There is a growing global movement to recognise the rights of rivers, writes Debadityo Sinha. But rights alone are not enough. We must love and respect rivers, and even think like rivers to understand the vital functions they perform within landscapes and ecosystems, and so discover where their 'best interests' truly lie. And then we must be willing to act: protecting rivers and restoring them to health and wholeness.
May this new collection of John Muir's writings reach us now and inspire another generation to fall in love with wild nature, to care for it, to know that wilderness is not optional but central to our survival in the centuries to come, writes Terry Tempest Williams - and remind us how to embrace this beautiful, broken world once again with an open heart. If we do approach the mountain, it is we who are moved.
Recognising nature as a legal stakeholder with inalienable rights in environmental law proceedings is a powerful counterbalance to corporate dictatorship, writes Mumta Ito. It empowers people and governments to stand up for nature - the underlying basis of our economy and our lives. And it stands in contrast to feeble approaches based on the financialisation and commodification of nature, which may be twisted to justify more destruction.
The political events of the last year are cause for sorrow, for reflection, and for reorientation. But they're also cause for a Green reboot. And fortunately, the UK's upcoming election on June 8th gives us just such an opportunity, writes RUPERT READ
Who are the best guardians of forests and other wild places? Governments? Conservation NGOs? Corporations? No, writes Prakash Kashwan, it's the indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for millennia. But to be able do so, they must first be accorded rights to their historic lands and resources, both in law and in practice. Among the countries leading the way, Mexico. Among the laggards, Kenya and India.
The Bovine TB conference in London last week was disrupted by media reporting of scientific conflict over badger culling studies, writes ecologist Tom Langton. But the real story is the collapse of confidence in the Randomised Badger Culling Trials, used to justify the mass killing of badgers; and the emergence of reliable new TB tests. The simple solution: stop the cull, and spend the money on gamma interferon cattle TB testing.
Just as long term research into the health impacts of the 'electrosmog' created by wifi and mobile phones is yielding its first results, it's at risk of sudden termination from President Trump's budget cuts, writes Paul Mobbs. But the cuts have little to do with saving money - and a lot to do with protecting corporate profit and economic growth from harsh truths, including evidence that electrosmog causes cancer in laboratory rats, and maybe humans too.
Soon EDF will have to start the biggest, most complex and costliest nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management programme on earth, writes Paul Dorfman. But whereas Germany has set aside €38 billion to decommission 17 nuclear reactors, France has set aside only €23 billion to decommission its 58 reactors. When the real costs come in, they could easily bankrupt the company.
Britain's long-suffering nuclear bomb test veterans have once again had justice denied to them, writes Chris Busby, by a shocking piece of judicial chicanery in London's High Court in which the judge whimsically excluded all the scientific evidence that did not suit the Ministry of Defence. But the veterans' fight for justice and scientific truth continues, facing its next test in the Court of Appeal.
The mass poisoning of farm animals in Kent in 1963 was traced to a factory where a pesticide developed as a WWII chemical warfare agent was manufactured, writes John Clark. The event, so close to the publication of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring', galvanised a growing ecological awareness - all the more so as the government's only wish was to hush the matter up.
Renewable energy, without doubt, is both driving and shaping the clean global economy of the future, writes Jeremy Leggett. But don't forget its equally essential partner: closing the consumption loop to create a truly circular economy in which there is no longer any such thing as 'waste', only resources we are not yet smart enough to use.
Just imagine: gas for your cooking and heating made by composting home-grown British grass, writes Almuth Ernsting. What's not to like? Well, it would need almost all the UK's grassland to match our gas demand, leaving cows and sheep to starve or forcing them into sheds to eat foreign-grown feeds. And methane leakage could easily wipe out any climate benefit.
With USDA proposing to redefine GMOs for the purposes of food labeling, the issue is more important than ever, writes Jonathan Latham. It's not just to give consumers' the 'right to know' when they buy GM food, it's also a vital means to empower citizens to fight back against the industrialisation of food and farming, and the monopolies of agribusiness corporations.
Alexey V Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. His hard work and dedication underlies the continuing opposition to the nuclear industry today.
The 'Global Redesign Initiative', a project of the World Economic Forum, aims to replace UN-based intergovernmental decision-making with unaccountable 'multi-stakeholder governance' run by and for corporations, writes Margi Prideaux. What future for nature and people in this brave new world? Generate profits for investors, or face extinction or exclusion to the margins of existence.
To embrace the Earth as truly alive is a step too far even for many committed environmentalists, writes Charles Eisenstein: worried that others may perceive us as unscientific, childish, woolly-headed and ridiculous. But it's a step we must take: in refusing to recognise the living Gaia that is both our creator and our home, we accept and perpetuate the philosophy of her destroyers.
Members of the food movement share an infectious vision, writes Jonathan Latham - one which is constructive, convivial, classless, raceless, international, and embraces the whole world. Unled yet inspirational, it rests on a novel, harmonious philosophy that combines science, recognition of planetary boundaries, and the universal need for wholesome sustenance.
There's no such thing as 'healthy food' if it's not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent 'Food: The Forgotten Medicine' conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there's a huge job to be done to restore our depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of our seeds and crops.
Big conservation NGOs increasingly resemble the nature-destroying corporations they should be opposing, writes Margi Prideaux. This ideological capture is reflected in their vapid marketing to conservation 'consumers'; the serious abuse of indigenous communities they should be engaging as partners; and their willing sacrifice of core objectives to money and influence.
The EU is already paying farmers and landowners for creating and maintaining valuable habitats, write Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris. But could the UK do better by creating markets in 'ecosystem services' that would put financial value on clean water, key wildlife habitats, endangered species and precious landscapes?
In the thick of the Olympic frenzy, one voice that was systematically excluded from mainstream narratives is that of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples, writes Lewis Evans, who have fought to survive through centuries of dehumanisation, theft and genocide. And now they face a fresh attack as a proposed constitutional change, PEC 215, threatens a new round of indigenous land theft.
This month wood pellet mills in the southern US that supply the UK's Drax power station were awarded 'sustainability' certificates under a voluntary scheme governed entirely by energy companies. The certificates provide no credible guarantee that the fuel does not come from ecologically valuable natural forests and wetlands, clear-cut and replaced by industrial plantations.
The real reason why 'golden rice' remains uncultivated after a 20 year effort is its poor agronomic performance, write Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren. But beyond that, the very idea of golden rice as a 'solution' to Vitamin A deficiency fails to recognise the real causes of malnutrition - poverty, hunger and poor diet. How will golden rice reach poor children in the first place? And will they ever get the rich, oily diet they need to assimilate its fat-soluble nutrients?
Although flowing water is fundamental to river ecosystems, temporary streams are distinctive landscape features that support surprisingly diverse communities, writes Rachel Stubbington. However, the biodiversity of these dynamic ecosystems needs greater recognition and protection.