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Law Against Ecocide Was Suggested As Early as 1972

Imagine it’s 2020

I write to you from 2020, a world where there is no more Ecocide; a law of Eococide has now been passed after 5 years of transition where all companies have been given subsidies to prioritise a green economy; governments have been re-writing their policies and laws to bring them in line with the 5th Crime Against Peace and banks have new investment rules that categorise investment into dangerous indistrial activity as unsupportable. Innovation in the green sector has flourished and economies are stabilising; long-term investment signals into green-tech have brought a flood of job opportunities to millions of people across the globe and Green Crime has become a thing of the past.

My wish is not only possible, it almost became a reality 14 years ago. Back then the Rome Statute was put in place — however earlier drafts had included a law of Ecocide. [See more info further below.] Can you imagine where we would be if it had been enacted? We would be in a place just as I envision for 2020.

This time round we can put in place the missing 5th Crime Against Peace by bringing the people of the world together — and that is why we are calling on you and every one you know to support our Wish20. Our leaders need a public mandate to step forward and say yes to making Ecocide a crime. This time round we can make sure it does not get overlooked. Please help us make it happen. Sign our Global Citizens Initiative and help us create a world map of support for a law of Ecocide.

Polly reports on a groundbreaking discovery; Ecocide was examined for decades by the UN to be included as the fifth Crime Against Peace.

Imagine my surprise when a journalist called me a year ago to ask for my comment on the news that a law of Ecocide had been considered an international crime over 15 years ago. All we had was one document that referred to three countries who had objected to it being included as Crime Against Peace.

Today we have a paper trail that takes us back to 1972. The call to make Ecocide an international crime is nothing new – over 7,000 people took to the streets in Stockholm in 1972 to demand that ecocide be a crime. It was the time of the Vietnam War and world leaders had met in Stockholm to resolve environmental issues at an international level for the first time. At the same time, The People’s Forum brought together some of the top experts of the day to discuss ecocide.

Fast forward a decade; 1985 saw the flame of the Law of Ecocide burn brightly again. Most significantly was the draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind (precursor to the Rome Statute) which included Ecocide. For a further 11 years the United Nations partook in concerted debate, discussion and research — one researcher even drafted the Ecocide Convention. What happened next is set out in the research paper, Ecocide is the Missing 5th Crime Against Peace.

This explains why there are already ten countries with national laws in place to make Ecocide a crime.

Launched 19th July 2012 by The Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London, The Ecocide Project will continue to unravel the question as to why it was shelved. Dr Damien Short, who has just taken up the post of Director of the Human Rights Consortium said “the paper provides a foundation of understanding on which we must build; there is more vital work to be done.” The report draws attention to the preamble of the draft Ecocide Convention, where there is the explicit recognition that Ecocide is not always a crime of intent – and that Ecocide is caused in both times of war and peace.

These are words that have just as much relevance today as they did when they were written in the draft Ecocide Convention in 1973:

Man has consciously and unconsciously inflicted irreparable damage to the environment in times of war and peace.

My dream is for a world of peace, a world where mass damage and destruction no longer exists. I believe we can live in peaceful enjoyment where both people and planet are put first.

Like the name of the research paper, Ecocide is the missing 5th Crime Against Peace – just imagine; when we close the door to mass damage and destruction a new door will open. When it does close, our world of conflict will end. What will open is the door to the world of peace.


  1. Ever read George Orwell’s “1984” or Huxley’s “Brave New World”?

    I am suspicious that when I dissect the philosophy behind this move to give world government the power to introduce such a scheme I will find parallel ideas.

    I am sad that you are promoting such a scheme.

  2. can either of you extrapolate on your comments as to why this would be bad – as opposed to waving a blanket boogeyman at us and moaning wooooooooooooooooooooo.

    im not out to disagree with you – hell there is a chance i might agree with you – but not on the wave of a fear wand. explain your logic if you please.

  3. The problem with all this intellectual rhetoric is that no matter what laws are in place, if they are not enforced, it’s worse than nothing- because the people who believe in environmental justice have a false sense of security. Meanwhile the callous butchers and poisoners, continue to reap profits at the expense of the working class, who is trusting that what they are feeding their children, and breathing, is safe.

    I have been trying to garner support, (and help) for school gardens, for the past few years, without success- mainly because I don’t have the tools to make it happen, and yet the school board gives contracts to businesses for VENDING MACHINES and the sale of COOKIE DOUGH. But no vegetables growing, because there’s no money in the budget to take care of them…

  4. I’m with you almeister – I’d like to hear the reasoned arguments, not just broad dismissals.

    Although the Montreal Protocol was put in place before ‘agenda 21’ ever got a mention, it’s along the same lines, and proved to be a big success. If this legally mandated phase-out of CFCs hadn’t happened, where would we be today with the ozone holes? We have laws against things like murder, and yet big industries are effectively threatening much of mankind with extinction, due to their destruction of the very resources we all need (clean air/water, productive soils, and a balanced cycling of CO2, etc.), and they do it with impunity.

    I’ve expressed many, many times on this site, that if we don’t voluntarily do the right thing, we’ll be forced to do the right thing through laws. Indeed, if everyone did the right thing, voluntarily, there would be no laws of any kind! There would be no locks, no security cameras, etc. We bring laws upon ourselves due to our lack of objectivity and compassion and our abundance of greed.

    Unfortunately we’ve built a system that incentivises destruction, to the point where you have to go ‘against the current’ to invest in the future of humanity, and you have increased costs to do so. The most destructive goods are also the cheapest, and thus most accessible. ‘Living green’ is often regarded as a hobby for the wealthy – the rest of us just do what we have to do to survive within this ‘system’ on a daily basis. The system won’t change until we get to the root of its motivation – if it’s only about profit, as it is today, then we’ll continue our march to the abyss. If other factors get incorporated – like a responsibility to community and the environment – then the system can adjust until the most damaging products are the most expensive, and the most beneficial goods and services to BOTH people and place will be the most cost-effective also.

    At the moment it’s a CEO’s legal obligation to just make profit for shareholders. If he/she reduces profit by considering the impacts of the business and investing in people/place instead, he can be prosecuted for dereliction of duty.

    See the section “Getting to the heart of the matter: Corporate greed is a CEO’s legal obligation” in this post.

    The natural world has its own laws, and they cannot be changed, despite the ambitions of geo-engineers. If we cannot adjust our economies so that it functions in harmony with those unchangeable natural laws, then the natural world will destroy our economy, and the societies that depend on it.

    If this ecocide law is not perfect, then we need to figure out how to make it more so. Leaving the fate of the future to ‘self-regulation’ means nothing but business-as-usual – and a very finite business at that.

    Another post to consider in this vein:

  5. I feel that if people were aware of what this “law” actually meant to the “controlled” masses they would be appalled…for example it means an end to permaculture as is currently occuring in the US with local government enacting “code” violations (Agenda-21 violations) against ordinary people trying to grow and produce their own food, harvest water from their rooves and sustain themselves…it includes unending control over all resources including the block of land you live on, not only resources being pillaged by corporations (they will likely be exempted…please be very wary of blindly accepting the premises put forward by these people and investigate the true meaning fully…go in peace

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