The Ecologist

 

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Sunset at Papeete, French Polynesia. Photo: Pilottage via Flickr (CC BY).

ALERT: Critically Endangered Species: Homo sapiens

Willemijn Heideman

11th May 2016

The IUCN has mysteriously placed Homo sapiens outside its systems of thinking when defining the criteria for Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable Species, writes Willemijn Heideman: our collective inability to tackle our existential crises makes our survival on this planet a highly uncertain prospect. more...
The war on drugs under way near Tumaco, Colombia, June 2008. But how come nothing like this happens in Colorado or Amsterdam? Photo: William Fernando Martinez / AP Photo via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 'war on drugs' is a war on culture and human diversity

Benjamin Ramm

28th April 2016

The 'war on drugs' is presented as a necessary battle against social evils, writes Benjamin Ramm. But from the Andes to the Caribbean, prohibition has criminalised both religious and cultural expression. And it's a war that is strictly for the global poor: people in Colorado can grow pot - so why not Colombians? more...
Ruth & Alex at the Steepholding, Greenham Reach. Photo: Walter Lewis.

Feeding body and soul - an exploration of Britain's new age landworkers

Walter Lewis

12th May 2016

For most of 2015 Walter Lewis travelled around England and Wales meeting and photographing people producing food outside the confines of mainstream agriculture - working out of a passion for the earth and the Earth rather than for commercial gain. He completed his exploration inspired, and determined to spread word of quiet revolution under way across the fields of Britain. more...
A dust storm hits Jordan's  Zaatari refugee camp on 29th July 2012 shortly after it was established ear the northern city of Mafraq. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Jordan grapples with the environmental consequences of its refugee crisis

Doug Weir

27th April 2016

Since 1948 Jordan has taken in millions of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and most recently Syria, writes Doug Weir. Politically and economically the country has proved astonishingly resilient - but the population increase has caused huge damage to its fragile environment. Ecological degradation, pollution and resource scarcity may cause political instability unless more is done to tackle the problems. more...
'Divine wilderness': the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park, California. Photo: Peretz Partensky via Fliclr (CC BY-SA).

Divine wilderness: John Muir's spiritual and political journey

Tim Flinders

6th May 2016

For John Muir, founder of America's national parks, immersion in nature was a blessing providing direct communion with divinity, writes Tim Flinders, and the cause of a spiritual awakening that inspired his life's work: to preserve wilderness and communicate the beauty, wonder and fragility of nature, sharing widely the source of his own enlightenment. more...
Seeking Green Liberty! Photo: Adarsh Thakuri via Flickr (CC BY).

The way to Green Liberty: stop being afraid, work together to make things better

Dr. Glen Barry

11th May 2016

A future of green abundance for all is possible, writes Glen Barry. Instead we are mired in the destruction of the Earth's vital ecosystems, divided by obscene wealth and shameful poverty, and pitted against each other in genocidal wars over energy, resources and global dominance. To make that alternative a living reality, we must shed our fears and come together in common purpose. more...
From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen

27th April 2016

We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end. more...
Longji terraces in Longsheng county, Guilin, China, January 2009. Photo: Anna Frodesiak via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Creating sustainability? Join the Re-Generation!

Daniel Christian Wahl

25th April 2016

Faced with multiple converging crises humanity is challenged to redesign the human presence on Earth within the lifetime of present generations, writes Daniel Christian Wahl, and so transform our impact from degeneration to regeneration. We are capable of creating diverse creative cultures elegantly adapted to the uniqueness of place. more...
Yanomami girl. Photo: Sam valadi via Flickr (CC BY).

The myth of the 'brutal savage' and the mindset of conquest

Stephen Corry

21st April 2016

The 'brutal savage' meme has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture and establishment narratives, writes Stephen Corry, despite abundant evidence that it's fundamentally wrong. But it suits today's dominant mindset of conquest, conflict and colonialism all too well, and serves to justify the ongoing genocide and expropriation of surviving Indigenous Peoples today. more...
It's our future! Photomontage: Beyond GM.

Opening up the debate on GMOs to the voices of the future

Pat Thomas

13th April 2016

An exciting new project has been launched to give children a chance to join in the GMO debate, writes Pat Thomas. With young people speaking up and becoming more aware of food, health and environmental issues, they deserve the platform to voice their concerns and join in a wider global network of youth working for positive change in the world they will inherit. more...
Intensive arable farming in England: no space for people or wildlife. Photo: Peter Roworth / Natural England via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Six steps back to the land: an agricultural revolution for people and countryside

Colin Tudge

22nd April 2016

What's the point of farming? To produce an abundance of wholesome food, writes Colin Tudge, while supporting a flourishing rural economy and a sustainable, biodiverse countryside. Yet the powers that be, determined to advance industrial agriculture at all costs, are achieving the precise opposite. It's time for a revolution in our food and farming culture, led by the people at large. more...
Lesvos beach, 21st October 2015. Photo: Marienna Pope-Weidemann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why 'Effective Altruism' is ineffective: the case of refugees

Sam Earle & Rupert Read

5th April 2016

In trying to evaluate charitable interventions in 'value for money' terms, the movement for 'Effective Altruism' has lost its moral compass, Sam Earle & Rupert Read. The real changes the world needs are profound, systemic and political. There is no better example than the refugee crisis: the problem is not insufficient aid, but structural inequality, too many weapons, and too much war. more...

society: 1/25 of 973
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It took centuries of smoking before tobacco's link to cancer was proven - so how come 20 years of eating GMO's 'proves' they are safe? Photo: Ximena Salazar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The Precautionary Principle: the basis of a post-GMO ethic

Rupert Read

18th April 2016

GMOs have been in our diets for about 20 years, writes Rupert Read. Proof that they are safe? No way - it took much, much longer to discover the dangers of cigarettes and transfats, dangers that are far more visible than those of GMOs. On the scale of nature and ecology, 20 years is a pitifully short time. To sustain our human future, we have to think long term. more...
Anti-nuclear demonstration in the wake of the Fukushima disaster at Meji Koen, Tokyo, 19th September 2011. Photo: jordi olaria jané via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The flight from Fukushima - and the grim return

Linda Pentz Gunter

11th March 2016

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began to unfold, the searing psychological effects are still being felt among the 160,000 refugees who fled the fallout, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But now there's growing pressure to return to contaminated areas declared 'safe' in efforts to whitewash the disaster's impacts. Why the rush? To clear the way for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, complete with events in Fukushima City. more...
US suburbia: alright for some. But access to it was regulated along strictly racial lines. Mid 20th century calendar illustration. Photo: wackystuff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Racist housing? How postwar suburban development led to today's inner-city lead poisoning

Leif Fredrickson, University of Virginia

7th March 2016

The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan is just the tip of a vast iceberg of lead contamination afflicting mainly urban black communities, writes Leif Fredrickson. A rigid 'race bar' on postwar suburban housing and mortgages left black families in inner cities, exposed to flaking lead paint in run down housing, leaded gasoline residues and lead pipework. Now is the time to correct this shocking historic injustice. more...
Red chilis grown by a traditional small-scale farmer in Morocco. Photo: Ali JAFRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Resisting the corporate stranglehold on food and farming - is agroecology enough?

Colin Todhunter

4th March 2016

Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement. more...
From front cover of 'Killing the Host' by Michael Hudson.

'Killing the Host': the financial system is destroying the global economy

Paul Craig Roberts

12th February 2016

The main engine of economic exploitation is the financial system's ever increasing extraction of value through interest payments, according to economist Michael Hudson. Paul Craig Roberts finds his analysis all too accurate, as the over-financialized economies of western countries head down a spiral of poverty, decline, injustice and despair. more...
Lima's 'wall of shame'. Photo: Belen Desmaison, Author provided.

Lima's 'Wall of Shame': the gated communities that construct Peru's inequality

Camillo Boano & Belen Desmaison

24th February 2016

Just as rich and poor are separated by walls of money, the Latin American trend is to add physical walls to keep wealthy and deprived communities entirely apart, write Camillo Boano & Belen Desmaison. On the one side people enjoy lavish homes, security, public services and piped water. On the other residents live in tiny shacks built of scraps, in a desert landscape ruled by criminals. more...
Lake Huron - the limitless expanse of clean water that supplied Flint until municipal dictators decided to save money and pipe in industrially contaminated water from the Flint River. Photo: Cathy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

What's more corrosive than Flint's water? The cynicism of the powerful

Jesse Jackson

11th February 2016

The Flint water crisis exposes like nothing else the toxic cynicism of America's ruling class, writes Jesse Jackson. In their privileged view, the victims of the lead poisoning are disposable 'unpersons' that matter less than General Motors' auto parts. But now they, and their peers in other poisoned communities, are fighting back. more...
Russia’s informal recycling sector at work. Photo: Minna Halme.

'Recycling is for drunks, addicts and babushkas' - inside Russia's shadowy waste industry

8th February 2016

Minna Halme, Lancaster University

Official recycling rates in Russia stand at close to zero, writes Minna Halme. But my study of the potential to develop the sector uncovered widespread informal recycling networks, lurking in basements, stigmatised for supposed links to organised crime, barely tolerated by the authorities. And any ideas of legitimising the shadowy recycling operations are met with frosty official silence. more...
View from Diyarbakir hotel window, with bullet hole. Photo: William John Gauthier via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Turkey's war on Kurdish cities - clearing the way for 'urban regeneration'?

Defne Kadıoğlu Polat

3rd February 2016

Erdogan's horrific 'war on terror' in the Kurdish cities of Eastern Turkey may have a silver lining, writes Defne Kadıoğlu Polat - at least for property developers and ruling party insiders. Plans are already under way for 'urban renewal' projects that will see the valuable real estate cleansed of buildings and people by the war developed into luxury apartments and shopping malls. more...
'BP - World's bniggest corporate criminal'. Time for the Science Museum to stop taking their filthy money. Photo: BP or not BP.

Science Museum must get out of bed with anti-science Big Fossil funders

Drew Pearce

2nd February 2016

Why is BP sponsoring the Science Museum's 'Late' event? It's all part of creating 'scientific consent' for fossil fuels, writes Drew Pearce, in the face of scientific certainty about climate change and the need for drastic cuts in carbon emissions. That's why we gatecrashed their latest show last week. more...
Demolition under way at the the Acorn Estate, built from 1957-1963 by F.O. Hayes, Peckham, South London, in 2007. Photo: Steve Cadman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Don't bulldoze Britain's brutalist housing - it's culture you can live in!

Sebastian Messer, Northumbria University

12th February 2016

Britain's 20th century architecture is in danger of obliteration, writes Sebastian Messer, with a 'new brutalism' that holds that socially deprived council estates are fit only for demolition. But these buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage, and more than that, they provide affordable housing to millions of people. more...
Artwork: Franz Jachim via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

What's to celebrate on Australia's 'apartheid day' of national shame? Only this: survival

John Pilger

25th January 2016

For most Australians, 26th January is a day of family celebration, writes John Pilger. But for its indigenous peoples the only thing to celebrate is their survival after over two centuries of rape, murder, theft and vicious racism that continues to this day, and has even found new expression in Australia's war on refugees, incarcerated in barbaric Pacific Island concentration camps. more...
The Heygate Estate, London, in March 2010. Cheerless, but providing a lot of affordable housing. Now demolished, its communities have been broken up and dispersed. Photo: Thomas Bryans via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cameron's 'sink estate' strategy - social cleansing by another name?

Loretta Lees

24th January 2016

Demolishing 'sink' council estates is no way to solve social problems, writes Loretta Lees. All it does is force low income communities out of affordable housing, and open valuable urban sites up for profitable redevelopment. But then, maybe that's the point? more...

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