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Blogs and Comments

The solar age is upon us

Chris Goodall

1st September 2015

Solar deals are now being struck in Texas, USA, for under $60 / MWh. Duke Energy’s 14MW Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas with nearly 215,000 photovoltaic solar panels. Photo: Duke Energy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. more...

We should all get three-day weekends - all the time

David Spencer

30th August 2015

Work - who needs it? Photo: a family celebration by the Potomac by Bill Dickinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The effect of new labour saving technologies has been ... to keep us working as long as ever, or longer. But why? Certainly not for our benefit, writes David Spencer. It's to keep civil society suppressed, docile, in thrall to the power of capital. All the more reason to rebel - demand a 30-hour working week now! more...

Pine martens' return could bring a red squirrel resurgence

Emma Sheehy

28th August 2015

The pine marten may look cuddly - but it's no such thing, specially if you're a grey squirrel. But lighter, more agile reds fare rather better. Photo: Thomas Broxton Jr via Flickr (CC BY). The return of pine martens to central Ireland has been followed by a resurgence of red squirrels, writes Emma Sheehy. Now that the predatory mammal is being seen south of the Scottish border, the same could happen in England. The heavier grey squirrel is easy prey for pine martens, and their demise could open up ecological space for the native red to recolonise. more...

Repowering renewables - a silver lining amid the gloom?

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2015

The Earthship at Stanmer Park, just outside Brighton, East Sussex, UK. Photo: Esa Ruoho via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The Tories' decision to scrap the UK's renewable energy sector deserves condemnation, writes Oliver Tickell. But there is a silver lining: it creates the space in which to design better, cheaper, more cost effective support mechanisms to drive the clean energy revolution forward. more...

To save our elephants, don't ban mammoth ivory - encourage it!

Douglas MacMillan

27th August 2015

It may not be to your taste, but the trade in mammoth tusk carvings, like this one on show at the Treasure Island Hotel, Las Vegas, is depressing the price of elephant ivory and helping to preserve the species. Photo: Cheryl Q via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). There is widely held belief that there' only one way to protect rhinos, elephants and other endangered species poached for the international wildlife trade, writes Douglas MacMillan: a complete trade ban. But it's a dangerous misconception. By raising prices and engaging criminal networks, bans speed up extinction rather than preventing it. more...

Culling sharks doesn't work - here's what we can do instead

Jane Williamson

26th August 2015

Surfing at Noosa Beach, Australia. To avoid shark attack, keep out of the water at dawn and dusk, and avoid turbid estuaries. Even sharks can make mistakes. Photo: m.maddo via Flickr (CC BY). Following six shark attacks this year on the beaches of New South Wales, Australia, the press are demanding a shark cull as a 'permanent solution' to the problem, writes Jane Williamson. Trouble is, culling is indiscriminate, ineffective, disrupts ocean ecosystems, and diverts resources from more effective responses. more...

Never mind the greenwash - Coca Cola can never be 'water neutral'

Amit Srivastava

25th August 2015

It will take more than PR puff to restore Coca-Cola's reputation in India. Wall-painted sign in Bangalore, India. Photo: Syed Nabil Aljunid via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Following a series of disastrous failures in India, one of Coca-Cola's most important markets, the company is desperate to rebuild its reputation by claiming 'water neutrality'. But the idea is absurd, writes Amit Srivastava, and does nothing to benefit the communities that suffer from the depleted aquifers it pumps from. more...

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...

English Nature - no more badger cull licences!

Iain McGill & Veterinary colleagues

21st August 2015

Badger at dusk, British Wildlife Centre. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr (CC BY-NC). 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...

The Ecologist is for Corbyn

The Ecologist

20th August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, speaking outside Iraq inquiry, London, on 29th January 2010 - with Tony Blair giving evidence inside. Photo: Chris Beckett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Jeremy Corbyn is the one candidate for the Labour leadership who is serious about the environment and social justice. Only he can re-energise the Party, turn it into a political force capable of defeating neo-liberalism, and lead the progressive government that Britain so desperately needs. more...

Dr Frances Kelsey: thalidomide and the precautionary principle

Helena Paul & Philip Bereano

25th August 2015

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). 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...

Welcoming refugees is the first step to freedom and justice

Matt Mellen

17th August 2015

Ever growing numbers of Syrian refugees from war and hunger gather near Ommonia Square, Athens, Greece. Photo: Dubravka Franz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). By working together and caring for those in need we can show that human kindness and global cooperation are stronger than competition and fear, writes Matt Mellen, and essential to building the better world we seek. Let's begin by recognising the humanity of the refugees washing up on Europe's shores. more...

Blogs

Energy: the future is renewable and distributed

Chris Wright

24th August 2015

Distributed energy in action at a local level. Image: Moixa. With centralised fossil-fuel and nuclear generation both undesirable and increasingly unviable, the answer is to make our energy local, distributed and renewable, writes Chris Wright. But to complete the picture we need battery systems for backup, stability and efficiency. And one could be coming your way soon ... more...

Pine martens' return could bring a red squirrel resurgence

Emma Sheehy

28th August 2015

The pine marten may look cuddly - but it's no such thing, specially if you're a grey squirrel. But lighter, more agile reds fare rather better. Photo: Thomas Broxton Jr via Flickr (CC BY). The return of pine martens to central Ireland has been followed by a resurgence of red squirrels, writes Emma Sheehy. Now that the predatory mammal is being seen south of the Scottish border, the same could happen in England. The heavier grey squirrel is easy prey for pine martens, and their demise could open up ecological space for the native red to recolonise. more...

Comment

The solar age is upon us

Chris Goodall

1st September 2015

Solar deals are now being struck in Texas, USA, for under $60 / MWh. Duke Energy’s 14MW Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas with nearly 215,000 photovoltaic solar panels. Photo: Duke Energy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. more...

We should all get three-day weekends - all the time

David Spencer

30th August 2015

Work - who needs it? Photo: a family celebration by the Potomac by Bill Dickinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The effect of new labour saving technologies has been ... to keep us working as long as ever, or longer. But why? Certainly not for our benefit, writes David Spencer. It's to keep civil society suppressed, docile, in thrall to the power of capital. All the more reason to rebel - demand a 30-hour working week now! more...

Letters

Letter: water use need not stall desert solar power

Dr Gerry Wolff

25th August, 2010

CSP trough-based system Yes, pioneering concentrating solar power plants are thirsty facilities, but their water use requirements could be made dramatically less more...

Letter - Time to get serious with the EU Emission Trading Scheme

27th May, 2010

Mark Chadwick

Carbon dioxide emissions Mark Chadwick from Carbon Clear argues a full auctioning of ETS permits is needed if the trading scheme is to start working more...

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