The Ecologist


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Watch out - your enemies are behind you! Jeremy Corbyn at his first Prime Minister's Questions, 16th September 2015, with Angela Eagle. Photo: David Holt (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear attack? We must support Corbyn's refusal to murder millions

Oliver Tickell

1st October 2015

This week's Labour conference sent the party and its new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, soaring in popularity. So better get the knife in quick, writes Oliver Tickell. His refusal to commit mass murder in a nuclear attack gave his enemies just the cue they needed - including those who should be his loyal allies. We must not let them succeed. more...
At the New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos scientists are using genetic engineering to improve algae strains for increased biomass yield and carbon capture efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Re-engineering life? The dangers of 'next generation' biofuels

Almuth Ernsting

30th September 2015

The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren't up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged 'synthetic biology' variants - which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong? more...
Farmers carrying milk to market on their bicycles under the hot sun in Ulttarakhand, India. Photo: Paul Hamilton via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

For climate's sake, let's cut food waste!

John Mandyck

17th September 2015

At least a third of the food the world grows each year goes to waste, writes John Mandyck, most of it in fields, transport and storage. The result is poor farmers, hungry people, and a massive 3.3 billion tonnes of needless CO2 emissions. It should be a key topic for action at COP21 in Paris - but so far it's not even on the agenda. more...
Intensively farmed pigs are routinely dosed with antibiotics to ward off disease and increase weight gain. Photo: Compassion in World Farming via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Antibiotic resistance - what about routine misuse in farming?

Emma Rose

11th September 2015

Doctors have been told to limit their use of antibiotics to limit the spread of microbial drug resistance, writes Emma Rose. But 40% of the UK's antibiotics are used on farms, of which 85% is fed to disease-free animals. We can no longer ignore the massive agricultural overuse of the drugs, now a major driver of antibiotic resistant infections. more...
Linevo and its water reservoir formed by a dam on Koinikha, a small river falling into Ob. The giant Novosibirsk Electrode Factory is on the background. Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Russia - has the world's biggest country turned against the environment?

Lucy E J Woods

22nd September 2015

While other countries apply themselves to environmental challenges from climate change to nature protection, Russia - with its massive wealth of nature and natural resources - is stubbornly refusing to take part, writes Lucy E J Woods. And as the economy declines, the pressure is on: to ignore environmental regulations, and clamp down on environmental defenders. more...
The 'plonkable heliostats'. doing their job. Photo:

'Plonkable' mirrors promise cheaper solar energy

Jeffrey Barbee / Guardian Environment

26th August 2015

The 'other' solar technology, CSP, which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays, is about to get a lot cheaper, writes Jeffrey Barbee. A South African team has developed a low cost design suitable for mass production that can be 'plonked' on site straight from the factory. more...
View of Paradise: Garifunas on Chachahuate enjoy fishing, beach, sun, and Caribbean waters. Photo: npatterson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Honduras: Garifuna communities resist eviction and theft of land

Jeff Abbott / Waging NonViolence

12th August 2015

Pristine beaches, clear Caribbean waters, coral reefs, fertile land ... such is the homeland of the Garifuna people, writes Jeff Abbott. It's so lovely that outsiders are desperate to seize ever more of their territory to develop for mass tourism, oil palm plantations, illicit drug production ... and the land grabs have the full support of Honduras military government, backed to the hilt by Uncle Sam. more...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally 2015. Photo: Rwendland via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Jeremy Corbyn: the green Britain I want to build

Jeremy Corbyn MP

7th August 2015

We need a renewable energy revolution, an end to fracking, no new nuclear power, efficient homes, and the break up of our energy cartels, writes Jeremy Corbyn, All that, and strong protection for wildlife and oceans, no TTIP trade deal with the US, clean air to breathe, and massive investment in public transport. Is there anything not to like? more...
Contaminated earth storage area within the Iitate Village evacuated zone, December 2014. Photo: Eric Schultz / EELV Fukushima via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Japan and IAEA risk Fukushima victims' lives with forced return

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace Japan

29th July 2015

A massive decontamination exercise is under way in Iitate Village near Fukushima, writes Kendra Ulrich: step one in a plan to force 6,000 residents back into the evacuated zone in 2017. But as radiation levels remain stubbornly high, it looks like the real plan is to 'normalize' nuclear catastrophe, while making Iitate residents nuclear victims twice over - and this time, it's deliberate. more...
Will all this come to an end now? Photo: Centre for Alternative Technology ( via Flickr (CC BY).

Senseless and damaging: UK's solar cuts

The Ecologist

22nd July 2015

The UK government has announced massive cuts in support for solar roofs and farms that appear designed to undermine investor confidence just as the technology is on track to be subsidy-free by 2020. more...
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd at the launch of Kingspan Energy’s latest solar PV project on their warehouse roof in Selby, 7th October 2014. The array spans 30,000 sq.m, making it largest rooftop solar renovation project in UK. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC

Government turns fire on solar power

Kyla Mandel /

20th July 2015

Energy secretary Amber Rudd promised 'a new solar revolution' for the UK, writes Kyla Mandel. But now the industry is braced for a massive round of cuts that could kill off the sector, just as it's on course to be the UK's first subsidy-free renewable power source in 2020. more...
Farewell, Broad-faced potoroo. We hardly knew ye. Photo: John Gould.

Earth's sixth mass extinction is under way - but are we bothered?

James Dyke

25th July 2015

The Earth is now undergoing the biggest mass extinction since the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, writes James Dyke - the result of our collective desire to convert our planet into goods, services and trash. If we go on the biosphere itself will survive, but it will be impoverished. As will we. more...

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What doesn't he like about renewables? Photo of George Osborne by altogetherfool via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Osborne's £3.9bn stealth attack on renewables

Oliver Tickell

9th July 2015

The UK government kicked away one of the main financial supports for renewable energy in yesterday's budget. The surprise move will cost the sector £3.9 billion over the next five years and undermines any prospect of the country meeting its EU renewable energy targets. more...
One of the big debates under TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' chapter concerns animal welfare and meat safety, with US standards consistently lower than those in the EU. But the cheaper US meat could take over EU markets. Photo: US 'broiler' chicken farm b

TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' would force down standards in US and EU

Friends of the Earth Europe

13th July 2015

Dissent over the massive USA-EU TTIP trade deal is focused on the 'corporate courts' allowing investors to sue national governments, But largely neglected has been the equally serious issue of 'Regulatory Cooperation' - which would impose a huge burden of 'red tape' on EU and US legislatures, while forcing down health, safety, social and environmental standards. more...
The Hinkley Point nuclear site from the boundary fence near Stolford. Photo: Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Will the Hinkley C fiasco rouse Labour from its nuclear dream?

Dr Ian Fairlie

30th June 2015

Will Labour turn against nuclear power? As Chancellor, Ed Balls would have cancelled Hinkley C due to its massive cost, writes Ian Fairlie. But he never got the chance, and now the party remains muted even though the Government's nuclear enthusiasm is completely out of kilter with reality. To end nuclear's grip on Labour there's only one choice of leader: Jeremy Corbyn. more...
A nursery of loblolly pine – approx. 500,000 in view, all waiting to be dispatched and planted (c. 1,000 acres). Photo: Drax Group.

Biomass for energy is the common sense option

Matthew Rivers

5th June 2015

Today UK campaigners against burning biomass for power will deliver a 110,000 signature petition to DECC to protest at government subsidies for the practice. But in this 'Right of Reply' article Matthew Rivers, chairman of Drax Biomass, argues that biomass combustion is sustainable, benign, and helps to conserve forests worldwide. more...
This time, it's tear gas: masked man at a farmers and student protest in Colombia, August 2013. Photo: Nick Jaussi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Colombia's first steps of resistance against Monsanto's chemical war

W.T. Whitney Jr

8th June 2015

The mass spraying of glyphosate in Colombia, both on farmland and in the 'war on drugs', is a direct an attack on small scale farmers, rural communities and FARC rebels, writes W.T. Whitney Jr. But since the chemical was declared a 'probable carcinogen' Colombia has restricted aerial applications. The first step in a wider backlash against the toxic herbicide? more...
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...
An indigenous peoples' protest against dam building in Sarawak, February 2012. Photo: The Borneo Project.

Commerce or Corruption? The rainforest dams of Sarawak

The Borneo Project

18th June 2015

Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo already has an excess of electricity from existing hydropower dams - so why is the government determined to build a dozen more, displacing indigenous communities and flooding vast areas of rainforest? The answer, says a new documentary film by The Borneo Project, is simple - massive political corruption. 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 / 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...
Photo: Coca Cola sign on the San Francisco skyline by .freeside. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EU's 'trade secret' protection risks health, environment and freedom!

Anne Friel & Anaïs Berthier / ClientEarth

10th June 2015

A new Trade Secrets law to be voted on next week by the European Parliament threatens a massive clampdown on journalists and whistle-blowers, write Anne Friel & Anaïs Berthier, giving corporations the right to sue those who disclose private information even in the public interest to protect health, safety and environment. 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...


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