A ‘strong solution’: Activists push to make environmental genocide an international crime | environment

California winemaker Julia Jackson has long recognized the threats posed by the ongoing global climate change crisis, from intense wildfires and hurricanes to rising sea levels. But for her, those thoughts went from the abstract to the tangible for her The house was destroyed From the Kinkade wildfire that devastated her hometown of Sonoma County in 2019.

“I lost everything — all my belongings,” Jackson said. “It shocked me to the core.”

But Jackson not only used the resources she collected through her second-generation ownership of Jackson Family Wine Company, the ninth largest wine company in the United States, to rebuild her life after that disaster. I have since signed on to lead the American chapter in a global movement to make mass damage and destruction of ecosystems a prosecutable international crime against peace known as ecocide.

Jackson and her companions in Stop environmental genocide He spent the past week in New York City, meeting dignitaries involved in Climate Week events as well as the United Nations General Assembly. They also marched from Foley Square to Battery Park in Manhattan in one of 450 strike demonstrations planned around the world on September 23 as part of the Friday for the future The movement demanding climate compensation and justice.

Among other things, they urged voters to cast their ballots in the upcoming US midterm elections for candidates who oppose things like deforestation and want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, some of the factors that contribute to global warming and its effects: longer-lasting wildfires, hurricanes The most powerful and erosive coasts.

However, at the top of the group’s list of demands was that countries around the world recognize ecocide as a crime against peace – carrying fines and even prison terms – through the United Nations International Criminal Court.

Jackson was quick to point out recently that Stop Ecocide doesn’t want to see everyday working-class motorists or frequent airline passengers indicted as international criminals and referred to the same court prosecuting wartime genocide and atrocities. They just want the accusation of ecocide to be an arrow in the quiver of those trying to rein in government-level policymakers whose agendas exacerbate the climate crisis.

As others have done over the years, Jackson — who also leads a climate-focused nonprofit — chose Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as the ideal candidate to stand trial for ecocide because of the accelerating rate at which the Amazon rainforest is living. It was destroyed under his administration.

Bolsonaro, among other things, has canceled environmental protection programs aimed at protecting the Amazon rainforest, which absorbs greenhouse gases and is an important line of defense against global warming. He also sought to open indigenous reserves—along with other protected lands—to mining projects and agribusiness, exacerbating harmful emissions.

“It’s not cutting down a single tree,” said Jackson, that ecocide is meant to criminalize. “It is a complete and severe devastation of the earth.”

There are obstacles, including procedural, that the movement has to overcome. Two-thirds of countries that recognize the UN’s International Criminal Court will need to agree to add ecocide as a crime.

This translates to a total of more than 80 countries requiring their consent, and even then countries that oppose ratification can limit its enforcement on their own territory and nationals.

However, Jackson Estimates About twenty countries at this point have expressed registered interest in the concept of classifying ecocide as an international crime, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Iceland, France, Mexico and Chile.

She hopes the movement’s momentum will continue to build from there, especially after last week.

As Executive Director of the global Stop Environmental Genocide movement, Jojo Mehta, said in a statement: “We must… prevent the mass harm and destruction of the living world… by recognizing it as the crime we all know.”

“The Law of Environmental Extermination is a powerful solution to protect nature, the climate, and our future while providing a guiding legal framework for positive change.”

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