A crucial component of concrete, sand is vital to the global construction industry, writes Nick Meynen. China alone is importing a billion tonnes of sand a year, and its increasing scarcity is leading to large scale illegal mining and deadly conflicts. With ever more sand fetched from riverbeds, shorelines and sandbanks, roads and bridges are being undermined and beaches eroded. And the world's sand wars are only set to worsen.
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.
Venezuela is set to hand over 12% of the nation's territory in the upper reaches of the Amazon rainforest to mining corporations, writes Lucio Marcello, with 150 companies from 35 countries poised to devastate the army-controlled 'special economic zone'. But resistance is growing, and a counter-proposal aims to protect the area's precious biodiversity, indigenous cultures and water resources in a new South Orinoco Mega Reserve.
March 8 is World Women Day, but today (March 3) there's another good reason to reflect on the role of women in society, write CAMILLA ROLANDO MAZZUCA & BROTOTI ROY. On this day last year the awarded environmental activist Berta Caceres was killed
This autumn the Monsanto Tribunal will assemble experts from around the world to set out the evidence against the global mega-corporation, which will stand accused of monstrous 'crimes' against people and the environment. The Tribunal's verdict will not be legally binding - this time. But on a future occasion, it may be.
Amidst the turmoil of the presidential impeachment, writes Jan Rocha, right wing members of Brazil's Congress are set to pass new laws that would build new roads across the Amazon, open up indigenous reserves to industrial exploitation, and create a surge in carbon emissions from burning forests.
New development financiers like China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are driving a global attack on the environment, writes Bill Laurance. With their fast track 'no questions asked' procedures, they are financing a wave of destructive mega-projects, giving the World Bank and other lenders the excuse to lower their already weak safeguards.
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.
There is nothing new in the environmental damage brought by war, writes Steven Freeland. Nor is there anything new about deliberate environmental damage as a instrument of warfare. But what is new is the scale of damage that can be inflicted by modern weapons of mass destruction. It's time for an international law against intentional environmental destruction.
The true nature of western civilization is hard to grasp from within, says Professor John McMurtry, because we perceive it through media whose primary purpose is not to convey the truth, but conceal it. What is actually playing out is a global war of empire and capital against the Earth and her people, backed up by the omnipresent threat of overwhelming force.
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?
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.
A new movement has been launched at COP21 in Paris to give legal effect to the rights of nature and communities, writes Hal Rhoades, providing effective protection against the gross environmental damage and human rights violations that accompany extractive industries from mining to oil development and agri-business projects, and which underlie climate change.
Monsanto was accused of 'crimes against humanity and the environment' at COP21 in Paris this week, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. And now the evidence against it is being gathered for presentation at a 'Monsanto Tribunal' taking place next October in The Hague.
Brazil has suffered its biggest ever industrial disaster, write Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes. Breached and overflowing dams have released a massive slug of toxic muds and tailings from iron mining into the country's fifth largest river system that provides drinking water for downstream cities, destroying ecosystems in rivers and vast areas of biologically fragile ocean.
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.
While we face 'hard choices' about which species and ecosystems to conserve, it's odd how we face no such quandaries over which of our frivolous luxuries to refrain from, or what murderous weapons system not to build, writes Derrick Jensen. And of course, there's no question at all of tackling the root causes of global ecocide.
Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world.
Mining corporations, politicians and big NGOs are meeting in London today to plan the future of extractive industries in Africa, write Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry. Absent African civil society and impacted communities, delegates are setting an agenda for 'resource-led development' that will cook the continent in the greenhouse gases of its plundered oil, gas and coal.
What's needed to pull the world's economy out of recession? According to the G20, it's a massive wave of 'infrastructure' development worth as much $70 trillion, writes Bill Laurance. But all the roads, mines, dams, pipelines and 'development corridors' will inflict massive damage on wildlife populations and natural havens, not to mention local communities that stand in the way.
The global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule us are integral to man's violent exploitation of Earth and her resources, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The fight to save the Earth must begin with the empowerment of women - and that means ending our complicity in their oppression, and servitude.
Tolkien's Universe is one that reflects our own, writes Richard Gunderman - and has come to resemble it all the more as industrialism, militarism and an unjust economic order have come to dominate the world and enslave its peoples. It's time to follow the Way of the Hobbit.
A new report on the Channel's fisheries is a timely reminder of the ecological trend to 'simplification' as whole trophic levels are stripped away by over-exploitation, writes Horatio Morpurgo. Yet the government's profit-focused vision of 'sustainability' is missing the essential element - allowing the recovery of marine ecosystems.