Reviewed by Sally Sellwood.
Many anticipate that we are heading for an environmental disaster – but is there anything that we can do? Is it too late? According to Polly Higgins, the answer to those simple but enormous questions is, respectively that yes there is and no, it is not, but the global response must be massive and all encompassing, sweeping through the international community, and placing the Earth, rather than business and financial interests, at the centre of the global economy.
In “Earth is our Business”, her sequel to “Eradicating Ecocide”, Higgins proposes a 5th ‘Crime of Peace’ to sit alongside those against Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression: the crime of Ecocide. She defines what this means, and sets out the legal framework which will enable the international community to place responsibility on those wielding the corporate, financial and political power today to “…prohibit profit, investment and policy which causes or supports ecocide”, and also “criminalises damage, destruction or loss of ecosystems…”. Those responsible for Ecocide will be punished, and those who suffer can seek compensation.
Higgins explains how the current economic system – where environmental issues are dealt with using quotas, targets and carbon allowances, and the voice of the People is essentially disregarded in favour of the most powerful business and political interests – perpetuates ‘Ecocide’. However, as with all things, regardless of scale, it is often hard to change the status quo little by little. Higgins’ answer is to criminalise these acts of catastrophic environmental destruction with her law of Ecocide. While it might appear radical, there is plenty of historical precedent, and the arguments for taking this step are persuasive and attractive: after all, we are talking about the survival of the Earth.
Higgins sets out the Law of Ecocide in clear terms. She explains the key legal concepts in language that the layman would understand. She uses powerful examples to illustrate the terrible destruction that our current political and economic policies and pursuits are wreaking on the Earth, and provides a compelling argument for using a new legal structure as a framework which will be fundamental to the creation of a new world order. She includes the Ecocide Act, along with a sample Ecocide Indictment and sentencing guidelines, and a set of new World Bank Environmental Assessment Rules to make it a living reference work for anyone interested in the creation of a new, sustainable world order.
For more information on the book “Earth is our Business” see http://earthisourbusiness.com/
Ecocide is happening on a mass scale, every day, and it’s getting worse. Here are 3 examples of ecocidal damage or destruction taking place today.
Alberta Tar Sands, Canada: If proposed expansion proceeds, tar sand extraction will result in the loss of vast tracts of forest and peat bogs.
Lusi mud volcano, Indonesia: An exploration well, being drilled by an oil and gas company, caused the volcano to spew huge volumes of boiling mud over the surrounding area, over many years. It has displaced around 30,000 people from their homes and swamped 12 villages.
Tianying, Anhui Province, China: Lead smelters and processing plants in the Tianying area and heavy metals from battery recycling factories pollute the atmosphere and environment on a daily basis.
For more information on Ecocide see http://www.eradicatingecocide.com