Recent Posts

Why is the Arctic warming so quickly?

Why is the Arctic warming so quickly?

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice the global average [1]. It is the most sensitive place to climate change, its loss of sea ice is perhaps the first climate tipping point we can no longer return from, and its utter transformation should convince […]

Sand mining: the most under-reported environmental crisis of all

Sand mining: the most under-reported environmental crisis of all

In 2012, the amount of sand the world used would form a wall 27m high and 27m wide around the equator. I’ll just let that statistic sink in, an easier way perhaps to visualize some 40 billion tonnes of sand, twice the annual sediment output […]

2 months after Salisbury’s ‘novichok attack’: is Russia still to blame?

2 months after Salisbury’s ‘novichok attack’: is Russia still to blame?

In Salisbury and in Douma, Russia denies involvement: two alleged chemical weapons attacks perpetrated within the space of two months. Going against the grain of our media’s Russophobia to examine the cold hard facts is seen as de facto allegiance to Moscow in our current […]

Charcoal: a green fuel?

Charcoal: a green fuel?

Blistered faggots of wood bagged on trucks and bike racks, smouldering domes of earth, wood and corrugated iron, branches arranged like pyres of elephant tusks: this is the charcoal economy which dominates rural Africa. 80% of sub-Saharan Africans rely on fuelwoods for their cooking, and […]

Is climate change making tropical cyclones worse?

Is climate change making tropical cyclones worse?

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US NOAA) concludes the following: “It is premature to conclude that human activities… have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are […]

‘Mermaid’s tears’: the terrifying scale of microplastic pollution

‘Mermaid’s tears’: the terrifying scale of microplastic pollution

Beach-combers have long-known about the tiny beads of plastic of plastic, the brittle multicoloured fragments, like polystyrene crumbs, that litter the high-tide line amongst the bladderwrack. They call them ‘mermaid’s tears’. Scientists call them microplastics, now universally dispersed across the oceans, and even found in […]

The heart of Europe: the effects of climate change in the Alps

The heart of Europe: the effects of climate change in the Alps

For Europeans, the Alps are an uncomfortable reminder of the full toll of climate change, expected to close over half of all ski resorts, practically remove Alpine glacier from existence, and increase flooding, drought, and rockfalls significantly by the end of this century. In this […]

Is Fair Trade flawed and unethical? Part 2

Is Fair Trade flawed and unethical? Part 2

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at the debate around the Fair Trade (FT) price floor, the FT premium, credit access, and overall income trends. We found that FT overstates, to quite a large degree, the efficacy of these measures by looking […]

Is Fair Trade flawed and unethical? Part 1

Is Fair Trade flawed and unethical? Part 1

“Our mission is to connect disadvantaged producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives.” [1] This is the mission statement of Fairtrade, flagship of the Fair Trade movement which inspires […]

Hydropolitics: water as a weapon of war

Hydropolitics: water as a weapon of war

Freshwater gives a country geopolitical clout. Snowmelt and mountain streams swell into rivers that give Turkey control over its arid and fractious neighbours; the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau give China hegemony in South Asia; and smaller states, such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, can project […]