Health

The Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland, UK. Photo: Graeme Maclean via Flickr (CC BY).

Deadly toll of fossil fuel pollution: the old economy versus planet and people

Pete Dolack
Systemic Disorder
| 6th April 2017
Pollution caused by burning fossil fuels are already causing the premature deaths of 200,000 people a year - in the US alone, writes Pete Dolack. Add up the figures worldwide and it comes to many millions. And that's before we even count the catastrophic long term impacts of global warming. The US response: to loosen anti-pollution regulation and encourage increased oil, coal and gas production.

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Thick winter smog over London, 14th January 2012. Photo: stu mayhew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Dieselgate: time for strong, effective pollution laws

Keith Taylor MEP
| 4th April 2017
MEPs vote today on proposals to cut air pollution by setting up an independent EU monitoring body to ensure that a scandal like Dieselgate never happens again, writes Keith Taylor. However fears are growing that Brexit promises the UK a bonfire of environmental laws including those on air pollution. We need a strong, new Clean Air Act now!

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Organic beetroot grown at Sandy lane Farm, Oxfordshire: good for you, the farmer, wildlife and the wider environment. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

We need more organic farming!

Peter Melchett
Soil Association
| 23rd March 2017
A new study sets out the huge benefits of organic farming to people and the environment, writes Peter Melchett, including more wildlife, healthier consumers and farm workers, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced soil erosion and increased water retention. We need more of it, fast!

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Badgered to death? Photo: Andrew Gray via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Badgered to Death? Now MPs have no excuse for ignorance

Dominic Dyer
| 20th March 2017
The badger cull is a clear failure on scientific, cost and humanity grounds, writes Dominic Dyer. Yet the government is planning a major extension of the cull in 2017. That's why he has just sent a copy of his acclaimed book to every British MP, before they debate the issue next week. Write to yours now demanding an end to the slaughter!

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Scanning electron microscope (SEM) photograph of a plutonium-americium 'hot particle', the width of a human hair, found in the Esk estuary mud flats near Sellafield, producing about 150,000 Bq of alpha radiation and 500,000 Bq of beta radiation. Photo: Cu

Killer 'hot particle': Sellafield coast 'like Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones'

Chris Busby
| 20th March 2017
The discovery of a tiny but deadly radioactive 'hot particle' in mud from the Esk estuary near Sellafield has highlighted the dangers the nuclear site poses to residents and visitors, writes Chris Busby. Independent measures of radiation show far higher levels that those of regulators, similar to readings in the Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones. Local villages should be evacuated.

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Who says nature is not worth valuing in economic measurements? Sadly, most mainstream economists. Photo: Golden Pond on the University of Victoria campus, BC, Canada, by Nick Kenrick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment - this must change

Judith Schleicher
Bhaskar Vira
University of Cambridge
| 15th March 2017
Orthodox economic measures like Gross Domestic product fail to measure the things that matter most, write Judith Schleicher & Bhaskar Vira: like human wellbeing and ecological health. This creates a systematic bias in 'development' policies that must urgently be addressed if we are to build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable society

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Fukushima: the third IAEA mission to review Japan's plans and work to decommission the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, February 2015, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Terminal decline? Fukushima anniversary marks nuclear industry's deepening crisis

Jim Green
Nuclear Monitor
| 10th March 2017
With the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster falling tomorrow, nuclear lobbyists are arguing over solutions to the existential crisis facing nuclear power, writes Jim Green. Some favour a multinational consolidation of large conventional reactor designs, while others back technological innovation and 'small modular reactors'. But in truth, both approaches are doomed to failure.

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IAEA technicians examine Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the only one of four reactors to be stabilised - because it was  defuelled at the time of the earthquake and tsunami. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukushima catastrophe unfolds ... key facts and figures for an unhappy sixth anniversary

L'ACROnique de Fukushima
Hervé Courtois
| 10th March 2017
The 2011 Fukushima catastrophe is an ongoing disaster whose end only gets more remote as time passes. The government is desperate to get evacuees back into their homes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the problems on the ground, and in the breached reactor vessels, are only getting more serious and costly, as unbelievable volumes of radiation contaminate land, air and ocean.

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The Rollright Stones in North Oxfordshire, not far from Paul's home town of Banbury. Photo: Cyrus Mower via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Noise, the 'ignored pollutant': health, nature and ecopsychology

Paul Mobbs
| 9th March 2017
The sonic backdrop to our lives is increasingly one of unwanted technospheric noise, writes Paul Mobbs. And as it eclipses the sounds of nature, it's taking its toll on our health, wellbeing and quality of life. So as well as campaigning for more trees, and quieter cars, trucks and aircraft, what's to be done? Let us seek out calm moments of quiet tranquillity - and listen to the birds.

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The Kimblewick hunt on its Boxing Day meet, 2016. Photo: Roger Marks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Official cover-up - are hunting hounds the 'cryptic carrier' for bovine TB?

Jordi Casamitjana
League Against Cruel Sports
| 9th March 2017
Was the discovery of bovine TB in a pack of foxhounds in southern England covered up? Jordi Casamitjana asks if hunts bear much of the blame for the bTB epidemic, while Defra may have deliberately suppressed the evidence. The 25 bTB-infected hounds of the Kimblewick Hunt may just be the tip of an iceberg of diseased dogs spreading TB across the UK - while badgers take the blame.

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Hounds observing slaughtered fallen cattle.

Bovine TB found in foxhounds - and nothing to do with badgers! Now what?

Lesley Docksey
| 9th March 2017
The news that the Kimblewick Hunt's hounds are infested with bovine TB has come as a shock to farmers and hunters, writes Lesley Docksey. But it's no surprise to campaigners against the badger cull, who have long complained about poor farm hygiene and the feeding by hunts of disease-ridden 'fallen cattle' carcasses to foxhounds - never mind that the cattle are likely bTB carriers!

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Near the site of the UK's 1958 Grapple Y H-bomb test at Kiritimati, Christmas Island, in 2013. Photo: Warren Jackson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Atom bomb test veterans: Soviet justice in London's High Court

Chris Busby
| 8th March 2017
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.

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Officially designated as a 'rural road': the M25 Dartford Crossing on the QE2 Bridge. Photo: highwaysengland via Flickr (CC BY).

Britain's eight-lane 'rural road' evades air quality reporting

Keith Taylor
| 7th March 2017
The government's 'misclassification' of an eight-lane M25 road bridge over the river Thames East of London as a 'rural road' meant they did not have to report the illegal levels of pollution found there, writes Keith Taylor - getting off the UK off the hook for a 17th breach of EU air quality standards. What an unfortunate error!

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If it's not organic, milk in UK supermarkets is almost all from cattle fed GMOs in their feed. Photo: Echoplex7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Supermarkets: 'Feed me the Truth' about GMOs in our food chain!

Liz O'Neill
GM Freeze
| 7th March 2017
UK supermarkets led the world in saying 'no!' to GM foods and ingredients, writes Liz O'Neill. But they faltered on GM feeds for pigs, cattle, poultry and fish, with GM soy and corn dominating the UK's non-organic market. Now campaigners are putting the pressure on supermarkets to make their entire supply chains GMO-free for the sake of animal, human and ecological health.

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Badger trying to keep out of trouble in the Somerset cull area, September 2015. Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol via Facebook.

Putting the 'con' into consultation and the 'fiction' into science: England's badger cull

Lesley Docksey
| 27th February 2017
We know the outcome of Defra's latest 'public consultation' on killing badgers long before the results have even been analysed, writes Lesley Docksey. Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has already promised farmers to extend the cull 'even further' - although it brings no proven benefits. Welcome to the new world of 'alternative facts' that's driving UK government policy.

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EURATOM was once a symbol of Europe's nuclear future. But it's true role may be to supervise the sector's decline. Photo: Euratom Inspectors inspecting URENCO, Almelo, Netherlands, 13 October 2015. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The nuclear fallout from 'Brexatom': threat, opportunity, or plain bonkers?

Pete Roche
| 24th February 2017
The UK's inability to import radio-isotopes for cancer therapy is just the latest outcome of the UK's decision to leave EURATOM to hit the headlines, writes Pete Roche. It may also put a brake on the UK's plans to build new nuclear plants, and import and export nuclear fuel and wastes. The UK's exit from the treaty, as a strongly pro-nuclear state, could also mark an EU-wide anti-nuclear swing.

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Radical roots ... radishes in a Boston farmers' market. Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and the future of farming: threat or opportunity?

Molly Scott Cato MEP
| 21st February 2017
With most of our food exports going to the EU, and most of our food imports coming from the EU, Molly Scott Cato wondered what plans the government had for the sector after Brexit. The answer? None! Two reports published today map out a positive future of sustainable farming, local food, thriving rural economies and abundant biodiversity. But is the government on the same page?

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Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu with her son, Moisés Daniel. Photo: Bianca Bauer via Coal Action Network.

RWE npower, Colombian coal is killing our children! Close Aberthaw!

Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu
| 16th February 2017
The coal power station at Aberthaw is not just polluting much of South Wales with its filthy emissions. It could also be seriously damaging the health of children in Colombia with coal dust from BHP Billiton's massive Cerrejón coal mine. In this open letter, Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu implores RWE npower to shut down its stinking, obsolete and illegal power station.

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Herbicide spraying in Arkansas, USA. Photo: Kevin Wood via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Suppressed EPA toxicologist: 'it is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer'

Carey Gillam
| 14th February 2017
Letters from an EPA toxicologist to the EPA official in charge of assessing whether glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, causes cancer, reveal accusations of 'staff intimidation' and 'political conniving games with the science' to favour pesticide corporations, writes Carey Gillam. Could this be a game-changer for cancer-suffering plaintiffs?

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When we can't even properly regulate fairly simple things like the chemicals coming from this plant in Sarnia, Ontario, what chance have we got with truly 'wicked' problems like genes engineered to spread through populations? Photo: Jon Lin Photography vi

Gene drives: the scientific case for a complete and perpetual ban

Jonathan Latham
| 13th February 2017
At what point are technologies so complex, uncertain, or unmanageable as to be beyond regulation? The question is key to human and ecological health, writes Jonatham Latham. But instead of learning from successful approaches, such as aviation safety, we are throwing the lessons away when faced with truly complex problems - like chemicals, GMOs, and now 'gene drives'.

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Be there! Saturday 11th February 2017.

Stop the UK Treasury's transport carnage!

Donnachadh McCarthy
| 10th February 2017
It's not just that the government does not seem to care about the millions of Britons that have died prematurely from traffic pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. It's that every policy intervention they have made is making the problem worse! Join us this Saturday to demand a sane transport policy that will make our roads safe for people, and our air fit to breathe.

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What's lurking in these vaccines? Photo: Carlos Reusser Monsalvez via Flickr (Public Domain).

Vaccines, mercury and thimerosal: let the science speak!

Robert F. Kennedy Jr
| 7th February 2017
I am pro-vaccine, writes Robert F. Kennedy Jr. I had all of my six children vaccinated. I believe that vaccines save millions of lives. So let me explain why I edited the book 'Thimerosal: Let The Science Speak', which exposes the dangerous and avoidable use of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in vaccines given to millions of children and pregnant women here and around the world.

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