You may have read this article I wrote ages ago on lawyer Polly Higgin’s ecocide law. If you thought it was a good idea then there’s something you can do to help it along.
Please sign this petition to ask the European Parliament to “recognise ecocide as a crime”.
They’re aiming to get a million signatories from people all over the world. They’ll ask for your name, nationality and email address. If you really want to be a star you could also share it on your social networks/in day-to-day life.
You can learn more about ecocide and why it should be illegal everywhere here. However the basic idea is that ecocide is the extensive destruction of an ecosystem, to the point where the inhabitants (humans and other species) can no longer flourish. Making ecocide illegal wouldn’t make it illegal to do anything harmful to the environment: it’d just cut out the most serious stuff like cutting down the Amazon, burying large amounts of toxic waste, polluting vital rivers and etc.
Polly Higgins is even campaigning for it to be established as the 5th crime against peace, as it almost was in the 90s. Although big corporations will likely object to the movement, there are a lot of supporters including public figures, organizations and 10 nations already have similar laws.
I just got back from a field-trip with my university to Morocco. It was an incredible experience. But what I want to talk (write) about today is not the sun or the spices or the camels or snake-charmers, nor the invigorating thrill of leaving Europe for the first time, but the orange trees.
In the city of Marrakech, the streets outside the central medina are lined with orange trees. They’re very beautiful and they smell amazing, like someone passing by has a stylish citrus perfume that lingers after they’ve gone. But what I was more excited about was the possibility of abundant fruit. Seeing as the trees were in a public space and there were many poor people who could do with a free snack, I thought maybe the oranges were free for the picking: a civic resource. Upon asking our guide, I found out that for some ungodly reason they weren’t edible oranges, they were some bitter un-eatable variety.
I have no idea why, and it seems like a lost opportunity to me. I’ve always thought cities would be much improved with a sprinkling of fruit trees, lining avenues and adorning parks. I mean, trees already make oxygen, and you can’t really get anything more useful than that. When you consider they also absorb carbon, look pretty and offer food and shelter to wildlife, it’s a done deal. But while you’re at it, why not sweeten the deal with a bounty of fresh fruit?
In the UK and all around the world, we could have local councils and community groups get on a fruit-tree-planting-mission and tick off a tonne of jobs in one go. It’s really important that the fruit be free for local people to pick and eat though. That’s the beauty of the scheme. People shouldn’t be allowed to hog the harvest or take away bagfuls to sell, but they should be able to have their fill. Allowing something to be free does require bursting out of that sad old everything-is-for-sale mentality that seems to pervade our everyday lives. I realise that would be kinda difficult for some people to get their heads around, but I happen to think it’s a nice idea. It would improve poorer people’s chances of getting plenty of fresh fruit, which as a student I happen to know can be expensive. It’d also cut into our food miles and boost food security. Considering the UK imports around 90% of its fruit*, a little action wouldn’t go amiss.
Free peaches! Not my image.
And could it really be more obvious that fruit trees might as well produce edible fruit?
I don’t know what those Moroccan town-planners were thinking, but I bet if they’d done a survey close to 100% of people would have opted for free delicious oranges over useless inedible ones.
* Statistic from The Constant Economy by Zac Goldsmith.
Just want to share this 12-minute video I came across on Sustainable Man. It really succinctly explains how the economic crash of 2008 is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, and how due to the depletion of key resources we’re in for a very tough time indeed. Don’t worry, around half way in it saves you from alarm and possible depression by turning to the more proactive question of “what can we do about it?” The solutions explored in the rest of the video are just a teeny tiny teaser of the awesome stuff people are working on all around the world, so be sure to do some more research. For ideas on what to punch into google you could check out my post TheBig Bumper Book of Solutions.
Share with your friends, especially people who don’t already know about this stuff, and start a conversation!
Also don’t you think the illustrations are brilliant?
As I wrote in my glowing review, Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neil is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The book outlines an idea for a steady state economy – a truly sustainable economy that puts wellbeing before profit. When I read the book and found out about this concept, it was pretty much a life changing experience. I was ecstatic that other people were actually working on the ideas that were already half-baked in my mind. It filled me with hope. Today I found this video on Youtube which gives you an 18-minute taster of Enough is Enough, the limits to growth and the steady state concept. If you haven’t read it, watch the video for a quick summary. Then order this brilliant book from your local bookshop!
I’ve just finished reading Prosperity Without Growth by Tim Jackson (2009) for the second time. I got it from my university library and I haven’t been able to bring myself to relinquish it – I’ve renewed this little volume three times now. It’s one of the best factual books I’ve ever read, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in sustainability, the environment, economics or well-being. Continue reading →
Global Initiative Eradicating Ecocide – chaired and founded by international barrister Polly Higgins – defines ecocide as:
The extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ve heard me rattling on about the problems with economic growth on a finite planet, and waxing lyrical about the steady state solution. If you’ve always thought it sounded like a great idea but wasn’t quite sure what to do about it, then this post’s for you. Continue reading →
Every day I feel a kind of buzz, a hum, a tension and underlying sense of expectation that permeates my daily life. I feel like I’m waiting for something. In fact, I think I’ve always felt like this. Continue reading →