The Ecologist


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Roundup, Monsanto's top selling herbicide, now up for relicencing for use in EU. With today's postponement of a vote, it could go either way. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY).

EU postpones glyphosate decision: a good day for public health!

Aisha Dodwell

8th March 2016

It has been an epic battle, writes Aisha Dodwell. Monsanto and other corporations are desperate to get the world's number one herbicide, glyphosate, relicenced in the EU. But their network of power has been challenged by doctors, scientists and a global movement of people. With today's postponement of the EU's decision, we have just scored a major victory. more...
Red chilis grown by a traditional small-scale farmer in Morocco. Photo: Ali JAFRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Resisting the corporate stranglehold on food and farming - is agroecology enough?

Colin Todhunter

4th March 2016

Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement. more...
Aberthaw power station and adjacent cement works rise above the South Wales countryside. Photo: Ben Salter via Flickr (CC BY).

From pit mines to power plants, Wales must lead the UK out of coal

Gareth Clubb / FoE Cymru.

29th February 2016

Wales should lead the UK in bringing an end to the entire coal industry from opencast mining to highly polluting power stations, writes Gareth Clubb. A new report by Friends of the Earth Cymru shows the Aberthaw plant alone imposes social and environmental costs of nearly £1 billion per year on the country and global climate. more...
Dairy farmers protest in Brussels, October 2009. Photo: Teemu Mäntynen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Dairy farmers' uprisings lead the way to a democratic world food system

David Miller

17th February 2016

The increasingly militant protests by dairy farmers against low prices forced on them by the corporate 'free market' represent serious and effective resistance against the 'free trade' agenda being forced on the world by neoliberal governments, writes David Miller. They are the first steps to building a new global food system that respects food, people, culture and environment. more...
Cruising the open seas on the Sea Dragon. Photo: Katrina McQuail.

In search of the unseen: an investigation into plastics in our oceans

Ana Stanič

21st February 2-16

One of the biggest threats facing marine life is the 'microplastic' particles found in ocean ecosystems from bottom to top of food chains. Just back from a voyage of environmental exploration in the tropical Atlantic sampling the waters to build up a global picture of this ubiquitous pollutant, Ana Stanič writes of the joys and trials of life on the waves, and the need to keep our oceans clean. more...
From front cover of 'Killing the Host' by Michael Hudson.

'Killing the Host': the financial system is destroying the global economy

Paul Craig Roberts

12th February 2016

The main engine of economic exploitation is the financial system's ever increasing extraction of value through interest payments, according to economist Michael Hudson. Paul Craig Roberts finds his analysis all too accurate, as the over-financialized economies of western countries head down a spiral of poverty, decline, injustice and despair. more...
Dr Vandana Shiva in Brussels as part of a tour to promote a new campaign and booklet: 'The law of the seed'. Photo: GreensEFA via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In the footsteps of Gandhi: an interview with Vandana Shiva

Scott London

14th February 2016

Vandana Shiva is more than just a leading scientist, author and campaigner on green issues and anti-globalisation, writes Scott London. She is also among the most prominent of Mahatma Ghandi's intellectual heirs. In this interview, she discusses how this led her to be an outspoken voice on such crucial environmental issues as seed legacy, biopiracy and economic injustice. more...
E-scrapping operation in Guiyu, China, breaking down imported computers. Over 100,000 migrant workers labor in hundreds of small operations like this one in a four-village area surrounding the Lianjiang River. Photo: baselactionnetwork via Flickr (CC BY-N

From latest gizmo to toxic waste: the dark side of the worldwide electronics obsession

Ian Williams, University of Southampton

11th February 2016

Our thirst for the latest gadgets has created a vast empire of electronic waste, writes Ian Williams. The EU alone produces some 9 million tonnes of it a year, of which some 70% is still working when disposed of, and over a third is disposed of illegally. With increasingly affordable electronic devices available to ever more people, it's high time for effective global regulation. more...
A farmer at work in her mustard field in Kashmir, India. Photo: Rajesh Pamnani via Flickr (CC BY-NC-DD).

Beware the GMO Trojan horse! Indian food and farming are under attack

Colin Todhunter

11th February 2016

Global oilseed, agribusiness and biotech corporations are engaged in a long term attack on India's local cooking oil producers, writes Colin Todhunter. In just 20 years they have reduced India from self-sufficiency in cooking oil to importing half its needs. Now the government's unlawful attempts to impose GM mustard seed threaten to wipe out a crop at the root of Indian food and farming traditions. more...
Sainsbury's Genetically Modified Tomato Paste - on sale in the UK, 20 years ago. Photo: via Beyond GM.

20 years ago today ... What have we learned since the GMO Flavr Savr tomato?

Pat Thomas

5th February 2015

Two decades ago the world's first GM foods went on sale, writes Pat Thomas. The consumer flirtation with GMOs soon died away, yet the biotech industry has grown into a global behemoth, driving agricultural intensification and sending agro-chemical sales through the roof. It's time for us to take a stand once again and insist: there are better, healthier ways of growing food. more...
The use of Glyphosate is ever increasing with farmers spraying it on numerous crops. Photo: Skeeze via Pixabay (CC0)

Glyphosate 'the most heavily used weedkiller in history'

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

3rd February 2016

The global use of glyphosate has rocketed over the last decade thanks to the introduction of 'Roundup ready' GM crops, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. But since IARC classified the chemical a 'probable carcinogen', and with the spread of resistant superweeds, the tide may finally be turning. more...
Hot is good - up to a point! On the beach at Magnan, Nice in France's Cote d'Azur. Photo: Juska Wendland via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Europe's summers hottest for 2,000 years - and you ain't seen nothing yet!

Alex Kirby

29th January 2016

The last 30 years of European summers have been the hottest in thousands of years, writes Alex Kirby, and we had better start getting used to it - most of all in the Mediterranean and the Arctic, where a 1.5C global temperature rise could be amplified to 3.4C and 6C respectively. more...

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In the foreground a plesiosaur, and the left an ichthyosaur, feature in this reconstruction of a Cretaceous ocean in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. The absence of oxygen in deeper waters led to the preservation of the fossil riches we enjoy t

Ancient 'dead seas' offer a stark warning for our own future

Richard Pancost, University of Bristol

29th January 2016

For long periods animals in ancient oceans could live only in shallow surface waters, above vast 'dead zones' inhabited only by anoxic bacteria, writes Richard Pancost. Human activity is now creating immense new dead zones, and global warming could be helping as it reduces vertical mixing of waters. Could this be the beginning of something big? more...
Vegetable medley. William Stadler

A Food Renaissance

Colin Tudge

28 January 2016

Colin Tudge reports on The College of Real Farming and Food Culture; a project designed to tackle the current issues in global food production. The current system is not fit for purpose but through a holistic approach and an overhaul of current mainstream agriculture, achieving a balance between feeding the world and conserving the environment is within grasp. more...
Photo: Daniela Hartmann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From banks to food banks: money, inequality and the price of food

Colin Tudge

26th February 2016

From banks that are too big to fail, to food banks for the too small to matter, the global econom systematically pumps money from the social economy and the poor up into the hands of a tiny minority of wealthy beneficiaries, writes Colin Tudge. Farmers, trapped between mountains of debt and low food prices, are among the main victims. It's time for a big rethink, starting from first principles. more...
The Pacific Egret, with its small naval cannon visible, left and right, on its rear deck. Left, its companioin vessel, the Pacific Heron. Photo: Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment via Facebook.

Too much of a bad thing? World awash with waste plutonium

Paul Brown

24th January 2016

As worldwide stocks of plutonium increase, lightly-armed British ships are about to carry an initial 330kg of the nuclear bomb metal for 'safekeeping' in the US, writes Paul Brown. But it's only the tip of a global 'plutonium mountain' of hundreds of tonnes nuclear power's most hazardous waste product. more...
'Committed to Improving the State of the World' - of course they are! Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Mr. Klaus Schwab at WEF16 at Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January. Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen / DoD via Flickr (CC BY).

The Davos solution to inequality? Another corporate power grab

David Sogge & Nick Buxton

23rd January 2016

Inequality is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, write David Sogge & Nick Buxton. A good thing, right? But look at the proposed 'solutions': ramp up the neoliberal 'development' model; lighten business regulation; pursue globalisation with greater vigor ... Yes, you got it. They would all accelerate the transfer the world's wealth upwards to corporate elites. more...
Here lie the bones of academic freedom and scientific objectivity. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Photo: Katrina Koger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Why is Cornell University hosting a GMO propaganda campaign?

Stacy Malkan

22nd January 2016

Cornell, one of the world's leading academic institutions, has abandoned scientific objectivity, writes Stacy Malkan - and instead made itself a global hub for the promotion of GM crops and food. Working with selected journalists and industry-supported academics, Cornell's so-called 'Alliance for Science' is an aggressive propaganda tool for corporate biotech and agribusiness. more...
Bill and Melinda Gates, 18th March 2014. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY).

Gates Foundation is spearheading the neoliberal plunder of African agriculture

Colin Todhunter

21st January 2016

The Gates Foundation - widely assumed to be 'doing good', is imposing a neoliberal model of development and corporate domination that's opening up Africa's agriculture to land and seed-grabbing global agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter. In the process it is foreclosing on the real solutions - enhancing food security, food sovereignty and the move to agroecological farming. more...
The Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, which supplies coal to UK power statins including Drax in Yorkshire. Photo: Hour.poing.

Ditch coal now! The global destruction caused by the UK's coal power generation

Anne Harris

28th January 2016

The UK's coal burn is not just having a huge impact on climate, writes Anne Harris. It's also devastating communities in the UK, Russia, Colombia and other nations that supply our coal power stations. Those impacted are doing their best to resist the mining companies that are destroying their land, stealing their homes and polluting their air and water. But they need our help! more...
Frozen tuna at the early morning fish auction at the Tokyo Fish Market. Many of the tuna sold here are of endangered species such as bluefin and bigeye. Photo: Scott Lenger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Oceans running out of fish as undeclared catches add a third to official figures

Christopher Pala

19th January 2016

The global catch of fish and seafood is falling at three times the rate reported by the United Nations and urgently needs to be slowed to avoid a crash, reports Christopher Pala. The finding comes in a new study for Nature which quantifies the huge illegal industrial fish pillaging taking place around the world, together with artisanal catches, which in 2010 added over 50% to UN estimates. more...
D12: on Saturday 12th December thousands of protestors marched from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower for climate action and climate justice. Photo: Takver via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

After Paris, the year of Climate Insurgency

Jeremy Brecher

13th January 2016

The Paris Agreement provides a clear mandate to limit global warming, writes Jeremy Brecher. And with governments doing nowhere near enough, it's up to ordinary citizens - through civil disobedience if needs be - to make sure the world breaks free from fossil fuels. Let's make 2016 the year of 'Climate Insurgency'! more...
Cyclists in the Copenhagen rush hour. Photo: MarkA via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From Copenhagen to Delhi, 'smart cities' call for smart solutions - like cycling

Colin Todhunter

11th January 2016

The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ... more...
Ross McKitrick, Photo: YouTube screen grab (see embed).

Greenpeace 'peer review' climate sting's first scalp?

Brendan Montague /

6th January 2015

A leading member of the climate change-skeptic Global Warming Policy Foundation has resigned from his post in the wake of a Greenpeace investigation that exposed its phoney 'peer review' process. But he insists: 'nothing going on here!' more...
A young Jewish family watch the sun set over the West Bank from their settlement in Occupied Palestine. Photo: Rusty Stewart via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Genocide, ecocide and the Empire of Chaos

Professor John McMurtry

4th February 2016

The true nature of western civilization is hard to grasp from within, says Professor John McMurtry, because we perceive it through media whose primary purpose is not to convey the truth, but conceal it. What is actually playing out is a global war of empire and capital against the Earth and her people, backed up by the omnipresent threat of overwhelming force. more...


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