SEP

KK provokes again with Ecocide on the Docket, referencing Trial tests whether ‘ecocide’ could join genocide as global crime. If this is just PR then I’m with KK: it is stupid. If it is real, it is also stupid.

They have a definition of ecocide:

Ecocide: The extensive damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems 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 severely diminished.

The addition of “by human agency or by other causes” is curious: that would make, say, Mt St Helens, or Pinatubo, guilty of ecocide. Perhaps Katrina was, too. Why that is any concern of the courts, though, is a mystery to me. By “inhabitants” I assume they mean humans (mind you, what is a “territory”? A country? A geographical area? A deliberately vague word designed to generate income for lawyers?); that would mean that total environmental destruction of, say, Antarctica would not be ecocide. Or any uninhabited portion of the Sahara, or the Amazon rain forests. I don’t think that a definition of ecocide that only works in inhabited areas makes any sense at all.

They give some examples: the BP gulf spill is one. I find that hard to fit as “ecocide”: it was all really exciting at the time, of course, but is very largely over now. Some people are still inconvenienced, but the ecosystem is largely back.

The Canada tar sands are another example of ecocide but (and I say this in near total ignorance) isn’t that too a largely unpopulated area? Should it matter whether it is inhabited or not?