Linfen, China: the most polluted city in the world; photo by sheilaz413 (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Ecocide is relatively new word used to describe a practice that results in large-scale environmental damage or destruction. It is, in short, the murder of the environment.

Environmental lawyer Polly Higgins is campaigning the UN to have ecocide be considered an international crime against peace, similar to genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Higgins is quoted in an article from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Ecocide is in essence the very antithesis of life. It leads to resource depletion, and where there is escalation of resource depletion, war comes chasing behind. Where such destruction arises out of the actions of mankind, ecocide can be regarded as a crime against peace.’

If ecocide were to be deemed a crime against humanity or ‘crime against peace’, heavily polluters and other environmentally destructive industries would be held accountable in international courts for the damage they inflict on the planet.

Until these crimes are put to an end, we must consider the health impacts as well. Individual disability insurance would be a serious consideration considering that even the air we breath is now dangerous.

The post-environmentalist Dark Mountain Project manifesto says we are living in the ‘age of ecocide’. To see why, check out the Guardian’s slide show of the ‘Ten worst ecocides‘, including the Alberta tar sands; the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; the city of Linfen in China; and the destruction and pollution of the Amazon rainforest.

by Graham Land