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A Crime With No Name: The International Definition Of ‘Ecocide’

Members of Extinction Rebellion hold a banner reading 'Make Ecocide a Crime' in Parliament Square in London, England.
Members of Extinction Rebellion hold a banner reading 'Make Ecocide a Crime' in Parliament Square in London, England.

Lawyers from around the world are working together to draft a legal definition for a crime that so far hasn’t had a name under international law: “ecocide.

The term is broadly defined as the systematic destruction of the environment.

The move comes at a time when action to protect the environment is undeniably necessary. And the science is clear: Without serious action to mitigate damage, all life on Earth will pay dearly as climate change continues to shape our world.

If these lawyers succeed, they would be raising ecocide to the level of genocide in international law and providing a powerful tool to hold entities that pollute our planet accountable.

What would it mean to make environmental degradation a crime? And how powerful is international arbitration in preventing this type of destruction?

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