Ecocide is serious harm. The harm can occur in many ways within the context of dangerous industrial or climate activity. The consequences of ecocide can be widespread, long-term or severe. Currently it is not an international crime.
Ecocide law, as proposed here, protects both people and planet within two contexts; corporate and climate activity. You can read the full proposed Model Law here.
Ecocide law has a history spanning nearly 50 years. You can read a summary of the history here.
Nevermore has there been a time when the missing law of ecocide is required. Ecocide law is a legal route that will significantly abate sea-level rises, protect millions of lives and prevent serious harm to our planetary boundaries by imposing State and corporate responsibility for dangerous industrial and climate activity. Ecocide crime protects lives, prevents planetary boundary tipping-points and prohibits dangerous industrial activity. Dangerous industrial activities and climate disasters are the ultimate responsibility of the very people who have the power to prevent the serious harm, at a State and corporate level.
Planetary boundaries consist of nine “planetary life support systems” essential for human survival; beyond these boundaries there is a risk of “irreversible and abrupt environmental change.” A tenth boundary has subsequently been suggested to determine the health of ecosystems. Our Earth page sets out the nexus between corporate and State responsibility for planetary boundaries, carbon majors and human life.
Criminalising ecocide at an international level requires one or more State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to propose the inclusion of ecocide to the existing “most serious crimes of concern”. You can read the process that will be required to implement ecocide as an international crime of the Rome Statute here.
Existing laws, including international declarations, treaties and protocols, do not as yet impose a universal legal requirement to uphold State and corporate responsibility for serious harm. In response to this, a draft law of Ecocide was submitted by Polly Higgins in April 2010 into the United Nations Law Commission. You can read the proposed Model Law here.