Blog Posts: Environment

April 8th, 2015

Trust us. We’re scientists.

By Eve Mitchell

CorporateControlFoodWaterEuropeIt isn’t hard to figure out why giant drug, seed and agrichemical conglomerates play such a big role in the science surrounding their controversial products and practices.

Industry-funded studies routinely produce results favourable to industry, far more so than independent work, and companies need these favourable studies to gain regulatory approval, win market confidence or, just as often, fend off claims that their products are unsafe. The results aren’t pretty. The tobacco industry used to claim that cigarettes were good for you. Right now a cancer link to Monsanto’s world-beating weedkiller glyphosate is unfolding after decades of “science”-backed use as a “safe” product. Read the full article…

March 25th, 2015

Who Is Really Cozying Up to Gazprom? The Answer May Surprise You

By Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe will organise the Global Frackdown.

Coming at the end of 2015, the fourth Global Frackdown.

It’s a claim that has been repeated again and again, always without a shred of evidence. Former NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen said that Russia is infiltrating environmental organisations working against shale gas to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas. Some so-called experts have described European groups that campaign for a ban on fracking as “[w]ell-organized and well-funded”, even claiming that anti-fracking groups were able to pay for advertising campaigns with billboards to spread their message. Our reply has always been that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – for example, evidence of an exchange of views between Gazprom officials, Russian diplomats and our supporters. Read the full article…

March 17th, 2015

Join Me at the Right2Water Protest

Join the Right2Water Movement

By David Sánchez 

This is BIG.

The Right2Water movement is growing.

It’s easy to see why – the goals are clear:

1. Guaranteed water and sanitation for all in Europe.

2. No privatisation of water services.

3. Universal access to water and sanitation for all.

On 23 March 2015, people will come from across Europe to mobilise in Brussels. Our mission is to remind the European Commission that they work for us and not for corporations!

This is a critical time to gather and speak out. We gathered 2 million signatures but the European Commission did nothing. And the European Parliament is preparing a resolution in defense of the human right to water.

I’ll be there on 23 March, chanting, “We want the Human Right to Water and we want it now!”

Will you join me?

Learn more and RSVP to attend.

February 23rd, 2015

Fracking Scorecard: Shale Gas In Retreat In The European Union

By Geert Decock 

Which country will stand against fracking next?

France. Belgium. Scotland. Wales. We’ve got a slew of wins against fracking to acknowledge and celebrate. But we cannot rest on our laurels. The profiteers are working to keep their dirty and dangerous fracking operations active and they will continue to do so until we work together to make sure there is a complete ban in Europe and beyond!

Those of us following the debate on fracking in Europe are probably aware that France and Bulgaria already banned fracking, in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Big Oil & Gas has challenged these bans, even all the way up to the Constitutional Court in France. But these bans on fracking are still standing. This is a testament to how strong public opinion rejects fracking for shale gas. So far, no other Member State has moved to also ban fracking in their national law.

However, that does not necessarily mean that shale gas is advancing elsewhere. Quite the contrary: Over the few months, a slew of new moratoriums on fracking has come in effect. It started in the summer of 2014, when the regional Flemish government decided that – in the absence of some minimal rules and administrative capacity on fracking – there would be a moratorium for the exploration and production of fossil fuels that require fracking. In December 2014, the Dutch Parliament also voted in favour of another extension of an earlier moratorium, at least until the end of the current government of Prime Minister Rutte. This means that there may be no fracking in the Netherlands until mid-2017. Read the full article…

January 29th, 2015

Water Activists, Beware of Free Trade Agreements!

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
  • Read our new fact sheet: Trading Away Public Water: Trade Negotiations and Water Services
  • Join more than 1 million Europeans and sign the self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative to Stop TTIP and CETA

STOP TTIP

By David Sánchez 

Citizens in Europe are still resisting the last wave to privatize water, as a consequence of austerity measures imposed in several countries affected by the crisis. Attempts were blocked in Greece and are still being resisted in countries like Ireland. On the other hand, we have a new wave of cities taking back public control over water management, like Paris and Berlin. But those victories, and the huge effort to keep water public and enforce the human right to water in the European Union (EU), are facing now another major threat. Read the full article…

January 28th, 2015

Oil, Gas and Water Just Do Not Mix

By Geert Decock

Oil, Gas and Water Don't MixKids learn in a basic science experiment that when you try to mix oil and water, oil will float to the top, because the two substances don’t mix. I had to think back to such experiments when reading a report on Water Innovation in Oil and Gas 2014, published by the London Environmental Investment Forum and sponsored by Veolia.

The water sector sees a major new growth opportunity in the development of unconventional fossil fuels, such as shale gas, tight gas and coal-bed methane. These oil and gas resources can only be extracted by the use of fracking, which involves injecting millions of litres of water at high pressure underground, mixed with sand and (at times toxic) chemicals. Read the full article…

October 1st, 2014

Offsetting: Financial Hocus-Pocus Posing as Conservation

By Eve Mitchell

What Is This “No Net Loss” Concept?
  • Greenwashing of environmental destruction
  • Financial hocus-pocus masquerading as conservation
  • A false assumption that nature exists to serve us
  • An effort to put a price tag on nature
  • An attempt to sell biodiversity offsetting to a skeptical public
  • A critical call for you to write the European Commission and tell them, nature is not for sale!

The EU No Net Loss Plan
Is Just No Good

Stand Up for YOUR Natural Heritage Now

 Write NOW
(Before 17 October Deadline)
 

 

You can’t end up right if you start out wrong. At least it’s awful hard (and takes a big helping of blind luck).

The EU is showing every indication of making a very bad turn indeed on biodiversity offsetting, and you can help us put on the brakes. Biodiversity offsetting is all the rage lately because it offers a seemingly easy way for governments to allow habitats to be destroyed by companies that can afford to pretend to make up for the damage somewhere else. It doesn’t work.

Offsetting is getting a lot of attention, including from esteemed organisations like the London Zoological Society. The zoo hosted a conference on offsetting in April attended by a host of representatives of companies that make money from this kind of thing. They were addressed by no less than the (now former) UK Minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Patterson offering official support.

An extreme version of the erroneous biodiversity offsetting is the No Net Loss concept. No Net Loss (or NNL in the jargon) says you can somehow recreate the nature you destroy without really causing any “damage” at all, even if you don’t “replace” like-for-like (so destroying a salt water marsh and replacing it with forest of the same “value” equates to no overall damage done – it’s mind boggling).

We’re not buying it and neither should you. Here’s how you can help: 

The European Commission is holding a consultation on adopting NNL as a key principle in Europe. The consultation is part of implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 (which “aims to halt biodiversity loss and to conserve ecosystem services”). The Strategy’s Action 7 is “to ensure no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services”. The Commission proposes to use NNL and biodiversity offsetting to do it.

The Commission says the purpose of its consultation is “to gather views” about that proposal. We need to tell them we don’t like it one bit.

Nature Not For Sale has written a letter to the Commission we can all sign. Please do.

The letter explains our reasons for rejecting offsetting.

It tells the Commission, “Nature is a common good that all share rights to and have responsibilities over.” You get the idea. Please help us tell the Commission to get the EU headed in the right direction. I did.

December 13th, 2013

It was a Bad Idea in 1489…

By Eve Mitchell

Some things get better with age — fine wine, farmhouse cheese. Some just don’t.

It’s all the fashion these days to talk about a “new” way to ensure that companies involved in food production are held accountable for the environmental damage they do. Often called natural capital accounting or offsetting, the theory is that if we attach a notional price to, say, healthy soil and clean water, then companies can use that information to account for any damage they do, or be somehow rewarded for avoiding this damage.

Among the several difficulties with this approach are that (a) it isn’t new and (b) it doesn’t work.

To the folks promoting this stuff: please convince me that this isn’t an extension of the Enclosures and Clearances on a global scale, because it sure feels like it. Read the full article…

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