Andrea Wulf's book about the remarkable 19th century explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt is welcome, opportune and a pleasure to read, writes Matt Mellen, packed as it is with high adventure and amazing discoveries. We have much to learn from him today in tackling the world's environmental crises; reading this book is an excellent - and enjoyable - way to begin.
Monarch butterfly numbers are dwindling despite protection of their wintering forests in Mexico, and voluntary schemes to restore their food plant, milkweed, in US field margins, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. These measures alone are insufficient: no less than an end to the mass spraying of glyphosate on crops, predicated by 'Roundup-ready' GM corn and soy, will do.
A programme to be broadcast on BBC2 promoting badger culling as the answer to bovine TB is praised in the corporation's flagship Radio Times, writes Lesley Docksey. But both are criticised by experts for their inaccuracy and bias. The main reservoir for bTB is, and always has been, the cattle themselves - and that's where the real solutions begin.
At its Spring Conference in Harrogate yesterday the Green Party of England & Wales gave formal recognition to the Rights of Nature in an overwhelming vote, committing it to passing a new law to that effect at the earliest opportunity.
Australia's rainforest state, Queensland, is destroying well over 100,000 hectares of native vegetation a year, and rising, write Martine Maron, Bill Laurance & colleagues, including 'at risk' habitats and Koala bear forests. This is more than reversing the entire nation's eco-restoration programs and pushing endangered species ever closer to extinction.
A unique, all female anti-poaching unit has transformed the conservation picture in South Africa's Kruger National Park, writes Anneka Svenska. In just three years the Black Mambas have cut poaching by more than 75%, removed over 1,000 snares, and become role models for local youth. And this weekend they arrive in the UK to collect Helping Rhinos' 'Innovation in Conservation' Award.
Some of us are fortunate enough to have close relationships with the nature around us, writes John Aitchison. But what about everyone else? We must find ways to make people feel like old friends with wildife near and far, and feel that their wild homes and habitats are extensions of our own. And hence, that they are as deserving of our care as human neighbours - if not more so.
As climate change brings more rain, Britain is suffering from the extinction here of our native flood engineer - the beaver. Louise Ramsay says it's high time to re-introduce these charismatic rodents all over Britain.
The UK's insistence on opening up the UK to fracking is symptomatic of a deeper malaise, writes Paul Mobbs. Of course we need a change of government, but more than that, we need a deeper, enduring change of the nation's governance if we are ever to effect the transition to sustainable policies on energy and environment. It's time for the UK to become truly democratic.
Environment Secretary Liz Truss told Parliament yesterday that England's badger cull is 'working', and needs to be extended into new areas, writes Oliver Tickell. Yet she and the NFU have refused to release the evidence to back up her claims. Now MPs and NGOs are joining the cry: 'publish or be damned!'
Yellowstone Park is home to America's last pure-bred wild bison, writes George Wuerthner. Yet the Park's management is planning to kill around a thousand of these precious animals this winter. Ostensibly it's to protect cattle on public lands near the park from brucellosis. But bison have never been known to transmit the disease to them. The real reason is to keep all the pasture for livestock.
The key to reducing the risk of more floods like those in Carlisle is to realise that conventional 'flood defence' can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. We must embrace natural solutions to holding back flood waters: more trees; and bring back the beavers!
Native wild beavers in their natural range are meant to receive stringent protection under European and Scottish law, writes Louise Ramsay. But farmers have declared 'open season' on the small but growing population, shooting them at will, while the Scottish Government and its wildlife agency look the other way.
Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming.
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.
Fresh or dried wild seaweed may be on sale in a supermarket near you, writes Fiona Bird. But much better than supporting what may be unsustainable harvesting, gather your own at low tide on rocky shores, picking just enough for your needs. Once a poverty food, seaweed is now a sought after ingredient that expresses the 'fifth taste', umami.
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 fox-hunting season is now well under way, writes Toni Shephard. But with Cameron still pressing for a Commons vote on wrecking amendments to the Hunting Act, political controversy shows no sign of subsiding. Take, for example, the proposed lifting of the limit on number of dogs that can be used for the 'observation or study' of a wild mammal.
The EU's Nature Directives have been doing a great job of protecting Europe's most threatened species and habitats and building up wildlife numbers, writes Catherine Weller, and the UK knows it. But now it's the Directives themselves that are under threat. Other EU countries are standing up for them - but not the UK.
On the first anniversary of the UK's National Pollinator Strategy, writes Sandra Bell, the Bee Coalition warns that bees are still under threat from highly toxic pesticides, continuing loss of habitat, and an increasingly inhospitable countryside. The Government must do more to protect our bees.
The Government has refused to publish its report on the cost effectiveness of England's badger cull because it is 'still in draft form'. Campaigners say the real reason is that it reveals the cull to be cruel, ineffective and incredibly expensive.
UNESCO's Lake Ohrid-Prespa Biosphere Reserve at Mount Galicica, Macedonia, is at risk from a raft of aggressive developments, write Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry: tourism complexes, a new expressway and ski resort all threaten its tranquility and stunning diversity of wildlife, backed by loans from the EU's taxpayer-funded Bank, the EBRD.
Rewilding landscapes impoverished by human exploitation enriches nature and brings back life to an increasingly ravaged world, writes Jessica Rothwell. But more than that, it's a vital step in making human existence sustainable in the long term, depending as we do on our planet's functional ecosystems for our health and survival. It's time for people to pull back - and make space for the wild.