President Sarkozy’s recent (highly controversial) crackdown on Roma communities in France received widespread coverage across Europe. Much less reported was the story of how these highly persecuted people struggle to scratch a living on the margins of many large cities, including Paris.
For an Ecologist special report we commissioned Carolyn Lebel and Steven Wassenaar to investigate how Roma communities in and around Paris are being forced to survive by ‘recycling’ the city’s growing mountain of unwanted and highly toxic e-waste. Their startling report and photo story reveals both a health and environmental time bomb waiting to explode – and poses some awkward questions about France’s recycling and waste policies.
Sticking with the toxic theme, in a highly passionate commentary, campaigner Georgina Downs accuses the previous Labour administration of gross inaction over the usage of pesticides in the UK – ruining lives and the environment – and calls upon David Cameron’s Government to urgently act to remedy the situation. Watch this space…
Also this month, we sent Christopher Pala to closely scrutinise the recently announced Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, which will, if all goes to plan, preserve vast swathes of the country’s pristine wilderness whilst simultaneously allowing the sustainable harvesting of trees needed for timber.
Involving a unique partnership between NGOs and the logging industry, the historic agreement – about to enter a critical implementation period – took many people by surprise, not least because of the intensity of the war of attrition over the boreal forest fought between environmental campaigners and timber giants.
As Pala discovers, although green activists and industry reps are confident the agreement will prove successful, others are less certain. Indigenous communities say their rights and voices are being sidelined, and plans for new timber harvesting standards are mired in complex wrangling and stand accused of failing to adequately take into account social issues.
Eyes from across the conservation movement will be watching developments in Canada closely; if they get this right it could set an innovative example for a new wave of cooperation between the timber industry and campaigners elsewhere; get it wrong and the consequences could be felt well beyond the boreal’s boundaries.
On a wider note, keep an eye out throughout November and beyond for some exciting changes and developments at www.theecologist.org. We’re introducing some regular new features and columns, including insightful profiles of leading campaigners and a new series of practical ‘how to’ guides; we’re expanding our business coverage – including interviews with leading figureheads from across the growing ‘green’ commercial sector – and, once the dust from the recent spending cuts has settled, we’ll be scrutinising the environmental and ethical claims of the coalition Government in an exclusive new series by The Guardian’s Bibi van der Zee.
For those with a taste for consumer affairs and corporate accountability, the long acclaimed ‘Behind the Label’ column will be evolving: watch out for a worthy and equally uncompromising successor to Pat Thomas’s popular series.
Finally, you may have noticed too that our weekly and monthly newsletters have undergone something of a revamp. New designs and more varied content – along with a rapidly expanding social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube – will ensure Ecologist readers and subscribers continue to get what we think is the best package of environmental coverage available anywhere. Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org