The Ecologist


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From the front cover of 'Adventures in the Anthropocene' by Gaia Vince, published by Random House.

Adventures in the Anthropocene - a journey to the heart of the planet

Robert Hunziker

2nd June 2015

Gaia Vince's remarkable book is far more than a litany of the problems of global warming and mass extinction, writes Robert Hunziker. It's also an inspiring account of how people can respond to such crises in wonderful, imaginative, creative ways, achieving seemingly impossible tasks from seeding glaciers in the Himalayas, to holding back the desert with dew. 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...
'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...
'We can repair it!' Photo: club125.greenbelt via Flickr (CC BY).

'Repair cafés' are about fixing things - including communities

Jade Herriman

7th April 2015

Some people like fixing things - others have things to fix. Repair cafés are a new global phenomenon that brings the two together, writes Jade Herriman - giving satisfaction to both, sharing skills, keeping stuff out of landfill, fighting 'designed obsolescence', and building communities sustained by mutual help. 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...

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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...
Denounced to the police for illegal logging, but no action taken - Señor Adeuzo Mapes Rodríguez, aka 'Capelon'.

Peru: indigenous leaders murdered for protecting their forests

The Ecologist

18th November 2014

As Peru prepares to host UN climate talks, Global Witness exposes the murder of Peruvian eco-defenders - 57 killed since 2002, including indigenous leaders protecting their forests from illegal logging ignored by police and Government. more...
A typical small farm in Russia of the kind that provides much of the nation's food. Photo: Vmenkov CC.

Want to double world food production? Return the land to small farmers!


22nd November 2014

All over the world, small farmers are being forced off their land to make way for corporate agriculture, writes GRAIN - and it's justified by the need to 'feed the world'. But it's the small farmers that are the most productive, and the more their land is grabbed, the more global hunger increases. We must give them their land back! more...
This record snowfall is what the melting Arctic brought to Cheektowaga, New York yesterday, 20th November 2014. Photo: Anthony Quintano via Flickr.

Global warming - you must be joking! How melting Arctic ice is driving harsh winters

Nick Breeze

21st November 2014

The very least 'global warming' could do for us is to give us warmer winters, right? Wrong, writes Nick Breeze, who met climate scientist and meteorologist Jennifer Francis in his attempt to understand the complex interactions of jet stream, polar vortex, the melting Arctic, and the extreme snowfall that's hitting the northeast US right now. more...
Waist-high in opium poppies, US Marines patrol west of Nahr-e Saraj canal. Photo:  DVIDSHUB via Flickr.

Flower power? Afghan opium production hits all-time high

Mike Whitney

30th November 2014

The explosive growth of Afghanistan's heroin production after the Taliban brought the trade to a halt should be no surprise, writes Mike Whitney. It's all part of a lucrative plan whose real objective is to create global instability, disrupt social movements, facilitate resource colonialism, and justify the US's perpetual military presence in far flung corners of the world. more...
Over 50% of an iguana shipment found dead. Photo: PETA.

The exotic pet trade is a global evil that must be stopped

Clifford Warwick

10th November 2014

Behind the relatively sanitized façade of the exotic pet industry resides a vast chronicle of species decline, ecological disruption, animal suffering, mortality, and the global dissemination of pathogens, writes Clifford Warwick. We are in the midst of a profit-fueled frivolous wildlife biocide, as animal traders strive to bring the next curiosity fish, turtle or primate into our homes. more...
We have the technology - but which? IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. Photo: IPCC Photo / David Plas, via Flickr, © Belspo / Nevens.

IPCC: rapid emissions cuts vital to stop worst impacts of climate change

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

3rd November 2014

The IPCC's most important ever assessment of global warming warns that the world must cut its carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon, writes Damian Carrington - and the cost is affordable. But in fact, emissions are rising at record levels, and the IPCC's strong support for unproven-at-scale CCS technology will leave many mystified. more...
Anne Power surrounded by police at an anti-fracking protest at Barton Moss, December 2013. Photo: Steven Speed /

Fracking is driving UK civil and political rights violations

Jess Elliot & Damien Short

30th October 2014

Extreme energy in the UK is arousing extreme reactions, write Jess Elliot & Damien Short. On the one side stand citizens committed to preserving the quality of the local and global environment. And against them, a government determined to let fracking rip, and police forces prepared to ignore legal norms to suppress the growing popular resistance. more...
Children in the town of Gueckedou, the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. Photo: ©afreecom / Idrissa Soumaré / European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr.

Love in the time of Ebola

Dr. Glen Barry / EcoInternet

26th October 2014

The human family must come together now to stop Ebola in West Africa or risk a global pandemic that could potentially kill billions, writes Glen Barry. And that will mean solving, with equity and justice, the disease's root causes: rainforest loss, poverty, war and overpopulation. more...
Fisherfolk on the beach, The Gambia. Photo: Angus Kirk via Flickr.

Ocean grabbing: a new wave of 21st century enclosures

Nick Buxton, Carsten Pedersen & Mads Christian Barbesgaard

20th October 2014

Small-scale fishing communities are key to any transition towards an ecologically and socially just food regime. But backed by the World Bank, powerful corporate interests are seizing their fish, seas and shores in the name of 'sustainability'. A revolution of the poor is needed to rebuild food sovereignty - and restore the oceans to the global commons. more...


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