The Ecologist


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A beaver's services to landscape and wetland management are worth $120,000 a year, according to today's Earth Index.

How much is nature worth? More than you can imagine

Neil Nightingale

8th October 2015

However much you think nature is worth, it's a lot more, writes Neil Nightingale. According to the BBC's 'Earth Index', published today in the world's financial press, water alone is worth as much as the entire global economy, and a single beaver's landscape and wetland management clocks in at $120,000 a year. more...
Nurdles found on the beach near Newquay in recent weeks. Photo: Tracey Williams / Rame Peninsula Beach Care.

Millions of plastic pellets contaminate Cornwall beaches

The Ecologist

5th October 2015

Cornish beaches are awash with millions of 'nurdles', tiny wildlife-choking plastic pellets presumed spilled from an rogue shipping container. As England's plastic bag charge comes into force, it's a sign that there's still a long way to go to rid our seas of the plastic menace. more...
The market may value Brazil nuts, as do those who earn a living by gathering them. But that has done little to hold back the Amazon's deforestation. Brazil nut collector in Pando, Bolivia. Photo: Amy Duchelle / CIFOR.

Nature can't pay its way in capital markets. It's time for new solutions

Benjamin Neimark

24th September 2015

It's a seductive narrative, writes Benjamin Neimark: nature is valuable, so let's call it 'natural capital', create markets to monetise it, and so ensure its conservation. But sadly, it's not working. Maybe because capitalism itself is the problem. We need new approaches to saving the world's biodiversity. 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...
Neonic insecticides in seed treatments damage bees and other pollinators as the toxic chemicals are expressed in their pollen and nectar. Photo: Claus Rebler via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

FoE mounts legal challenge to bee-killer pesticide permits

Oliver Tickell

24th August 2015

A month after warning the government of legal action over its decision to allow farmers to use bee-killing pesticides banned under EU law, Friends of the Earth has filed a High Court legal challenge to have the 'derogations' declared unlawful. more...
The 2015 oilseed rape harvest is coming in strong. Photo: Michael via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oilseed rape flourishes without bee-killing chemicals

The Ecologist

3rd July 2015

Early yield figures indicate a bumper harvest for oilseed rape in England in the first neonic-free growing season - making a nonsense of the 'emergency' lifting of the ban of the bee-killing pesticides. more...
A bumblebee pauses on an Inula Magnifica. Photo: Tom Blackwell via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Bee-harming pesticide firms took part in key meeting on their ban

Damian Carrington

30th July 2015

Previously suppressed documents show that Bayer and Syngenta, the makers of controversial 'neonic' insecticides subject to an EU ban, took part in and sought to influence a key meeting of pesticide experts to decide whether to lift a ban on their use in the UK. more...
Honeybee on oilseed rape flower. Photo: s.ralph2010 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

FoE acts to revoke 'unlawful' bee-killer pesticide permit

Oliver Tickell

28th July 2015

Friends of the Earth has taken the first legal steps towards striking out last week's emergency approval of bee-harming 'neonic' pesticides in England, granted last week despite a Europe-wide ban. more...
Bison are roaming free in Germany - so why not Scotland? Photo: Felix Kaestle.

Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible

Paul Jepson

22nd July 2015

Rewilding is now firmly on the agenda, writes Paul Jepson, and that brings a huge opportunity to re-invigorate conservation. But we must look to creating new functional ecosystems for the future, rather than trying to recreate a lost and perhaps imagined past. more...
Fierce flames creep across moorland near Heriot, Scotland. Photo: Snipps Whispers (CC BY-NC-ND).

Britain's 'protected' moorlands go up in flames

The Ecologist

21st July 2015

A new study led by RSPB shows that more than half of Britain's most precious upland moors are suffering from burning - widely used to increase the numbers of red grouse available for recreational shooting. more...

Fox hunting is political poison for David Cameron and the Tory Party

Dominic Dyer

20th July 2015

Last week David Cameron backed down over his plans to bring back fox hunting by 'fatally amending' the Hunting Act, writes Dominic Dyer. The way he spun it, it was all about SNP interference in English law, but the real problem was opposition within the Conservative Party, which increasingly sees blood sports as a barbaric relic that alienates voters of all persuasions. more...
Most Americans rate endangered species above mines, tar sands and fracking wells. But Congress thinks otherwise. Sage-grouse in Eastern Oregon. Photo: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via Flickr (CC BY).

Protecting endangered species - Congress says NO, America says YES

Caeleigh MacNeil / EarthJustice

18th July 2015

A welt of anti-wildlife 'riders' have been attached to essential legislation in the US Congress, writes Caeleigh MacNeil - aimed at stripping protection from endangered species and so grease the skids for industrial exploitation of wildlands against the wishes of the great majority of Americans. more...

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Pope Francis. Photo: © Mazur / via Catholic Church England and Wales / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The system is intolerable: the change we need is in our hands

Pope Francis

18th July 2015

The world has become intolerable for people everywhere, and for Earth herself, says Pope Francis. Profound, transformative change leading to social and economic justice is now an absolute necessity and something we must all fight for. We must also act to safeguard the Earth herself, our common home. 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...
The Augustow Primeval Forest in Poland - saved from a motorway project by the EU's nature laws. Is the problem that they work too well? Photo: Erik de Haan via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

European Commission's deregulation drive threatens EU nature laws

Leonardo Mazza

11th July 2015

The EU's nature directives provide effective protection for endangered species and habitats, writes Leonardo Mazza. So why the Commission's decision to 'review' and 'modernise' the laws? With its commitment to business-friendly deregulation and uninterest in the environment, the aim is surely to gut them - something only EU-wide citizens' mobilisation can prevent. more...
The North American bumblebee Bombus vosnesenskii in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Sean McCann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Warming world traps bumblebees in 'climate vice'

Tim Radford

10th July 2015

As Europe and North America warm, bumblebees should be able to fly north to cooler climes, writes Tim Radford. But they're not: the bees' range is receding in the south, but staying put in the north, and scientists fear their shrinking habitat will put many species at risk of extinction. more...
The man himself - John Shaw on the Link Road site.

Defending Hollington Valley? Don't even think of talking to the man who's destroying it

Emily Johns / Combe Haven Defenders

20th July 2015

A polite knock on the door of a Mr John Shaw of Hastings got Emily Johns a visit from the police. How so? He's the CEO of a secretive 'non-profit company' that's using tens of millions of pounds of public funds to build white elephant business parks and destroy valuable nature sites. And avoiding accountability looks like a major point of the exercise. more...
The South Shropshire hunt out on a public road. Photo: League Agaisnt Cruel Sports.

Hunting Act 'amendment' is repeal in disguise

Robbie Marsland

10th July 2015

Next Tuesday MPs will be voting on an 'amendment' to the Hunting Act that outlaws fox hunting and other cruel sports, writes Robbie Marsland. But its effect would be to make the law a dead letter - so full of holes as to permit the return of full-blown hunting with dogs. MPs must vote down this 'repeal by stealth'. more...
Solitary Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) nectaring on Small Scabious in Jo's wild flower meadow, Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Sowing wildflower meadows, and leaving Nature in charge

Jo Cartmell

10th July 2015

When Oxeye daises looked like taking over her mini-meadow, Jo Cartmell was tempted to intervene. But instead, she held back and let nature take its course. Now, a few seasons later, the floral diversity has only increased, taking in some unexpected but welcome arrivals - along with their insect companions, all making their home on what used to be an unloved patch of lawn. more...
A paved front garden in Chingford, outer London - one of 7 million around the country. Photo: William Warby via Flickr (CC BY).

Keep our front gardens green!

Jenny Jones

30th June 2015

It's time to halt the loss of the nation's front gardens to dreary paving, writes Jenny Jones. Green gardens protect against floods, provide homes for wildlife, keep cities cool in summer, and help us all feel happier. Now, with 7 million gardens already paved over, we must protect those that remain. more...
The beaver kits on the River Otter.

Devon's wild beavers have babies

The Ecologist

24th June 2015

Soon after Devon's wild beavers on the River Otter escaped capture by zealous officials, they have given birth to two or even three kits - a clear indicator that they are happy in their habitat, and there to stay! more...
The Inauguration Mass For Pope Francis, 19th march 2013. Photo: Catholic Church England and Wales via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Pope Francis's climate letter is a radical attack on the logic of the market

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

18th June 2015

The Encyclical published today by Pope Francis represents a profound religious and philosophical challenge to the mainstream narratives of our times, writes Steffen Böhm, and a major confrontation with the great corporate, economic and political powers, as it spells out the potential of a new world order rooted in love, compassion, and care for the natural world. more...
'Landmarks' by Robert MacFarlane from cover (cut).

Words of wonder: openings to the natural world

Caspar Henderson

28th July 2015

All too often language is used to objectify nature, writes Caspar Henderson. But there's another, older vocabulary - introduced in this 'counter-desecration phrasebook' - that achieves the reverse: connecting us with the wonders of life and arousing delight in the natural world. more...
Sunset on the Sea Dragon. Photo: Kate Rawles.

Sea Dragon - exploring the oceans, exploring ourselves

Dr Kate Rawles

16th June 2015

Three scientific expeditions into the Atlantic ocean will take place this summer, writes outdoor philosopher Kate Rawles. But as well as gathering data about plastic pollution and over-fishing, they will give participants the chance to think deeply about our society, its values, the often false narratives it tells; and our place, as humans, in the natural world. more...
'We are people who no longer hope salmon survive, but will do whatever it takes to stop their extinction.' Coho Spawning on the Salmon River. Photo: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via Flickr (CC BY).

We are those who are on the side of the living. And we are going to win

Derrick Jensen

23rd July 2015

Who are we? We are the people who are ready to fight back, writes Derrick Jensen. The people who no longer live in hope that the Earth will be saved, but in the certainty that we will save her. We are activists, survivors, lovers and fighters. And we say: the destruction will stop. more...


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