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What is Ecocide? Why is it not recognized?
Ecocide is massive damage mainly caused by corporations and the State. In a capitalistic system where most of the planet is part of, to create a duty of care to mitigate or prevent naturally occurring disasters as well as creating criminal responsibility for human-caused ecocide is not a priority. Therefore, ecocide is not yet legally recognized as a crime. There are international agreements (the Paris Agreement, for example) and national laws that vary from country to country, which regard issues related to nature. But the Rome Statute contains no definition for widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment, which would be essential to prove these crimes.
What can we do as citizens to help the cause?
To support the creation of an international law of ecocide, connect with stop ecocide and become a member and conscious protect by joining now
As an artistic research, we invite you to rethink your relationship with nature, to reconsider your position as consumer and to reflect about human-centered tools and laws that already exist and could be useful in helping to claim the space of nature in our society, especially within our law system.
Ecocide law is a struggle carried by many environmental lawyers, but without a big international movement on their side, it will remain a diplomatic legal tool, confined to restricting measurements enforced by governments and corporations.
Changing a law is a very slow process since there is no official way of juridically fighting against ecocide, in this regards, we hope to inspire more citizens to take action, creating button-up movements focus on environmental protection.
As citizens, if we make this need visible, we have the chance to bring this topic into political agendas and reinforce the necessity of stronger policies to protect the environment. Therefore we strongly recommend as a first step to research within the constitution of your country. Is there any article mentioning the rights of nature? Is there any article mentioning the right to clean air? Is there any amendment on ecocide in your country or environmental lawyers reinforcing it?
Initiate in your country movements to bring governments accountable for their environmental policies to prevent climate change such as the pioneer project in the Netherlands Urgenda and in Belgium Klimaatzaak. Join international movements that focus on decentralization and regenerative solutions by the means of non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse such as Extinction Rebellion. Decolonize the usage of fossil fuels such as the inspiring project from artists and activists in England Liberate Tate and in the Netherlands Oil Sponsorship Free and organize in your city your own action on Fossil Free.
Where to find more information on ecocide?
Delve into the work of Polly Higgins, the advocate of the earth proposition to include ecocide as the fifth internationally recognized crime against peace (alongside crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression) on Eradicating Ecocide and Polly Higgins. Join the petition to reform International Law and governance to build up a globally structured and legally enforceable regulatory framework of sustainability based on the planetary boundaries, human rights and the economy for the common good as core principles for a common future of all life on earth on COP 21 End Ecocide.
HIGGINS, Polly. Eradicating ecocide, London, Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) LTD, 2015, 202 p.
____. Earth is our business, London, Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) LT, 2011, 208 p.
The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is a global network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”. They stand for the recognition of natural communities as entities that have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles.
Earth Restorative Justice investigates if Restorative Justice approaches can play a role in healing ecological harms. It presents the reader with articles, interviews and extensive lists of links to restorative justice linked to environmental issues.
The Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network is a program coordinated by the United Nations. It is an online platform of practitioners, academics, and researchers dedicated to strengthening interdisciplinary collaborations to advance a non-anthropocentric, or Earth-centered worldview. At the core of it is the recognition of the intrinsic value of Nature and of human-Earth relationships that are symbiotic, interconnected and subject to the natural laws of the Universe.
Shark Free Waters is a blog created by Cultural Transformation Tools Consultant Amanda Boardman. It inspires the vision for a new integrative approach to the practice of law in South Africa while finding ways of turning that into a reality. You can find more details about Integrative Law on her website.
Earth Guardians is a network that trains diverse youth to be effective leaders in the environmental, climate and social justice movements across the globe - using art, music, storytelling, on the ground projects, civic engagement and legal action to advance solutions to the critical issues we face as a global community.
Environment-rights.org is a resource portal for environmental human rights defenders. Its aim is to support environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) from different regions with the challenges they face in their work, by creating a safe and collaborative platform where they can share information and strategies, and work together to jointly build capacity.