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Local authorities are key players in our renewable energy revolution

Councillor Mark Hackett

21st August 2014

These insulated pipes now connect a new building to University of Warwick's campus-wide combined heat and power system. Local authorities could deliver many more projects like this, where profit-driven energy companies have failed. Photo: Mike1024 / Wikim Government energy policy is caught between apparently conflicting objectives, writes Mark Hackett. But there is a solution that is already working in the UK and abroad - to encourage the active participation of local authorities in delivering low carbon energy to the communities they serve. more...

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr. Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...

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

Pete Dolack

19th August 2013

Shu takes to the megaphone to get her message across - water is a human right! Photo: Detroit Water Brigade via facebook.com/waterbrigade . 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...

GMOs and RoundUp - junking down our food supply

Dr Thierry Vrain

18th April 2014

It's the RoundUp, stupid! Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr. The introduction of GMO crops has caused a huge increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate, writes Dr Thierry Vrain. In turn we are eating ever more of it in our food, depriving us of vital mineral nutrients and damaging the symbiotic bacteria we all depend on for life and health. more...

The 'pre-Holocene' climate is returning - and it won't be fun

Peter Fisher

16th August 2014

Changing climates ... the polar vortex played havoc with Niagara Falls (and much of the rest of North America too). Photo: Rick Warne / EPA. A string of events earlier this year provided a sobering snapshot of a global climate system out of whack, writes Peter Fisher. Could it represent the end of a rare 10,000 year island of stability in global climate? If so, we had better get used to it. The Earth may never be so comfortable again ... more...

On-line activism - from surveillance to ecological footprint

Paul Mobbs

15th August 2014

A pile of waste at Aglogbloshie. Photo: qamp.net via Flickr. Campaigning has never been so easy - sign an Avaaz petition here, send an email there ... and the world is soon put to rights, no? No, writes Paul Mobbs. We must examine the impacts and implications of our e-life, from climate change to corporate dominance, and take control of the technologies we increasingly depend on. more...

For the next energy revolution, we must deregulate power grids

Bill Watkins

14th August 2014

With batteries and a local microgrid, this PV-powered house near Boston, Massachusetts, could eliminate its dependence on grid-supplied power. Photo: Gray Watson (256.com/solar) / Wikimedia Commons. How do we spur more microgrids powered by renewable energy? Deregulate, writes Bill Watkins, ending the monopolies enjoyed by centralized energy companies. The alternative is to keep consumers and micro-generators stuck with the energy equivalent of the 'Princess' phone. more...

Agri-terrorists accuse seed bank of 'agri-terrorism'

Kevin Carson

13th August 2014

Does this seed library look to you like 'agri-terrorism'? Photo: via Sharable.net. A Pennsylvania seed library stands accused of 'agri-terrorism' over alleged breaches of the Seed Act 2004, reports a bemused Kevin Carson. Have USDA and state agriculture departments become the enforcement branch of the agribusiness crime syndicate? more...

We need to rethink how we support renewable energy

Chris Goodall

11th August 2014

To achieve the 50%+ price drop we need for offshore wind, direct R&D funding will produce the transformational technology developments we need much more economically than price support payments. Feed-in tariffs are a great way to kick start renewable technologies, writes Chris Goodall. But they suffer from a law of exponentially diminishing returns. It's time for governments to move to direct R&D funding to achieve the transformational changes the world needs. more...

Kenya chooses GMOs - but there are smarter ways to feed Africa

Andrew Adam-Bradford

9th August 2014

What will GM crops ever do for her? Neil Palmer / CIAT, CC BY-SA GM crops may benefit agribusiness, writes Andrew Adam-Bradford. But they offer little to Africa or the millions of farming communities that feed the continent. Rather than impose corporate 'solutions', governments should invest in indigenous agro-ecological farming. more...

Will the carbon bubble burst your pension?

Rebecca O'Connor

8th August 2014

Westmill Solar Park, Oxfordshire, is the world's largest community owned solar installation. Rated at 5MW, it covers 30 acres. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr. What's the biggest threat to your life savings you've never heard of? Rebecca O'Connor shows how the world's exposure to unburnable carbon assets, and competition from clean energy technologies, could hammer your savings, pensions and investments. more...

REDD - destroy the forests, seize the profits, blame the victims

Chris Lang

7th August 2014

As far as REDD is concerned, this eucalyptus plantation in South Africa is as good as - or even better than - a natural forest of native species. Photo: Chris Lang via Flickr. The World Bank's 'Tropical Forest Action Plan' was an abject failure, writes Chris Lang. Now the same mistakes are being repeated under a new acronym. TFAP is out, REDD is in - but it's still all about corporate control of forests, and blaming deforestation on its victims. more...

Who will silence the Guns of August, 2014?

Guy Horton

6th August 2014

Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, July 2014. Photo: Oxfam via Flickr. One hundred years ago this August, guns rang out as a Europe made unstable by hatred, nationalism and a complex web of treaties went to war. Now the entire world appears poised for conflagration, writes Guy Horton. But where are the leaders to pull us from the brink? more...

Rosetta shows - we can keep space plutonium-free!

Karl Grossman

5th August 2014

Rosetta approaching its destination after a 6 billion km journey. Image: ESA. Deep space missions have previously run on nuclear power, writes Karl Grossman - and have twice showered Earth with radioactive debris. But the ESA's Rosetta probe, about to reach its destination, is 100% solar-powered - showing that space can be nuclear-free. more...

Fracking - US companies and regulators must disclose environmental data

Kimberly Terrell, Morgan Tingley & Sara Souther

4th August 2014

Aerial view of the Jonah gas field in western Wyoming's upper Green River valley. Photo: Bruce Gordon / EcoFlight via John Amos / Flickr. Among the risks of fracking are fragmentation of wildlife habitats, groundwater depletion, surface water pollution. The risks are compounded by a failure among companies and regulators to record or disclose essential information - from the chemicals used, to the time and place of toxic spills. more...

Fukushima - we need health studies now!

Joseph Mangano & Janette Sherman

2nd August 2014

IAEA Experts at Unit 4 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 17th April 2013, as part of a mission to review Japan's plans to decommission the facility. Photo: IAEA Imagebank. A massive health crisis is following the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, write Joseph Mangano & Janette Sherman - not just in Japan but around the world. But the health impacts remains woefully under-studied. Scientists must wake up and undertake serious research without delay. more...

Organic farming boosts environment and nutrition

Pat Thomas

1st August 2014

These organic courgettes at Sandy Lane Farm in Oxfordshire are good for soil, water, wildlife - and you! Photo: Sandy Lane farm. How we farm matters, writes Pat Thomas - not just for water, insects, birds and the wider environment, which benefit from organic farming, but also the nutritional value of our food. It's time to value the quality of what we eat, instead of prizing quantity above all. more...

Gaza - is annexation Israel's 'permanent solution'?

Oliver Tickell

31st July 2014

Could his loss be Israel's gain? A destroyed house in Gaza and its distraught owner, 22nd July 2014. Photo: Mohammed Al Baba / Oxfam International via Flickr. As Israel pursues its war on Gaza with ever-increasing ferocity, and with 25% of Gaza's people forced from their homes, what's the final objective? It's unthinkable that Israel's aim is to 'cleanse' the territory of its people, seize its vast gas reserves, and annex some of the Med's hottest real estate. Isn't it? more...

Pesticide safety research shouldn't be left to the pesticide companies

Christopher N Connolly

30th July 2014

After the pesticides we spray, who will be left flying? Photo: John Severns via The Conversation. Pesticide companies are responsible for assessing the safety of their products, writes Christopher N Connolly - and this situation cannot continue. The research should be carried out independently, subjected to peer review, and published. more...

Obama's achievement: the US is the world's biggest oil producer, again

Don Lieber

29th July 2014

In Obama's America, oil is no longer a sunset industry. Photo: Sunset in Texas by Reto Fetz via Flickr. The US, long the world's biggest oil consumer, has just surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world's top oil producer, writes Don Lieber. Oil exports to Europe and Asia will begin shortly. Now what was that Obama said about climate change? Oh, forget it ... more...

Richard Heinberg

Is it time to change 20th century economic paradigms?

Richard Heinberg

5th February, 2009

Clueless_Economists_MAIN.jpg A hundred years ago, markets ruled: fortunes were made, workers abused, bubbles blown. The Austrian School of economists, led by Ludwig von Mises, said this was fine: despite temporary messiness, the market knows best.
more...

Goodbye to growth

Richard Heinberg

7th January, 2009

Goodbye_Growth_MAIN.jpg The contraction of the global economic system bodes nothing but good for global ecosystems. Growth is dead – long live sustainability more...

Jim Thomas

High-altitude windpower: pie-in-the-sky or sound science?

Jim Thomas

1st May 2009

Jim_Thomas Since we don’t have enough land for the renewable technologies we need let’s go stratospheric instead, with a high-altitude solution… more...

What technologies for solving environmental problems will we see in 2009?

Jim Thomas

23rd April, 2009

Big_Fix_MAIN.jpg Somebody somewhere has to have a cunning plan to fix our environmental problems and save the world – right? Jim Thomas sorts through the big tech ideas you’ll be reading about this year more...

Joss Garman

Miliband's leadership on climate is tested

Joss Garman

19th June 2009

Joss Garman The climate secretary has been lauded for his coal-fired proposals, but beyond the smokescreen it’s business as usual says Joss Garman more...

European elections - will Brussels go Green?

Joss Garman

3rd June, 2009

BallotBoxing_MAIN.jpg It probably isn’t too much of an exaggeration to suggest that most people are hard pushed to name a politician they really admire. In Britain, however, one name will come up time and again. more...

Molly Scott Cato

Forget the 'big society'; we just need a co-operative one

Molly Scott Cato

16th August, 2010

Molly Scott Cato Claims that we need a 'big society' to fix our 'broken' one are just Victorian throwbacks - we have the business tools to survive; we just need a co-operative attitude to go with them more...

We scare people off by talking about 'degrowth'

Molly Scott Cato

14th July, 2010

Molly Scott Cato The French have a much better word for it: 'decroissance'. Using ugly and frightening terms like 'degrowth' won't help pave the way for a new and exciting economics more...

Tom Hodgkinson

Tom Hodgkinson: spare a moment for the bang bang men of Chongquing...

29th October, 2010

Tom Hodgkinson Although the rise of mega-cities raises disturbing questions about living standards and livelihoods, the spread of city living is not all bad, says Tom Hodgkinson more...

Starting a business has never been so liberating...

Tom Hodgkinson

25 August 2010

Tom Hodgkinson Find the hidden entrepreneur in you to free yourself from slavery to corporate and state authority, says Tom Hodgkinson more...

Other Comments

Mr Cameron: will it be heating or eating this winter?

John Sinfield

12th November 2013

John Sinfield The MD of Britain's largest insulation company demands: back warm, efficient homes now, or condemn millions to cold, damp and sky-rocketting fuel bills. more...

Peak soil: act now or the very ground beneath us will die

8th November, 2013

Helen Browning

plant and soil The health of our soils is more important now than ever, says the Soil Association’s Helen Browning - especially with the challenges that climate change will bring ... more...

Dan Box

When will Australia 'get' climate change? And will it be too late?

Dan Box

19th July, 2010

Dan Box The upcoming Australian elections will see yet another tussle between industry-supporting climate sceptics, and politicians trying to nudge their electorate towards the real world more...

Will putting a price on nature put environmentalists out of a job?

Dan Box

5th July, 2010

Dan Box The launch of the massive economic ecosystem assessment, TEEB, will help force the natural world onto the corporate balance sheet. It's a step forward. But how will protesters react to the ground shifting under their feet? more...

Bibi van der Zee

Bibi van der Zee: Government 'no more in touch with the countryside than Labour'

Bibi van der Zee

10th March, 2011

Continuing her exclusive series - Coalition Green Watch - Bibi van der Zee further assesses David Cameron's pledge to head the 'greenest government in history' and, whilst the jury may still be out, finds alarming cause for concern... more...

Climate Week is trying to galvanise the green movement – but it is splitting it

Bibi van der Zee

3rd March, 2011

Climate Week The backing of Cameron, Clegg and Kofi Annan isn't enough, say Climate Week's critics, it is blinkered – and RBS-sponsored. Bibi van der Zee reports more...

Deepak Chopra

Keeping Up America’s Reputation in the World

by Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra asks whether the American dream is tainted by current day trends in U.S. politics and society....... more...

Satish Kumar

A New Year Message - Be The Change ...

January 3rd, 2012

Satish Kumar

Don’t look at a society and think it is so big, so complex, that nothing can change. Don’t think: “I am one single person, what can I do?” That, says Satish Kumar, is despondency; that is pessimism. Instead, whatever you can do, do it. Step by step. more...

Soil, Soul and Society

December 7th, 2012

by Satish Kumar

Environmentalist and Humanitarian, Satish Kumar introduces the new trinity that he believes captures the essence of his ecophilosophy - one that cares about and for all life more...

Vandana Shiva

Safety as Freedom

February 21st, 2013

by Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva challenges the violence against people and Nature in the name of progress more...

A Student Writes

Intellectual Rigidity

March 28th, 2013

by The Interdisciplinary Research Society UEA

Would changes to academic structures help towards solving complex societal problems? more...

Global Extinction Within One Lifetime?

Michael Brown

July 16th, 2012

Environmental chemistry student Michael Brown evaluates how seriously recent claims that global extinction could occur within our lifetime should be taken.... more...

Tony Juniper

Counting the Consequences

January 14th, 2013

by Tony Juniper

We need ideas as compelling as those that embarked the world on its current competition-driven ‘free’ markets spree. We need to ignite a revolution that big, but one based on sustainability, writes Tony Juniper
more...

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