There is a new term being floated: Ecocide

Watch out for “Ecocide”

By —— Bio and Archives--November 14, 2010

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Ecocide, a term coined by the former British barrister Polly Higgins, comes with a proposal that asks the United Nations to recognize it as a fifth “crime against peace” - one that could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court alongside “genocide,” “war crimes,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “crimes against humanity.”


Higgins defines ecocide as: “The extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) or 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.” For this purpose, the definition of “inhabitants” includes plants and animals, as well as human populations.

According to Gar Smith, editor emeritus of Earth Island Journal, London’s The Guardian reports that the proposal has won support from the UN and the European Commission, and among climate scientists, environmental lawyers and international campaign groups.

On Higgins web site, you can find statements like: “Tar sands extraction in Canada is devastating Indigenous communities, wildlife and vast areas of boreal forests, as well as being many times more carbon-intensive to produce than ‘conventional’ oil.” Furthermore, in a recent interview with Dinyar Godrej, The New Internationalist magazine, Higgins says: “I am proposing we extend existing Crimes Against Peace beyond the protection of human life to all life. We need legal tools to impose responsibilities and obligations on those who are causing the destruction.”

Her idea, if enacted, could mean a whole slew of UN-prescribed controls on resource industries and, potentially, individuals as well. Countries with large resource-based economies, such as Canada, would likely become prime targets of such laws and controls.

The UN Law Commission is said to vote on this proposal in January 2011. If it succeeds in becoming international law, watch out.


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Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts Convenient Myths

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