It is against the law to steal from or hurt other people, and it is against the law to kill another person.  But, is it against the law to destroy thousands of trees and the wildlife that depend on them?


Examples of Ecocide

Do you remember the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?  In April 2010 Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling platform exploded, tragically killing eleven oil workers and leaving an oil well leaking thousands of barrels of oil into the sea every day for several months.  The oil spill also killed hundreds of birds, fish and mammals and affected the livelihoods of those who lived onshore and who fished in the area.  The disaster caused lasting damage to the local ecosystem. Dolphin deaths greatly increased (long term impacts are not yet known). Seabird losses may have numbered in the hundreds of thousands and invertebrates were hard hit. There were also some reports of deformed wildlife after the spill.
Over 1,000 miles of Gulf shoreline was damaged. This is an example of an ecocide. 

In 2015, the environmental costs of the spill are still being assessed.  The oil company liable for this damage, BP, is still undergoing trials to determine how much the company should pay in fines.  The most recent figures agree that around 3.19million barrells of oil were spilt and the fine for this damage is currently held at £13.7 billion.  The spill has already cost the company £42 billion.

With this example in mind, pressures are mounting to stop oil drilling in the Arctic where sea conditions are more severe and dangerous.  The Arctic is also an ailing environment, already suffering the effects of climate change and global warming.

An endangered Kemp's Ridley turtle swims out from under the oil at the location of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Read More: If Ecocide were Law

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