Polly Higgins, Lawyer for the Earth, is the founder of the campaign to make Ecocide the 5th international Crime Against Peace. I never heard of her, or her campaign until about ten minutes ago when I ran into it when searching the web for an article for the blog. While I don't place much faith in international law, I admit that I find the idea here interesting. We need to do a whole lot more than make international laws, even good ones, but hey, it won't hurt...and it might help.
Explaining her campaign just a little, Molly writes at The Permaculture Research Institute website:
"Our cycle of damage and destruction is spiralling onwards and upwards with increasing speed. This is Ecocide. The impacts are enormous and over a very short period of time we can see the consequences. Morally we know now that causing mass damage and destruction is wrong. This is why I am calling on the United Nations to make Ecocide an international crime."
"Ecocides occur when we take far more than our fair share, which affects both our people and our Earth. To ensure we live within our planetary limits, a law of Ecocide creates a legal framework that can ensure we all live in peaceful enjoyment."
"Our lives are under threat from rising greenhouse gas emissions; do we leave a legacy that is life-affirming or a non-life-affirming legacy? Where there is no consideration for future generations and their well-being, it cannot be said that the legacy fosters life. The focus of climate negotiations is on the fast return of profit — markets made out of hot air. Dollar signs are being drawn in the sky. In the meantime, the voice of the Earth has been silenced."
You must admit that it is incredible that causing mass damage and destruction is not a crime. You must admit dollar signs are being drawn in the sky. You must admit the Earth has been silenced.
Ecocide is only a crime in ten countries at the moment (and I don't remember any prosecutions, but maybe I missed them). In these countries’ penal codes, Ecocide stands alongside the other four international Crimes Against Peace: Crimes Against Humanity; Genocide; War Crimes; and Crimes of Aggression.
Who knows, I may not agree with Polly's specific way of going about things, but who cares, she has my support anyway.
How can I disagree with her vision:
"Imagine a world where the rivers run clear, the fish are abundant, the skies are unpolluted, the soils are untainted by pesticides, a world where the trees grow strong and healthy, the food on our table is fresh, local and organic, the fuel to heat, light and transport us is clean and ever-renewable. Man-made pollution, seen and unseen, no longer exists."
I desperately want to imagine such a world, but it is hard, very hard.
I am going to include two, count em, two posts here. One about a year old and one much more recent. The first is an interview with Polly found on the Permaculture Research Institute site from last year. It gives a much more detailed accounting of where all this is coming from. The more recent article taken from Ecocide is short. It is the first one I read which got me here. I'll count it as a news story.
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Consumerism,Deforestation, Economics, Ethical Investment, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems,Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Maddy HarlandAugust 18, 2011
- The Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada
- The deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest
- Water pollution