Let’s start by pressing fast-forward to the 2030s. Imagine a billionaire businessman in expensive shoes. He’s in the dock of the International Criminal Court at the Hague. This once-arrogant titan of industry, who has knowingly pushed profit at the expense of nature, stands where war criminals and genocidal maniacs have stood before him. Imagine the first person on earth to be tried for crimes against the earth. The charge against him? Ecocide.
The literal meaning of Ecocide is “killing one’s home”. According to the legal definition, it means, “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”. Ecocide, which is currently advancing in the long process to become international criminal law, is on track to become the fifth among crimes deemed so heinous that it will join War Crimes, Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and Acts of Aggression in being tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is, in turn, recognised as the “court of last resort” by 123 countries. In the words of Richard J Rogers, Partner, Global Diligence; Executive Director, Climate Counsel (UK), “Ecocide is a criminal law for the 21st Century. If humanity is to reach the 22nd Century.”