The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan is just the tip of a vast iceberg of lead contamination afflicting mainly urban black communities, writes Leif Fredrickson. A rigid 'race bar' on postwar suburban housing and mortgages left black families in inner cities, exposed to flaking lead paint in run down housing, leaded gasoline residues and lead pipework. Now is the time to correct this shocking historic injustice.
Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement.
An encounter with a Colombian shaman led Peter Bunyard on a spiritual journey into and beyond the living, breathing, transpiring Amazon rainforest, providing key insights into the essential role of the great tropical forests in the workings of Gaia. He emerged re-energised from his visions - and inspired to redouble his efforts to save our wondrous planet.
Conventional agriculture has made an enemy of evolution as pests and diseases develop resistance to biocides and over-bred hybrids succumb to them, writes Salvatore Ceccarelli. But there is another way - for farmers to participate in breeding seed lines that are continuously adapting to their environment, with ever improving yields, flavour, pest-resistance, and other sought-after qualities.
From banks that are too big to fail, to food banks for the too small to matter, the global econom systematically pumps money from the social economy and the poor up into the hands of a tiny minority of wealthy beneficiaries, writes Colin Tudge. Farmers, trapped between mountains of debt and low food prices, are among the main victims. It's time for a big rethink, starting from first principles.
Just as rich and poor are separated by walls of money, the Latin American trend is to add physical walls to keep wealthy and deprived communities entirely apart, write Camillo Boano & Belen Desmaison. On the one side people enjoy lavish homes, security, public services and piped water. On the other residents live in tiny shacks built of scraps, in a desert landscape ruled by criminals.
If the UK really wants 3.2GW of 'baseload' power in Somerset, then the Hinkley C nuclear power station is not the only way, write Marie-Louise Heddrich, Thorsten Lenck and Carlos Perez Linkenheil. Wind power with 'wind to gas' plant and CCGT gas power stations could do the same - faster, cheaper, more flexibily, and at much lower technical and financial risk.
The public interest is already derelicted by federal officials on the US's public lands routinely intimidated by aggressive local economic and political interests, writes George Wuerthner. And now it's only going to get worse, with media coverage of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge debacle uncritically promulgating the false narrative of over-zealous enforcement of regulations.
Mainstream solutions to climate change are all based on reducing the world down to a single metric - tonnes of carbon. But as Camila Moreno, Daniel Speich Chassé & Lili Fuhr explain, this uni-dimensional world view is doomed to failure as it neglects all the difficult things that matter most: people, communities, ecosystems, love, beauty, politics, money, corruption, and corporate power.
Official recycling rates in Russia stand at close to zero, writes Minna Halme. But my study of the potential to develop the sector uncovered widespread informal recycling networks, lurking in basements, stigmatised for supposed links to organised crime, barely tolerated by the authorities. And any ideas of legitimising the shadowy recycling operations are met with frosty official silence.
Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
5th February 2016
The human rights campaigner Julian Assange has suffered arbitrary detention by the governments of Sweden and the UK, the HRC's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled today. Here we present the key elements of the Ruling so readers can form their own opinion on the issue free of the universal condemnations of Assange and the Ruling evident in mainstream media.
The wave of mechanization and automation that began with the Industrial revolution is not slowing down, writes Conor Lynch. Indeed it is gaining power and is driving another 'great transformation' that could produce untold opulence for the very few, and hellhole for rest of us, or an Earthly paradise for all. But which will it be? Ultimately the future is ours - to choose, and to fight for.
The origin of life has long been the deepest of mysteries, writes Chris Busby. But in fact, the spontaneous arising of life from molecules in Darwin's 'warm little pond' is the inevitable result of their selective energisation by quantized infra-red radiation. Now, some four billion years after life first developed, precisely the same processes continue to drive the operation of all living systems at a cellular level.
The world we inhabit is a miracle of billions of years of evolution as life has unfolded in its full beauty and diversity, writes Grant A. Mincy. But human activities - deforestation, mining, urbanisation, pollution, climate change - are tearing away at the functioning fabric of the living biosphere. A mass extinction is under way, and it must be halted, and reversed. But how?
Bhaskar Save, the 'Gandhi of natural farming', died last year after a lifetime of organic growing and determined campaigning against the destruction of India's traditional, sustainable agriculture, writes Colin Todhunter. His 2006 open letter, published here, sets out a devastating critique of industrial agriculture and its impacts, and an eloquent and timely agroecological manifesto.
As the evidence of the extreme harm to health inflicted by nuclear radiation mounts, the denialists are resorting to ever greater extremes, writes Chris Busby. On the one hand, advancing the absurd claim that ionising radition is not merely harmless, but health-enhancing. On the other, closing down the experiment that would have provided the strongest evidence yet.
Humanity is continuing to drive species into extinction at a terrifying rate, writes Robert J. Burrowes - not just nameless beetles and midges, but mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and trees. The biggest causes are habitat destruction, pollution and hunting ... and unless we stop soon, we too will be among the victims of our ecocidal attack on Earth.
President Obama believes he can keep the promises he made on behalf of the USA at COP21, writes Robert Percival. And he's right - with or without the approval of Congress. But ultimately, it's up to US electors to maintain the political momentum for climate action. A future administration could put all his policies into reverse - no matter how foolish that would be.
Little publicised government plans to 'reform' court costs are intended to foreclose access to environmental justice for all but the wealthiest individuals and communities, writes Paul Mobbs. Meanwhile cuts to agencies and regulators will make it ever harder for them to do their jobs - making public participation in environmental protection all the more important.
‘Climate Smart Agriculture' can be applied to anything from industrial monocultures to agroecology, writes Helena Paul - and fertiliser, biotech and agribusiness corporations are seizing the chance to cash in. Now COP21 host France is proposing to use soils as a giant carbon sink - a fine idea in itself, but not if it's used to 'offset' continued fossil fuel emissions, and to greenwash industrial agriculture.
Novel canids are hunting the forests of Eastern North America from Florida to Labrador, writes Roland Kays, where hybrids of coyote, dog and wolf have evolved into highly competitive forms. But is it the evolution of new species? If left in long term isolation, perhaps - but that's not about to happen. Genetic mixing and evolution still have a long way to run.
As industrial agriculture continues to erode our wildlife, Dave Goulson challenges the methods and objectives of ever-increasing food production. We need to move towards sustainable, evidence-based farming systems that produce healthy food, rather than allowing the agrochemical industry to reshape our farming, countryside and nutrition to its quest for profit.
The idea of a 'good, or even great, Anthropocene' as promised in the Ecomodernist Manifesto is purely delusional, writes Derrick Jensen. Worse, it underlies a narrative in which the wholesale destruction of nature and of sustainable indigenous societies is repackaged as a noble mission - one whose ultimate purpose is the complete alienation of humans from the planet that spawned us.
The world could soon be generating all its electricity from renewable sources, writes Dave Elliott, by harnessing diverse technologies for generation, grid balancing and energy storage. Add to that the use of power surpluses to make fuels, and it could even be feasible to make all our energy - not just electricity - renewable. A clean green future beckons.