The Ecologist



Instead of airport expansion, a 'frequent flyer tax'

Keith Taylor MEP

10th October 2015

Plane coming in to land at Heathrow. 70% of flights are taken by just 15% of the population, while over half don't travel at all in any single year. Photo: Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The demand for ever more air travel and new runways comes from a small minority of frequent flyers, writes Keith Taylor - the 15% who take 70% of flights. So we can reduce that demand with a frequent flyer tax - while making it cheaper for ordinary families to enjoy an annual holiday abroad. more...

Nuclear madness - NATO's WMD 'sharing' must end

Xanthe Hall

9th October 2015

Engineers for Sandia National Laboratories carry out tests on the B61-12 nuclear bomb at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM, USA. Photo: Sandia Labs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The US's development of its new 'smart' nuclear bomb, the B61-12, is an outright violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty, writes Xanthe Hall. Yet five other 'non-nuclear' NATO nations - Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Turkey - are set to accept it onto their territories, so their own aircraft can use it in nuclear attacks. more...

Dieselgate - our wake-up call for new car technologies

Harry Hoster, Lancaster University

8th October 2015

Look, no pollution! The 2016 Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The real lesson of Volkswagen's 'dieselgate' scandal is that we must ditch petroleum fuels, writes Harry Hoster. There's new, clean technologies just waiting to take off - and the most promising is fuel cells. They will also fit right into the new world of renewables, with surplus power from wind and solar making the hydrogen they burn. more...

The water is ours!

Javan Briggs

7th October 2015

Old water tank in Niland, California. Photo: Kevin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Water is life, writes Javan Briggs. And it belongs to all of us. California's water shortage is caused, not by 'drought', but by massive long term over-pumping. And as the crisis worsens, the response under the 'water as property' model is just to pump all the harder. We must manage water as a commons - to sustain us all, not to profit the few. more...

Hinkley C's claimed benefits evaporate under scrutiny

Paul Dorfman

6th October 2015

Artists impression of the finished Hinkley C reactor. Image: EDF. To explain their desperation to commit an estimated £76 billion of public money to the Hinkley C nuclear project, writes Paul Dorfman, the Treasury and its Chancellor, George Osborne, claim there are other benefits that justify this vast expenditure. So what exactly are they? And do the claims survive critical examination? more...

Tory Conference: pledge the UK to the Global Apollo Program

Lord Richard Layard

5th October 2015

Parabolic Trough Collectors in New Mexico, USA. They work by concentrating the sun's rays on an oil-filled tube running along the focal line of the trough. Photo: Randy Montoya / Sandia Labs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The government has an opportunity to show real leadership on energy and climate change this week, writes Richard Layard - by making the UK the first country to sign up to a global research effort to replace fossil fuels with renewables as the world's primary power source. more...

Travellers' and Gypsies' ethnic Catch 22 must end

Dan Allen, University of Salford

3rd October 2015

An unauthorised Travellers' site at Pryor's Wood Nature Reserve, Hertfordshire. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Under new planning rules, Travellers and Gypsies must be able to prove they are actually traveling to qualify for limited planning benefits to create new sites. But for many, it's impossible to do that. Not only to remain in employment, or education - but precisely because there are so few sites, that they are unable to travel. more...

Africa's rhinos grab the cash while their Asian cousins head for extinction

David Tosh

2nd October 2015

Some rhinos are more equal than others ... and this Asian Rhino in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal is, it appears, less equal than its African cousins. Photo: Joshua Alan Davis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Two of Asia's three rhino species are 'critically endangered', writes David Tosh, yet the lion's share of rhino conservation resources is lavished on Africa. The reason is simple: Africa's rhinos generate more cash from tourism. But should this really be the point? more...

Nuclear attack? We must support Corbyn's refusal to murder millions

Oliver Tickell

1st October 2015

Watch out - your enemies are behind you! Jeremy Corbyn at his first Prime Minister's Questions, 16th September 2015, with Angela Eagle. Photo: David Holt (CC BY-SA). This week's Labour conference sent the party and its new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, soaring in popularity. So better get the knife in quick, writes Oliver Tickell. His refusal to commit mass murder in a nuclear attack gave his enemies just the cue they needed - including those who should be his loyal allies. We must not let them succeed. more...

Clean, affordable, secure, democratic: our green energy future

Lisa Nandy

30th September 2015

Cooperative and renewable: the Westmill wind and solar farm in south Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Britain has a huge role in effecting the global energy transition to renewables, new shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy told the Labour Party Conference. But that will mean a complete reversal of Tory policies to attack wind and solar, lock us into polluting fossil fuels and overpriced nuclear power, and maintain 'big six' profits at consumers' expense. more...

VW wipeout: the end of fossil fuels looms near

Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall

29th September 2015

The derelict Crowood Petrol Station next to the dual carriageway on the Cumbernauld Road as you enter the wee town of Chryston on the edge of Glasgow. Photo: byronv2 via Flickr (CC BY-NC). VW's pollution cheating has caused thousands of premature deaths, write Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall, creating costs that could destroy the company's entire shareholder equity. But this is no 'Black Swan' event. It is an early example of the existential threat to the fossil fuel economy. more...

UN development goals miss the point: it's all about power

Nick Dearden / Global Justice Now

28th September 2015

The Sustainable Development Goals are a wish list that few could disagree with, writes Nick Dearden. But the delivery plan is to rely on 'free' markets, corporations and technocratic government - although these 'solutions' are at the root of the problems the SDGs aim to solve. more...

It's not just VWs - we need fewer cars, and less driving

Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck

25th September 2015

It's not just VWs. Photo: Luc via Flickr (CC BY-NC). With all diesel cars failing EU clean air standards in real world driving, and the worst 22 times over the limit, there's only one real solution, write Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck: adopt sustainable transport strategies to keep cars off our streets and break our dependence on them. more...

Nature can't pay its way in capital markets. It's time for new solutions

Benjamin Neimark

24th September 2015

The market may value Brazil nuts, as do those who earn a living by gathering them. But that has done little to hold back the Amazon's deforestation. Brazil nut collector in Pando, Bolivia. Photo: Amy Duchelle / CIFOR. It's a seductive narrative, writes Benjamin Neimark: nature is valuable, so let's call it 'natural capital', create markets to monetise it, and so ensure its conservation. But sadly, it's not working. Maybe because capitalism itself is the problem. We need new approaches to saving the world's biodiversity. more...

Shame upon them! The government's nuclear lies exposed

Oliver Tickell

23rd September 2015

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee questions George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Hinkley C and other issues, 8th September 2015. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The UK government and its Chancellor George Osborne are grossly misleading the public over the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, writes Oliver Tickell. Osborne's claim that nuclear is the 'cheapest low carbon technology' is the very reverse of the truth. He and his nuclear plans must be stopped. more...

The cause of the Runnymede eco-villagers is a righteous one

Nicholas Sebley

22nd September 2015

At the Runnymede Eco-village, now evicted and destroyed. Photo: Diggers2012 on Facebook. Coming so soon after the Magna Carta celebrations, the eviction and destruction of the Runnymede Eco-village is a parable of our times, writes Nicholas Sebley: a violent assertion of the power of capital over people and community, and part of a deliberate, systematic closure of alternative ways of living outside the mainstream economy. more...

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe. The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...

Hinkley Point must be stopped - even if you believe in nuclear

Chris Goodall

19th September 2015

Salisbury Cathedral took 46 years to build. Would Hinkley C be any quicker? Photo: Photo Phiend via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). UK support for low-carbon energy technologies is running at £250 million a year, writes Chris Goodall. Yet the government wants to throw four times more, every year for 35 years, at the Hinkley C nuclear power station, that could take almost as long to build as Salisbury Cathedral. more...

Scottish land reform - don't forget the tax havens!

Craig Bayne

18th September 2015

Scottish Comedian Bruce Fummey joins the #OurLand photoshoot. Photo: . New proposals on land reform in Scotland are a mixed bag, writes Craig Bayne: some good, some bad, and some downright ugly. Leading that last category is the failure to tackle offshore land ownership in tax haven shell companies, and force disclosure of the real landowners. more...

EU Court overrules regulators, protects people from toxic chemicals

Tess Crean / ClientEarth

17th September 2015

Do your bicycle's handlebar grips contain hazardous chemicals? Now you have the right to know, thanks to a landmark judgment in the EU Court. Photo: widjaja wreksoatmodjo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The EU Court has made a landmark judgement we should all be glad of, writes Tess Crean, firming up our right to know when products contain chemicals known to be seriously damaging to health. Now we must make sure that reluctant regulators step up to the mark. 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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