The Ecologist

 

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Where water meets desert ... Egypt depends entirely on the waters of the Nile to irrigate its farmland, but the river's flows are now imperilled by dam building upstream in Ethiopia. Casus belli? Photo: Tom Lowenthal  via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Global water crisis causing failed harvests, hunger, war and terrorism

Nafeez Ahmed

27th March 2015

The world is already experiencing water scarcity driven by over-use, poor land management and climate change, writes Nafeez Ahmed. It's one of the causes of wars and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond, and if we fail to respond to the warnings before us, major food and power shortages will soon afflict large parts of the globe fuelling hunger, insecurity and conflict. more...
Ban Fracking! Anti-fracking demo in London, 26 January 2015, at which a 360,000-signature petition was handed in to Parliament. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Engineering consent for fracking: Chris Smith and the 'astroturf' consultancy

Paul Mobbs

18th March 2015

Edelman, the global PR group, has a history of aggressive 'consent engineering' for the fossil fuel industry in North America, writes Paul Mobbs. So what are they doing running 'impartial' UK bodies including a Parliamentary group on unconventional oil and gas, and the 'independent' Task Force on Shale Gas? Are they really US-style 'astroturf' bodies designed to fool us all? more...
Women from all over Côte d'Ivoire gather to celebrate International Women's Day at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: UN Photo / Ky Chung vias Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Patriarchy is killing our planet - women alone can save her

Nafeez Ahmed

13th March 2015

The global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule us are integral to man's violent exploitation of Earth and her resources, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The fight to save the Earth must begin with the empowerment of women - and that means ending our complicity in their oppression, and servitude. more...
Michael Mann on a Tundra Buggy looking for polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (13th November 2010). Photo: via Michael Mann.

Unlikely hero (or villain): Michael Mann, creator of the hockey stick graph

Brendan Montague / DeSmog UK

16th March 2015

Michael Mann will be remembered as the creator of the 'hockey stick' graph of rising global temperatures, which has put him forever in the crosshairs of climate change sceptics. But as Brendan Montague found, he is a curiously unlikely hero, or villain: rather a dedicated scientist living the American dream, who just happened, to his own surprise, to stumble on something big. more...
NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed

3rd March 2015

Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all. more...
Lands, skies, waters, all the common heritage of humankind, all of us to share in Earth's bounty. Photo: Channory Point, North West Scotland, by Kristian Dela Cour (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Reclaiming our birthright: paychecks from Earth and Sky

Peter Barnes

24th February 2015

Alaska has put in place a 'citizen's income' paid to every resident by right - their dividend from the state's oil and gas wealth. The principle should be applied everywhere, writes Peter Barnes, compensating us for the enclosure and exploitation of the global commons, our shared inheritance of land, water and sky. more...
This colorful 'beetle bank' at Sandy Lane Organic Farm provides a haven for beneficial insects: pollinators and predators of pest species. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire, England.

Only agroecology can tackle the global food and health crisis

Dr Julia Wright

23rd February 2015

The recently published Global Nutrition Report shows almost all countries face high levels of malnutrition and diet-based ill-health, writes Julia Wright. This reveals deep problems with the dominant industrial model of food production, and the need for new agroecological approaches to feeding the world. more...
Crossed wires? Power lines in Miango, Plateau State, Nigeria. Photo: Mike Blyth via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Privatized energy has failed us - so why is UK 'aid' exporting it?

Christine Haigh / Global Justice Now

20th February 2015

The failure of the UK's privatized electricity oligopoly - expensive, uncompetitive and slow to adopt renewable technologies - is being repeated across the global south, writes Christine Haigh: over £100 million of UK 'aid' is supporting energy privatization in the very countries that can least afford it. more...
Which side are you on? Global Divestment Day Amsterdam. Photo: Nichon Glerum www.nichon.nl / 350.org (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Fossil fuel divestment backlash forces the question: Which side are you on?

Kate Aronoff / Waging Nonviolence

18th February 2015

The fossil fuel industry's big reaction to Global Divestment Day shows us something important, writes Kate Aronoff - they understand the existential danger they face better than we do. To win the battle for the world's climate, as we must, the victory must be total - and there is no place for neutrality or weak compromise. more...
The Tihange nuclear complex in Belgium, where a reactor is suffering from sever multiple cracking. Photo: Kazumitsu_ via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Belgian nuclear reactors riddled with 16,000 unexplained cracks

Oliver Tickell

18th February 2015

The discovery of over 16,000 cracks in two Belgian reactor vessels may have global implications for nuclear safety, says the country's nuclear safety chief. He and independent experts are calling for the immediate checks of nuclear reactor vessels worldwide. more...
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).

Join Global Divestment Day and make fossil fuels history!

Yossi Cadan

13th February 2015

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...
The Alberta tar sands aren't just destroying forests and waters on an industrial scale - they are also destabilising the global economy. Photo: Luc Forsyth via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Energy market madness is the death spasm of the oil age - renewables now!

Nafeez Ahmed

4th February 2015

Current oil price volatility is a symptom of the end of cheap oil, writes Nafeez Ahmed, and it's destablising the entire global economy. The answer is a major shift to renewables - but the the International Energy Agency, which should be leading the transition, is in the grip of nuclear and fossil fuel interests. Instead the leadership must come from us, the people! more...

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'The kingdom of God belongs to such as these'. Children in Tacloban City, Leyte Province, Philippines, amid the wreckage of Super Typhoon Yolanda / Hiyan, 21st December 2013. Photo: United Nations Photo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Rediscovering the moral dimension of climate change

Jonathon Porritt

9th February 2015

Pope Francis's forthcoming statement on climate change could just revitalise progress towards significant emissions cuts, writes Jonathon Porritt. But more than that, it will open up the space for a wider spirituality to guide our thinking, and campaigning, on climate and other key global challenges. more...
Nuclear fail: Entergy's 'Vermont Yankee' nuclear plant shut last year because it was running at a loss even with all its capital costs sunk. It now faces a $1.24 billion decommission - of which only $670 million is funded.

Running in reverse: the world's 'nuclear power renaissance'

Dr Jim Green

29th January 2015

The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear's share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where's the money to pay for it? more...
'Unemployment Wall' at Calle San Pablo, Zaragoza, Spain. Photo: Luis Colás via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Inequality does matter - and we must fight it!

Global Justice Now

20th January 2015

Peter Mandelson is 'intensely relaxed' about growing inequality, but he shouldn't be. It's the result of a 'trickle up' economy which perpetuates and fosters injustice, violence and ill health, writes Global Justice Now, and corrodes democratic societies at their very foundations. 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...
Burning oil field in Kuwait, Gulf War 1. Photo: VA Comm via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Oil prices and the devil's ransom

Alexander Reid Ross

15th January 2015

The global economic shake-down of low oil prices continues apace, writes Alexander Reid Ross, causing environmentalists to celebrate the collapse of dirty energy projects. But the oil price collapse is the manifestation of a multi-layered conflict being fought out on the political, military and ideological battlefields of the Middle East - and it may not last much longer. more...
Eocene fauna of North America, on a 1964 mural made for the US government-owned Smithsonian Museum. Photo: Jay Matternes / Wikimedia Commons.

Sudden global warming 55m years ago was much like today

David Bond

5th January 2014

The Earth's current warming is looking similar to what took place 55 million years ago, writes David Bond. And if it works out that way, the news is good: we may avoid a mass extinction. On the other hand, the poles will melt away completely, and it will take hundreds of thousands of years for Earth to get back to 'normal'. more...
Peruvian police defend Glencore from a demonstration.

Glencore Xstrata and corporate power in Peru

Aldo Orellana Lopez and Philippa de Boissière

27th December 2014

A new wave of ruthless conquistadors has arrived in Peru, write Aldo Orellana Lopez and Philippa de Boissière - global corporations after minerals, oil, gas, timber, land ... And instead of brandishing the Bible and the sword, they proclaim high sounding policies on environment and human rights, while co-opting police and politicians in their pillage of resources. more...
The SPICE project will investigate the release of small particles into the stratosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting a few percent of incoming solar radiation. Photo: Hugh Hunt CC BY-SA 3.0.

What's worse than geoengineering the climate?

Nick Breeze

23rd December 2014

Film maker Nick Breeze has conducted a series of interviews with experts on 'geo-engineering' to forestall runaway global warming. Here he presents the distilled wisdom from his meetings - and concludes that we should at least be experimenting with the techniques, and studying their impacts. more...
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 campaign to 'stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate' nuclear weapons

Rebecca Johnson

27th December 2014

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...
Rising sea level? What rising sea level? Peter, CC BY-SA.

I'll talk politics with climate change deniers - but not science

Mark Maslin

17th December 2014

The responses that climate change demands of us are collective, writes Mark Maslin, and force us to accept the finite nature of global resources and the need for equitable sharing. So when climate change collides with belief in neoliberalism, free markets, strong property rights and rugged individualism, denial trumps science every time. more...
The forest territories of the Amazon's indigenous peoples are essential for their own survival, their biodiversity, and the carbon they contain. But their precious lands are under growing threat. Photo: Gleilson Miranda/Governo do Acre / Wikimedia Commons

Amazon tribes' forests are a vital carbon sink

Tim Radford

5th December 2014

As land rights of indigenous peoples are increasingly being violated, writes Tim Radford, new research shows that the planned destruction of the Amazon rainforest is a major threat not only to cultural identity but also to the global climate. more...
Downtown East Liverpool. Photo: Caitlin Johnson.

Appalachia: a small city's fight against toxic waste incineration

Caitlin Johnson

5th December 2014

East Liverpool, a small city by the Ohio river, is a cancer-ridden dumping ground for the detritus of the global economy, writes Caitlin Johnson. With its filthy power station, coal ash lake, 1,300 fracking wells, silica sand mountains and a huge toxic waste incinerator, the city's people need your help in their fight for environmental justice. more...
Coming to honeybees in North America and Europe, a new parasite helped on its way by warmer summers. Photo: Smudge 9000, CC BY-SA.

Bee crisis: warmer summers will help new parasite

Robert Paxton

30th December 2014

An exotic parasite is spreading through the world's honey bees and global warming is making it worse, writes Robert Paxton. A new study that shows it will soon be causing widespread colony collapse in North America and Europe. more...

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