The Ecologist



Global South campaigners tell UK planners: no new opencast coal mines!

Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades

7th October 2015

Opencast coal mine at Pont Neddfechan, Wales, UK. Photo: Ben Salter via Flickr (CC BY). Campaign groups from Indonesia, Kenya and Peru have called on planners in the UK to turn down opencast coal mines in Co Durham and Derbyshire, write Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades. Not only do the mines damage local health and environment, say the activists. They also threaten global climate stability - and all countries must play their part in ending the world's coal addiction. more...

Pesticide-free towns and cities - citizen power in action

Keith Tyrell / Pesticide Action Network

6th October 2015

Herbicide being sprayed to keep a footpath in a residential area free of weeds. Photo: Nick Mole / PAN-UK. Local authorities around the world are going pesticide-free following an initiative by a small town in Canada 25 years ago, writes Keith Tyrell. Now the movement is coming to the UK, with campaign groups setting up in towns, cities and rural communities to keep pesticides out of our streets, parks, playgrounds and allotments. more...

EU must end its cruel exports of live animals

Peter Stevenson

3rd October 2015

A bull from Romania meets a grisly death in Gaza following trans-shipment through Israel, winter 2014. Photo: Compassion in World Farming. The EU's long-distance trade in live cattle to the Middle East inflicts horrendous cruelty at every point from farm to slaughter, writes Peter Stevenson, as well as posing public health risks due to grossly insanitary conditions. Live animal exports for meat should be stopped and replaced with a humane trade in refrigerated meat and carcasses. more...

Pheasant shooting begins today - and forget the rural idyll!

Toni Shephard

1st October 2015

Pheasants reared for shooting kept on a cold and uncomfortable wire floor. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports. This is the first day of the pheasant shooting season, writes Toni Shephard. But put bucolic ideas of happy birds running around in the wild woods out of your mind. Most of the birds coming under shotgun fire today have only just been released from overcrowded factory farms. Even in death they have no dignity: most are not even eaten, but end up dumped in makeshift pits. more...

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design. The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...

Indigenous peoples bear the brunt of global greenwash

Amy Dickens

23rd September 2015

Baka in Cameroon have been prohibited from entering the forest to gather resources they require. Photo: © Survival International. As ever more companies and governments pledge to 'go green' and protect forests, the world's tribal peoples should be among the main beneficiaries, writes Amy Dickens. Yet the reverse is the case. All too often the promises are purest greenwash, used to conceal the human and environmental tragedy of land-grabbing for plantations, mines, logging and even 'conservation'. more...

Astonishing and awful: Osborne's nuclear deal with China

David Toke

22nd September 2015

A new Chinese built and financed nuclear reactor for Bradwell, Essex? Believe it when you see it. Photo: Dan Davison via Flickr (CC BY). The UK's decision to 'green light' £2 billion in guarantees for the Hinkley C nuclear power station indicates the government's increasing desperation, writes David Toke. Bar the shouting, has anything actually happened? The guarantees have not been issued, and the announcement of Chinese participation in a new reactor at at Bradwell remains ... an announcement. more...

Now's the time to make your council declare a TTIP Free Zone

Kevin Smith

14th September 2015

Brussels - where the European Commission is desperate to sign Europe up to the TTIP trade and investment deal with the US, is itself a TTIP Free Zone. Photo: Global Justice Now via Flickr (CC BY). The fight against TTIP is being picked up by local authorities across the UK and other EU countries, writes Kevin Smith. Even Brussels - where the European Commission has been negotiating the deal with its US counterparts - has joined the movement. And now, with the election of the anti-TTIP MP Jeremy Corbyn's as Labour Leader, it's time to drive the message all the way home. more...

Whitewashed - the short and miserable life of game birds

Toni Shephard

9th Sepetmber 2015

Only a lucky few pheasants escape this fate. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Defra's new £500,000 report on pheasant and partridge breeding is biased towards commercial shooting interests from start to finish, writes Toni Shephard. It purports to study the welfare of captive birds reared in restrictive cages, but fails to compare their lot to that of free-range birds - the only adequate baseline. more...

Keep glyphosate out of our food!

Peter Melchett

3rd September 2015

A pre-harvest spray, probably of a glyphosate-based weed-killer, is applied to an oilseed rape (canola) crop in Occold, Norfolk. Photo: Tim Parkinson via Flickr (CC BY). Following scientific confirmation of the severe hazards to health caused by residues of glyphosate weed killers in food, the Soil Association is calling on bakers and retailers to stop 'pre-harvest' spraying on arable crops. The SA's Peter Melchett just sent out this letter - adapt as necessary and send to retailers, bakers, makers of cereals, pasta, biscuits and others. more...

Cleaning the waves: Surfers Against Sewage turns its fight to ocean plastic

Summer Brooks

2nd September 2015

A lone surfer stands on a plastic strewn beach. Photo: SAS. For 25 years, a group of eco-aware surfers have been campaigning for cleaner waves, writes Summer Brooks. SAS was founded in 1990 to tackle sewage discharges into UK coastal waters, and now, bigger and stronger than ever, they are turning their focus to the global problem of ocean plastic - both picking it up on our beaches, and pushing for long term, global solutions. more...

London's Garden Bridge: a damaging folly at public expense

Will Jennings

26th August 2015

Artists impression of 'Garden Bridge' by Heatherwick Studio. Not immediately obvious is that it will block views from Southbank along the river to St Pauls Cathedral. It sounded wonderful: a futuristic 'garden bridge' across the Thames dripping with flowers and foliage, writes Will Jennings. But really it's a private enclosure of valuable public space, mature trees and views, backed by £60m of taxpayers money, that delivers no benefits to London's wildlife, environment or transport needs. more...

The NFU's dishonesty over badger culling

Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey

22nd August 2015

Bovine TB is above all, about cattle and their biosecurity. Happy cows in England's beautiful Peak District. Photo: Rick Harrison via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). As they argue for an extended and intensified badger cull, some farmers have been making extravagant and improbable claims about giant badgers frolicking with their cattle in the sunshine, write Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey. But despite holding office in the NFU, they display astonishing negligence by failing to adopt the most elementary bio-security measures advised by Defra to keep their cattle TB free. more...

Into the heart of the beast - occupying Germany's open cast coal nightmare

Toni Belly

21st August 2015

'No Coal - the 'Ende Gelände' action, 15th August 2015. Photo: Ruben Neugebauer / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Last weekend Toni Belly was occupying Germany's biggest open cast coal mine in the once lovely Rhineland area, one of thousands of protestors from and other groups determined to shut the operation down. Nursing his bruises and eyes still sore from pepper spray, he set down his account of an unforgettable day of action. more...

The perfect pinta vs. the TTIP trade tanker

Vicki Hird

20th August 2015

Farmers take part in 'Milk Bucket Challenge' amid dairy crisis, 18th August 2015. Photo: still from video by The Vale Veterinary Group. Britain's dairy farmers have been having a hard time, writes Vicki Hird, largely thanks to their exposure to an unregulated, unstable, global food market. But if the EU's TTIP 'trade deal' with the US is ever signed, pitting UK dairy farmers against zero-welfare US mega-dairies run on hormones and antibiotics, they won't have a chance. more...

Broken Promises: new film exposes Malaysia's indigenous rights violations

Jettie Word

17th August 2015

Baram Dam blockade at Long Lama. Photo: Borneo Project. Malaysia is pushing ahead with its plans for a devastating series of 12 dams in the rainforests of Borneo that will kill a billion trees, bring death to wildlife on a stupendous scale and evict tens of thousands of indigenous people and their communities, writes Jettie Word. Now a new film honours their struggle for land, forest and freedom. more...

The Green Deal is dead. Long live Fossil Fuel Freedom!

Sue Roberts

13th August 2015

Green deal renovations under way. Photo: Sue Roberts. The Green Deal was expensive, bureaucratic, complex, inefficient and so badly designed it could have been set up to fail, writes Sue Roberts. Yet it was the UK's only national home insulation scheme and its intentions were sound. What it needed was rethink and reform, not scrapping - and with it gone, there's a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled. more...

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a third nuclear atrocity: the corruption of science

Chris Busby

After the bomb: retrieving the dead of Nagasaki, August 1945. Painting by US Army, posted on Flickr by James Vaughan (CC BY-NC-SA). Following the atomic bombs exploded over Japan in 1945 a second crime against humanity took place, writes Chris Busby: the deliberate falsification of science to hide the dangers of ionising radiation, perpetrated to quell public opposition to a new age of nuclear bombs and energy. The fraud continues to this day, but finally the truth is winning out. more...

Moorside, Cumbria: the great nuclear land grab

Martin Forwood

7th August 2015

The land take for the Moorside nuclear plant will come right up to the ancient village of Beckermet, West Cumbria, and the 12th Century St Bridget's Church, built on the site of a 7th Century monastery. Photo: Chris Wood via Flickr. The land grab by NuGen for its triple reactor Moorside site keeps on growing, writes Martin Forwood. The 'biggest construction project in Europe' is expanding from Nugen's original 200 hectare site to 552 hectares of farmland reaching right up to two villages and an 11th Century church. But with compulsory purchase on the cards, there's nothing locals can do except keep on fighting the entire deeply flawed project. more...

RBS, Barclays, HSBC ... it's time to get out of coal!

Greig Aitken / BankTrack

4th August 2015

Mountaintop removal mining impacts on Blair Mountain, West Virginia, USA. Photo courtesy of Paul Corbit Brown. There's one big thing that Britain's biggest banks could do to reclaim their grievously impaired reputations, writes Greig Aitken: commit to stop investing in coal projects. As well as reducing climate change and local environmental impacts, it would also 'de-risk' their balance sheets as the global tide, from the US to China, turns against the dirty, carbon-heavy fuel. more...

Julian Assange: an epic struggle for justice

John Pilger

3rd August 2015

Julian Assange. Illustration: Mataparda, on a photo from Espen Moe, via Flickr (CC BY). Julian Assange's struggle for freedom is one of law and justice against vengeful state power determined at all costs to darken the light of truth that Wikileaks has cast into the murkiest of places, writes John Pilger. Now, after a long series of moral and legal victories, his release may finally be drawing near. more...

Fighting back for the green economy

Alasdair Cameron / Friends of the Earth

31st July 2015

Dark skies gather over the UK's solar energy sector. Photo: reway2007 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The UK government has timed its attacks on renewable energy to perfection, writes Alasdair Cameron. Public 'consultations' on proposals to cut away support for wind and solar are running over the holidays - and many of those affected don't even know about it. It's time for us all to stand up for the green economy and make our voices heard! more...

Saving the wild Rockies

Jeffrey St. Clair

26th July 2015

Packers Roost, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Photo: Ken Lund via Flickr (CC BY-SA). In the battle to save America's real wild west of unlogged forests, grizzly bears, mountain goats, Bull trout, free flowing streams and roadless wilderness, a single person stands out, writes Jeffrey St Clair, for her dedication, courage and remarkable success: Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana. more...

Defend GMO labeling - say no to Monsanto's DARK Act today!

Katherine Paul / Organic Consumers Association

21st July 2015

'Hey Monsanto! If you're so proud why won't you label it?' Vermonters at the march Against Monsanto, 25th May 2013. Photo: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The US Congress votes this Thursday on the infamous 'DARK Act' that would abolish states' right to label GM foods, writes Katherine Paul. This 'Mother of all Monsanto Protection Acts' would also outlaw state GMO bans and even prevent the FDA from pre-market safety-testing GM ingredients. Send a clear message now to your member of Congress. more...

Defending Hollington Valley? Don't even think of talking to the man who's destroying it

Emily Johns / Combe Haven Defenders

20th July 2015

The man himself - John Shaw on the Link Road site. A polite knock on the door of a Mr John Shaw of Hastings got Emily Johns a visit from the police. How so? He's the CEO of a secretive 'non-profit company' that's using tens of millions of pounds of public funds to build white elephant business parks and destroy valuable nature sites. And avoiding accountability looks like a major point of the exercise. 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


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 Global grassroots movement, 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!


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...


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...


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...


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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