Our Green Peer Natalie Bennett writes in Left Foot Forward that it’s time we make ecocide a crime.
Since 1972, we, the human race collectively, have trashed that beautiful orb. Though when I say “we”, of course, that doesn’t mean that billions of us, the vast majority of us, have any responsibility. Figures out this week from five major UN agencies show 20% of the children under age five are stunted through malnutrition – their parents unable to access the resources to meet their basic needs. They bear no responsibility. Those families’ ecological footprint is a tiny fraction of what the world could bear.
The treatment the planet, and many of its people, have received, is criminal, and it is time that crime was acknowledged – and prevented.
Since 1965, when the impact of burning fossil fuels on the climate was understood, just 20 companies are responsible for one third of global emissions. Turning to the destruction of biodiversity, and fertiliser overload, there’s an even smaller number of giant companies – known as #BigAg – that control and dominate the systems of industrial monoculture trashing the planet: 80% of global deforestation is associated with agriculture.
We are killing the ecosystems on which we rely – and gravely depleting the natural world, putting at risk the lives of wondrous, beautiful natural systems of which we have little understanding.
In acknowledgement of that, for more than a decade lawyers have been working on a new international law to protect this fragile planet, a law of ecocide. It is proposed that it become part of the Rome Statute that contains the international crime of genocide. Many people will associate this campaign with the late, great barrister and campaigner Polly Higgins.