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Vivienne Westwood calls for ecocide law



British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is calling on the European Union to make environmental destruction a crime and hold those responsible to account.

Ecocide is defined as the extensive destruction of or loss of ecosystem of a given territory and covers all major environmental disasters. It also includes ignoring the rights of future generations. Westwood is urging people to sign an online petition, the issue will be debated by the EU if it reaches 1 million signatures.

An ecocide law would mean that companies and individuals could be held responsible for damaging natural resources. Currently, companies can be fined for environmental destruction, such as oil spills, and individuals are rarely jailed for failing to protect the environment. Fines have little impact on large corporations with them building potential risks into their business models, the campaign argues.

Westwood said, “Our financial rulers and the politicians who help them are playing a giant game of Monopoly with the world’s finite resources – completely abstract from reality – even though they accept the fact of climate change.

“You can’t play Monopoly when everybody’s dead. I imagine they’ll be the last people. They don’t care so long as they win.”

Westwood has also strongly criticised the UK government’s fracking plans. “We are on an unstoppable course unless we stop and we have to stop people. And that’s why fracking is so important to this country. We’ve got to stop fracking,” she said.

The government recently announced that local authorities would be able to keep 100% of business rates from fracking sites in a bid to encourage shale gas exploitation. The ‘bribes’ follow opposition to shale gas extraction, which led to the Prime Minister saying those that are “religiously opposed” to fracking are being “irrational.

International barrister Polly Higgins, the person behind the ecocide movement, has previously explained how the law of ecocide could end destructive environmental practices.

Further reading:

The law of ecocide: investing in innovation to benefit people and the planet 

Biodiversity in UK overseas territories face ‘immediate and significant threats’

Aiming for tar sands is greedy and destructive, Neil Young tells Canadian PM

Government to offer fracking ‘bribes’ to local council

‘Religiously opposed’ fracking opponents are being ‘irrational’, says Cameron

BP loses legal battle over 2010 oil spill compensation limits