Ecocide. 

I don’t talk about my environmentalism or my environmental activism very often on Tumblr, but I am heavily involved with various organisations and looking to join others once I am out of Bath.

Proposal for Ecocide to be the 5th International Crime Against Peace

The International Criminal Court was formed in 2002 to prosecute individuals for breaches of 4 Crimes Against Peace.  They are: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression. Ecocide has been proposed by Polly Higgins to the UN Law Commission as:

Ecocide the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

The Crime of Ecocide

Ecocide can arise out of human intervention: Heavy extraction, toxic dumping, mining and deforestation are all examples of mass ecocide.

The Law of Ecocide will stop damaging and destructive activity. Voluntary corporate governance, market trading and offset mechanisms have failed. By creating a Law of Ecocide we will create specific legally binding duties and responsibilities. 

Ecocide is a crime of consequence. e.g where an energy company procures its energy by extracting fossil fuel, as opposed to creation from renewable energy, that would result in ecocide.

Ecocide is not a crime of intent. CEO’s do not sit in their offices plotting to destroy the Earth. It is a consequence of the pursuit of profit which arises out of destructive activity.

Ecocide creates a pre-emptive obligation. It stops the damage before it happens. A duty of reasonable care is put in place, ensuring that individual and collective (corporate, governmental and armies) responsibility is taken by those who have contractual rights over a given territory before damage or destruction of a given territory takes place.

Ecocide is preventative. It is a crime focused on preventing harm, rather than focusing on blame.  This means that standards of conduct and care will be punishable in criminal court of law if and when breached.

Ecocide protects the people’s interests. The emphasis shifts from the protection of the few (corporate) to the protection of the wider Earth community – that means both people and planet gain.

Ecocide is a tool to enforce restorative justice. Instead of paying fines, restoration becomes the name of the game.  Extensive restoration by those who have committed Ecocide will ensure that appropriate remedy is put in place, not merely the payment of a fine which is all too easily factored in as an external cost by those evading their responsibilities.

Ecocide creates responsibilities at international and national level. Primary responsibility to prevent, investigate and punish the crime of Ecocide sits first and foremost with the country where the activity takes place. Where a crime of Ecocide has taken place on a given territory, and that country is unwilling or unable to take action, then the crime will come under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.  By implementing Ecocide as a crime at international level, the pressure is immediately created for the crime to be speedily implemented at national level. It’s a very effective top-down approach.

Ecocide sends a powerful global message to the world, not just to those involved in business or during war, to take responsibility for the well being of all life.

Ecocide is a Crime Against Peace.

In short….

10 reasons why

1. Stop ecocideand we stop the mass destruction of the planet;

2. Ecocide is proposed as an international law which applies to all people and all nations;

3. Which will rapidly become a national duty of care as well when each country has to put in place parallel laws;

4. Governments, corporations, organisations, and any person who has rights over a territory will have an over-riding legally binding obligation to ensure their actions do not give rise to damage, destruction or loss of ecosystems;

5. Action can be taken against any human person, not the fictional person (the corporation). As an international crime against peace, no-one escapes liability;

6. There isalready have the international court structure in place to prosecute ecocide. The International Criminal Court was created in 2002;

7. Ecocide creates a strong legal burden of responsibility to ensure prevention;

8. Restoration will take precedence over simple payment of fines;

9. The Law of Ecocide will ensure a shift from personal interest to public, environmental and society interests;

10. Peace.

I urge you to sign this petition.

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