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This roman aqueduct near Haifa in modern-day Israel took water to Caesaria, the civilian and military capital of Judaea. But ultimately, most of the water flowed to Rome itself - if in virtual form. Photo: C. J.™ via Flickr.

The food-water-energy nexus defeated the Romans. It could defeat us too

Jonathan Bridge

13th December 2014

As well as being masters of water engineering, the Romans also engaged in a long distance trade in water across the Mediterranean - embodied in grain, oil, wine, cloth, metals and other goods. They also discovered the food-water-energy nexus - and not in a good way. We need to heed the warnings from Roman history. more...
January-October 2014 average air temperature anomalies over land and sea surface temperature anomalies over the oceans (relative to the 1961-1990 average) from the HadCRUT.4.3.0.0 data set. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 set to be the hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd December 2014

The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Their latest report, issued today at the UN climate talks in Lima, shows exceptional heat and flooding in many parts of the world. more...
Uvas Dam and Reservoir, California, February 1, 2014. Photo: Ian Abbott via Flickr.

Climate change and the downfall of California's big agriculture

Joshua Frank

5th December 2014

Thanks to cheap water and plentiful sunshine, California grows most of the US's fruit, vegetables and nuts, writes Joshua Frank. But with the drought looking ever more permanent, the $40 billion industry is facing a terminal crisis. It's only a matter of time before we have to rely on local produce - so let's make a start now! more...
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has declared an Emergency in Gaza City, following extreme weather and severe flooding. Photo: UNWRA.

Flood 'emergency' strikes Gaza City

The Ecologist

29th November 2014

Following Israel's destruction of much of Gaza's civilian infrastructure in Israel's summer 2014 attacks, the territory's drainage systems have been unable to cope with heavy rains, and the UN has declared a state of emergency in Gaza City. more...
The Balbina Dam reservoir. Photo: via Greenpeace.

Brazil's giant dam programme is a climate disaster

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace

28th October 2014

Brazil's newly elected Dilma Rousseff is committed to completing the disastrous Belo Monte dam, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson. Worse, she looks certain to press ahead with the industrialisation of the Amazon, with 61 hydroprojects in the pipeline. And new scientific findings about the massive climate impacts of tropical forest dams are not about to stop her. more...
Baaba Maal inspects failed corn crops in Mauritania. Photo: Oxfam International via Flickr.

Climate renews famine risk to Africa's Sahel

Alex Kirby

5th November 2014

With rising population and food demand far outstripping supply, the Sahel is vulnerable to a new humanitarian crisis, writes Alex Kirby. Rainfall is expected to increase with climate change, but higher temperatures will overwhelm the benefits. more...
Skilful heather burning can enhance biodiversity, according to the Moorland Association. Recently burnt heather at Ramshaw Rocks, Staffordshire. Photo: Paul via Flickr.

England's 'upland Amazon' destroyed for grouse shooting

Paul Brown

9th October 2014

The repeated burning of England's upland moors - carried out so more grouse can be reared for lucrative shooting parties - is seriously damaging a unique and valuable ecosystem, writes Paul Brown - destroying ages-old peat, reducing its capacity to retain water, and releasing megatonnes of carbon to the atmosphere. more...
What was once the Aral Sea at Muinak, Qoraqalpoghiston, Uzbekistan. Photo: so11e via Flickr.

Once a Sea - now it's the Aral Desert

Anson Mackay

16th October 2014

The Aral Sea is a well known environmental disaster zone. But this year, it got a whole worse, writes Anson Mackay, as its biggest basin dried up completely to expose a toxic, salty wasteland. With continuing irrigation and declining river flows due to climate change, the desert is only set to expand. more...
The North Saskatchewan River in the Kootenay Plains. Photo: Alan Ernst.

Fighting for the foothills: protect the headwaters of North Saskatchewan!

Carol Linnitt

13th October 2014

Much of Alberta, Canada has already been damaged by industrial clearfelling, or lost to the tar sands industry, writes Carol Linnitt. But now there's a chance to keep 'the most beautiful example of pristine eastern slopes Rockies out into the foothills' as wilderness, in the North Saskatchewan's unspoilt headwaters. more...
A beaver in Scotland, where they are being re-introduced. Photo: Paul Stevenson via Flickr.com.

Save the free beavers of England!

Alasdair Cameron / Friends of the Earth

25th September 2014

Deep in rural Devon, the word is that the Government intends to trap the wild-living beaver family on the River Otter next month, and consign them to captivity. But as Alasdair Cameron writes, this is not only unnecessary and unpopular, but probably illegal as well. more...
The 'flying rivers' of the Amazon are at risk from deforestation, fires and climate change. Without them, forest and farmland could turn to desert. Photo: Eli Duke via Flickr.

Drought bites as the Amazon's 'flying rivers' fail

Jan Rocha

20th September 2014

The Amazon forest both depends on, and sustains, vast 'flying rivers' that carry humid air and clouds deep into the continental interior, writes Jan Rocha. But scientists fear the flying rivers are failing due to deforestation, fire and climate change. more...
Ashaninka traveling by boat from eastern Peru to visit neighbors in Acre state, Brazil. Photo: © Mike Goldwater / Survival.

Assassination in the Amazon

Oliver Tickell

11th September 2014

Four Indian leaders who have opposed illegal logging in their forests have been shot dead in eastern Peru as they traveled by boat to an indigenous meeting in Brazil. The murders followed pleas to Peruvian authorities for protection, and warnings by Brazilian officials that the Indians were in extreme danger. more...

water: 1/25 of 204
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Tel Aviv beach. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Gaza's revenge: Israelis swim in Palestinian shit

Sam Bahour

11th September 2014

Consecutive Israeli military assaults have caused huge damage to Gaza's water and sewage systems, writes Sam Bahour. One result is that almost all Gaza's water is unfit for human consumption. Another is the tide of raw Palestinian sewage lapping on the beaches of Tel Aviv. So who should we feel most sorry for? more...
The view down the borehole through half a mile of the Antarctic ice to Lake Whillans. Photo: Reed Scherer / Northern Illinois University.

Abounding life! 4,000 microbes thrive in Antarctic lake beneath the ice

Helen Thompson

15th September 2014

Beneath half a mile of ice scientists have uncovered the first hard evidence of a life in a subglacial lake, writes Helen Thompson. And not just life, but a complex ecosystem comprising thousands of microbial species. Could Jupiter's frozen moon Europa be hiding lakes like this? more...
Copenhagen Harbour Bath designed by JDS Architects. Photo: Lucy Reynell.

Urban Plunge - open swimming in the heart of the city

Jane Withers

13th September 2014

With the growing trend for natural swimming in cities new opportunities are opening for architects and designers to create dramatic, inspiring, enjoyable new public spaces in urban waterways, writes Jane Withers. And it's the subject of a new exhibition at London's Roca London Gallery ... more...
Drought under a torrid sky in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photo: Claudio.Ar via Flickr.

Britain's real 'terror threat': eco-sceptic politicians

Paul Mobbs

3rd September 2014

Politicians are forever citing 'terror' as a reason to expand the security state and restrict civil liberties, writes Paul Mobbs. But when it comes to the real threats that face the world - ecological breakdown, climate disruption, resource crises, and an unjust and rapacious world order ... well, that's all 'green crap'. Isn't it? more...
The Mosul dam spillway. Photo: United States Army Corps of Engineers / Wikimedia Commons.

The battle for Mosul Dam: a new age of water wars beckons

Jonathan Bridge

2nd September 2014

Conflict continues to rage in Iraq over control of the Mosul dam, which impounds 11 cubic kilometres of water and controls water levels and supplies across the country, writes Jonathan Bridge. It's not the first battle fought over control of water - and it's certainly not the last in a drying Middle East with fast-growing populations. more...
From tiny acorns ... a pair of solar panels powering a desalination unit in the West Bank, installed in May 2013 with USAID finance. Photo: USAID via Flickr.

Gaza - renewable energy for a just a durable peace

Keith Barnham

4th September 2014

The war in Gaza is over - but with the territory in ruins, it's essential to build a just and durable peace, and restore essential public services: health, water, sewerage and above all electric power. Keith Barnham presents his plan for Gaza, based on a massive deployment of solar and wind power generation. more...
Drought - what drought? Fountains in Sao Paulo disguise the reality that power and water will soon be running catastrophically low. Photo: collectmoments via Flickr.

Drought hits São Paulo - what drought?

Jan Rocha

29th August 2014

São Paulo, South America's biggest city, is suffering its worst drought in over a century, writes Jan Rocha, with rivers and reservoirs running dry. But the state's politicians are seeking re-election. And for them, it's as if nothing is happening - never mind that water and power cuts affecting millions are looking inevitable. more...
Give it love, not Coke - defaced Coca-Cola poster in Rishikesh, India. Photo: Axel Drainville via Flickr.

Coca-Cola forced out of $25 million factory in India

The Ecologist

27th August 2014

After a 15-year battle, local campaigners infuriated by pollution, over-pumping of groundwater and land-grabbing have finally forced the closure of Coca-Cola's $25 million factory near Varanasi. more...
The database shows information for the world's 50 major river basins. Map: International Rivers.

Dams versus rivers - the global battle

The Ecologist

26th August 2014

A new 'State of the World's Rivers' database shows how the world's rivers have been impoverished by dams and their ecosystems devastated - and provides a valuable resource to help save river basins that remain in good health. more...
Who drank all the water? Dried out 'swamp' just NE of the Everglades National Park, Miami County, Florida. Photo: A Duarte via Flickr.

Florida's sugar barons grow fat on subsidies, diabetes and Everglades destruction

Alan Farago

1st September 2014

Big Sugar is the new Big Tobacco, writes Alan Farago - lethal to human health, wreaking environmental devastation, gouging huge public subsidies, and with the political clout to stop First Lady Michelle Obama from breathing a word against it. Only an alliance of 'green', health and taxpayer campaigners can kill the beast. more...
Algae on the Trinity River, July 2014. Photo: Klamath Justice Coalition.

Fish before agribusiness! California river tribes demand water

Oliver Tickell

22nd August 2014

Large scale salmon deaths are imminent on the Klamath River and its tributaries in northern California due to low flows and high temperatures. Native American tribes are protesting in the state capital as federal agencies illegally prioritize water for large scale agribusiness over fish and indigenous people. more...
Hazeltine Creek on Quesnel Lake after the tailings dam collapse. Floating on the surface: the stripped off the mountainside by the force of the spill. Out of sight: 14.5 billion litres of toxic mining waste.

Swapping red tape for caution tape: why Canada can expect more mining disasters

Carol Linnitt / DeSmog.ca

27th August 2014

This month a tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine in BC breached, writes Carol Linnitt - spilling 14.5 billion litres of toxic mine waste into Quesnel Lake. A major source of freshwater and one of BC's premier fly-fishing destinations, the lake will never be the same again. But it's just the first big victim of Canada's wave of environmental de-regulation ... more...
Shu takes to the megaphone to get her message across - water is a human right! Photo: Detroit Water Brigade via facebook.com/waterbrigade .

Detroit: what happens when water is a commodity, not a human right

Pete Dolack

19th August 2013

The shutoff of water to thousands of Detroit residents, the proposed privatization of the water system, and the diversion of the system's revenue to banks are possible, writes Pete Dolak, because water - the most basic human need - has become a means to extract profit from the City's people. more...

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