Frontline Online: Sign the petition and help stop Ecocide?

| 20th January 2013

The Law of Ecocide would create a legal duty of care upon CEOs and Heads of State to be legally responsible for the prevention of Ecocide

The Ecologist's Lorna Howarth reports on news and action from the environmental frontline
There is a new European Citizens’ Initiative to End Ecocide - make sure you sign it

In order to protect the planet from ‘Ecocide’ – the extensive damage, loss or destruction of ecosystems – British barrister, Polly Higgins has been working tirelessly to bring the law of ‘Ecocide’ to the statue book.

Polly proposed the Law of Ecocide to the UN in April 2010, requesting that the Rome Statute be amended to make Ecocide the 5th International Crime Against Peace, alongside Genocide, Crimes of Aggression, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. 

The good news for those of us who believe that Ecocide is indeed a crime against peace, is that there is a new European Citizens’ Initiative to End Ecocide in Europe, which was launched in the European Parliament in Brussels on 22 January 2013.

Led by a committee of 11 citizens from nine European countries, they have one year to collect one million signatures from at least 7 different European countries.

When that target is achieved a public hearing MUST be held in the European Parliament and the Commission MUST consider the citizens’ proposal. Three MEPs co-hosting the Launch Keith Taylor (UK), Eva Joly (France) and Jo Leinen (Germany) were the first to sign. 

The proposal calls for a new EU law prohibiting Ecocide on European territory, or Ecocide committed by a European company or European citizen in Europe or elsewhere. It also bans the import into the EU of products that have caused Ecocide during their production. This could range from cosmetics that use palm oil derived from deforested rainforest regions to electronic goods that contain rare metals mined illegally in indigenous territories. 

The Law of Ecocide would create a legal duty of care upon CEOs and Heads of State to be legally responsible for the prevention of Ecocide, ie: they could not produce a product if it resulted in the decimation of any ecosystem. A draft Ecocide Act has been written and a Government Concept Paper: Closing the Door to Dangerous Industrial Activity has been submitted to all governments within the EU. 

Through extensive research, Polly Higgins’ team has found that Europe is one of the biggest funders of Ecocide worldwide through its pension fund investments and financial institutions. The petitioning citizens are convinced that it is time to introduce new standards into European law and that changing the legal framework to recognise Ecodice, can facilitate the shift towards a sustainable economy and society. 

Polly Higgins says of the initiative, "Supporting the Law of Ecocide is a wonderful opportunity for the EU to uphold its belief in peace. The EU won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, and a Law of Ecocide is a law that will carry us all forward into a world where business and politics work from a premise of ‘first do no harm’."  

To sign the petition, click here


Lorna Howarth is a writer and environmentalist. She is a contributing editor to Resurgence & Ecologist magazine and the founder of a small independent publishing ageny:

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