This post was originally written by Holly Rose and appeared on her blog Leotie Lovely, I highly recommend you follow this inspiring woman’s work beyond this post!
Between the 1980s and 1990s, world leaders from 120 countries met to create the founding treaty for the International Criminal Court. The treaty is called the Rome Statute and was adopted on 17 July 1998 at the United Nations Diplomatic Conference and entered into force four years later on 1 July, 2002.
The treaty currently covers four international crimes against peace meant to protect human well being: Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide, and Crimes of Aggression. But what most people don’t know, is that when the document was drafted, it wasn’t just crimes against humans on the table. There was a 5th crime, called the crime of ecocide, but it was dropped due to pressure from the UK, France and the Netherlands.
What is Ecocide?
The law of ECOCIDE would / will make any actions which cause serious loss, damage or destruction to ecosystems, climate and culture, illegal. Had it been put in place back in 1996 and passed into law in 1998 along with the four crimes, we might not be in a state of climate emergency. As deforestation, oil extraction, genetically modified organisms, and so on, would have been amongst the many aspects of modern society made punishable by the law.
The power of Polly Higgins
Luckily for us, there is a lawyer from the UK named Polly Higgins, whose only client is the planet (I found out about her, and ecocide, reading Sharon Blackie’s book ‘If Women Rose Rooted’), and she’s picking up ECOCIDE where it was quietly left and bringing it back to life through the necessary legal channels.
Polly rediscovered ECOCIDE when she started looking into what current laws exist which enable climate breakdown. She found out that currently, the law demands for CEOs and directors to put the interests of their shareholders above all other things. Meaning they can cause mass damage and destruction as a result of corporate activity without worrying about any repercussions.
She realized, that the quickest and most effective way to amend ALL LAWS which enable policymakers and companies to contribute to climate breakdown can be eradicated with ONE AMENDMENT,
How you can make ecocide an international crime
Currently, small island nations who will be the first to be affected by climate breakdown, have the power to put this law on the table. All they need is legal support and practical assistance, which Polly and her team at Ecological Defence Integrity can provide, as well as the safety of public support and visibility, which all of us can unite to offer.
If you believe Ecocide should be recognized as an atrocity crime at the International Criminal Court, you can declare yourself an Earth Protector by clicking HERE.
I truly believe this is one of the most effective ways to halt climate breakdown, the movement simply needs humans to hold up their hands and indicate to our governments that we stand behind this amendment. I’ve chosen to financially support them with the same monthly payments I spend on Spotify and Netflix, which I encourage you to do as well if your finances allow it.