It is against the law to steal from or hurt other people, and it is against the law to kill another person.  However, it is not currently against the law to wilfully harm the environment for human gain.

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What is Ecocide?

Flickr - Foreign and Commonwealth Office - CC BY ND 2.0

Ecocide literally means ‘to kill the environment’. 

The word ecocide is made by combining 'eco', which has its roots in the ancient Greek word 'oikos', meaning house or the Latin word 'oeco' meaning 'household' and which over the years has come to mean 'habitat' or 'environment';  ' -cide' comes from the Latin verb 'caedere', meaning 'to cut down' or 'to kill'.  

A more familiar word -  'homicide' - means the killing of a human being, with 'homo' in Latin meaning 'a human'.  

Ecocide, therefore, is a crime against ecosystems.  It could be used to refer to any human activity that substantially damages or destroys the environment. At the moment there is no law criminalising such harm, though many environmental experts are calling for change.

Read More: Should Ecocide Be Criminalised?

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