Recent reports of catastrophic declines in bee populations have had scientists buzzing around looking for a plausible explanation. Is it mites? Is it GM crops? Is it mobile phones or habitat loss? It's all of these things, says Pat Thomas, but it's also so much more than that.
As the bluetongue virus sinks its teeth into British livestock, there is one appalling certainty: like the outbreaks of Mad Cow Disease and foot-and-mouth before it, some farmers will see no way out, and take their own lives. Farmers in Britain are the profession second most likely to commit suicide (after, bizarrely, dentistry).
Deep in rural Sussex at Wakehurst Place, in a large nature reserve of 500 acres of National Trust woodlands and lakes, stands the Kew Gardens Biological Research Centre. Sixty feet beneath is a nuclear bunker. This is the British National Doomsday vault, home to the UK’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB). If apocalyptic disaster strikes, this bunker will hold key bio-scientists and all remaining plant life.
Two critical markets are pursuing a stressed planet’s renewable resources, presenting policymakers with complex and difficult choices. The Worldwatch Institute’s latest look at Earth’s “vital signs” sees dangerous times ahead as the “sustainability crisis” unfolds. China Dialogue's Maryann Bird investigates
The Environment Agency (EA) is within weeks of letting Monsanto escape its liability for dumping thousands of tonnes of cancer-causing chemicals – including all the ingredients of the DDT defoliant Agent Orange – in two quarries in Wales.
By radically changing the way we acquire our food, the development of agriculture has condemned us to live worse than ever before. Not only that, agriculture has led to the first significant instances of large-scale war, inequality, poverty, crime, famine and human induced climate change and mass extinction.
By Clive W. Dennis (winner of the Ecologist/Coady International Institute 2006 Essay Competition)