The Ecologist


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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...
Demonstration in Rosia Montana against the gold mine project, 22nd September 2013. Photo: Initiative Mittel- und Osteuropa e.V. via Flickr (CC BYNC-SA).

Romania faces $2.56bn claim for failed gold mine

Oliver Tickell

14th August 2015

Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources is seeking over $2.5 billion damages from Romania after it rejected a vast gold mine at Rosia Montana, writes Oliver Tickell. Incredibly, it is taking legal action under a UK-Romania trade agreement. more...
COP19 Climate March against the influence of fossil fuel companies on the negotiations, November 16 2013. Photo: Jamie Henn / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

COP21 is the 'no hope' Climate Summit - but there's still everything to play for

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

14th August 2015

If you're expecting COP21 in Paris to save the world's climate you're in for a disappointment, writes Alex Scrivener. For governments, climate is secondary to the really big issues - like endless economic growth and ever-increasing corporate profit. But there's still plenty campaigners can do to shame politicians, businesses and investors into meaningful action. 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...
Lancashire protesters make their feelings on Cuadrilla's fracking plans plain, 18th September 2011. Photo: Justin Woolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cuadrilla will appeal Lancashire's fracking refusal

Kyla Mandel & Ben Lucas /

24th July 2015

Shale gas company Cuadrilla will appeal Lancashire's decision to refuse permission to frack, write Kyla Mandel & Ben Lucas. The planning battle will last well into 2016, as campaigners prepare to fight all the way. more...
The Westmill solar and wind farm near Watchfield, Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewable energy sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit

Oliver Tickell

22nd July 2015

Perplexed by today's sharp cuts in solar power and other attacks on renewable energy in the UK? Don't be, writes Oliver Tickell. Really, it all makes perfect sense. You just have to understand their real purpose: to keep your energy bills high, along with power company profits. And never mind the 'green crap'! more...
'Hey Monsanto! If you're so proud why won't you label it?' Vermonters at the march Against Monsanto, 25th May 2013. Photo: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Defend GMO labeling - say no to Monsanto's DARK Act today!

Katherine Paul / Organic Consumers Association

21st July 2015

The US Congress votes this Thursday on the infamous 'DARK Act' that would abolish states' right to label GM foods, writes Katherine Paul. This 'Mother of all Monsanto Protection Acts' would also outlaw state GMO bans and even prevent the FDA from pre-market safety-testing GM ingredients. Send a clear message now to your member of Congress. 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...
David Lavalee out in the field, filming 'To the Ends of the Earth'.

To the ends of the Earth: a filmmaker's journey

David Lavallee

4th September 2015

It's tough being a filmmaker on the front line of environmental defense, writes David Lavallee - challenging corporate control of the Earth's resources, not to mention governments and security services, all of them intent on extracting every last drop of oil and gas from the world's most pristine places. All the more so when holding a camera makes you an instant 'eco-terrorist'. 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...
Indigenous representatives of multiple ethnicities were barred from Brazil's Congress building last 16th December when they gathered to oppose PEC 215. Photo: Ninja Midia via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Não a PEC 215! No to Brazil's plan to open indigenous lands to industrial exploitation!

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

15th July 2015

Last December Brazil's indigenous Peoples defeated the PEC 215 constitutional amendment that was meant to open up their territories for agribusiness, mining, power generation and industry, writes Chris Lang. But now, thanks to 'Chainsaw Queen' Kátia Abreu, minster of agriculture, it's back on the agenda ... and resistance is growing once again. more...

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A store of probably GMO soya in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Márcio Garoni via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

GMO study finds 'indications of harmful and adverse effects'

Nafeez Ahmed

15th July 2015

A new biosafety report for the Norwegian Environment Agency says GM foods cannot be declared safe due to major gaps in the science, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Indeed research clearly indicates harmful and adverse impacts to both health and environment. But Monsanto insists that GMOs are just as safe as, or even safer than, conventional crops. more...
The icebreaker MSV Fennica, which now has a metre-long gash in its hull below the waterline. Photo: Marcusroos vis Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

On the rocks: hull gash disables Shell Arctic icebreaker

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

13th July 2015

Shell's Arctic drilling expedition is literally on the rocks after its icebreaker MSV Fennica suffering a metre-long gash to its hull below the waterline, writes Zachary Davies Boren. more...
You don't recognise him, you don't know his name ... but Brian Ager, Secretary-General of the European Round Table of Industrialists, wields more power in the EU than most of its member countries. Photo: © European Union / Tim De Backer (CC BY-NC-SA).

Something rotten in the state of Europe

Jenny Jones

13th July 2015

As the EU comes down for neoliberalism, austerity and capital against popular will, Greens and other 'progressives' must consider switching sides in the 'in or out' debate, writes Jenny Jones. A Union that stands for TTIP, corporate empowerment and the trampling of Greek democracy is one we are better off leaving. more...
The man himself - John Shaw on the Link Road site.

Defending Hollington Valley? Don't even think of talking to the man who's destroying it

Emily Johns / Combe Haven Defenders

20th July 2015

A polite knock on the door of a Mr John Shaw of Hastings got Emily Johns a visit from the police. How so? He's the CEO of a secretive 'non-profit company' that's using tens of millions of pounds of public funds to build white elephant business parks and destroy valuable nature sites. And avoiding accountability looks like a major point of the exercise. more...
Normally a nuclear fusion plant looks like this, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Labs. But Boeing think they can do it all in an aircraft engine. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY).

Nuclear powered aircraft? Nice idea, Boeing ...

Karl Grossman

14th July 2015

Boeing has just been granted a patent on a design for aircraft powered by nuclear fusion, writes Karl Grossman. What a great idea! Apart from the irradiation of plane and passengers with neutrons and gamma rays, the dangers of radioactive contamination ... and the fact that clean, green solar powered flight is taking off. more...
Ethiopian teff grain. Photo: SarahTz via Flickr (CC BY).

African governments sell out their farmers in secret seeds protection deal

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

10th July 2015

African governments, ignoring the protests of their farmers and civil society, this week agreed an oppressive 'plant variety protection protocol' that will open up their countries to commercial seed monopolists, while limiting farmers rights to save, use, exchange, replant, improve, distribute and sell the seeds they have developed over countless generations. more...
One of the big debates under TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' chapter concerns animal welfare and meat safety, with US standards consistently lower than those in the EU. But the cheaper US meat could take over EU markets. Photo: US 'broiler' chicken farm b

TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' would force down standards in US and EU

Friends of the Earth Europe

13th July 2015

Dissent over the massive USA-EU TTIP trade deal is focused on the 'corporate courts' allowing investors to sue national governments, But largely neglected has been the equally serious issue of 'Regulatory Cooperation' - which would impose a huge burden of 'red tape' on EU and US legislatures, while forcing down health, safety, social and environmental standards. more...
Crude oil in an open toxic oil waste pit abandoned by Texaco / Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon Rainforest near Lago Agrio. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Ecocide in the Amazon - Chevron evades $9.5bn restitution order

Orlan Cazorla & Miriam Gartor

17th July 2015

After 20 years of oil spills, deforestation, waste dumping and ill health, farmers and indigenous people in the the Ecuadorian Amazon have been fighting the Chevron-Texaco corporation. But despite its three times conviction and a $9.5 billion damages award to the victims, the oil giant looks no closer to making good its damage. more...
Barack Obama and David Cameron plotting the 'Bill of Corproate Rights' that is TTIP at the Lough Erne G8 summit in June 2013. Photo: President of the European Council via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

European Parliament's TTIP vote - democracy itself is at stake

Polly Jones

8th July 2014

The European Parliament votes today on the TTIP 'trade' deal, described as a 'Bill of Corporate Rights' that will undermine democracy in both the EU and the US, writes Polly Jones. But given the extraordinary secrecy that shrouds the negotiations, few of the MEPs themselves really know what they are voting on. more...
If it's such a good idea to burn real rhino horn, how is making synthetic horn going to help? Rhino horn ready for incineration, 21st September 2014 at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Photo: IFAW via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Can 'genetically-identical' synthetic horn save the rhino?

Diogo Veríssimo

6th July 2015

Soon a artificial rhino horn may be on the market that's identical to the real thing down to its DNA, writes Diogo Veríssimo. A boon for rhinoceros conservation? Or an act of biopiracy that will enrich biotech corporations while perpetuating demand for rhino horn and confounding efforts to end its trade? more...
Path to riches? A woman rummages through mining overburden in search of left-over coal to sell at Jugsalai, Jharkhand. India. Photo: Akshay Mahajan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Climate change? Let them eat coal!

Brendan Montague /

21st July 2015

Coal companies and their 'sceptic' shills have almost given up on denying climate change, writes Brendan Montague. The new message is that coal is essential ... to end world poverty! And those who advocate climate action are 'harsh, cold-hearted' beasts. The one thing that hasn't changed? It's all lies. 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...
Texaco's toxic signature, written in spilt oil: Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The company, now part of Chevron, has yet to compensate the victims of its pollution, or clean up. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr (CC BY).

Coming closer this month: a UN Human Rights Treaty for corporate abuses

Sam Cossar-Gilbert

1st July 2015

This month the UN is meeting to enact binding global rules on the conduct of business and transnational corporations, writes Sam Cossar-Gilbert, reversing the trend for increasing business empowerment in TTP, TTIP and TISA. The new UN Human Rights Treaty aims to provide justice for the victims of corporate criminality anywhere in the world. more...


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