This month’s newsletter is a full read with reports that touch upon some of the big environmental issues. Joanna Blythman and Tom Levitt take a more considered look at the recent egg contamination scare than you probably would have read elsewhere, highlighting that rather than being an isolated case this is likely to be the latest horror story to arise from our growing reliance on industrial farming systems. Their alarming report echoes what The Ecologist has been saying for many years - that pressure to supply cheap food is resulting in a host of disturbing consequences for human health, the environment and animal welfare.
The worrying issue is that every time such stories break - whether it’s industrial poultry production being linked to the H5N1 strain of avian flu, or the MRSA bug found to be prevalent in pig farms - there is a flurry of concern and outrage from industry and ministers followed by pledges to tackle the problem, but very little actually changes. Until the blight of industrial agri-business is tackled as a whole it is an uncomfortable reality that food contamination and health scares will only increase - with potentially deadly results.
Sticking with the big picture, Mohammad Rakibul Hasan’s remarkable photo-story shines a rare light on the lives of some of those, quite literally, struggling to survive on the climate front-line. His startling photographs and commentary - taken in Bangladesh’s impoverished coastal regions that are highly vulnerable to climate-related natural disasters - perhaps do more to convey the perils of climate change than any number of ‘warnings’ issued at the political circuses of Cancun or Copenhagen.
To the Middle East where, as William Parry reports, there’s a hidden and troubling conflict taking place over the region’s water supplies. The piece highlights, however, the work of the pioneering British activists tackling these problems using permaculture... we’ll keep you updated.
From land to sea, and Nick Kettles this month uncovers the unpalatable truth about shark fin soup. As he reports, millions of sharks are being slaughtered annually to feed growing demand, and campaigners believe this is one of those instances where consumer awareness and action has a vital role to play. Shark fin soup can be found on the menu at Chinese restaurants (and elsewhere) across the globe. Refuse to eat the stuff - or decline to dine in establishments where it’s on sale - and point out to restaurant staff the unsustainable and cruel reality behind the dish.
Elsewhere, Chris Pala examines the Caribbean’s last healthy coral reefs; Jan Goodey reports on the growing dispute over the Bexhill bypass; Matilda Lee meets the Environmental Investigation Agency, and Emily Apple explains why the ‘outed’ undercover cop Mark Kennedy has ruined lives.... as well as the reputation of the Metropolitan police.