What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. ― Mahatma Gandhi
Today is International Peace Day. Looking at the news this past week it is clear that humanity has a long way to go when it comes to living peacefully with one another. Syria is still in a hellish mess, over two years now since the conflict started. Another mass shooting has occurred in the US, and deadly bombs are still killing civilians in Iraq.
Our inability to live in peace with each other makes it unsurprising that we cannot live in harmony with our environment. But, as we know how important and valuable it is to strive for peace on earth, this includes how we interact with our environment. After all, we are not separate from our environment; we are part of it, and we are dependent on it. That is why, along with ending cruelties against humans, we also have to end Ecocide; the missing 5th Crime Against Peace.
Ecocide is the extensive destruction of ecosystems, and it is occurring all over the world. Our rivers are being dammed, our oceans over-fished, our forests are being cut down and our air is becoming polluted. Throwing the natural world into a state of imbalance harms not only our fellow species on this planet, but ultimately also ourselves. It depletes our natural resources, and with the increasing scarcity of resources such as drinking water, food, as well as valuable minerals, oil etc., we will only see an increase in conflicts arising around the lack of these resources. That is why Ecocide is the missing 5th Crime Against Peace.
There has already been a mock trial that has shown that an international law against Ecocide could be implemented. Furthermore, it is already an international crime to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment during war time, yet there is no correlating crime for times of peace.
Polly Higgins is at the forefront of the push to make Ecocide a crime. She is an inspiring speaker, and you can see her TEDx talk here to learn more about Ecocide. What can you do to help make Ecocide a crime? If you are a European citizen, sign the petition here, and go on the website eradicatingecocide.com to learn more (twitter: @thisisecocide).
Share the petition with someone you know, and help spread the word. We need 1 million votes! If you’re not an EU citizen, you can still make a difference by spreading the word. The website mentioned before also has some great suggestions of how you can help make Ecocide a crime.
I believe in the possibility of a better world. Do you?
- Ecocide: The Fifth Crime Against Peace? (ecopostblog.wordpress.com)
- Polly Higgins: Law of Ecocide (syntheticzero.net)
- Success – UN promotes International Ecocide Convention but much work to do (ecoartfilm.com)
- Interview with Author and Campaigner Polly Higgins (wildlawdoc.wordpress.com)
- EPA Implements Environmental Justice to Save the Planet (occupycorporatism.com)
- Happy International World Peace Day! (austinsegwaytours.wordpress.com)