I’m looking out across a valley, very fertile and green. Different cultures share their space with young and old alike. A society that cares for the soil beneath our feet, the water that nourishes us and the air that fills our lungs. The health and well-being of all beings comes first.
The Living Planet Report issued in 2014 by WWF reports a decline in populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, by 52 per cent since 1970. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems, which sustain life on Earth.
We can address this, just as we have done before. Extensive damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems can be stopped. And it has a name: Ecocide!
Destroy the earth and we destroy ourselves. The very Earth’s right to life is at risk.
Just imagine if we said ”let’s not criminalise slavery/genocide/apartheid – let’s just put in place laws that keep it legal. To set targets to reduce it instead and see what money we can make from it.
Can you imagine the outcome? Country by country would have targets to reduce numbers year on year, offsetting and creating markets to sell surplus blacks or jews – or whatever racial, ethnic, religious or national group you care to add here – to countries that have less.
Now of course, you’d say this is wrong. And you’d be right – but of course your sense of injustice is in part shaped by our norm. Slavery, apartheid and genocide are now all crimes.
The rule of law means very little until and unless those who cause the harm or injustice can be held to account and are outlawed.
Existing environmental laws are no longer fit for purpose. Communities at the front-line of Ecocide often face long civil court battles at huge expense and length. What little is gained is often too little too late. But we can change that. Ecocide Law disrupts the pattern of harm at source.
The Ecocide text is already written as one of the five international ”crimes against peace”. Perhaps the time before now has not been right. Perhaps the sense of urgency has not been there. Well I say: the time is now. Ecocide law closes the door in one direction and opens it up in another. Over time, we could find ourselves in societies whose very design inspires a respect and love of life. Just imagine what a different world we could be living in; one where we live in harmony with nature, one where we dare to be great, one where we unite people and planet for greater health and well-being; one where we live in peace. Shifting the norm to the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
So much more powerful than all the armies in the world is an idea whose time has come.