Stop Ecocide – Change the Law

Law student Charlotte Homer explains how the large-scale destruction of nature will soon be legally as serious as genocide and war crimes.

What is Ecocide?

Ecocide, by definition, is the large-scale systematic destruction of the natural living world and right now it is legally permitted.

Still not sure what it is? – think deforestation in the Amazon, Oceanic plastic pollution, toxic waste dumping and deep-sea mining.

“If the system isn’t working, change the rules” – Jojo Mehta

A few weeks ago I had the lucky chance to attend the Climate Action Lab at the beautiful Hawkwood College in Stroud. There were many thought provoking workshops and discussions on climate action, but it was one by Jojo Mehta on ‘ecocide’ that stood out to me.

Jojo Mehta, alongside the late Polly Higgins, founded the NGO Ecological Defence Integrity (EDI) in 2017. Polly Higgins was a UK barrister who used to practice in Criminal Law before she decided that Earth was in fact in need of a good lawyer, and joined forces with Jojo to work towards the establishment of a crime of Ecocide at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

As law student, I thought this was an impressive ambition!

For those of you that know a bit about Law – establishing Ecocide as an international crime at the ICC will put Ecocide at the same level as other international criminal offences such as Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Crimes of Aggression – which are very very serious!

But given the ever-increasing pressure worldwide on climate change in the last year – thanks to public figures such as Greta Thunberg, it was clear that Jojo’s message on Ecocide means that it has now become a “when” and not an “if” issue that the law will change.

How can I get involved?

You don’t have to a lawyer or a law student to get involved.

Stop Ecocide need everyone’s support to help push Ecocide forward at the ICC, and need everyone to take action. You can get involved by:

1. Becoming an Earth Protector

By signing up to become an Earth Protector you are helping Stop Ecocide receive visible support and raising awareness for the crime of Ecocide to be recognised at the International Criminal Court. You can sign up here.

2. Donating to Stop Ecocide

You can choose to donate to the NGO Ecological Defence Integrity which is the non-profit organisation that focuses on the legal, diplomatic, and communications work to progress Ecocide law. Donations will help to work towards expert legal research and practical assistance to states that wish to progress the law. You can donate to EDI here. You can also choose to donate to the UK charity Earth Community Trust which works towards raising awareness of the Stop Ecocide campaign and growing the global movement of the Earth Protector Communities. You can donate to the Earth Community Trust here.

3. Signing petitions

By signing the petition and sharing it you can help Stop Ecocide gain enough signatures to bring the petition to the attention of world leaders to encourage Ecocide as an international crime. You can sign the petition here.

4. Stop Ecocide merchandise shop

All profits from the Stop Ecocide merchandise shop go towards aiding the campaign. There’s T-shirts, tote bags, books and more to choose from to help the cause! You can have a look at the shop here.

If you want to find out more then check out this interview with Jojo Mehta from Stop Ecocide here!

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