Another Silent Spring?

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Neonicotinoids appear to have devastating effects across the natural world: we need a global moratorium. Here’s our choice. We wait and see whether a class of powerful pesticides, made by Bayer and Syngenta, is indeed pushing entire ecosystems to oblivion, or we suspend their use while proper trials are conducted. The natural world versus two… Read more »

Beaver Baiters

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Regional Water Cycle, Working Animals.

The government’s decision to capture England’s only free-living population is unjustified and irrational. An opinion poll in Scotland found that 86 per cent of respondents were in favour of reintroducing the beaver. As most people seem to understand, it’s a magnificent animal which can enrich our lives and our countryside. It was once part of… Read more »

Towering Imbroglio

Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

Is the government preparing to dispose of our forests and other public land? Planning laws inhibit prosperity. That’s what we’re told by almost everyone. Those long and tortuous negotiations over what should be built where are a brake on progress. All the major parties and most of the media believe that we would be better… Read more »

Ripping Apart the Fabric of the Nation

Posted by & filed under Economics, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

In an extraordinary coup, farmers’ unions and the UK government have torpedoed the European Soil Framework Directive. “British soils are reaching crisis point”. Don’t take my word for it — this is a quote from a loyal friend of the farming industry, Farmers’ Weekly. You would expect farmers to try to protect their soils, which… Read more »

The Impossibility of Growth

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other. Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This… Read more »

Are We Bothered?

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

The more we consume, the less we care about the living planet. That didn’t take long. The public interest in the state of the natural world stimulated by the winter floods receded almost as quickly as the waters did. A YouGov poll showed that the number of respondents placing the environment among their top three… Read more »

Brilliance and Bunkum

Posted by & filed under General.

The terrible howlers in James Lovelock’s new book show that genius is no defence against being wrong. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, and a pioneering modern environmentalist, has been the focus of attacks by vested interests for decades. Is there anyone as stimulating, infuriating, fascinating and contradictory as James Lovelock? As I found during… Read more »

Reframing the Planet

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Society.

People who think they are protecting nature by costing it are stepping straight into the destroyers’ trap. George Orwell warned that “the logical end of mechanical progress is to reduce the human being to something resembling a brain in a bottle”(1). This is a story of how it happens. On the outskirts of Sheffield there… Read more »

Loved to Death

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

By embracing their critics and colonising governments, corporations engineer a world of conformity and consumerism. How do you engineer a bland, depoliticised world, a consensus built around consumption and endless growth, a dreamworld of materialism and debt and atomisation, in which all relations can be prefixed with a dollar sign, in which we cease to… Read more »

The Biogas Disaster

Posted by & filed under Biofuels, Desertification, Food Shortages, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

How the perverse consequences of a great idea are destroying the natural world. In principle it’s a brilliant solution. Instead of leaving food waste and sewage and animal manure to decay in the open air, releasing methane which contributes to global warming, you can contain it, use micro-organisms to digest it, and capture the gas…. Read more »