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

Benjamin Ramm

28th April 2016

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 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...

At Chernobyl and Fukushima, radioactivity has seriously harmed wildlife

Timothy A. Mousseau, University of South Carolina

27th April 2016

White storks on road near Chernobyl, Ukraine. Many parts of the Chernobyl region have low radioactivity levels and serve as refuges for plants and animals. But other areas are acutely radiotoxic. Birds tend to be especially susceptible to radiation impact Field studies show that the intense radioactivity released by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters is seriously and unequivocally damaging to wildlife, writes Timothy A. Mousseau - in stark contrast to theoretical studies that show little or no impact on plant and animal health and populations. more...

It's not over yet! 40,000 more cancer deaths predicted in Chernobyl aftermath

Dr Ian Fairlie

26th April 2016

Abandoned children's toys at Chernobyl - Pripyat, 17th May 2008. Photo: Fi Dot via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Thirty years since the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl the impacts are still being felt, writes Ian Fairlie, and they will persist long into the future. Some 40,000 cancer deaths can be expected across Europe over the next 50 years, and 5 million people still living in areas highly contaminated with radiation. Yet the nuclear madness continues, with even Belarus building new nuclear reactors. more...

CRISPR and the three myths of precise genome editing

Jonathan Latham, PhD / Independent Science News

25th April 2016

How CRISPR works: what could possibly go wrong? In fact, an awful lot, as it turns out. Image: James atmos via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). The very term 'genetic engineering' implies high precision in the alterations made to genes and deep understanding of their consequences, writes Jonathan Latham. In fact, we have never had either. And even with the arrival of CRISPR and other 'gene editing' systems, that remains the case: technologists are thrashing about in a perilous sea of unfathomable complexities and unknowable outcomes. more...

Saving the Earth? I think there's an App for that

Paul Jepson, University of Oxford

21st April 2016

So cute! Two month old snow leopard cubs at the Cat Survival Trust in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, UK. Photo: dingopup via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Consumer environmentalism aligns conservation with modern consumer culture, writes Paul Jepson, offering NGOs the means to reach new people and generate new funding streams. But it risks ever more shallow public engagement and digital activism where masses of people back 'solutions' that only make themselves feel good. more...

Remain in the EU to protect our environment

Caroline Lucas

20th April 2016

The protection of our coastal waters, management of our fishers, cleanliness of our air and the protection of our widlife are all mandated by European law. Outside the EU, this iconic view of the Seven Sisters could be sadly tarnished. Photo: weesam2010 v Remember when the UK was the 'dirty man of Europe'? What has changed since then, writes Caroline Lucas, is our membership of the EU - which has made us raise our environmental performance on everything from fisheries to air pollution, nature conservation, clean bathing waters and renewable energy. Leave, and it could all go into reverse. more...

Young Americans' legal victory could force climate change action

Sophie Marjanac / ClientEarth

19th April 2016

Sunday School children of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade at St. John's Episcopal Church learn about 350 and urge politicians to pass clean energy policies, Ellicott City, Maryland, USA, 10th October 2010. Photo: 350.org. American NGO advocating for young people's future environmental rights has won a first key legal battle in its fight to force the United States to avoid dangerous climate change by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions, writes Sophie Marjanac. If upheld on appeal in higher courts, the ruling has huge implications for us all. more...

UK must not let shipping sink the Paris Agreement!

Barry Gardiner & Richard Burden

18th April 2016

Container ship MOL GRANEUR. Photo: ARTS_fox1fire via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). This week, the International Maritime Organisation could act to curb fast-rising emissions from shipping under the Paris Agreement, write Barry Gardiner & Richard Burden. But there are growing fears that the UK government may seek to delay and obstruct vital progress. more...

The beginning of the end for glyphosate?

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

15th April 2016

Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY). The European Parliament just voted to re-authorise glyphosate, writes Peter Melchett - but with significant restrictions on its use. So what does the vote mean for the world's biggest selling herbicide? And how come the UK's National Farmers' Union welcomed the decision as an unqualified victory? more...

BBC's GMO coverage 'fair and accurate'? You decide

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

14th April 2016

Failed Bt Brinjal crop in Bangladesh, afflicted by the bacterial wilt to which the variety is highly prone, resulting in near total crop loss for many farmers in 2015. Photo: UBINIG. There's absolutely no evidence for BBC Panorama's claim of 90% success for Bt brinjal in Bangladesh, writes Claire Robinson. But that has not stopped the BBC Trust from dismissing all complaints against its monstrously dishonest report. Nor has it diminished the jubilation of GMO cheerleaders. more...

Under EU Trade Secrets Directive, no more Panama Papers!

Corporate Europe Observatory & Co-signatories

13th April 2016

If the EU's Trade Secrets Directive passes, public interest whistleblowers face jail and a minimum €350,000 fine: no more #PanamaPapers! Photo: Moscow Live via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The proposed Directive on Trade Secrets Protection is meant to repress industrial espionage, write Corporate Europe Observatory & Co-signatories. But under its Draconian provisions, punitive lawsuits, jail sentences and €350,000 fines await journalists, campaigners and whistle-blowers. The European Parliament must reject this wicked law tomorrow! more...

Starvation in Australia: Utopia's dirty secret

John Pilger

12th April 2016

Still from John Pilger's film 'Utopia'. Australian governments have long waged a one-sided war on the continent's Aboriginal peoples, writes John Pilger. And now a new weapon has come into play: the starvation of the most remote, culturally intact communities. It's all part of a multi-faceted program of physical and cultural annihilation. And yet the world is silent. more...

Farmers would do better to understand the land than grow GM crops

Julia Wright, Coventry University

11th April 2016

First know the land. Countryside near Welwyn, England. Photo: Greg Knapp via Flickr (CC BY) GMO crops are marketed as providing quick fixes to complex problems, writes Julia Wright. But they only perpetuate 'business as usual' farming that's depleting soils, water and biodiversity, and entrench unsustainable models of agriculture in place of agroecological systems that work with, not against, nature. more...

New development banks propel environmental 'race to the bottom'

Bill Laurance / James Cook University

8th April 2016

Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, during the 'Asia’s Era of Infrastructure' session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January 2016. Photo: Monika Flueckiger / WEF / swiss-image.ch via Flickr (CC BY-N New development financiers like China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are driving a global attack on the environment, writes Bill Laurance. With their fast track 'no questions asked' procedures, they are financing a wave of destructive mega-projects, giving the World Bank and other lenders the excuse to lower their already weak safeguards. more...

Is it the end? BP's arts sponsorship runs aground

Chris Garrard

7th April 2016

Nothing washes darker! BP's greenwashing efforts exposed in a Tate protest. Photo: Liberate Tate / Amy Scaife. Tate and now the Edinburgh International Festival have dropped BP sponsorship, writes Chris Garrard, with BP citing unspecified 'challenging conditions'. As indigenous campaigners accuse BP of 'sponsoring death in our communities', it's high time for the British Museum to follow their lead. more...

It's the tax havens that own the politicians!

Donnachadh McCarthy

6th April 2016

La Condamine, Monaco. Photo: Anandkumar N via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Never mind Cameron's mealy mouthed denials that he or his family benefit from tax havens, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. The real problem is systemic: Britain's entire political establishment has long been owned by tax haven wealth. Finally a senior politician, Jeremy Corbyn, has the courage to stand up to the unaccountable super-rich. more...

No 'salvage' logging in Poland's ancient forest!

Lucinda Kirkpatrick

4th April 2016

The Royal Oak of Teremiski, Bialowieza Forest. Photo: justyna via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Poland is intent on a huge increase in logging in Europe's greatest ancient forest, writes Lucinda Kirkpatrick. The government says it's needed to control spruce bark beetles. But the insect is a key part of the ecosystem, creating woodpecker nest sites and habitat for other endangered species. In truth it's just a big timber grab that must be strongly resisted. more...

EDF shows that wind makes better sense than nuclear

Chris Goodall

1st April 2016

Turbine at EDF Renewable Energy's Bobcat Bluff Wind Project, spanning approximately 14,000 contiguous acres, in Archer County, Texas. Photo: EDF Renewable Energy. EDF in the UK may be propelled by its disastrous nuclear ambitions, writes Chris Goodall. But across the Atlantic it's another story: the company is the US's biggest wind developer, and selling its power, profitably, for under 40% of the price it has been promised for Hinkley C, including federal tax credits. more...

Exxon is the one guilty of 'chilling' climate science!

Louise Rouse & Naomi Ages / Greenpeace Energydesk

31st March 2016

Smoke, mirrors and raindrops: Exxon station at Columbus, Montana. Photo: J.C. Burns via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). ExxonMobil has long known that climate change is real and dangerous, write Louise Rouse & Naomi Ages, while denying it in public and supporting climate change deniers. Now they accuse their critics of 'chilling' climate science and the search for solutions. The truth is the precise opposite. more...

Brexit could spell disaster for the UK's fishing industry

Bryce Stewart & Griffin Carpenter

30th March 2016

Small fishing boat at St Andrews, Scotland, UK. Photo: dun_deagh via Flickr (CC BY-SA). The much-derided Common Fisheries Policy must be one of the EU's most unpopular aspects, write Bryce Stewart & Griffin Carpenter. But in fact it has been a notable success, reflecting public concern over bycatch discards and restoring sustainability to Europe's fishing grounds, and profitability to a long declining industry. 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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