by Valorie M. Allen
Ecocide: the damage, destruction or loss of ecosystems, whether by human agency or other causes.
Legal definition proposed to the UN by International Environmental lawyer, Polly Higgins, in April 2010
Have you ever wondered why we would need to create A NEW WORD to describe the colossal damage we are doing to our ecosystem? Perhaps it is because we have never been as ruthless and abusive to our ecosystem as we are today.
Have you ever wondered why we would need to create A NEW LAW making the destruction of our planet a crime? Perhaps it is because in recorded history mankind has never intentionally caused such massive and escalating destruction as we are today.
Have you ever wondered why we would need to create a NEW WORLD ETHIC to bring our human population back into harmony with our natural world? Perhaps it is because, as Einstein said, “The problems in the world today are so enormous they cannot be solved with the level of thinking that created them.”
I submit that these are signs that ecocide is rising. New words, laws, and ethics are needed because our impacts have become so drastic that our situation demands it. The past vocabulary limited our ability to comprehend the scale of the mass extinction underway, needless human and animal suffering, climate change, food and water shortages, and crimes against peace, humanity and future security.
The failure rests with those in a position of superior responsibility. Those people know the consequences, yet choose to ignore them and convince others to do the same. The stewards of this planet are basing decisions on misinformation and financial manipulation, and wrongfully promoting the claim that our economy depends on endless population growth to survive.
In other sectors such as finance, investment manager Bernie Madoff’s $50 Billion Ponzi Scheme was considered a crime, and punished. Yet those in high positions, such as the United Nations, the Vatican, and international agencies are not being held accountable for deceiving the public and causing rampant destruction of our ecosystems. This cruel and unacceptable abuse of power is called Tyranny, and has never been as rampant as it is today.
At present there is no law that addresses crimes of this magnitude against nature. But that may be changing soon. As Polly Higgins states in her article Why We Need a Law on Ecocide in the January 11, 2011 UK Guardian, “We do not currently have a legal crime in place that fits this description but there is one fast looming on the horizon and that crime is ecocide.”
“Making the destruction of our planet a crime … A CRIME AGAINST PEACE. Ecocide is the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) ………. ” www.thisisecocide.com
I maintain that reforming the United Nations should be a priority in order to respond effectively to the challenges of our time, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agrees. In January 2008, he outlined the changes that are needed:
“Every day we are reminded of the need for a strengthened United Nations, as we face a growing array of new challenges, including humanitarian crises, human rights violations, armed conflicts and important health and environmental concerns. Seldom has the United Nations been called upon to do so much for so many. I am determined to breathe new life and inject renewed confidence into a strengthened United Nations firmly anchored in the twenty-first century, and which is effective, efficient, coherent and accountable.”
Of course, since that time pressing global issues have only increased and worsened because the greatest threat to our planet has never been adequately addressed – that being the problem of overpopulation. The Union of Concerned Scientists has warned that pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future.
The mission statement for the United Nations Population Fund states that their international development agency: “…supports countries in using population data for policies and programs to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.” Yet by allowing the Vatican to have veto power in the United Nations, and unwarranted influence over almost a billion Catholics worldwide, any attempt at addressing these population issues has been derailed.
As Geoffrey Robertson states in the September 6, 2010 New Statesman article The Case Against Vatican Power:
“The Catholic Church is the only religion that is permitted – under international law as interpreted by the Foreign Office, and at the United Nations – to claim the privileges of sovereignty and statehood. These are considerable: both the Vatican and its leader have immunity from civil or criminal actions for the damage that they do to others – whether by trafficking pedophile priests or by condoning fraud at the Vatican Bank (suspects can avoid European arrest warrants by staying within the inviolable walls of the Holy City).
At the UN, which has wrongly allowed the Holy See to do everything a nation state may do except vote in the General Assembly (where it is nonetheless accorded six seats from which to speak and lobby), the Church’s advantages over other faith groups are enormous. At conferences, it lobbies relentlessly (usually with the help of Libya and Iraq) against any humanitarian action that might condone the “Heinous evils” of abortion – even after incest or rape – or homosexuality, and attempts to sabotage the distribution of condoms, including to married couples, to contain he plague of HIV/Aids.
……..Sovereign statehood brings huge advantages over other faith groups and non-governmental organizations, which the Church uses to oppose the sexual and health rights of everyone and the rights of women in particular.”
What is most alarming is that no one has dared criticize the Vatican for their violation against human rights or for committing ecocide. Not a whisper has been heard from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Labor Organization, Greenpeace, or the United Nations Population Fund to bring the Vatican to justice.
Just as an investment advisor giving false and inaccurate information to his clients is illegal, the Vatican giving inaccurate and misleading information to hundreds of millions of adherents should also be illegal. A crime is being committed, and the resulting ecocide is not only a crime against the global environment, but ultimately against humanity.
Therefore, I contend that the special privilege allowed the Vatican in the United Nations has been abused and should be revoked, and the Catholic Church should be given the same rights as any other religious entity. This would truly bring the United Nations into the 21 century – and align the decision making process with the environment, not religious affiliation.
Valorie M. Allen – author of “Growing Pains – A Planet In Distress”
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit