Ecocide: 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.

Mirroring similar Rights of Nature movements in places like Bolivia and in the state of Vermont, a group of committed citizens in Europe recently launched an official campaign to end ecocide in the European Union.

The European Citizens Initiative (whose title is the same as this blog and can be found here) calls for a Law of Ecocide which would criminalize the act of ecocide when it occurs in EU territory and/or when it involves EU companies or citizens.

When (not if!) this happens, it will further establish Rights of Nature through the recognized modern authority of the European Union and represent a momentous step forward for environmental protection policy.

What it Will Take to Implement a Law of Ecocide in the EU

In addition to the continued dedication of the organizers of this campaign, bringing legislation to the table will require the active voice of many European citizens. One million of them to be exact.

The End Ecocide web site is currently hosting a petition for 1 million signatures from EU citizens, which will enable them to formally submit the initiative to the European Commission for review. For a complete breakdown of the initiative process, click here.

Not From the EU? You Still Have a Role to Play

The citizens behind the European initiative were initially motivated to take action after listening to a moving speech by international lawyer Polly Higgins, in which she proposed to make Ecocide the 5th Crime Against Peace.

Higgins is the founder of Eradicating Ecocide, a global campaign calling for an end to ecocide by the year 2020, and this is where you and all of Earth’s citizens come in.

As part of the Eradicating Ecocide movement, a global support campaign called Wish20 offers a platform for people all over the world to join in a collective demonstration to world leaders that ecocide is and should be an international crime.

To make ecocide a crime in the statutes of the International Criminal Court, at least 86 countries must endorse the campaign. To help build critical mass towards this fully achievable goal, you can add your name to those who support this important cause.

An Ally in The Pachamama Alliance

The Pachamama Alliance is a proud supporter of Eradicating Ecocide as their commitment to Rights of Nature reflects our more than decade-long efforts to protect the environment.

Spearheaded by our sister organization, Fundación Pachamama, our recent accomplishments include helping to inform new environmental public policy actions in South America and ensuring legal enforcement of Rights of Nature in Ecuador.

Through our continued dedication to the environment, the efforts of a swiftly growing body of organizational allies, and the collective committed action of individuals like yourself, a more just and sustainable world, characterized by ecological coexistence rather than ecocide, is slowly but surely becoming a reality we can all be proud to be a part of.

Further Reading

  • There’s always more you can do in addition to signing a petition, find out what other steps you can take to support ending ecocide in Europe.
  • Interested in supporting the Wish20 campaign beyond signing your name? Find out how on on this web page.
  • Help spread the word by liking and sharing the End Ecocide in Europe Facebook page, as well as the global Wish20 Facebook page.
  • Learn more about the history of Ecocide (which dates back to 1972!) by clicking here.