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Closing the money loop to build resilient local economies

Bran Knowles & Michael Hallam

21st July 2014

Local currencies, like these Totnes and Stroud 'pounds' are intended to stimulate local economic resilience and keep benefits within communities. But is there a better way to achieve the same ends, everywhere? Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr. Using local currencies to stimulate local economies and revalue local labour over imported products and resources sounds like a great idea - but recent experiences have proved disappointing. Are there other ways to 'close the money loop'? more...

To keep cyclists safe will need deep, radical change

Ian Walker

19th July 2014

It's all very well painting cycle lanes onto roads - but we must do far, far more than that to make cycling a safe and pleasant transport option. Photo: Cian Ginty via Flickr. The Commons Transport Committee has advised Government to budget £10 per head to create a safe cycling environment, writes Ian Walker. But that's grossly underestimating the challenge ahead - a major rethink of planning, health and transport policies is needed. more...

Great snakes! Football fans, explore at your peril

Natasha Geiling

15th July 2014

Some 90 miles off the Sao Paulo coast, Ilha da Queimada Grande looks very pretty from far away. But up close, it's terrifying. Photo: Prefeitura Municipal Itanhaém. Brazil's Ilha de Queimada Grande is the only home of one of the world's deadliest, and most endangered, snakes, writes Natasha Geiling. Just the place for Brazil's disgraced football team to escape the wrath of furious fans, if they can only get a permit ... more...

Why do the local people protect the elephants?

Susan Canney

14h July 2014

Mali elephants by Carlton Ward Jr.  / carltonward.com. Mali's elephants have lived for millennia in the inhospitable Sahara, writes Susan Canney. But with their survival at risk from a host of modern, 21st century threats, local people are coming together to protect them - and finding that they too are benefiting. more...

Whalers' log books confirm - Arctic sea ice is retreating

Tim Radford

9th July 2014

Oil painting by John Wood (1798-1849) of British whalers circa 1840. Photo: Lee and Juliet Fulger Fund  / Wikimedia Commons. Log books from British whaling ships more than 200 years ago have given new insights into the history of the Arctic sea ice, reports Tim Radford. A new study reveals that the scale of ice melt in the Arctic over the last few decades is new and unprecedented. more...

Red wolf extinction fear as US budget cuts bite

Joseph Hinton

7th July 2014

Red wolves are clinging on to existence in a few thousand kilometres of the southeastern US. Photo: B. Bartel / USFWS, CC BY-SA The US Fish and Wildlife Service has done pioneering conservation work to save North America's endangered Red Wolf, under threat from shooting and inter-breeding with coyotes. But now federal budget cuts are putting all that - and the Red wolf itself - at risk. more...

Soaking the customer - Thames Water's £4 billion sewage money grab

John Allen & Michael Pryke

4th July 2014

If this water was money ... Photo: loopzilla / CC BY-SA. Using sophisticated financial engineering, Thames Water is making its customers pay almost the whole cost of its £4.2 billion London sewage tunnel. Is it time England ditched corporate ownership of its utilities and adopted Wales's 'non-profit' model? more...

Our garbage is polluting the remotest, deepest ocean

Sarah Zielinski

1st July 2014

Surveys off the coast of Europe revealed all kinds of human trash, including plastic bags (upper left and lower right), beer cans (lower left) and glass bottles (upper right). Photo: Pham et al. Even creatures at the bottom of the ocean aren't sheltered from the detritus of human civilization, writes Sarah Zielinski. Everywhere they have looked, scientists have found plastic, glass and other trash littering the seafloor and collecting in canyons. more...

Ecover is as green as ever!

Tom Domen & Dirk Develter

25th June 2014

the 'green wall' that Ecover has planned for its new offices will feature adjustable lattices to take advantage of low latitude sun for space heating, while reflecting off surplus summer heat. Image: Ecover. Ecover refutes allegations that it has been using 'synthetic biology' to make soap ingredients from algae. On the contrary, write Tom Domen & Dirk Develter, it's just old fashioned fermentation, and the company remains at the forefront of sustainability and responsible practice. more...

The amazing emotional intelligence of our primate cousins

Danielle Radin

24th June 2014

Gorilla, Philadelphia Zoo. Photo: Richard Ricciardi via Flickr. Gorillas cooperating to dismantle poachers's snares, altruistic, food sharing chimpanzees, grieving lemurs performing death rituals ... Danielle Radin finds an extraordinary emotional depth and capacity for empathy in our fellow primates. more...

Brazilians have far more to protest about than the World Cup

Steffen Böhm & Rafael Kruter Flores

20th June 2014

The Belo Monte dam construction site. Photo: Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento via Flickr. It may all be over for England, but for Brazil, the battle is only just beginning. Anger over the vast cost of the World Cup - well over $10 billion - and its huge social impacts, is spilling over into a wider fury at massive mega-projects than enrich elites, trash the environment, and leave the poor poorer. more...

The Tambora eruption and human history

Gillen D'Arcy Wood

18th June 2014

The huge caldera of Mount Tambora, Indonesia - still active today. Photo: Jialiang Gao, CC BY-SA. The greatest volcanic eruption in human history changed the 19th century as much as Napoleon, if not more, writes Gillen D'Arcy Wood. Yet how many of us know of Tambora, the climate havoc it unleashed, or the global cholera pandemic it spawned? more...

PNG: 'Lost' bat species rediscovered after 120 years in the wilderness

Luke Leung, Julie Broken-Brow & Catherine Hughes

15th June 2014

Back after going missing for more than a century: the New Guinea big-eared bat. Photo: Julie Broken-Brow. A 'microbat' that has remained unrecorded since 1890 has been discovered in Papua New Guinea. But with the country's forests under growing pressure from logging and for conversion to plantations, this and thousands of other biological treasures are at risk. more...

The farmer is the future

Julian Rose

13th June 2014

Farming in Poland, the traditional way. Photo: Jejma via Flickr. In our modern world of supermarkets and on-demand delivery, its easy to forget about the few remaining 'real farmers' who grow healthy, wholesome food, writes Julian Rose. But it won't be long before we give them the appreciation they deserve ... more...

Potato blight - there's no need for GMOs!

Sophie Brown / Sustainable Food Trust

10th June 2014

Trial at Glyn Farm, Anglesey, 2007: foreground - susceptible; background - Sarpo clone. Photo: Sarvari Trust. GM companies are exploiting the launch of a new blight-resistant GMO potato to make their case for an EU-wide relaxation of rules restricting GM crops. But as Sophie Brown discovers, we have all the answers to blight already, without a GMO in sight! more...

A night in the life of a badger sett monitor - Chris Tasker's story

Lesley Docksey

5th June 2014

The bloodied corpse of badger 200, whisked away before it could be retrieved by cullers and subjected to a post-mortem that showed it had been shot in the wrong place and suffered a slow and painful death. NFU running police control rooms. Violent 'bounty-hunting' badger shooters in the woods at dead of night, none too bothered about the finer points of law. Confused, ill-informed police bearing prejudice against 'protestors' ... It's all a recipe for a big mess, writes Lesley Docksey. more...

Want to restore the world's forests? Begin with these 'surprising seven' countries

Katie Reytar / WRI

3rd June 2014

A farmer in Lushoto, Tanzania prepares seedlings for transplanting. Photo: P. Kimeli /  CIFOR. There's two billion hectares of land around the world crying out to have their tree cover restored, writes Katie Reytar. But where to begin? Here's seven countries that offer huge reforestation opportunities - and every one of them will take you by surprise ... more...

The five biggest threats to human existence

Anders Sandberg

31st May 2014

Other ways humanity could end are more subtle - but nuclear war still presents the greatest threat to human survival. United States Department of Energy, CC BY. Humanity has always lived under the threat of extinction, writes Anders Sandberg. Now we have reduced some of the dangers - but created new ones of our own. And right now, it's the anthropogenic threats that look the scariest ... more...

Carpet giant Interface goes for 'sustainability gold'

Sophie Morlin-Yron

27th May 2014

From derelict fishing gear to carpet. Photo: USFWS Puget Sound Coastal Program / Joan Drinkwin via Flickr. Interface's sustainability model shows how large industrial companies can slash their carbon emissions and other environmental impacts without compromising profitability, reports Sophie Morlin-Yron. The key is to aim high! more...

In Ecuador's Amazon, a small tribe lives under a dark, oily shadow

Stephen Wallace

26th May 2014

PetroEcuador warning sign, Ecuadorian Rainforest, 2005. Photo: 00rini hartman via Flickr.com. A trip to the Achuar Indians of the Ecuadorian Amazon proved life-changing for Stephen Wallace. Their only desire is to enjoy what they have, and ensure that their children can do the same. But the threat of oil is casting a dark shadow of fear over their lives. more...

Zoos of the future break down the walls

Robert Young

24th May 2014

Photo: Center for Great Apes. The experience of visiting a zoo is about to change dramatically, writes Robert Young. But far more important than the visitor, zoos will create a far richer, more diverse and stimulating environment for the animals that inhabit them. more...

Meet the dipper - our canary in the coal mine for polluted rivers

Steve Ormerod

21st May 2014

European Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) near a waterfall in the Carpathian mountains. Photo: Irene Mei via Flickr. Hormone-disrupting pollutants in the urban rivers of South Wales are having adverse effects on the health and development of wild birds such as dippers, writes Steve Ormerod. Could this humble bird be the 'new canary' for environmental toxins? more...

India rising to sustainable energy challenge

Chhavi Sharma

19th May 2014

Solar-powered water pumps take the pain, and expense, out of water collection. Photo: Chhavi Sharma / Ashden. Three very different sustainable energy projects from India are among the finalists in this year's Ashden Awards, writes Chhavi Sharma - all of them inspiring and showing this vast country the way to a clean, secure, affordable energy future for all. more...

Oil companies' $1.1 trillion gamble

Paul Brown

16th May 2014

Are oil company valuations as ephemeral as the smoke rising from this oil refinery? Photo: Horia Varlan via Flickr. Financial experts warn investors that their money is being used by oil companies for high-risk projects, reports Paul Brown, on the assumption that oil prices will go on rising, with little or no regard for climate change. $1.1 trillion could be at risk. more...

Melting glaciers have drowned lands before, and will again

Vince Gaffney

12th May 2014

Traces of submerged lands are visible today, if you know where to look. Richerman, CC BY-SA. The North Sea's 'Dogger Bank' was once dry land, inhabited by people and herds of Pleistocene megafauna, writes Vince Gaffney. The long-lost world of Doggerland shows how melting glaciers drowned land at the end of the last ice age. And surely not for the last time ... more...

Cameron's wind policy - designed by Machiavelli?

Alan Whitehead MP

12th May 2014

Is Cameron's policy to put an end to onshore wind power an illusion? Double rainbow with wind turbines. Photo: Gordon Robertson via Flickr.com. David Cameron has promised to suspend incentives for onshore wind farms if he is re-elected in 2015, writes Alan Whitehead. But how exactly will he replace the 8GW of planned wind capacity that will not be built? more...

Biogas - the global green solution for health, energy, environment

John M. Hawdon

8th May 2014

Biogas digester. This EcoSan pilot project was implemented at a prison in Meru for about 1.500 inmates and 350 staff. Photo: SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr.com. Biogas digesters are a key technology for global sustainable development, writes John M. Hawdon. They simultaneously combat parasites that infect a billion people, reduce deforestation and methane emissions, and deliver vital energy to rural communities. more...

Apple bites back at climate skeptics

Robert Hunziker

6th May 2014

Apple is famous for 'thinking different'. And as  they think different, so does the world. Apple is moving to 100% renewable energy, worldwide, writes Robert Hunziker. But even better is CEO Tim Cook's fierce put-down to fossil-fuelled, climate skeptic shareholders: 'if you don't like it, sell!' Suddenly the politics of climate change in the US shifted ... more...

We cannot save the Earth, unless there be peace

Winslow Myers

2nd May 2014

The nuclear threat has not gone away - indeed it may be rising. Fylingdales Early Warning station, UK - from a 1960's Colourmaster postcard. Photo: Futurilla via Flickr.com. To tackle the world's most pressing problems, writes Winslow Myers - like climate chaos, insecurity, hunger, poverty and disease - we must build a life-affirming peace free of the Earth-destroying nuclear weapons whose dark shadow bears down on us all. more...

Round-the-clock solar power comes of age

Paul Brown

1st May 2014

The Gemasolar plant near Seville: Pointing the way ahead? Photo: DESERTEC Foundation. With the help of some clever engineering, writes Paul Brown, the power of the Sun can now produce electricity on demand - day and night, bright or cloudy. The key technology has just won a prestigious DESERTEC Award. more...

Becoming co-creators in a world of natural beauty

Kristin Hoffmann

27th April 2014

Kristin Hoffman singing the Ocean Song. From Youtube video by David Randle. Singer-songwriter Kristin Hoffmann reflects on the natural and divine inspiration that underlies her music, and urges us to both listen and play to rediscover the inner harmonies that are so easily obliterated by the brute cacophony of industrialism. more...

Chernobyl - the biting wind, the silent scream

Barys Piatrovich

26th April 2014

Chernobyl Zone 75, Pripyat, Ukraine. Photo: kvitlauk via Flickr.com. Barys Piatrovich recalls the tension of unknowing during the days that followed the Chernobyl disaster. Today, barely any of the evacuees are still alive. Dispersed throughout the country, they died alone and unnoticed, statistically insignificant. more...

Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise

Paul Kench

25th April 2014

Coral and the atolls it builds are more dynamic and adaptable than we knew. Photo: Smoothed out Brassy Leather Coral by Neville Wootton by Flickr.com. It is widely predicted that low-lying coral islands will drown as sea levels rise, writes Paul Kench - leaving their people as environmental refugees. But new evidence suggests that these small islands are more resilient to rising seas than we thought. more...

Pickles appoints himself Lord of the Wind Farms

Rebecca Cooke

17th April 2014

Wind turbines can be gorgeous - but not to Mr Pickles. Photo: Nick Ford via Flickr.com. Turbulence lies ahead for the UK's wind energy sector, writes Rebecca Cooke, as key Conservative MPs appear to be launching a hardline attack on onshore wind farms in the run up to the General Election. more...

Green or white? Planted or painted roofs can cool buildings

Gurdane Virk

15th April 2015

White roofs are widespread in Bermuda, where they help keep buildings cool under the hot sun. Photo: Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons. As the world inexorably warms, Roger Kemp shows how we can help to keep our buildings cool with roof gardens - or just with white paint. And if enough people do it, entire cities will become more cooler, more pleasant places to be when hot weather hits ... more...

Dan Box - The Carteret Islands

Dan Box Blog - Paradise lost

Dan Box

14th May, 2009

DANBOX_Arrivals.jpg Dan Box reports from a community in its death throes, as the Carteret islanders pack up their homes and prepare to become the world’s first climate change refugees more...

Dan Box Blog: Morning in Tinputz

Dan Box

29th April, 2009

I slept in my clothes last night, on the bare wooden floor of one of the houses the first boatload of people to be evacuated from the Carteret Islands are building for their families. It was a jet-black night in the small clearing hacked out amid the jungle, the dark broken only by our two candles and the lights of Fireflies jigging in the trees. more...

The Evacuation Begins

Dan Box

22nd April, 2009

first arrivals at Tinputz.jpg Dan Box is on-site to witness the world's first climate refugees being evacuated due to rising sea levels more...

Other Blogs

Independent living in Canada

February 14th, 2013

by Eagle Gamma

Eagle Gamma profiles an ethnographer who chose life off-the-grid, and found true independence..... more...

Indonesia's Sumatran tiger threatened by development of last jungle strongholds

Dr. Julian Bloomer

4th September, 2012

Sumatran tiger As politicians encourage development around the Kerinci Seblat National Park, Dr. Julian Bloomer explores how the area's endangered species can be protected more...

Creating the future: How 'Zero Carbon Britain' is inspiring positivity in today's artists

Paul Allen

16th August, 2012

Zero Carbon Britain 2030 The Centre for Alternative Technology's Emergence Summit must develop positive versions of the future, as if we can't imagine it - there won't be one, says Paul Allen more...

Ewan Kingston

I did London to Sydney without flying. Here's how

Ewan Kingston

16th April, 2010

Ewan in front of a coach Our well-grounded Kiwi reflects on his six month (almost flightless) odyssey from London to New Zealand, and answers all the usual questions on travel without wings more...

I failed. I caught a plane

Ewan Kingston

3rd February, 2010

A plane ready for boarding Thousands of miles by train, coach, bus, boat and foot and, at the last hurdle, Ewan finds that there's no way to cross the Tasman Sea except on metal wings... more...

Bali to Australia by catamaran

Ewan Kingston

18th December, 2009

View from catamaran Though it was slow, choppy, wet and tiring, Ewan looks back on his wind-powered crossing to Australia as an experience worth every minute more...

Jeremy Smith

Inspiring solutions are out there, you just have to look

Jeremy Smith

25th October, 2009

Jeremy Blog image The 350.org events last Saturday on the International Day of Climate Action give us cause for hope. As Jeremy Smith is discovering, there are thousands of inspiring stories out there about people making a difference more...

It's ecotourism, but not as we know it

Jeremy Smith

5th October, 2009

Jeremy Blog image Ecotourism is not simply about minimising your negative impact. There are places you can go where your presence (and money) can make a positive difference too
more...

Ivili - new video website for sharing green tech ideas

Jeremy Smith

14th September, 2009

Jeremy Blog image There are plenty of small scale, locally appropriate innovations out there. Jeremy Smith has set up a video archive and social network that puts all the stories and advice together
more...

Gaian Economics

A green tax? James Tobin would be spinning in his grave

Gaian Economics

3rd September, 2009

Gaian Economics Lord Adair Turner - head of the FSA and the Climate Change Committe - has ruffled feathers by suggesting a tax on currency trading. Here's why more...

When it comes to work, less is more

Gaian Economics

18th August, 2009

Gaian Economics Why don't we follow the French model and take the whole month of August as holiday? It may help strengthen our economy more...

Mr. Bean to explain quantitative easing policy

Molly Scott Cato

16th July, 2009

Gaian Economics The deputy-director of the Bank of England is on a national tour to convince us of the seriousness of its policies to ease the recession. Molly Scott Cato can't wait for the punchline more...

Transition Culture

Five amazing things you never knew about potatoes

Transition Culture

6th July, 2009

Transition Culture Inspired by digging up some home grown new potatoes on a July afternoon Rob Hopkins is running a special competition - to win one of his potatoes... more...

Song lyrics for a better world

Transition Culture

29th June, 2009

Transition Culture In their new song 'Inaugural Trams', the Super Furry Animals capture a moment from a post carbon future more...

Transition meets local government

Transition Culture

24th June, 2009

Transition Culture What can happen when a Transition Initiative and its local authority work together: the Stroud story more...

Jonathon Porritt

Sarkozy deserves applause for his stance on growth

Jonathon Porritt

23rd September, 2009

Jonathon Porritt Few people in policy work have nice things to say about the Treasury, especially if you produce reports challenging economic growth. So Sarkozy's recent move on GDP is welcome more...

Have NGOs sold out?

Jonathon Porritt

13th July 2009

Jonathon Porritt Accusations that NGOs have got far too cosy with big business have been around for years. But where does the blame really lie? more...

Ecologist Leader

Recessions are unsustainable, but they sure cut emissions

Mark Anslow

30th March, 2010

editor's blog The dramatic cuts in UK emissions suggested by the Government's preliminary figures are staggering - but we would be wrong to celebrate them more...

Copenhagen: concession and compromise

Mark Anslow

18th December, 2009

cop15 Climate negotiations are always a balancing act. But the global atmosphere is not a politician, and it won't forgive us if we get this wrong more...

Shame on the 'climategate' scientists

Mark Anslow

27th November, 2009

Ecologist Editor Mark Anslow explores the fallout from the leaked email exchanges between climate scientists more...

Environmental Law Foundation

Corby judgment: do birth defects mean nothing?

Debbie Tripley

21st August, 2009

A handful of brave, convinced mothers fought their local council to make it pay for polluting their environment and causing their children birth defects. But has anyone learned anything from this landmark ruling? more...

Atlantic Rising

Atlantic Rising: creating a fashion for guilt-free fur

Lynn Morris

11th October, 2010

fur fashion on sale Can fashion fur be guilt free? A project in Louisiana believes the answer is yes - if you are wearing swamp rat more...

Atlantic Rising: Living on the edge on Nantucket Island in the US

Lynn Morris

28th September, 2010

Coastal erosion Homes are being moved and maps redrawn as coastal erosion eats away at an island off Massachusetts
more...

Atlantic Rising: sea level rise threatens the Orinoco Delta in Venezuela

Will Lorimer

1st September, 2010

Venezuela Rising sea levels are forcing the migration of indigenous peoples and threatening the freshwater ecosystem of catfish and piranha found in the Orinoco Delta near the coast of Venezuela more...

Greening my office

Greening my office: choosing an ethical pension

Sylvia Sunshine

13th January, 2011

Sylvia takes a step towards financial security with her premier pension payment. But can she keep a clean conscience at the same time? more...

Greening my office: can't we all just go camping instead of jetting off overseas?

Sylvia Sunshine

17th August, 2010

As her colleagues jet off to sunnier climes, Sylvia tackles the thorny issue of eco holidays - but will she pluck up the courage to confront her boss over his second home? more...

Greening my office: I got them to switch the heating off!

Sylvia Sunshine

9th July, 2010

thermostat Sylvia scores her first eco success - persuading her sceptical boss that heating an unoccupied portion of the office is a terrible waste of resources more...

Laura Laker

Life without supermarkets: community action is the best way to beat them

Laura Laker

10th August, 2010

Community garden A hypermarket victory in Hackney demonstrates how local groups can help protect community shops... more...

Life without supermarkets: forget posh organic shops; check out food co-ops

Laura Laker

13th July, 2010

Money To keep prices down, Laura shops around and gives food co-ops a whirl... more...

Life without supermarkets: escaping choice overload

Laura Laker

14th June, 2010

food co-ops Laura Laker discovers the joys of farmers' markets, the convenience of vegboxes, and the horror of plans for a nearby Tesco Metro that will threaten her local corner shop more...

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