2015. Photo: still from video by Agent Green.

Romania's 'occupy forests' movement demands clampdown on corporate crime

Raluca Besliu

21st August 2015

A growing protest movement is demanding strong controls on international investors and logging companies buying up Romania's forests, writes Raluca Besliu. In its sights is Austria-based Schweighofer, which stands accused of criminal malpractice and accepting illegal timber shipments. The popular outrage stirred up by corporate misdeeds is now stimulating a wider democratic revival. more...
Fracking - not for shale! Photo: 70023venus2009 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Fracking fast-track stacks odds against planning refusal

Oliver Tickell

13th August 2015

New measures to compel local councils to speed up frackers' planning applications have a clear intention, writes Oliver Tickell - to make it ever harder for planners to refuse permission. more...
Chafer Multidrive FC applying glyphosate and podstick to oilseed rape crop as pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Don't let Monsanto deny glyphosate carcinogenicity!

Professor Peter Saunders

5th August 2015

Monsanto is stepping up its attack on the WHO's classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, writes Peter Saunders. Dismissing the finding as 'junk science' the company is convening its own industry friendly panel and pushing its secret studies at regulators. Don't let them get away with it! more...
Green deal renovations under way. Photo: Sue Roberts.

The Green Deal is dead. Long live Fossil Fuel Freedom!

Sue Roberts

13th August 2015

The Green Deal was expensive, bureaucratic, complex, inefficient and so badly designed it could have been set up to fail, writes Sue Roberts. Yet it was the UK's only national home insulation scheme and its intentions were sound. What it needed was rethink and reform, not scrapping - and with it gone, there's a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled. more...
A bumblebee pauses on an Inula Magnifica. Photo: Tom Blackwell via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Bee-harming pesticide firms took part in key meeting on their ban

Damian Carrington

30th July 2015

Previously suppressed documents show that Bayer and Syngenta, the makers of controversial 'neonic' insecticides subject to an EU ban, took part in and sought to influence a key meeting of pesticide experts to decide whether to lift a ban on their use in the UK. more...
One of the lucky ones: bumblebee on dandelion at Altenhagen, Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo: Jakob Stitz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee cause: Germany tightens, UK relaxes neonic regulation

Oliver Tickell

23rd July 2015

An Emergency Ordinance comes into force in Germany today that extends the EU's ban on 'neonic' pesticides to protect bees. But the UK's farming minister Liz Truss has relaxed the ban to allow farmers to use neonics on 30,000 hectares of oilseed rape. more...
You want weedkiller with that? Photo: Peggy Greb, USDA ARS vis Wkimedia (Public Domain).

Keep health-damaging weed killer out of our bread!

Natasha Collins-Daniel / Soil Association

23rd July 2015

Soon UK farmers will begin to spray their fields of wheat, barley, oats and peas with weed killer to make crops easier to harvest, writes Natasha Collins-Daniel. But the chemicals - including glyphosate, a probable carcinogen - can end up in our bread and other food. Let's put a stop to it now! more...
'DDT is good for me!' - detail of Penn Salt chemicals advertisement in Time magazine June 30, 1947. Photo: Crossett Library via

Ruthless power and deleterious politics: from DDT to Roundup

Evaggelos Vallianatos

18th July 2015

Just as the chemical industry and its shills once proclaimed the safety of DDT, they are doing the same today with the herbicide glyphosate which has penetrated throughout the food chain, writes Evaggelos Vallianatos. And once again it is a toxic lie that threatens species, ecosystems and people. It's time to demand a new kind of agriculture, and a future free of all pesticides. more...
Scientists working inside positive pressure personnel suit at biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory of the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Frederick, Maryland. Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / Public Domain.

GMO and glyphosate wars rage

Oliver Tickell

16th July 2015

Three in one: EFSA set to re-licence glyphosate based on secret industry studies; Monsanto moves against IARC verdict that glyphosate is a 'probable carcinogen'; and new science shows that FDA principle of GMO 'substantial equivalence' is bunk. more...
Watch it rat! What's in that feed? Photo: Rick Eh? via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lab rats used in safety studies eat feeds laced with pesticides, herbicides and GMOs

Pat Thomas

9th July 2015

A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions. more...


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