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In danger? Apparently not. Under threat? For sure. A Red-spotted Porcelain Crab (Neopetrolisthes maculatus) on anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum). Steve's Bommie, Ribbon Reef #3, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UNESCO decides: Great Barrier Reef is not 'in danger'

Emily Lindsay Brown

2nd June 2015

Australia's government can breathe a sigh of relief as UNESCO keeps the Great Barrier Reef off its 'World Heritage in danger' list, writes Emily Lindsay Brown. But in return, it has committed to protect the reef from farm run-off and dredgings, and to implement its 'Reef 2050' sustainability plan. If Australia fails, the Reef could be officially 'in danger' as soon as 2020. more...
Protest in Baltimore, 29th April 2015. Photo: Arash Azizzada via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The slow poisoning of Freddie Gray and the hidden violence against black communities

Rita Turner

6th May 2015

The US is denying huge numbers of black and brown children their chance to achieve their cognitive potential by quietly poisoning them with lead and other toxins, writes Rita Turner. The offense is then compounded by providing the victims deeply unequal educational opportunities, and disregarding their civil rights. more...
On the beach ... EDF closed Dungeness nuclear power station, by the Channel, for 5 months in 2013 because of post-Fukushima flood fears. Photo: Andrew Gustar via Flickr (CC BY-ND)

Flood risk to nuclear reactors raises meltdown fears

Paul Brown

6th May 2015

Sea level rise, storm surges and bursting dams all pose an increasing danger to nuclear power stations across the world, writes Paul Brown, as the long term risk posed by climate change combines with chance events from extreme weather events to earthquakes. more...
The Flamanville nuclear plant in Normandy, France, was already years late and billions of budget - before news emerged that its steel reactor vessel contains serious metallurgical faults. Photo: schoella via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear reactor flaws raise Hinkley C safety fears

Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell

14th April 2015

A serious flaw in the steel reactor vessel of a nuclear plant under construction in France raises safety fears for the EPR design, write Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell - and casts a dark shadow over the UK's troubled Hinkley C nuclear project. more...
Destruction driven by the 20% VAT penalty on property refurbishment? Demolition of Wychwood House on the Woodberry Down Estate, London in June 2007. Photo:  Sarflondondunc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Use VAT to reward 'green' refurbishment - not demolition

Duncan Baker-Brown

19th March 2015

Another budget, another missed opportunity: the VAT system charges the full 20% on home upgrades, but 'zero-rates' developers who demolish and rebuild, writes Duncan Baker-Brown. Instead we should target VAT to reward those who meet 'green' criteria for energy efficiency and sustainability. Chancellors in waiting, listen up! more...
Real farming is all about sustaining healthy and abundant soil life - and applying compost is an important way to revitalise depleted soils. Photo: normanack via Flickr (CC BY).

The roots of life and health: Elaine Ingham's theory of the living soil

Lynda Brown / Sustainable Food Trust

31st March 2015

Modern agriculture - even among organic farmers - is often seen as a matter of soil chemistry, writes Lynda Brown. But an alternative view is gaining ground: that it's really about soil life. Nurture your soil-dwelling micro-organisms, and your crops look after themselves. more...
New technological advances could make the power of Atlantic waves into a competitive source of renewable energy. Photo: Albert Bridge via Wikimedia Commons.

New technologies promise cheap wave power

Paul Brown

23rd February 2015

Scandinavian inventors are hoping that efficient new waves power technologies will for the first time make the sector competitive with other renewable energy sources, writes Paul Brown - opening up a massive new clean energy resource around the world. more...
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' - a compromise too far?

Lynda Brown

20th February 2015

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...
Happy family - pleased to enjoy solar lighting for the first time. Photo: SunneyMoney.

1.5 million solar lamps brighten Africa's future

Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell

10th February 2015

The charity SolarAid has just celebrated 1.5 million small solar lighting installations in Africa, writes Paul Brown - an important milestone on its mission to get solar lighting into all of Africa's homes by 2020, and see out dangerous, polluting kerosene lamps. more...
Photovoltaic cells on the Solar Library and Energy-Optimised House in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei. Image: Littleha via Wikimedia Commons.

Asia powers into the forefront of solar revolution

Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell

4th February 2015

China has now overtaken the European Union as the largest new market for solar power, writes Paul Brown - as solar PV becomes one of the world's fastest growing industries - and one that's sure to keep on getting cheaper! more...
The flowers are gorgeous! But the oil that's pressed from their seeds is best avoided due to its high linoleic acid levels. Photo: Ken Slade via Flickr (Cc BY-NC 2.0).

Linoleic acid - the overwhelming evidence against this 'healthy' poly-unsaturated oil

David Brown

24th February 2014

The established wisdom that 'high in polyunsaturates' means healthy, and that saturated fat and cholesterol are the way to an early grave, lack any supporting scientific evidence, writes David Brown. Indeed the truth appears to be the precise reverse: over-consumption of the omega-6 polyunsaturate linoleic acid is causing untold harm to our health and wellbeing. more...
Photo: Scott Wallace / World Bank via Flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warmer world threatens wheat shortages

Paul Brown

19th January 2015

Just one degree of global warming could cut wheat yields by 42 million tonnes worldwide, around 6% of the crop, writes Paul Brown - causing devastating shortages of this staple food. more...

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British Airways Boeing 747 contrail - taken from a Boeing 777 window somewhere over Netherlands. Photo: revedavion.com via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0. See aeroplanedream.blogspot.com.

How much longer can the aviation industry fight off emissions controls?

Valerie Brown

3rd January 2014

Aviation emissions are a major clause of climate change, writes Valerie Brown - yet they remain unregulated. The gap between the best and worst performing airlines demonstrates ample opportunities for improvement - but is the political will there to impose effective regulation? more...
Gemasolar solar thermal power plant, Spain, uses molten salt storage to run 24 hours per day. Photo: Beyond Zero Emissions via Flickr, CC-BY.

2015 will see nuclear dream fade as wind and solar soar

Paul Brown

30th December 2014

Governments are still spending billions on nuclear research, writes Paul Brown - but 2015 looks like being an unhappy year for the industry as it continues to shrink while renewables grow, amid massive delays and cost over-runs. more...
Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, among her organic cattle. Photo: Soil Association.

The Soil Association's mission is organic - and it always will be!

Helen Browning / Soil Association

2nd December 2014

The Soil Association doesn't need to 'get back to its roots', writes Helen Browning - because it never left them! It remains firmly committed to its founders' original organic mission for health, environment and animal welfare. And that means reaching out to a broader public, ensuring that organic principles are ever more widely understood and applied. more...
Now this is really what it's all about ... harvesting organic leeks at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: facebook.com/sandylanefarm .

Soil Association must get back to its roots

Joanna Blythman, Lynda Brown, Andrew Whitley and Pat Thomas

1st December 2014

Four trustees of the Soil Association just resigned, 'more in sorrow than in anger'. Joanna Blythman, Lynda Brown, Andrew Whitley and former Ecologist editor Pat Thomas all decided they were unable to contribute further to the organisation, the UK's leading organic certifier and the 'mother ship' of British organic farming. more...
Early stages of construction on the Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor in France, which was due to open in 2012, but is running five years late. Photo: Schoella via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C hovers on the brink - Europe's nuclear giants face meltdown

Paul Brown

25th November 2014

Doubts are growing doubts that the Hinkley C nuclear power station, the EU's biggest construction project, will get the final go-ahead from the UK government, writes Paul Brown. And that's leaving the European nuclear industry, already in serious financial difficulties, facing a struggle for survival. more...
A stronger power grid will increase Europe's energy security and give a big boost to renewable energy. Photo: Kenneth Spencer via Flickr.

Supergrid will build EU resilience and boost renewables

Paul Brown

9th September 2014

The EU, nervous about disruption to gas supplies across an increasingly unstable Ukraine, is planning a European 'supergrid' linking all 28 member states to increase resilience, writes Paul Brown. The development will be a boon to renewable energy generation, and cut emissions from fossil fuels. more...
The 'Bridge of the Gods' crossing the Columbia River Gorge. Photo: Mark Stevens via Flickr.

US oil boom threatens pristine North-West with crude transport corridors

Valerie Brown / Climate News Network

11th November 2014

America's expanding oil production threatens the pristine Pacific Northwest region of the country with a rash of new oil terminals along the coast, writes Valerie Brown, and hugely expanded traffic of freight trains loaded with hundreds of cars of crude oil heading for California refineries. more...
Researcher Mike Murphy holding laminaria saccharina sugar kelp algae, SE Alaska. Photo: David Csepp, NOAA / NMFS / AKFSC / Auke Bay Lab via NOAA Photo Library on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Seaweed problem could provide biofuel solution

Paul Brown

14th March 2015

Biofuels are controversial because they are often produced from food crops or grown on farmland, writes Paul Brown, creating extra pressure on land and forests. But a common algae found in abundance around coastlines and clogging up beaches may be the answer.
more...
Skilful heather burning can enhance biodiversity, according to the Moorland Association. Recently burnt heather at Ramshaw Rocks, Staffordshire. Photo: Paul via Flickr.

England's 'upland Amazon' destroyed for grouse shooting

Paul Brown

9th October 2014

The repeated burning of England's upland moors - carried out so more grouse can be reared for lucrative shooting parties - is seriously damaging a unique and valuable ecosystem, writes Paul Brown - destroying ages-old peat, reducing its capacity to retain water, and releasing megatonnes of carbon to the atmosphere. more...
The Abengoa solar tower, Spain. Photo: Alex Lang via Flickr.

'Political will is only barrier to 100% renewables'

Paul Brown

22nd September 2014

A report published ahead of tomorrow's UN Climate Summit shows that we can meet all our energy needs from renewables, writes Paul Brown - poor nations and prosperous, tiny islands and great cities, in any part of the globe. And some are doing it already .... more...
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.

While governments back fossil fuels and nuclear, popular renewables boom

Paul Brown

6th September 2014

Consumers around the world want their electricity to come from renewable sources, writes Paul Brown. Yet governments from the UK to Australia are defying the popular will as they push for fossil fuels and nuclear power. The good news? Renewable energy is surging ahead regardless. more...
Mirror, mirror, on the wall ... Solar panels near Dukovany nuclear power station, Czech Republic. Photo: Jiří Sedláček (Frettie) via Wikimedia Commons.

Nuclear industry prepares for global boom - or is that doom?

Paul Brown

2nd August 2014

The nuclear industry remains remarkably optimistic about its future, wrties Paul Brown - despite evidence that it is a shrinking source of power as renewables, in particular solar and wind power, compete with increasing success to fill the energy gap. more...
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, March 2013. Photo: D Ramey Logan / Wikimedia Commons.

Nuclear waste - the unanswered questions that won't go away

Paul Brown

20th July 2014

The recent closure of five US power stations is forcing the industry to confront big questions about radioactive waste, writes Paul Brown. Who is to pay the mounting costs of managing the wastes and keeping them secure? And precisely where will be their final resting place? more...

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