The Ecologist

 

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Royal Navy ID card of British hero Able Seaman William McNeilly.

Trident nuclear accidents and terrorism are the greatest threats we face

Able Seaman William McNeilly

18th May 2015

The UK's Trident nuclear missile system and the nuclear submarines on which it depends represent a massive danger to the UK due to faulty equipment, gross security lapses and ignorance of operating procedures, writes William McNeilly. This leaves the system open to accidents and terrorist attack, and apparently unable to even fire missiles should the need arise. more...
The lights may be green - but what about the energy? Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Coal-heavy utilities stand in the way of a green internet

The Ecologist

12th May 2015

Powered by 100% renewable energy, Apple is maintaining its lead as the internet's greenest company, But others are lagging behind: Google has yet to reach 50% and relies heavily on coal, while Amazon's AWS, the massive 'dark cloud' of the web, won't even answer questions. more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
Oil wells in the Bakken Oil Field of North Dakota, USA. Photo: Alan Graham McQuillan PhD ARPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Future dustbowl? Fracking ravages Great Plains land and water

Tim Radford

4th May 2015

The fracking boom has caused massive vegetation loss over North America's rangelands, writes Tim Radford, as 3 million hectares have been occupied by oil and gas infrastructure and 34 billion cubic metres of water have been pumped from semi-arid ecosystems. more...
The notorious M3 motorway cutting through Twyford Down, near Winchester, which gave birth to the modern road protest movement. Photo: Jim Champion / geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Roads to nowhere: why is transport policy getting lost in this election?

Rupert Read, Sandy Irvine and Bennet Francis

1st May 2015

Only one party is challenging the mainstream concensus on transport, write Rupert Read, Sandy Irvine and Bennet Francis - massive spending on roads and HS2, and the little that's left for everything else. It's time to throw away the old thinking and commit to an effective, sustainable transport system that begins with local needs. more...
The education and health care model that British taxpayers are financing across Africa - in partnership with for-profit multinational corporations. Photo of White River Primary school, sponsored by Coca-Cola, by Roo Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Coca-Cola schools - British aid pushing corporate education and health on world's poorest

Nick Dearden

28th April 2015

British taxpayers are forcing private health care and schooling onto many of the world's poorest countries including Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mozambique, writes Nick Dearden - backing a huge neoliberal experiment whose only certain outcomes are high costs, low standards and massive corporate profits. more...
The abandoned reactors 5 and 6 at Chernobyl, under construction at the time of the catastrophe. Photo: Michael Kötter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2014.

The Chernobyl catastrophe 29 years on: it's not over yet!

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace Japan

27th April 2015

The stricken 4th reactor at Chernobyl presents a massive long term hazard, writes Kendra Ulrich. A planned €2.15 billion containment arch remains underfunded, and even if it's ever completed, it will only last 100 years. Meanwhile the intensely radioactive nuclear fuel will remain in place representing a long term risk of further huge radiation releases. more...
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz speaking at the Left Forum, 20 March 2010. Photo: Thomas Good / NLN via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

The American genocide, indigenous resistance and human survival: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Stephyn Quirke

21st May 2015

The Indigenous Peoples of North America are the survivors of a multi-century genocide that was still being deliberately waged in the 1950s and has still not stopped today, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz told Stephyn Quirke. But the fightback is on, and for the world to overcome both genocide and ecocide, the indigenous struggle must grow to encompass the mass of humanity. more...
A truck pulls into the Enviva Ahoskie wood pellet plant that supplies Drax power station, loaded with whole trees. Photo: Dogwood Alliance.

End support for Drax: stop subsidies for biomass power and phase out coal!

The Undersigned

22nd April 2015

Hundreds of millions of pounds meant to be spent on green energy will soon be lavished on Britain's biggest coal fired power station to reward it for burning 7 million tonnes of wood pellets a year - meant to be 'renewable' but actually driving biodiversity loss and even worse for climate change than coal. DECC must stop this madness! more...
Precious little harmony here: a building site in Beijing. But change is on the way. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Amid the smoke and chaos of 'development', China seeks a return to ancient harmony

Thembi Mutch

19th May 2015

China is struggling with a myriad of environmental challenges, writes Thembi Mutch, as the country 'develops' at breakneck speed with massive construction projects, and industrial expansion. But amid the chaos and filth, the Chinese people are mindful of their history and ancient principles of harmony with nature - something that many are working hard to restore. more...
Lake Baikal at Irkutskiy Raion, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. Photo: Fedor Stroganov via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lake Baikal: World Heritage ecosystems at risk from Mongolian dam

Anson Mackay

19th April 2015

Russia's Lake Baikal is under threat by a massive dam and pipeline on the main river that feeds into it, that would supply mines with power and water, writes Anson Mackay. In line to fund the project? The World Bank. more...
Vast extents of rainforest have been cleared, but extensive dry woodlands like these near Mt Barnett in Australia are producing more trees. Photo: yaruman5 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flourishing savanna woodlands mean forests are still absorbing carbon

Tim Radford

18th May 2015

Despite massive clearance of carbon-rich forests for palm oil, cattle ranching, soybeans and other cash crops, writes Tim Radford, a new study finds that the net volume of carbon stored in trees is increasing thanks to their growing numbers on grasslands, on abandoned farmland, and in China. more...

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The mass extinction that closed the Triassic period was marked by massive CO2 emissions from volcanoes - like the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. Photo: Óli Jón via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

End-Triassic CO2 surge and mass extinction - an analog for climate change today?

Jessica H. Whiteside

13th April 2015

The end of the Triassic era 200 million years ago was marked by a surge in CO2 and anoxic oceans saturated with toxic hydrogen sulfide, writes Jessica H. Whiteside - enough to finish off half of all known organisms. Could humans now be embarking on a similar experiment? more...
Utah's Book Cliffs are no empty wasteland - but that's what the tar sands industry is set to turn them into. Photo:  Loco Steve via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness Society's 'Grand Compromise' is a fossil-fuelled sell out

Alexander Reid Ross

7th April 2015

A deal to give up 500,000 acres of public lands in Utah to the tar sands industry in return for 1.5 million acres of industry is a sacrifice too far, writes Alexander Reid Ross, as it disclaims the wider costs of massive water use and contamination in the headwaters of the Colorado River, already seriously stressed by drought. more...
Now it's Japan's press that's muzzled. Residents of Iitate village, about 40 kilometers from the radiation-spewing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, prepare fopr evacuation, 13th April 2011. Photo: Kyodo News via Irish Typepad on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

After Fukushima: Japan's 'nuclear village' is back in charge

Jim Green

28th March 2015

Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe's right-wing government has been putting the country's infamous 'nuclear village' back in control - boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the 'lessons' of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable? more...
Indian children on Brazil's BR 319 road through the increasingly fragmented Amazon rainforest. Photo: Ben Sutherland via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

To forestall a mass extinction, fight forest fragmention

David Edwards

24th March 2015

Large areas of forest remain around the world, writes David Edwards, but many of them are - in biological terms - dying on their feet as their species diversity erodes due to fragmentation. To conserve the full richness of our forests, we must keep them entire and unbroken, and rebuild the continuity of forest islands. more...
A swamp forest in Louisiana, of the same kind that's already being clear-felled and chipped to supply fuel to Drax power station in Yorkshire on a fatuous 'low carbon' promise. Photo: J E Theriot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UK plans first new coal power station since 1974 - and it burns forests too!

Almuth Ernsting

17th March 2015

A new coal and biomass-fired power station could soon be built at Drax in Yorkshire, already the UK's biggest coal burner, writes Almuth Ernsting. It comes with a weak promise of possible 'carbon capture and storage' - an expensive, inefficient technology shunned elsewhere. As the Government's nuclear dream fades, could this be its equally flawed replacement? more...
A ranger looks at the skull of an elephant killed by poachers - a frequent side-effect of development projects that open up remote forests to human access. Photo: Ralph Buij, Author provided.

Roads to ruin: the G20's ecocidal infrastructure rampage

Bill Laurance

16th March 2015

What's needed to pull the world's economy out of recession? According to the G20, it's a massive wave of 'infrastructure' development worth as much $70 trillion, writes Bill Laurance. But all the roads, mines, dams, pipelines and 'development corridors' will inflict massive damage on wildlife populations and natural havens, not to mention local communities that stand in the way. more...
The pollution of Chao Lake is obvious - even from space. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Meat boom propels China's ecosystems into total collapse

John Dearing

2nd March 2015

China's farming boom has massively increased food production, writes John Dearing - especially of meat. But it has come at a massive cost: the wholesale pollution and destruction of core ecosystems. more...
Protest rally against Kinder Morgan at Burnaby Mountain Park, 20th November 2014. Photo: Mark Klotz via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Tar sands campaigners are Canada's new 'terrorists'

Pete Dolack

5th March 2015

Canada's 'Anti-Terrorism Bill' proposes a massive increase in the power of security services, writes Pete Dolack - and in the crosshairs are campaigners against a tar sands industry that's intent on releasing 240 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and those fighting the pipelines needed to get the heavy crude to market. Who are the real 'extremists'? more...
A dry branch of the Atibainha reservoir, part of the Cantareira system of reservoirs that serves Sao Paulo, 26th February 2015. Photo: Clairex via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil's ravaged forests are taking their revenge

Robert Hunziker

2nd March 2015

Thanks to massive deforestation along Brazil's Atlantic coast and the Amazon, São Paulo's reservoirs are at just 6% of their capacity and water rationing is in place. But this is just the beginning of a long term drying process that could be recreated around the world as forests are laid waste and hydrology disrupted. more...
Industrial fumes caught in early morning sunshine in Chilwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze

27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity. more...
New technological advances could make the power of Atlantic waves into a competitive source of renewable energy. Photo: Albert Bridge via Wikimedia Commons.

New technologies promise cheap wave power

Paul Brown

23rd February 2015

Scandinavian inventors are hoping that efficient new waves power technologies will for the first time make the sector competitive with other renewable energy sources, writes Paul Brown - opening up a massive new clean energy resource around the world. more...
A Coral Cod (Cephalopholis miniata) at Lighthouse Bommie, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

US tax dollars must not finance $1bn Great Barrier Reef destruction!

The Ecologist

20th February 2015

A powerful call has gone out the the US Export-Import Bank not to finance a massive coal mine, railway, port terminal and dredged 'canal' through Australia's Great Barrier Reef with $1 billion in loans and guarantees. more...
Under the NAFTA trade deal, Canada is being sued to open up the St Lawrence River to fracking, or pay to massive damages. TTIP, TPP and CETA promise more of the same. Photo: Bob August via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The corporate coup d'etat: TTIP, TTP, CETA, NAFTA

Joyce Nelson

17th February 2015

The raft of 'free trade' agreements under negotiation represents a massive seizure of power by corporations, writes Joyce Nelson - effectively stripping democratic governments of their power to legislate for health, environment, labour or anything else that could reduce corporate profit. But the mainstream media are mysteriously silent. more...

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