A new international crime: Ecocide


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Definition of “Ecocide” from the Stop Ecocide Foundation

After the destruction caused by Nazi Germany during World War II, Raphael Lemkin coined the term “Genocide”: “The deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.” Genocide is a word used to describe the most atrocious and heinous acts against society. In 1948, the United Nations established the Genocide Convention, which brought nations together to combat and prevent acts as brutal as the holocaust.

Now there is a new issue plaguing the planet: Climate Change. Damage to the environment has become so extensive that ecosystems and consistent seasons have been disrupted. Climate rhythms that have sustained life on earth for billions of years are deteriorating due to human negligence.

Now, many Environmental Advocates and Political leaders are pushing for a new international crime called “Ecocide,” “The destruction of the natural environment due to human negligence.” This international law would hold large corporations and governments accountable for the destruction of the environment. Ecocide would be the Fifth Crime before the International Crime Court. Current examples of Ecocide include deforestation in the Amazon, oil extraction in the Niger Delta, and deep-sea trawling.

Corporate obstacles pose a severe threat to the creation of this law, as lawmakers will most likely face opposition from governments and corporations for the fear that criminalizing Ecocide will be “bad for business.”

Nonetheless, the push for criminalizing Ecocide is incredibly relevant and important. Those who are negligent towards the environment and violate the principles of environmental justice should be held accountable.