The Ecologist

 
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Campaigning

Love, hope and beauty against nuclear weapons

Angie Zelter

24th March 2015

Education not Trident! Burghfield Blockade May 19th, 2014. Photo: AWEAction. The UK's Trident nuclear missile system has the power of 1,500 Hiroshima bombs, writes Angie Zelter - and to use it would be a monstrous and probably suicidal crime against humanity. Should we spend £130 billion renewing it? Or on schools, hospitals, libraries, social care and cycleways? The inspiring ActionAWE campaign is waking people up to the choice we face. more...

With corporate energy, we're stuck in the dark ages - let's switch to public ownership

Calum McGregor

23rd March 2015

The Westmill renewable energy cooperative in Oxfordshire - a new model for the UK's energy future? Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Britain's corporate energy oligarchy has failed us, writes Calum McGregor. It's given us widespread fuel poverty, unfair tariffs, constant price hikes, billions siphoned off to shareholders, and chronic under-investment in renewables. Now is the time for a new model: public and co-operative ownership of energy infrastructure under participative democratic control. more...

Occupy Amazonia? Indigenous activists are taking direct action - and it's working

Marc Brightman

17th March 2015

Indian tribes from the Xingu region protest at a Public Hearing for the Belo Monte dam in September 2009. Behind them stands a detachment from Brazil's National Security Force. Photo: J.Gil via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are employing the tactics of the Occupy movement against oil companies, gold miners and illegal loggers, writes Marc Brightman. Their methods are home-grown: lacking the protection of the state, they have always had to fight their own battles. But recent campaign successes owe much to outside support. We must maintain, and strengthen, our solidarity. more...

London Assembly votes for £5 bn fossil fuel divestment - listen up, Boris!

Divest London

12th March 2015

Victory! Global Divestment Day City Hall action by Divest London, 14th February 2015. Photo: 350 .org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Members of the London Assembly yesterday voted for the London Pension Fund Authority, worth £4.8 billion, to ditch all its fossil fuel investments over a 5-year period. The vote is non-binding, but the huge 15-3 margin puts strong pressure on London Mayor Boris Johnson to follow through. more...

Anthropology is so important, all children should learn it

Marc Brightman

10th March 2015

Hamer people in a village near Turmi in the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia - now at risk from a huge dam project and sugar plantations. Photo: David Stanley via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Anthropology, the study of humankind, should be the first of all the sciences our children encounter, writes Marc Brightman, with its singular capacity to inspire the imagination, broaden the mind and open the heart. Moves to downgrade it in the education system by those who know the price of everything, and the value of nothing, must be fought off. more...

End high seas fishing for fairness and sustainability

Reg Watson

9th March 2015

Orange roughy - one of the vulnerable fish species caught on the high seas. Photo: CSIRO Science Image (CC BY). What's the solution to the over-exploitation of fish on the high seas, outside territorial boundaries? Ban it altogether, argues Reg Watson. It would make little difference to the total fish catch, poor coastal countries would reap huge benefits, and the fishing fleet's fuel burn would be slashed. The main losers? Rapacious industrial factory-fishers. more...

We need safe havens for our ocean giants!

Dr Lissa Batey

2nd March 2015

A Basking shark in UK coastal waters. Photo: Andrew Pearson / The Wildlife Trusts. 'Ocean giants' in our coastal waters are increasingly rare, writes Dr Lissa Batey, thanks to a host of threats from pollution to entrapment in fishing gear. Marine Protected Areas in England and Wales could help restore our cetaceans to their former abundance - but so far, only one has been designated for these species in Wales, and none in England. more...

Fracking: MPs and Lords have derelicted their legal duties - now they must pay the price!

Jojo Mehta

26th February 2015

MPs may make the law - but that does not make them above the law. Photo: UK Parliament via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The rushed passage of the Infrastructure Bill with all its pro-fracking provisions and toothless 'safeguards' is an abuse of democracy. And as it's manifestly against the national and public interest, it's also in breach of both MPs' and Lords' legally binding Codes of Conduct. Now Jojo Mehta intends to hold them to account - in Court. more...

The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' is helping to deliver good food for all

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

24th February 2015

Catering Mark may not guarantee quite this at every meal - but it's delivering huge improvements on the standard catering fare of yesteryear. Photo: pablo santa cruz diaz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). The Food for Life 'Catering Mark' is bringing fresh, healthy and local food into schools, hospitals and canteens, writes Peter Melchett - while driving big increases in the volume of organic food we eat, and growing the market for organic farmers and local food producers. more...

The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' - a compromise too far?

Lynda Brown

20th February 2015

The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' logo is so similar to its 'Organic' logo that he makers of this promotional video got the two mixed up - and released it without anyone noticing. The error has since been corrected. The Soil Association's Catering Mark scheme promises 'fresh food you can trust'. This sounds great, writes Lynda Brown. But what does it really deliver? The truth, she finds, is much less than the promise might suggest, considerably more complicated, and threatens to erode the public's trust in the Soil Association's organic brand and values. more...

Banged up for democracy - the UK kleptocracy cannot tolerate dissent.

Donnachadh McCarthy

16th February 2014

An Occupy Democracy protester is arrested by police in Parliament Square on 14th February 2015. Photo: still from RT report. Donnachadh McCarthy is facing 14 years in prison for his peaceful demands for democratic reform in Parliament Square, following his arrest on the order of 'Boris Guards' answerable to the London Mayor. In total four 'occupy democracy' protestors were arrested this weekend a stone's throw from the Westminster media pack - but not a word in the mainstream news. more...

Join Global Divestment Day and make fossil fuels history!

Yossi Cadan

13th February 2015

Dumped the day before Valentine's - Global Divestment Day 2015 party under way in Adelaide, Australia. Photo: 350.org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Increasing numbers of investors are waking up to the reality that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end, writes Yossi Cadan. But there's one sector that hasn't yet got the message: the fossil fuel industry itself is determined to keep on piling good money after bad. So join the worldwide divestment party this weekend and help ram the message home! more...

Wildlife Air Service spreads its wings

Elizabeth Claire Alberts

6th February 2015

One of the single-engine Cessnas used by the Wildlife Air Service for their marine patrols with The Black Fish. Photo: Marine Air Service. Aerial surveillance is a proven and effective technique in tackling wildlife crime, writes Elizabeth Claire Alberts - so the arrival on the scene of a new wildlife organization dedicated to providing air reconnaissance services to frontline environmental defenders couldn't come too soon. more...

In the lion's den: my victory against Monsanto

Zen Honeycutt / Moms Across America

3rd February 2015

Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America, with Alexis of Organic Consumers Association minutes after the Monsanto shareholders' meeting at which her resolution was passed with 53% of the vote. Photo: still from Youtube (youtube.com/watch?v=K4fUod2ZZd Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt took on Monsanto chief Hugh Grant at the company's Annual General Meeting - and won, winning 53% of the vote on a call for Monsanto to reform its practices and safeguard the health of millions of children exposed to its toxic products - and Roundup in particular. In her own words, this is what took place ... more...

Who are the real 'eco-terrorists' on America's public lands?

George Wuerthner

27th January 2015

Old Bighorn ram on the banks of the North Fork of the Shoshone River after eating some of the first green grass of spring. Photo: Yellowstone Gate via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Ranchers can deliberately abuse public land and the wildlife that lives on it at will, writes George Wuerthner, confident that any breaches of the law are likely to be overlooked. But it's another thing altogether if you're trying to protect that land from destructive exploitation. Why the double standard? more...

Toxic landfills, fracking and the lethal threat of Environment Agency neglect

Talk Fracking / The Ecologist

19th January 2015

A new landfill site opens for business, Scotland. Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Nearly a year ago at the height of the UK floods, tragedy struck an ordinary family in Surrey as toxic gas from a nearby landfill site killed a 7-year old boy, Zane. Now the authorities appear determined to exculpate the source of the poison - an old landfill site - even as they prepare for a massive increase in hazardous waste from fracking. more...

Climate sceptic Lord Ridley - Britain's biggest carbon footprint?

Brendan Montague / DeSmogUK

13th January 2015

The coal being mined on Lord Ridley's estate could be earning him £13 million per year - and when burnt, causes about 1% of the UK's carbon emissions. No wonder he is sceptical of climate change. Photo: Herb Kim via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Lord Ridley, a card-carrying member of Britain's 1%, led the Northern Rock bank to collapse. Now he's causing another kind of catastrophe: the coal mined off his Northumberland estate is causing 1% of the UK's CO2 emissions. No wonder he's a climate sceptic! more...

Farmers join to save the seeds that feed us

Ashley Wheeler

6th January 2015

The launch of the South West Seed Savers Coop at Embercombe Farm. Photo: SWSSC. Farmers and growers in south-west England have united to reclaim the lost skill of seed saving, writes Ashley Wheeler. They are determined to grow, develop, share and disseminate open-pollinated seeds, and oppose EU laws granting commercial plant breeders a legal monopoly on the seeds that sustain our lives. more...

Andrew Lees - 20 years after his last mission to Madagascar

Yvonne Orengo

31st December 2014

Local flora in Anosy. This day 20 years ago one of Britain's most committed and effective environmental campaigners died trying to save a coastal forest in southern Madagascar from mining, writes Yvonne Orengo. The world has been a poorer place without Andrew Lees - and his fears for the Petriky forest and local indigenous communities have been proved all too close to the mark. more...

Austria's campaign to 'stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate' nuclear weapons

Rebecca Johnson

27th December 2014

The mushroom cloud of the USSR's Tsar Bomba nuclear bomb test. With its 60 Mt yield, this was the largest nuclear explosion ever. Photo: via Andy Zeigert / Flickr. Austria's pledge to strive for the elimination of nuclear WMD kindled fresh energy and hope at this month's Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons, writes Rebecca Johnson. Now we must maintain the momentum towards global nuclear disarmament at the May 2015 meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. more...

Pork at Christmas? Make sure it's from a happy pig!

Giulia Barcaro

22nd December 2014

What we want: happy free range pigs on the Sandy Lane Organic Farm, Oxfordshire. As families across the country stock up on food for Christmas feasting, Giulia Barcaro urges them to give a thought to animal welfare - read the label to discover whether the meat you're buying comes from high-welfare farms, or has condemned a sentient creature to a life of suffering. more...

Closing the gate on GMO and the criminal transatlantic trade agreement

Julian Rose

17th December 2014

Stop TTIP protest in Germany. Photo: Stop TTIP. A key element of the TTIP is the deregulation genetically modified seeds and plants for cultivating in European soils, writes Julian Rose. This alone is reason enough for us to reject it - but it's only the beginning of a huge power grab that would make our governments more accountable to corporations, than to people. more...

Reclaim the power! It's time to deprivatise Britain's energy

Sam Lund-Harket

16th December 2014

Reduced to one meagre bar of an electric fire, an old lady fights to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Meanwhile Centrica's CEO rakes in £3.7 million a year. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr. Privatised energy has failed us, writes Sam Lund-Harket. While energy company chiefs earn millions of pounds a year, one in ten English households live in fuel poverty. But there is another way. All over the world countries and communities are taking energy, water and other essential public services back under democratic control. more...

Bottoms up! 'Head in sand salute' is the new climate protest

Maxine Newlands

10th December 2013

The original heads in sand salute at Sydney's Bondi Beach. Photo: unknown. A planned 'head in sand' salute had to be abandoned at COP20 in Peru this week, writes Maxine Newlands - called off due to lack of sand on Lima's stony shores. But climate campaigners in Australia and New Zealand made up for it with dozens of their own 'bums up' actions on sandy Antipodean beaches ... more...

COP20 host Peru claims forest 'leadership' - while attacking forest protectors

AIDESEP / Forest Peoples Programme

8th December 2014

A typical riverside indigenous village in the Peruvian Amazon near Loreto. Photo: Thomas Stromberg via Flickr. Peru's government is actively undermining indigenous peoples' efforts to protect their forests - by refusing to title 20 million hectares of their lands and turning a blind eye to illegal logging. At the same time it's handing out vast concessions for oil, gas, mining and timber exploitation, expanding palm oil production and planning 50 major forest-flooding dams. more...

Campaigning: The Basics

TAKE ACTION to end cosmetic testing on animals

Mark Briggs

24th April, 2012

TAKE ACTION to end animal testing on cosmetics Lush Cosmetics have teamed up with the Humane Society International to launch a campaign to ensure long-awaited proposals banning products tested on animals outside the EU are fully enforced more...

CAMPAIGN HERO: Martín von Hildebrand on indigenous rights in the Colombian Amazon

Mark Briggs

13th April. 2012

Martín von Hildebrand, founding Director of the Fundación Gaia Amazonzas The veteran campaigner talks to the Ecologist about the ongoing struggle to secure indigenous land rights and how he successfully took the Colombian government to court more...

Cleaner Air, Water, Land

CAMPAIGN HERO: Sharon Johnson, Trees for Cities

Ecologist

27th January, 2012

Sharon Johnson, Trees for Cities It is estimated that by 2030, 92 per cent of Britons will live in cities. The CEO of charity Trees for Cities on why its so important but difficult to plant trees in our streets more...

CAMPAIGN HERO: Bongani Mthembu of South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

Hannah Corr

26th October, 2011

Bongani Mthembu Bongani Mthembu talks to the Ecologist about the struggles and successes in achieving environmental justice in South Africa’s townships more...

Climate Change and Energy

TAKE ACTION to help end government subsidies for dirty energy

Grace Philip

25th May, 2012

350.org Global grassroots movement, 350.org is gathering support to persuade world leaders to stop subsidising fossil fuels at the Rio Earth Summit more...

TAKE ACTION to start a British clean energy revolution

Mark Briggs

11th May, 2012

Offshore wind turbines Friends of the Earth are calling on Prime Minister David Cameron, and Energy Secretary Ed Davey to wean the UK off fossil fuels and create a 'Clean British Energy Revolution' more...

Culture Change

Why the best world-changing ideas begin in your neighbourhood

John-Paul Flintoff

22nd May, 2012

Your ideas for changing the world may be desperately important. But if you can't find a way to engage the interests of the people around you they may never take off, argues John-Paul Flintoff more...

A midwife's manifesta on how to have a fearless birth

Laura Sevier

4th May, 2012

Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin Birth Matters, a new book by pioneering midwife Ina May Gaskin aims to empower women to gain control over their bodies in order to have the kind of birth they want more...

Food and Gardening

TAKE ACTION to stop supermarkets abusing their buyer power!

Ecologist

30th May, 2012

Top Banana 2 If you have bought bananas or pineapples in a supermarket recently did you know that many of the workers that plant, pack and grow them live in poverty? more...

Ireland's 'Grow it Yourself' self-help food growing community coming to the UK

Rebecca Campbell

16th May, 2012

Garden Organic's 'I don't dig peat' campaign Grow It Yourself is a popular community organisation with a vision of bringing people together in a sustainable and healthier way through organic food growing. Now it has plans to launch further afield in the UK more...

Schools

Child's Play: How Children Learn

Phoebe Doyle

17th July, 2012

A child plays in an empty box. They need to play; we buy them toys. But education writer Phoebe Doyle thinks you might just be wasting your money, and your children’s time more...

The Secret Garden nursery: a unique daycare where children spend all day outdoors

Phoebe Doyle

26th July, 2011

Outdoor nurseries When the classroom is the outdoors the possibilities are endless. Phoebe Doyle explores the practicalities, the realities and the huge potentials of the outdoor nursery concept more...

Transport

Campaign For Better Transport: how to reduce the need to travel

Richard Bourn

13th December, 2011

Exhaust pollution from a car The National Planning Policy Framework will sideline smart growth in favour of out-of-town sprawl - rolling back decades of town centred development. Now campaigners have launched a toolkit to reduce travel demand within local transport plans more...

CAMPAIGN HERO: Joss Garman of Plane Stupid

Matilda Lee

25th January, 2011

Joss Garman Veteran campaigner and former Ecologist contributor Joss Garman talks to us about past campaigning successes - and why a Green Investment Bank should be a top priority for the Coalition Government more...

Waste and Recycling

Collaborative Consumption: Tool Sharing

by Samir Jeraj

September 27th, 2012

Collaborative consumption is the next step on from Freecycle and swapshops more...

CAMPAIGN HERO: Shlomo Dowen, UK Without Incineration Network

Matilda Lee

5th April, 2011

Shlomo Dowen, UK Without Incineration Network The head of the UK's grassroots anti-incineration network on working towards a zero waste economy, encouraging community engagement and avoiding 'defeatist' language more...

Wildlife

Six reasons to become an urban beekeeper

Zion Lights

19th April, 2012

Bees Urban beekeeping will help boost the UK's declining bee population. Here are six reasons to get involved more...

TAKE ACTION: Support Friends of the Earth's National Bee Action Plan

Mark Briggs

11th April, 2012

Honey bees In China, pear trees have had to be pollinated by hand after bees were wiped out by industrial farming. Now FOE have launched a petition to get the UK government to help halt the decline in Britain's own bee population more...

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