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Analysis and Comment (20)

The Abbott government is all for free speech except when the speakers are green activists like Mackay Conservation Group’s Ellen Roberts. The Abbott government is all for free speech except when the speakers are green activists like Mackay Conservation Group’s Ellen Roberts. AAP/Dan Peled

Step by step, conservative forces move to silence NGOs' voices

The federal Liberal Party, government ministers, Coalition MPs, the Minerals Council of Australia and the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) are targeting the advocacy role of Australia’s environmental…
Anti-coal protesters at Maules Creek are being watched - although it’s not really clear by who. Anti-coal protesters at Maules Creek are being watched - although it’s not really clear by who. Greenpeace Australia/AAP

Is spying on anti-coal activists just the tip of the iceberg?

The infiltration of anti-coal protests in New South Wales by spies employed by a private security company is unlikely to be a one-off event. More likely, the revelations of spying on the Maules Creek and…
The Queensland government has called for a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream over their support for WWF’s save the reef campaign. The Queensland government has called for a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream over their support for WWF’s save the reef campaign. Alpha/Flickr

Ben & Jerry’s reef campaign shows that green groups are vital for democracy

US-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s recently caused a stir by siding with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Fight for the Reef campaign. Queensland environment…
Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. AAP Image/The Last Stand/Matthew Newton

Boycotts are a crucial weapon to fight environment-harming firms

In October 2000, I was driving through downtown Boise, Idaho, and nearly careered off the road. Just in front of me was a giant inflatable Godzilla-like dinosaur, well over 30m tall. It was towering over…
The WA Environmental Defenders Office was involved in the legal challenge to planned gas processing at James Price Point. The WA Environmental Defenders Office was involved in the legal challenge to planned gas processing at James Price Point. Cortlan Bennett/AAP Image

Environmental legal aid slashed when Australia needs it most

When residents from the tiny town of Bulga won a three-year court battle to stop Rio Tinto expanding an open-cut coalmine beside them, it was hailed as a victory for David over Goliath. Yet the type of…
Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

China can’t smother growing public demands to clear the air

Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse…
Will the sun set on migratory songbird hunting, or the birds themselves? Will the sun set on migratory songbird hunting, or the birds themselves? ONDR

Ending songbird slaughter? There’s an app for that

In an article for National Geographic and a forthcoming documentary film, author and birder Jonathan Franzen ponders the slaughter of migratory songbirds around the Mediterranean, and asks how it can be…
The not just cold, but troubled waters of the Russian Arctic. The not just cold, but troubled waters of the Russian Arctic. Will Rose/Greenpeace

Jailing Greenpeace activists will harden attitudes to Russia

Russia’s overreaction in prosecuting Greenpeace protesters, including the two journalists, is set to unfold into an international scandal that will seriously damage country’s global reputation. So far…
Russian authorities boarded and detained a Greenpeace vessel for charges of piracy. Russian authorities boarded and detained a Greenpeace vessel for charges of piracy. EPA/GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL

Greenpeace piracy charges mock international law

All 30 crew of Dutch Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, including an Australian, have been detained and charged with piracy by Russian authorities, after attempting to board an oil platform in the Arctic…
Animal rights groups have been using drone technology to monitor farmers' compliance with welfare laws. Under US style “ag gag” laws any footage taken could not be distributed. Animal rights groups have been using drone technology to monitor farmers' compliance with welfare laws. Under US style “ag gag” laws any footage taken could not be distributed. flickr/eschipul

Expect more spy drones if ‘ag gag’ laws introduced

The “remotely operated Hexacopter drone” may sound like something out of the latest Hollywood sci-fi, but this new technology is about to take centre stage in Australia’s animal welfare debate. Drones…
Hands up for the environment. Hands up for the environment. Cathal McNaughton/PA

Green NGOs cannot take big business cash and save planet

When she wrote recently that “big green groups” are doing more harm than good when it comes to saving the planet, Naomi Klein was was right to be concerned. In recent years the environmental agenda has…
Bees are dying, but scientists and beekeepers are at loggerheads over what to do about it. Bees are dying, but scientists and beekeepers are at loggerheads over what to do about it. Nick Ansell/PA

Sometimes science can’t see the wood for the bees

The EU banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides for two years in April, after a sustained campaign by beekeepers, green groups and environmental organisations across Europe. These groups are convinced…
How can we make truly informed decisions if the scientific community itself is shut down? How can we make truly informed decisions if the scientific community itself is shut down? AAP Image/Dean Lewins

David Suzuki: Australian scientists should be up on the ramparts

Despite the enormous success of the environmental movement in the 1960s and 70s, we have fundamentally failed to use each of those battles to broaden the public understanding of why we were battling. It…
Two’s company, three’s a crowd, one is the entire Green Party. Two’s company, three’s a crowd, one is the entire Green Party. Chris Radburn/PA

What’s the point of the Green Party?

Comparatively speaking, these are successful times for Britain’s Green Party. They have their first elected MP at Westminster, two Members of the European Parliament, two Members of the London Assembly…
Who’s hands is palm oil really in? Who’s hands is palm oil really in? World Bank Photo Collection

Two ways to value sustainable palm oil

What is the value of sustainable palm oil? For some, it is the conservation of tropical forests and wildlife in highly biodiverse regions. For others, it is US$3. That’s the latest price of certificates…
If oil spills in the forest and no one is around to see it, will anyone care? If oil spills in the forest and no one is around to see it, will anyone care? Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Few hear the cries of those fighting to save wild Russia

Lying to either side of the Urals, the Republic of Komi and Khanty-Mansiysk in the north of Russia are among the country’s most oil-rich regions. Scarcely populated, they provide a substantial share of…
Most people struggle to do more than the basics when it comes to climate change action. What pushes others to really take on the challenge? Most people struggle to do more than the basics when it comes to climate change action. What pushes others to really take on the challenge? Province of British Columbia

Beyond light bulbs: individual responsibility and climate action

International negotiations have failed to give us strong global commitments on climate change. Nations are falling short on their commitments for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Forget top-down solutions…
Heavy smog is descending on Beijing again, a week after record air pollution choked China’s capital and much of northern China. Heavy smog is descending on Beijing again, a week after record air pollution choked China’s capital and much of northern China. AAP/EPA/Adrian Bradshaw

Deadly air: the smog shrouding China’s future

Beijing has been smothered by a dense and dangerous smog this month, which has set new air pollution records over several days. The World Health Organization advises that the acceptable level of fine particles…
Former Greens leader Bob Brown has endorsed Jonathan Moylan’s hoax against Whitehaven Coal; but Moylan’s actions are unethical and corrupt the integrity of our systems. Former Greens leader Bob Brown has endorsed Jonathan Moylan’s hoax against Whitehaven Coal; but Moylan’s actions are unethical and corrupt the integrity of our systems.

Whitehaven hoax was an unethical act that was harmful to all

Bob Brown’s opinion piece for Fairfax today seems to endorse Jonathan Moylan’s “activism” as a form of civil disobedience. The thoughts echo the sentiments expressed earlier in the week by his former colleague…
Sandon Point, where EDO NSW argued a landmark case for a resident concerned about a development that failed to consider climate change and increased flooding. Sandon Point, where EDO NSW argued a landmark case for a resident concerned about a development that failed to consider climate change and increased flooding. Powerhouse Museum

Environmental defenders under attack: why funding must be restored

With a new planning system about to be introduced in NSW, the need for an independent, specialist public interest environmental and planning law centre is greater than ever. For nearly 30 years, the Environmental…

Research and News (1)

In defense of NIMBYism

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays…