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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

The Green Revolution: Effects in Asia and implications for Africa

By: 
Alan Broughton

The term Green Revolution refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of staple food crops, particularly wheat and rice, into Third World countries, starting in the 1960s. Initially Mexico, India and the Philippines were targeted. The stated aim was to increase food production to end hunger and prevent uprisings.

The Green Revolution did increase agricultural production, and no more successful revolutionary uprisings occurred, but it failed to reduce hunger and poverty, improve nutrition, or protect the environment. While some of these failures are now acknowledged by the proponents, the answer is that “there was no alternative”, and that for untouched areas of the world, particularly Africa, there is still no alternative. However, that alternative does exist: it is called agroecology. Science takes credit for successes but takes no responsibility for failures (Shiva 2001).

Criminalizing environmental activism

By: 
Moira Birss

As threats to the environment increase across Latin America, new laws and police practices take aim against the front line activists defending their land and resources.

Berta Cáceres, assassinated in her home on March 3, 2016, was just one of hundreds of Latin American environmental activists attacked in recent years. At least 577 environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) were killed in Latin America between 2010 and 2015—more than in any other region—as documented by Global Witness. But in addition to physical violence, EHRDs face threats and harassment through judicial proceedings, severely impeding their work. Before Cáceres’ murder, she faced trumped-up charges stemming from her leadership in opposition to hydroelectric dams on her indigenous community’s territory.

The Wolf Killers Wore Green

By: 
GEORGE WUERTHNER

The shooting of the Profanity Pack last year and now a kill order for the Smackout Pack in Northeast Washington clearly demonstrated the failure of the current strategy of many conservation groups who are involved in wolf recovery efforts.

In this case, a number of organizations, including Wolf Haven International, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Humane Society had joined the Wolf Advisory Group or WAG, a collaborative group that worked with the state of Washington as well as other “stake holders” (read ranchers) to produce a wolf recovery strategy.

Hurricane Harvey and the Dialectics of Nature

By: 
Louis Proyect

Between 1872 and 1882, Frederick Engels worked on a book titled The Dialectics of Nature that sought to apply Marxist dialectics to the natural world. Although it was never completed and is filled with dated ideas about science, it is a work that has earned the respect of some of the most important scientists on the left such as Stephen Jay Gould who praised its best known chapter that was issued separately as a pamphlet—The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man. Long before people such as Barry Commoner and Rachel Carson were laying the groundwork for the eco-socialism of today, Engels anticipated the kind of contradictions that have led to three disastrous hurricanes: Katrina, Sandy and now Harvey.

Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico

By: 
Oliver Milman

The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty, an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.

Kaboom Town

By: 
by Abrahm Lustgarten

COLFAX, Louisiana — Two years ago, the U.S. military had an embarrassment on its hands: A stockpile of aging explosives blew up at a former Army ammunition plant in Minden, Louisiana, sending a cloud of debris 7,000 feet into the sky.

Local residents, alarmed by toxic contaminants from the accident, were nothing short of furious when they learned what the military intended to do with the 18 million of pounds of old explosives still remaining at the depot. The Army was set to dispose of the explosives through what are known as “open burns,” processes that would result in still more releases of pollutants.

As the rich move away from disaster zones, the poor are left behind

By: 
Leah Platt Boustan, Maria Lucia Yanguas, Matthew Kahn, and Paul W. Rhode

Every year, major earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes occur. These natural disasters disrupt daily life and, in the worst cases, cause devastation. Events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy killed thousands of people and generated billions of dollars in losses.

There is also concern that global climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of weather–related disasters.

Lithium-Ion Battery Production is Surging, but at What Cost?

By: 
Emma Foehringer-Merchant

In his first Tesla Motors master plan, Elon Musk wrote, “The overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.”

But as clean energy flourishes, the solutions from electric-vehicle companies and battery-makers have had a lot more to do with mining than Musk’s manifesto would suggest. Though an explosion in EVs and energy storage will allow countries to rely on less carbon-intensive energy, the extraction of essential ingredients to make cost-effective lithium-ion batteries generally leaves environmental and human devastation in its wake.

When Will Co-opted Figures and Board Members of Companies Like Monsanto and Bayer Be Hauled into Court?

By: 
Colin Todhunter

The public is being poisoned, disease rates are spiralling, waterways are contaminated, soil is being degraded, insects, birds, invertebrates and plant diversity are in dramatic decline. Humanity and the planet are being poisoned for profit.

We are experiencing an assault on life by the agrotoxins industry, which is in fact contributing to a sixth mass extinction. Armed with a harmful chemical cocktail of highly profitable agrotoxins, ranging from disease-causing glyphosate to bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, biocide manufactures are waging biological and chemical warfare on us all under the guise that they are serving humanity by helping to feed the world.

Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked?

By: 
George Monbiot

Hurricane Harvey is a manmade climate-related disaster. To ignore this ensures our greatest challenge goes unanswered and helps push the world towards catastrophe

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