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Green and pleasant - GPT head office, Sydney. Photo: Woods Bagot.

Putting people at the heart of climate-friendly buildings

John Alker

24th September 2014

Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, show that green building design makes employees happier and more productive, and you're really onto something ... more...
The challenge is to ensure that her voice, and those of millions of other indigenous people, does not get drowned out by economic and political power. A woman from the Ndebele tribe in Kwadlaulale Market, South Africa. Photo: United Nations Photo via Flic

Indigenous women versus men of power: the real dispute at the UN

Lisa VeneKlasen

24th September 2014

Both the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Summit have taken place at the UN this week, writes Lisa VeneKlasen - each producing their lofty declarations. But what really matters is whose voices are being heard, and will be acted on, in a profound clash of worldviews. more...
Fin whale landed at Miòsandur whaling station Hvalfjördur, Iceland, in August 2014. Photo: EIA.

EU leads diplomatic protest against Iceland's whaling

The Ecologist

16th September 2014

As the IWC meeting begins today in Slovenia, the EU, its 28 member states and the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, have expressed their opposition to Iceland's commercial whaling in a powerful diplomatic broadside. more...
Suzano's eucalyptus plantations in Urbano Santos, Brazil, specifically planted to satisfy the EU's projected future biofuel demand.

EU biofuel demand is driving land grabs in the Global South

Oliver Munnion

11th September 2014

With the EU projected to source most of its 'renewable' energy by burning biomass, its policies are leading to widespread land-grabbing and forest destruction, writes Oliver Munnion. And because many of the biomass projects are purely speculative, 'sustainability standards' will do little or nothing to improve practice on the ground. more...
Icelandic fin whale meat on sale in Japan. Photo: EIA.

Iceland's whaling and whale meat exports - the IWC must act!

Clare Perry

10th September 2014

Tomorrow the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission begins in Slovenia, writes Clare Perry. Among the issues: Iceland's slaughter of fin whales in defiance of the IWC moratorium, and its illegal export of their flesh and blubber to Japan - over 2,000 tonnes this year alone. The IWC and its member nations must act. more...
The view down the borehole through half a mile of the Antarctic ice to Lake Whillans. Photo: Reed Scherer / Northern Illinois University.

Abounding life! 4,000 microbes thrive in Antarctic lake beneath the ice

Helen Thompson

15th September 2014

Beneath half a mile of ice scientists have uncovered the first hard evidence of a life in a subglacial lake, writes Helen Thompson. And not just life, but a complex ecosystem comprising thousands of microbial species. Could Jupiter's frozen moon Europa be hiding lakes like this? more...
After the Fujushima catastrophe, this rice was grown nearby by IAEA to test methods of soil decontamination. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima radiation damages rice genome

Gregory McGann

18th September 2014

Research on the biological effects of radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site finds a powerful response in rice seedlings, writes Gregory McCann. The discovery will do nothing to boost consumer confidence in resumed rice exports from the Fukushima region. more...
The rice harvest in Bicol Region, Philippines. Photo: α is for äpΩL † via Flickr.

Philippines: farmers call to stop 'Golden Rice' trials

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2014

Farmers in the Bicol region of the Philippines have gathered to renew their fight against field trials of Golden Rice and halt moves towards its commercialization. But with last year's 'advanced' Golden Rice trials showing low yields, the prospect of a GR release is fast receding. more...
Konstantin Rubakhin is currently in hiding. Photo: Konstantin Rubakhin.

Western sanctions could help Russia's environment - but will they?

Konstantin Rubakhin

19th September 2014

Sanctions against Russian natural resource tycoons could be good for the environment, writes eco-campaigner Konstantin Rubakhin - if only they would target the right people. But so far, the EU has been turning a blind eye to powerful Kremlin insiders with an open licence to pollute and destroy. more...
Male, Maldives, October 2010: President Nasheed installs solar panels on the Presidential Residence in 2010 - 18 months before the coup which brought his term of office to an end.

Only connect - a renewable energy future for small island states

Zaheer Allam

5th September 2014

The future of small island states has to be renewable, says Zaheer Allam. But that's only the first of many choices. It's just as important to develop energy networks that are diverse, resilient, adaptive and flexible - and avoid the centralised, unimodal models that investors and bureaucrats prefer to impose, often at huge long term cost. more...
Shamu show with Orcas in San Diego's Sea World Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

SeaWorld - save your money on super-size tanks. Orcas need the ocean!

Sea Shepherd

7th September 2014

Seaworld San Diego is about to build the world's biggest tank for its captive orcas. Fifty foot deep and covering 1.5 acres, it's almost twice as big as current tanks and will represent an improvement in living conditions when complete in 2018. But for Sea Shepherd, that's missing the point. For these wild and majestic sea mammals, only the ocean will do. more...
From tiny acorns ... a pair of solar panels powering a desalination unit in the West Bank, installed in May 2013 with USAID finance. Photo: USAID via Flickr.

Gaza - renewable energy for a just a durable peace

Keith Barnham

4th September 2014

The war in Gaza is over - but with the territory in ruins, it's essential to build a just and durable peace, and restore essential public services: health, water, sewerage and above all electric power. Keith Barnham presents his plan for Gaza, based on a massive deployment of solar and wind power generation. more...

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Action to shut down Utah tar sands mine - Summer Heat. Photo: 350.org via Flickr.

The liberal climate agenda is doomed to failure

Scott Parkin

29th August 2014

Liberal environmentalism represents a dangerous delusion, writes Scott Parkin - that 'playing nice' with Earth-destroying corporations and politicians can yield results worth having. Radical change on climate will only result from bold, confrontational direct actions against the fossil fuel industries and their apologists. more...
A well deserved rest-stop on the trail. Photo: Tanja Geis.

Wildfjords - an Icelandic exploration of the natural world

Daniel Crockett

7th September 2014

Daniel Crockett guided a 300km walk along ancient horse routes through the Westfjords, a remote, depopulating region of Iceland rich in nature, myth and magic. The wild, non-human environment enters our beings, he writes - and thus infected, the onus is on us to spread the message far and wide. more...
Uncontacted Indians making contact with a settled Ashaninka community near the Brazil-Peru border, June 2014. Photos: © FUNAI.

Peru: uncontacted tribe flees massacre in the Amazon

Alice Bayer / Survival International

22nd August 2014

Survivors of a previously unknown Amazon tribe have escaped gunmen in Peru, seeking refuge with settled indigenous communities in Brazil. But as Alice Bayer reports, their problems are far from over. Many remain under threat in Peru, and even the refugees are at risk of common but potentially lethal infections. more...
Sister Megan Rice prior to her imprisonment. Photo: via facebook.com/SisterMeganRice

Sister Megan Rice is an inspiration to all humanity

Michael Edwards

31st August 2014

Campaigners who dared confront the might of the US's nuclear weapons establishment, in the process revealing the chronic insecurity of its facilities, are paying a heavy price, writes Michael Edwards. But their strength, serenity and joy in the face of brutal injustice brings hope to the world for a just and peaceful future. more...
The social structure of badger families is perturbed by the loss of a single member, and this can cause the spread of any TB they may be harbouring. Photo: Tim Brookes via Flickr.

NFU and cull companies out of police control rooms

The Ecologist

18th August 2014

Avon & Somerset police say that National Farmers Union and cull company representatives will be excluded from the control room in the 2014 cull. Their presence in control rooms in the 2013 cull caused a major loss of public confidence in the policing operation. more...
At least this badger at the British Wildlife Centre is safe from culling. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr.

Whistle-blowing monitor reveals: how not to run a badger cull

Lesley Docksey

14th August 2014

New revelations show that the rifle-wielding badger cullers were often acting criminally, writes Lesley Docksey - pursuing badgers with loaded weapons on both private and public land outside licenced areas, with impunity, while the IEP was apparently kept in the dark. Strict controls are essential - or just an end to the cull. more...
Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Wikipedia via Aslan Media via  Flickr.

Nice work: G4S wins $118 million Guantánamo contract

Clare Sambrook

13th August 2014

G4S, the UK government outsourcer that supports Israeli security functions in the West Bank, will now supply 'custodial services' to Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, writes Clare Sambrook. Shocked? You shouldn't be. G4S is impervious to public criticism and defies international law with impunity. more...
Walshaw Moor, near Hebden Bridge, after burning to improve grouse yields. Photo: energyroyd.org.uk/ .

Our uplands: a burning desire for action

Martin Harper

12th August 2014

Today, on the 'Glorious 12th', well-heeled folk take to the hills to shoot grouse. And to be sure there's lots of birds to kill, writes Martin Harper, England's moorlands are burnt with dire impacts on their biodiversity and ability to absorb rainfall. It's high time to end this barbaric practice! more...
Photo: Jared Rodriguez / truthout.org via Flickr.

Can 'Public Interest' protect Britain's wildlife?

Lesley Docksey

8th August 2014

Last week the Upper Tribunal of the Royal Courts of Justice ordered Defra to release key information about the badger cull based on a 'public interest' argument, writes Lesley Docksey. Could this judgment open a new era of transparent and accountable government? more...
Aglogbloshie - burning off plastic to get to valuable metals. Photo: qamp.net via Flickr.

E-waste in Ghana: where death is the price of living another day

Nele Goutier

7th August 2014

Attempts to recycle E-waste and donations of old electronic devices are harming poor people's health and devastating the environment, writes Nele Goutier. Agbogbloshie, once an idyllic landscape of wetlands and small farms, is now the most toxic place in the world ... more...
Rosetta approaching its destination after a 6 billion km journey. Image: ESA.

Rosetta shows - we can keep space plutonium-free!

Karl Grossman

5th August 2014

Deep space missions have previously run on nuclear power, writes Karl Grossman - and have twice showered Earth with radioactive debris. But the ESA's Rosetta probe, about to reach its destination, is 100% solar-powered - showing that space can be nuclear-free. more...
Cattle in a paddock on a small farm in Russia. Photo: Vmenkov CC.

Russia's small farmers are the latest 'health and safety' victims

Georgy Borodyansky

5th August 2014

New regulations on animal slaughter are in force across Russia, writes Georgy Borodyansky, with devastating effects on small farmers and consumers, who face a three-fold hike in the price of meat. Will the 'health and safety' madness destroy Russia's main producers of wholesome food? more...
Even in the 19th century, lead from Broken Hill smelters was polluting Antarctica. NSW Records Office, CC BY.

Lead pollution beat Amundsen and Scott to the South Pole - and it's still pouring down today

Joe McConnell

2nd August 2014

Ice core analysis shows that lead pollution in Antarctica took off in the 1880s as mining at Broken Hill, Australia, took off. Lead residues have fallen from their late 20th century peak, writes Joe McConnell - but they are still four times higher than in pre-industrial times. more...

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