Eradicating Ecocide: ThisIsEcocide.com

ecocide title

Some big waves being made (no pun intended) in the UK this week on Ecocide: the destruction of ecosystems, typically by “human agency.” The Guardian’s great piece “Trial tests whether ‘ecocide’ could join genocide as global crime” describes the mock trial going on today, let by a one Polly Higgins, who runs ThisIsEcocide.com. I really like her take, summed up in the Guardian article:

Higgins says a key inspiration is William Wilberforce, whose campaigning led to the abolition of slavery in the UK. He changed to norm of how black people were treated, she says, and ecocide law would change the way the planet is treated. “We have go to the point when the ethical imperative trumps the economic imperative,” she says. At the moment in many countries, she points out, the first responsibility of CEOs is a financial one to their shareholders. If environmental destruction is not illegal but can boost profit, it will happen, she says.

But she is not anti-corporate or anti-profit, she says: “I started as a corporate lawyer. Now I want to make the problem part of the solution.” She says companies should be making profits from solving the problems of global warming, habitat destruction and the extinctions of animals and plants. The companies that traded in slaves did not go out of business after slavery was abolished, she claims. [emphasis mine]

The two “problems” chosen for mock trial are the “fictional” oil drilling in Canada, a la Tar Sands in Alberta (currently being protested in Canada after the large demonstration here), and the a Gulf of Mexico oil spill (BP, anyone?). As one can see from the Twitter hashtag #ecocidetrial, the arguing is quite real for a mock trial.

For a better description of what Ecocide is, Higgins has put together a short lecture on YouTube with the title “Ecocide is a Crime.” If hardcore is more your style, of course, there’s always this “Ecocide” (with lyrics here)

Currently the trial is streaming live on Sky News, though I they apparently in deliberation and will return later. As an environmentalist I fully support what Higgins is trying to do and  the pressure to hold those accountable for ecocide. Carry on!

Edit 10/03/11: The verdict is in, and it is guilty! Nice job, prosecution. Now let’s see this turn into a real law!

“The chief executives may have been actors, the corporations fictional and the trial a mock-up, but the circumstances surrounding the so-called “crimes” – the destruction of ecosystems during both the Gulf oil spill and the mining of crude oil in Alberta – are real. So is the call for a new law protecting the natural world, placing ecocide among the most heinous crimes known.”

Photo credit: NFW Blogs

Moving Planet, Moving Louisville – September 24

Moving Planet

Spurred by 350.org and their climate-changing actions, this year Louisville will have its own Moving Planet event, a “day to move beyond fossil fuels.” The idea is to congregate at a central location on foot, by bike, skates, or some other form of “clean” transportation (bus or carpool being the lesser alternative) and support initiatives for lessening our dependence on fossil fuels in our respective communities.

Louisville’s own celebration is happening on Saturday, September 24 (same as the national day of action) at the Jefferson Square Park (6th and Jefferson) in downtown Louisville at 4:00pm. The organizers (who recently got arrested as part of  the Tar Sands protests – way to go guys!) write:

Rally with us at 4 pm as we ask the Mayor to support a list of “LocalMotions” that would reduce our transportation-based fossil fuel use, clean our air, and enhance our community. There will be music, surprises, and more!

Come be part of the Louisville manifestation of a world-wide movement to wean our world off fossil fuels…for the sake of human beings and all life on our moving planet.

For those wishing to ride together or walk together, there will be meet-ups at Bike Couriers Bike Shop in Clifton, Heine Bros. Douglas Loops and Heine Bros. Longest Ave, as well as the Green Building. You can RSVP and get more info by visiting the Facebook event or sign-up directly here.

Louisville, let’s do this!

The Tar Sands and Their Impact

Accurately summed up this short video by Josh Fox:

 

While I’d love to be in DC next week, I doubt it will happen. At least Vida Vegan Con will satiate some of my activist desires! In the mean time, check out Grist and the links below for good coverage of the Tar Sands protests.

To call this project a horror is serious understatement. The tar sands have wrecked huge parts of Alberta, disrupting ways of life in indigenous communities—First Nations communities in Canada, and tribes along the pipeline route in the U.S. have demanded the destruction cease. The pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These  local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous. [src]

Tell Metro Louisville and LG&E To Stop Spreading Coal Ash

Here’s a solid petition hosted on CREDO Action’s site: “Stop dangerous coal ash pollution in Louisville.” It already has about 300 signatures, and they’re looking to give 500 before sending it to the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District. This particular petition references the Cane Run coal plant (which is connected to mountaintop removal) and the coal ash it spews on residents who live near it. I ride by the plant all the time, and it’s definitely an ugly site. I’m well aware that Louisville needs power to function (and I need it to blog), but there’s gotta be a better way. Says the petition,

Coal ash, which is more radioactive than nuclear waste, is known to cause asthma and various other respiratory problems. One local resident whose son suffers from severe respiratory problems was told by her doctor, “you need to move.”

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District is looking into the matter, but it hasn’t yet committed to taking action to protect nearby residents from the Cane Run coal plant’s coal dust pollution.

Glad I don’t live there, but I feel sorry for the people who do. Sign it today and invest in cleaner energy!

Climate Reality Project Drops on September 14

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Climate Reality's bold statement. (src)

I have to say, I “drank the Kool-aid” when I first heard about this project, as Al Gore has a lot of resources, and my hope was that he would show climate changer deniers once and for all with this project. The Climate Reality Project plans to be 24 straight hours of live, streaming video highlighting the plight of our earth and its temperature, based on the location the video is coming from. For us, it’s New York which will be at 7:00pm EST. Gore described the project as thus:

It will cover a 24-hour period. And I’m preparing a brand new 30 minute multimedia presentation.  A keynote slideshow with video and other feature that will focus in part on the connection between the extreme weather events all around the world and the climate crisis.  And it will begin on September 14th, in prime time, central time zone from Mexico City, and then it will move West to the next time zone over, and continue through all 24 time zones, ending the following evening, in  prime time, in New York City where I will give the last of the 24 presentations.

The website is flashy (not Flash-y), bold, and there’s an accompanying Facebook and Twitter base, but I’m not convinced this is gonna bowl the world over. I thought this was the kind of thing that a bunch of excited people in Louisville could get together and say “hey, let’s do our local presentation at 7:00pm too!” but it doesn’t seem to be so. You watch the feed closest to you (optional) and get a lot of e-mail updates. Share on Twitter, share on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, press about this issue is good as by 2050 we’re all screwed if we don’t take serious action. And even if Al Gore hasn’t seriously considered a plant-based diet as a possible “climate crisis” solution (he did cede that vegetarianism would help), at least he’s brought a lot of attention to the problem. So, as he says, let’s “choose reality!”