war

Ecologist Special Report: The Al Hima Revival

Curtis Abraham
| 22nd August 2017
Throughout history, Islam has contributed innovative ideas that have helped advance world civilization. The al Hima initiative in Jordan is one such example. This ancient practice is currently being revived as a land management (natural resource management) strategy in pastoralist areas of the Middle East and North Africa and is being seen as a bulwark against climate change, desertification and drought. CURTIS ABRAHAM reports

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No more jaguars here: a worker picks up African palm fruit for processing into palm oil from a young tree in Minas, Colombia, April 25, 2016. Photo: Carlos Villalon / Solidarity Center via Flickr (CC BY).

Palm oil engulfs Colombia's 'mountains of the jaguar'

Paula Álvarez
Forest Peoples Programme
| 23rd May 2017
Thousands of small farmers were forced from their lands and homes by paramilitaries in Colombia's Santa Maria mountains, writes Paula Álvarez. But now as a welcome peace allows their return from involuntary exile, they find a new enemy that has come to stay - huge plantations of oil palm that have obliterated the mixed, patchwork landscape of small fields, villages, and swathes of forest on steep-sided hills that they used to inhabit.

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Skyscrape of Dubai, seen from the beach. Photo: ZeNahla via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Concrete, or beaches? World's sand running out as global construction booms

Nick Meynen
| 9th May 2017
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.

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Child at Shifa hospital, Gaza, 10th April 2008. Photo: Kashfi Halford via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The ecology of war: imperial power, permanent conflict and disposable humans

Andre Vltchek
| 28th April 2017
The real nature of war and its impacts on people and environment can only be understood through its ecology, surgeon Gus Abu-Sitta tells Andre Vltchek: the causes of conflict, the dynamics that sustain it, the corporate and strategic interests bent on its perpetuation, the deliberate destruction of health provision, and the repeating cycles of infection, injury, poverty and human misery which have become a permanent reality for uncounted millions.

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Eric Dooh from Goi, plaintiff in the Dutch court case against Shell for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, a biodiversity hotspot in which conflict has been raging for decades. Photo: Milieudefensie / Akintunde Akinleye via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

War, human rights and biodiversity: turning conflict into conservation

Alex Reid
| 23rd March 2017
Over 90% of major armed conflicts between 1950-2000 occurred in countries containing biodiversity hotspots,writes Alex Reid, and more than 80% of these took place in the hotspot areas themselves. This poses a major challenge to the conservation community: to work in combat zones to strengthen environmental protection before, during and after conflicts. Or better still, to defuse incipient conflicts and resolve those under way, to reduce their toll on people, and nature.

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Artwork: Shea Huening via Flickr (CC BY-ND). See also full version with this article.

Appropriate civilization versus 'new despotism': one month into the Trump Presidency

Jeremy Leggett
| 22nd February 2017
Believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues are empowered to bring about the polar opposite, writes Jeremy Leggett. A new despotism rooted in isolationist nationalism and conflict is gaining strength. The battle is not lost: but first we must understand the dangers.

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Nov 16: Coalition strike destroys 116 ISIL fuel trucks near Abu Kamal. Photo: from video (see embed).

Why did the US need toxic uranium munitions to destroy fuel tankers in Syria?

Doug Weir
| 20th February 2017
Depleted uranium (DU) munitions may not be regulated but their severe long term health impacts mean they should be, writes Doug Weir. So why did 'Coalition' forces fire 5,265 armour-piercing DU rounds on IS fuel convoys in Syria? When non-DU munitions would have done the job just as well? Just because they knew they would never be held to account? All the more reason to act now!

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Trumpopaclyse? Photo: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Trumpocalypse now! But can we believe the Doomsday Clock?

Chris Busby
| 6th February 2017
The election of President Trump is driving the planet towards oblivion - according to the elite scientific body behind the Doomsday Clock, writes Chris Busby. But isn't Trump's commitment to reduce East-West antagonism and ally with Russia's President Putin against terrorism reducing the risk of nuclear war? So far, Trump is sticking to his promises. Let this one be no exception!

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Children near an oil fire at Qayyarah, where ISIS blew up 16 well heads, 26th October 2016. Photo: Benedetta Argentieri / Oxfam.

Iraq's oil inferno - government inaction in the face of eco-terrorism

Doug Weir
| 30th November 2016
Hundreds of square kilometres of Iraq are eclipsed by dense clouds of toxic smoke from fires at oil facilities and a sulphur factory blown up by 'Islamic State' terrorists, writes Doug Weir. With the fires left to burn for months on end, entire towns are suffering a public health catastrophe. But the Iraqi government is slow to act, or even collect vital health and environmental data.

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Rainbow-decorated fence at Greenham Common US military base near Newbury, England, 17th March 2007. Photo: Your Greenham via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Historic UN vote to negotiate a global nuclear weapons ban

Rebecca Johnson
| 31st October 2016
Last week the UN General Assembly's Disarmament and Security Committee voted for negotiations to begin next year on a new international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, writes Rebecca Johnson, bypassing the stalled Non Proliferation Treaty. One immediate consequence is to make the UK's plans to replace its Trident nuclear missile system 'completely untenable'.

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A keyboard player, blind from birth due to a genetic defect induced by Agent Orange, performing at the War Remnants Museum. Photo: Mick Grant.

First Agent Orange, now Roundup: what's Monsanto up to in Vietnam? Ecologist Special Investigation

Mick Grant
| 10th October 2016
With the International Monsanto Tribunal beginning this week (14-16 October) in The Hague, MICK GRANT reports from Vietnam with this special investigation for The Ecologist five decades after the company's lethal herbicide Agent Orange first devastated the country - and discovers the agribusiness giant is sneaking its way back into Vietnam with modern herbicides and 'Roundup-Ready' GMO crops.

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How the US saw the Japanese people in 1942. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Japan? The racism of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Linda Pentz Gunter
| 17th August 2016
As we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month 71 years ago, we have largely forgotten the racist propaganda that made it possible, writes LINDA PENZ GUNTER. We have likewise sanitised history to exclude the voices of African Americans who loudly protested the use of nuclear weapons, connecting them to American colonialism abroad and racism at home.

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The RT-23 was a Soviet ICBM produced until 1991. It is cold launched, and comes in silo and railway car based variants. It is a three stage missile that uses solid fuel and thrust vectoring for the first stage, with 10 MIRV warheads, each with 550 kT yiel

US must stop playing with nuclear hellfire

Conn Hallinan
| 26th July 2016
Thanks to an increasingly aggressive US foreign policy pursued over decades, NATO nuclear missiles and armed forces are poised on Russia's border, writes Conn Hallinan - forcing it to abandon its 'no first use of nuclear weapons' pledge in view of the massively asymmetrical threat it faces. The world must step back from the brink of nuclear annihilation.

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Port for phospate export from the Bou Craa mine, near Laayoune Marsa Boujdour in Western Sahara, 11th March 2013. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The corporate scramble for Africa's minerals: Britain's new colonialism

Colin Todhunter
| 14th July 2016
Africa is being opened up like a tin of sardines to a new wave of resource extraction, writes Colin Todhunter. Masked under the soubriquets of 'investment', 'growth' and 'free trade', a handful of vast global corporations are systematically plundering the continent's mineral wealth and leaving desolation in their wake, backed to the hilt by that ever-faithful servant of capital - the UK government.

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Tank destroyed by depleted uranium (DU) munitions on Iraq's 'Highway of Death' in the first Gulf War, February 2003. Photo: Christiaan Briggs via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Chilcot: UK insists it has 'no long-term legal responsibility to clean up DU from Iraq'

Doug Weir
| 11th July 2016
The Chilcot report reveals that the UK has disclaimed any duty to decontaminate the toxic, radioactive ash left behind by its DU munitions, or even monitor the impacts on human health, writes Doug Weir. But Iraq and other countries are working towards a UN Resolution this October that would hold contaminating governments like the UK and the US legally accountable for DU pollution.

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The Iraq war was a disaster for the entire Middle East. But it also blew the wheels off the entire European project. Photo: eddiecoyote via Flickr (CC BY).

What Chilcot won't tell us: the Iraq War crashed the European project

Dr Robert Dover
| 5th July 2016
The political vacuum left by the Iraq war provided the space for radical extremism to take root in the Middle East and rampage across the region, writes Dr Robert Dover. That makes Tony Blair directly responsible for the refugee crisis that is destabilising Europe today, reflected in the UK's Brexit vote. And it fatally wounded the credibility of his 'third way' social democratic politics across the EU.

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Children in the South Hebron Hills village of Susiya, where water is increasingly scarce: permits to dig wells and water tanks are rarely granted. One local well was recently demolished by settlers and an old car was pushed down it. Photo: kelleelund via

In the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is using water as a weapon of war

Ramzy Baroud
| 4th July 2016
Israel is inflicting 'water starvation' on Palestinian communities, writes Ramzy Baroud, with residents of all-Jewish settlements in the West Bank each receiving thirty times more water than their Palestinian neighbours. Meanwhile resistance to the Occupation is routinely punished by water closures and the destruction of water infrastructure, contrary to international humanitarian law.

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Seeking Green Liberty! Photo: Adarsh Thakuri via Flickr (CC BY).

The way to Green Liberty: stop being afraid, work together to make things better

Dr Glen Barry
| 11th May 2016
A future of green abundance for all is possible, writes Glen Barry. Instead we are mired in the destruction of the Earth's vital ecosystems, divided by obscene wealth and shameful poverty, and pitted against each other in genocidal wars over energy, resources and global dominance. To make that alternative a living reality, we must shed our fears and come together in common purpose.

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The war on drugs under way near Tumaco, Colombia, June 2008. But how come nothing like this happens in Colorado or Amsterdam? Photo: William Fernando Martinez / AP Photo via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 'war on drugs' is a war on culture and human diversity

Benjamin Ramm
| 28th April 2016
The 'war on drugs' is presented as a necessary battle against social evils, writes Benjamin Ramm. But from the Andes to the Caribbean, prohibition has criminalised both religious and cultural expression. And it's a war that is strictly for the global poor: people in Colorado can grow pot - so why not Colombians?

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A dust storm hits Jordan's  Zaatari refugee camp on 29th July 2012 shortly after it was established ear the northern city of Mafraq. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Jordan grapples with the environmental consequences of its refugee crisis

Doug Weir
| 27th April 2016
Since 1948 Jordan has taken in millions of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and most recently Syria, writes Doug Weir. Politically and economically the country has proved astonishingly resilient - but the population increase has caused huge damage to its fragile environment. Ecological degradation, pollution and resource scarcity may cause political instability unless more is done to tackle the problems.

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Yanomami girl. Photo: Sam valadi via Flickr (CC BY).

The myth of the 'brutal savage' and the mindset of conquest

Stephen Corry
| 21st April 2016
The 'brutal savage' meme has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture and establishment narratives, writes Stephen Corry, despite abundant evidence that it's fundamentally wrong. But it suits today's dominant mindset of conquest, conflict and colonialism all too well, and serves to justify the ongoing genocide and expropriation of surviving Indigenous Peoples today.

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Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA)

Two minute hate? Trump, the enemy at the gates of US corporate power

John McMurtry
| 11th April 2016
There are many good reasons to criticise Donald Trump, writes John McMurtry. But none of these matter to the US media, political and corporate powers determined to keep him out of the White House. With his radical talk of halving military spending, controlling Big Pharma and exiting 'free trade' agreements, Trump is a direct threat to the parasite capitalism that's destroying America.

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