The Ecologist

 

politics : 25/50 of 1012
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England's nightingales have suffered a 90% population crash in 40 years, but Medway Council has decided that its 'protected' SSSI sanctuary is fair game for development. Photo: John Bridges / RSPB.

Nightingales at risk as housebuilding threatens 'protected' SSSI breeding site

Robin McKie, the Guardian Environment

1st January 2015

Disaster threatens England's nightingales, already down 90% in 40 years, if ministers fail to block a plan to build 5,000 homes on SSSI breeding site in Kent. But as Robin McKie writes, the government is showing no sign of intervening, as campaigners warn of an 'open season' for development on our most important wildlife sites. more...
LED lights. Photo: youngthousands from usa via Wikimedia Commons.

Blinded by the lights? How power companies just stole £1 billion - from us

Alan Simpson

31st December 2014

The UK government celebrated Christmas by donning Santa suits and throwing a £1 billion subsidy down the fuming smoke stacks of the UK's biggest power companies, writes Alan Simpson - a massive payment at the expense of UK energy users, for doing what they should be doing anyway. Have a Brave New Year! 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...
In 1991 protests against this M3 cutting through Twyford Down galvanised a road protest movement that forced a major government retreat. Can we do the same again? Photo: © Peter Facey via geograph.org.uk/.

'Peak oil' - the wrong argument for the right reasons

Dr Steve Melia

23rd December 2014

Recent falls in oil prices give 'greens' cause to rethink arguments about 'peak oil' and get back to why they are really opposed to fossil fuels, writes Dr Steve Melia. Ultimately, it's not the economic evidence that drives government decisions - it's the politics! more...
Violence breaks out at a 2013 protest against Nicaragua's canal project. Photo: Jorge Mejía Peralta via Flickr.

Nicaragua canal - environment fears ignored as construction work begins

Maya Collombon

23rd December 2014

Work on Nicaragua's rival to the Panama Canal rival has begun amid growing fears over its human and environmental impacts, writes Maya Collombon - and a host of unanswered questions about China's role in the project and what benefits, if any, it will bring to ordinary people. more...
Contaminated land in West Yorkshire, England - the site of a former chemicals factory. Photo: Engineering at Cambridge via Flickr.

Death by landfill - cutting 'green tape' costs lives

Paul Mobbs

22nd December 2014

As Cameron 'cuts the green crap' Paul Mobbs remembers how the decisions of a Conservative government 20 years ago to go easy on the owners of contaminated land and old waste dumps have led to present day blight, ill-health and death. Now brow-beaten regulators and politicians in hock to party funders are doing it all over again. more...
Black smoke at Fukushima Daichi, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr.

Fukushima and the institutional invisibility of nuclear disaster

John Downer

20th December 2014

The nuclear industry and its supporters have contrived a variety of narratives to justify and explain away nuclear catastrophes, writes John Downer. None of them actually hold water, yet they serve their purpose - to command political and media heights, and reassure public sentiment on 'safety'. But if it's so safe, why the low limits on nuclear liabilities? more...
Stronger trade secrets reduce your right to know about the health impacts of drugs, food, pollution. Photo: Paula Bailey via Flickr.

EU Trade Secrets Directive - a threat to health, environment, human rights

Corporate Observatory Europe

19th December 2014

The new Commission may have dropped environmental protection from its 2015 work plan - but it's pressing ahead with a new Directive to protect corporate secrecy, threatening consumers, journalists, whistleblowers, researchers and workers. more...
Protestors halt the first test train load of coal coming from the controversial Maules Creek coal mine on its way to Newcastle’s Kooragang Island coal export terminals. Photo: Frontline Action on Coal.

Train crash - Australia 'heading backwards' on emissions

Kieran Cooke & Oliver Tickell

19th December 2014

Despite record heat and drought Australia's emissions and coal exports are soaring, says a new report, and both are increasing as a matter of government policy. But a homegrown climate action movement is putting a spanner in the works - and just stopped its first coal train. more...
Rising sea level? What rising sea level? Peter, CC BY-SA.

I'll talk politics with climate change deniers - but not science

Mark Maslin

17th December 2014

The responses that climate change demands of us are collective, writes Mark Maslin, and force us to accept the finite nature of global resources and the need for equitable sharing. So when climate change collides with belief in neoliberalism, free markets, strong property rights and rugged individualism, denial trumps science every time. more...
EU drops plans to push up recycling rate to 70%. The back of an industrial estate in Romford, Essex. Photo: roadscum via Flickr.

Commission dumps eco-initiatives in 2015 work plan

Oliver Tickell

16th December 2014

The European Commission has dropped measures to improve air quality and reduce waste from its work plan for 2015 - instead 'cutting red tape' and prioritizing 'jobs, growth, investment' at all costs. more...
Azure damselflies. Photo: Paul Ritchie via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Election 2015 - our chance to campaign for nature and wellbeing

Jenny Jones

3rd January 2015

Despite a raft of legislation to protect our wildlife, 60% of our key species are in decline, writes Jenny Jones. That's why we need a new and positive approach, going beyond protection to rebuilding flourishing, sustainable wildlife populations. And people too will see the benefits - in our own as is our health and wellbeing. more...

politics : 25/50 of 1012
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Coal fired power station at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Photo: Guy Gorek via Flickr.

Leaked: EU Commission plot to ditch waste and air pollution laws

EurActiv

12th December 2014

An anti-environment plot by Junckers' Commission would abandon agreed 'green' laws for clean air, waste reduction and recycling. But the leak of key documents to EurActiv has stimulated fierce opposition by Green MEPs and environment groups, while eleven EU countries have called on Junckers to hold to the green laws and speed up their implementation. more...
Precious nature: Snakeshead fritillaries and dandelions on North Meadow, Cricklade - an uncultivated water meadow of 110 acres that contains 80% of the UK population of the Snakeshead Fritillary. Photo: Nick Warner via Flickr.

Rallying for wildlife - we need a Nature and Wellbeing Act

Martin Harper / RSPB

9th December 2014

MPs will be lobbied today by wildlife supporters desperately concerned at the declining state of Britain's nature, writes Martin Harper. Despite clear warnings that both 'protected' sites and threatened species are faring badly, politicians find it all too easy to look the other way. Hence the need for a Nature and Wellbeing Act. 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...
Torturing the truth - the mainstream media today. Photo: via johnpilger.com.

War by media and the triumph of propaganda

John Pilger

22nd December 2014

We live in an age of propaganda by the 'mainstream' media, writes John Pilger. Inconvenient stories, truths and even entire countries are airbrushed away, while dominant narratives are parroted incessantly to bludgeon our minds in acceptance of war, injustice, austerity, all to serve the interests of our ruling elites. more...
Palestinian demands for freedom and justice will never be relinquished. The Palestinian flag flying at a demonstration at Bil'in on the West Bank. Photo: Adam Walker Cleaveland.

Palestine: occupied or annexed? Israel must end the ambiguity

Tony Klug

7th December 2014

Israel has exploited the legal ambiguity of its military rule of Palestinian territories, writes Tony Klug - cherry-picking Israeli law, Ottoman law and Geneva Conventions to suit its purposes. Israel must now decide - is it an occupation, or an annexation? Only once that decision is made, can Israel's slide towards apartheid be halted. more...
Gnarled old trees with hollows are a vital habitat for marsupials. Photo: David Blair, Author provided.

Labor's election win opens the way to save Victoria's Central Highlands

Emma Burns, David Lindenmayer & Heather Keith

1st December 2014

Australia's Labor scored a big win in Victoria's election this weekend - and with the party's 'green' policies that's potentially good news for the state's exploited forests. Now's the time to keep campaigning for the early creation of a Great Forest National Park. more...
Yes on 92! Photo: Alan via Flickr.

A whisker from victory! Oregon GMO vote goes to a recount

The Ecologist

26th November 2014

Oregon's 'Yes on 92' GMO labeling supporters are just 809 votes from winning, forcing a recount in which they are confident of prevailing - despite being hugely outspent by a corporate 'no' campaign that received nearly $5 million from Monsanto alone. more...
Sheep enjoying the shade created by solar panels at Conergy Solar Park at Fohren in Germany. Photo: Conergy.

The UK's farms can generate as much power as Hinkley C by 2020 - renewably!

Jonathon Porritt

26th November 2014

A new report shows that the UK's farms can easily generate as much power as the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant, writes Jonathan Porritt. Not only would it all be renewable, but if could all be in place by 2020. Here he offers some friendly - but strictly confidential - advice for Energy Secretary Ed Davey. more...
Early stages of construction on the Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor in France, which was due to open in 2012, but is running five years late. Photo: Schoella via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C hovers on the brink - Europe's nuclear giants face meltdown

Paul Brown

25th November 2014

Doubts are growing doubts that the Hinkley C nuclear power station, the EU's biggest construction project, will get the final go-ahead from the UK government, writes Paul Brown. And that's leaving the European nuclear industry, already in serious financial difficulties, facing a struggle for survival. more...
Zekiye Ozdemir and Gulseren Caliskan, both 70, maintain their daily vigil directly in front of a large iron police barrier  at the construction site on the edge of Validebag Grove, Istanbul. Photo: Nick Ashdown.

'Fake environmentalists' battle for Istanbul's last forest

Nick Ashdown

26th November 2014

After Gezi Park, another battle for one of Istanbul's increasingly rare green spaces is raging, writes Nick Ashdown - and this time it's on the city's Asian side. Demonstrators are holding a 24-hour vigil on the edge of an 'illegal' construction site at Validebag Grove - despite having been repeatedly detained and attacked by police. more...
Never mind the drinking water aquifers and the national park - the South Downs is one of England's most cherished landscapes that could be opened up for fracking. Photo: Jaydee! via Flickr.

Fracking is safe. Radiation is harmless. And pigs have wings

Dr David Lowry

21st November 2014

Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos, Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the Environment Agency and its ex-boss Lord Smith all suffer from a blind spot, writes David Lowry - the dangers of fracking, its radioactive emissions and the toxic chemicals that threaten to pollute our aquifers. As for official advice that 'regulation needs to be strongly and robustly applied' - pass the Tippex! more...
UKIP MEP and energy spokesman Roger Helmer poses with Maritsa Noon, chief executive of the pro-fossil fuel, climate change denying Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, at the 7th Heartland Institute Climate Conference in May 2012. Photo: rogerhelm

UKIP uncut - acoloytes of America's far-right corporate gunslingers

Alex Stevenson & Oliver Tickell

21st November 2014

Would UKIP be riding so high if voters knew of the party's links with powerful right-wing US corporate interests promoting fossil fuels, denying climate change, opposing gun control, and supporting big tobacco, teaching creationism in schools, healthcare privatisation and the lifting of nuclear power regulation? An Ecologist investigation exposes the real UKIP. more...
'So can you build this bloody power station or can't you?' Cameron gets tough with EDF workers on a visit to the Hinkley Point C site. Photo: Department of Energy and Climate Change via Flickr.

Hinkley C hit by surprise treble whammy - is it all over for EDF?

Doug Parr /

20th November 2014

EDF has already moved heavy earth moving gear onto the Hinkley C nuclear power station construction site, writes Doug Parr - but that doesn't mean it's a done deal. On the contrary, a host of intractable problems are coming home to roost, and the increasingly troubled project is looking shakier than ever. more...

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