The Ecologist


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A handful of seeds, Porto-Novo, Oueme, Benin. Photo: Adam Cohn via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Seed Freedom! A last chance to thwart the great African seed grab

Ali-Masmadi Jehu-Appiah

29th June 2015

Nineteen African nations meet today in Arusha, Tanzania, to finalise a 'plant protection' protocol that would open up the continent's seeds to corporate interests, taking away farmers' rights to grow, improve, sell and exchange their traditional seeds, while allowing commercial breeders to make free use of the biodiversity they embody, to sell them back to farmers in 'improved' form. more...
Another hot, dry night falls on Sao Paulo. Photo: Rafael Vianna Croffi via Flickr (CC BY).

Megacity drought: Sao Paulo withers after dry 'wet season'

Leila Carvalho

26th June 2015

After four years of low rainfall Brazil's commercial capital, Sao Paulo, is suffering from a grim combination of high temperatures and water shortages, writes Leila Carvalho. And now the drought has given rise to a lethal plague of dengue fever. more...
The Pacific Ocean, seen from high above. Photo: blueforce4116 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

To live within planetary boundaries, we must contract the global economy

Samuel Alexander

5th July 2015

We have a problem, writes Samuel Alexander. Even the most eco-friendly rich world lifestyles are overconsuming resources and over-dumping wastes. To put us on track to 'single planet living' will mean far deeper changes than any yet envisaged, including deliberate 'degrowth'' and the abandonment of consumer culture. more...
Meat is all very well for lions, like this one in the Masai Mara, Kenya. But can the planet take billions of humans eating it too? Photo: Stuart Richards via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Worried about climate change? So why aren't you vegan?

Chris Lang

1st July 2015

You might be forgiven for thinking that climate change is all about fossil fuels, writes Chris Lang. But with livestock farming causing around a sixth of global emissions, there's one quick, cheap way to cut our carbon footprints: go vegetarian, or better still, vegan. So what's taking us so long? more...
More than a hundred people converged in Ticonderoga, NY on 7th July for a flotilla and symbolic blockade to ‪#StopOilTrains. Photo:  Rising Tide Vermont.

#StopOilTrains - How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb-train

Stephyn Quirke

9th July 2015

Two things are new in the Pacific Northwest, writes Stephyn Quirke: abnormally hot, dry weather that has even killed Chinook salmon on their run upriver to spawn; and 'bomb trains' a mile more long carrying thousands of tonnes of oil, with just a single sleep-deprived driver on board. What could possibly go wrong? more...
A Mursi boy suffering from Malaria in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. With warming, the range of malaria-carrying mosquitos will extend up into the Highlands. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Court orders Dutch government to cut emissions, as doctors warn of health catastrophe

Alex Kirby

25th June 2015

In a landmark ruling, judges have ordered the Netherlands to do more to tackle the 'imminent danger' of climate change. Meanwhile an expert commission reports of an impending global health breakdown from unmitigated global warming. more...
Carbon trading may be highly profitable for a select few - but if you want to fix climate change, best leave it well alone! Photo: Richard Alvin via Flickr (CC BY).

Pope Francis is right. Carbon markets will never fix the climate

Steffen Böhm, Gareth Bryant & Siddhartha Dabhi

23rd June 2015

Carbon trading has a remarkable record of failure: rewarding polluters while causing no discernible reduction in global emissions. If the COP21 UN climate negotiations in Paris are to achieve anything of value, first they must ditch the false solution of carbon markets. And thanks to Pope Francis, the idea is firmly on the agenda. more...
The Inauguration Mass For Pope Francis, 19th march 2013. Photo: Catholic Church England and Wales via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Pope Francis's climate letter is a radical attack on the logic of the market

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

18th June 2015

The Encyclical published today by Pope Francis represents a profound religious and philosophical challenge to the mainstream narratives of our times, writes Steffen Böhm, and a major confrontation with the great corporate, economic and political powers, as it spells out the potential of a new world order rooted in love, compassion, and care for the natural world. more...
A bleak outlook for Britain's environment: Cairn Toul from the Pools of Dee, Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms. The sub-Arctic biodiversity of the mountains is at risk from warming climate. Photo: Ted and Jen via Flickr (CC BY).

The greenest government ever? By no stretch of the imagination

Jonathon Porritt

22nd June 2015

The previous government came in on a bold promise to be the 'greenest ever', writes Jonathon Porritt. But what we got was a shameful record of ideologically driven policies that promoted fossil fuels, undermined action on climate, obsessed over nuclear power, did nothing to arrest the decline in the nation's wildlife and biodiversity - and suggest even worse to come. more...
Forest fires at Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, September 2011. Photo: Rini Sulaiman/ Norwegian Embassy for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indonesia at risk from huge fires as El Niño gathers

Allan Spessa & Robert Field

17th June 2015

The conditions for an 'El Niño' climate perturbation over the Pacific appear to be in place, write Allan Spessa & Robert Field - and that means there's a high risk of large scale fires in Indonesia's forests and peatlands in coming months. more...
Photo: Troed-Y-Rhiw Farm via Facebook.

To support 'green' farming, officials must learn that small is beautiful

Alicia Miller / Sustainable Food Trust.

16th June 2015

It's a hard life being an organic farmer, writes Alicia Miller - and specially when it comes to engaging with a bureaucracy that's trying to 'green' our agriculture. Should small scale farmers change their farming practices to fit in with it? Or the other way round? more...
Wind power in China at Urumqi, Xinjiang province. Photo: Asian Development Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

World must wake up to China's energy revolution

Kieran Cooke

15th June 2015

China's success in driving down its fossil fuel burn will raise chances of a success at this year's Paris climate talks, writes Kieran Cooke - but first the world must appreciate the changes China is making, and how clean energy is catalysing a broader economic transformation. more...

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The Bois Dormoy is a unique green oasis in the heart of metropolitan Paris and its multicultural community. It should be treasured, not destroyed! Photo; via Bois Dormoy on Facebook.

Paris must remember: climate solutions are small, local, green, and begin at home

Marc Brightman

17th June 2015

As Paris prepares for COP21 in Paris, Marc Brightman finds that the city is in the grip of a benign but ignorant authoritarianism that is ready to trample on much-loved green spaces like the Bois Dormoy, reclaimed from dereliction by the multicultural local community, which represent real solutions to the global problems of food, climate, the future of our cities, and our place in nature. more...
Friends of the Earth supporters protesting at the UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn today, denouncing the lack of progress. Photo: Friends of the Earth Europe via Flickr (All rights reserved).

Germany takes the heat as climate talks close with no progress

Oliver Tickell

11th June 2015

UN climate talks in Bonn ended today without the progress needed to secure agreement at the Paris COP in December - shortly after the G7 issued aspirational climate promises devoid of action, and heedless of warnings that Germany is already suffering the impacts of climate change. more...
The Dalmatian pelican suffered large declines in the last centuries due to habitat loss and degradation and persecution, but thanks to habitat management and restoration the population in Europe is recovering and the species is no longer at risk. Photo: B

One fifth of Europe's birds are in danger of extinction

The Ecologist

3rd June 2015

Conservation projects have pulled several endangered European birds back from the brink of extinction, but habitat loss, industrial farming, over fishing and climate change all represent growing threats that requires broader and deeper change in the EU and beyond. more...
Smoking dawn over Wiersbaden, Germany. Photo: Martin Fisch via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Climate negotiators, please cut soot and methane - but not at the expense of CO2!

Myles Allen

6th June 2015

Climatologists have spotted an 'easy hit' to reduce global warming by cutting emissions of short lived forcing agents like soot from dirty power plants, 2-stroke engines and cooking fires, writes Miles Allen. But while we should take action on these pollutants, it must not come at the expense of holding back on cutting emissions of the big long term climate forcer: carbon dioxide. more...
Protesters at David Cameron's constituency office - accusing him of being in bed with the UK's energy oligarchs at the expense of people and climate. Photo: Zoe Broughton.

Reclaim the Power! Climate protestors rout security with UK-wide fossil fuel strikes

Oliver Tickell

1st June 2015

The fossil fuel industry and its political backers have been left reeling by an unprecedented series of direct action strikes against targets across the country to protest at continuing investment in and official support for fossil fuels, inaction over fuel poverty and the systematic neglect of renewable energy despite the global climate emergency. more...
Part of the Science Museum’s Atmosphere exhibition, which Shell sponsored. Photo: The Science Museum.

Shell leant on Science Museum to influence climate programme

Terry Macalister / the Guardian

1st June 2015

Emails released by the Science Museum show that Shell pressed its case to Museum staff to deny NGOs the opportunity to open up a debate on the company's operations in connection with an exhibition it had sponsored on waste and climate change, writes Terry Macalister. more...
Soon this could be happening to coral reefs everywhere - bleached Staghorn coral in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Matt Kieffer via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Geoengineer or our tropical reefs will die, scientists warn

Tim Radford

30th May 2015

To keep the world's coral reefs alive we may have to cool tropical seas by blocking the sun's rays above them, writes Tim Radford. Even if the world reduces carbon emissions, warming already 'in the pipeline' could kill 90% of the world's coral by 2050 unless we act. more...
Monsoon Bliss in the Nilgiri Hills of Kerala - now baking in the torrid  summer heat as the monsoon fails to make landfall on cue. Photo: ram reddy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

India's killer heatwave - a deadly warning of the world we face, without climate action

Liz Hanna

30th May 2015

As delegates prepare for the Bonn climate talks, India is being struck by extreme heat with a long-delayed monsoon season and a death toll of thousands, writes Liz Hanna. If this is an indicator of the warming world to come, it's giving us all the reasons we could possibly want to act decisively before it's too late. more...
Reclaim the Power! Banner at the Didcot Climate Camp this weekend. Photo: Zoe Broughton.

Reclaim the Power: join the camp for energy democracy

Diêgo Lôbo

31st May 2015

Hundreds of campaigners are gathering at Didcot Power station in Oxfordshire to demand a green energy future - and an end to the Government's relentless push for fossil fuels and nuclear power, writes Diêgo Lôbo. Preparations are under way for a series of actions due to take place tomorrow, Monday 1st June. more...
These guys aren't waiting till 2050! 'Kayaktivists' opposing Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare for the 'Paddle in Seattle' protest, 16th May 2015. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

The world won't let Shell wait until 2050 to adapt its business to climate change

Steffen Böhm

27th May 2015

Shell's senior management are treading an impossible path, writes Steffen Böhm. On the one hand they accept that climate change is real and serious, and that many of their fossil fuel assets may prove unburnable. On the other, they insist that business as usual will continue for decades to come. It's high time they smelt the coffee! more...
Grangemouth oil refinery, Scotland. Photo: Paul Mcgreevy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

IMF reports: fossil fuel subsidies worth $5.6 trillion per year

Pete Dolack

26th May 2015

A new report from the IMF has quantified the prodigious subsidies doled out to the fossil fuel industries, writes Pete Dolack - an astonishing $5.6 trillion per year, over 7% of world product, including direct payments, tax breaks and unpaid environmental costs. The obscene scale of public largesse proves the need for a social movement to challenge global energy capitalism. more...
Unit 3 of the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan, has been converted for post-combustion CCS, producing over 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year - pipelined to oil fields in the south of the province to increase recovery. Photo: SaskPower vi

False promise of 'carbon capture' exposed

The Ecologist

26th May 2015

The widely touted 'carbon capture and storage' technology is much more expensive than wind and solar, says a Greenpeace report. It also represents a perverse subsidy to the fossil fuel sector that will only boost coal and oil, and delay the transition to a renewable energy system. more...
Divest London protestors at last week's action at CommBank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Photo: Divest London via Facebook.

CommBank must ditch its plans to fund Great Barrier Reef destruction

Hal Rhoades

26th May 2015

As part of a global week of action campaigners from Divest London have gathered to ‘Raise the Heat' on the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, writes Hal Rhoades - protesting its plan to invest in a ‘carbon bomb' coal project that endangers global climate and threatens to finish off the Great Barrier Reef. more...


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