Eradicating Ecocide – Healing the Harm
By Louise Kulbicki
Published on March 10, 2012
Be a part of history in the making — a world first event coming soon
I am Louise Kulbicki, the legal co-ordinator for Eradicating Ecocide. I want to tell you about how I came to work for the campaign and about an event coming soon which I am really excited about.
I graduated recently into the worst economic recession since the thirties, with unemployment escalating, and at a time when humanity was facing a number of interconnected environmental crises. Many months after graduating, with no environmental law job on the cards my dream of using the law to help change the world for the better seemed to be getting more distant.
But one evening this all changed. It was a cold, dark December evening. I was unlocking my bike which was chained to a lamp post at Euston station in London. There was another woman also unlocking her bike, chained to the same post as mine. The woman was listening to two policemen talking about bike crime. I paid little attention until I heard the woman speak and I instantly recognised her voice. I looked up and exclaimed “Polly!” I had heard Polly Higgins speak at an event a few years ago, and was completely inspired. The campaign instantly resonated with me, it provides hope, positivity, and a solution to end mass environmental destruction and I know our supporters feel exactly the same. Polly and I talked about Ecocide and she told me she was looking for someone with a legal background to join the team. I started volunteering for the campaign in January and became a fulltime member in February. I couldn’t believe my luck, I had landed my ideal job.
And this brings me on to an event which I am really excited about.
The sentencing of Bannerman and Tench
I’m sure many of you will remember that last year two fictional CEOs Robert Bannerman and John Tench were put on trial in the UK Supreme Court to test how the law of Ecocide would work in practice. Both were found guilty of committing Ecocide as a consequence of their environmentally damaging extractive operations in the Athabasca tar sands.
However, making Ecocide illegal and prosecuting those who commit it is only part of the picture. To make Ecocide law effective, to really be a game changer, the sanctions in place for offenders must help to change corporate behaviour, end damaging and destructive practices and restore harm when Ecocide occurs.
Simply sending CEOs to jail will not make the law of Ecocide effective. The CEOs may never truly understand the effects of their damaging behaviour. Just ordering the CEOs to pay a fine will not do this either. No amount of money can replace the species killed, the ancient habitats, or people’s sacred heritage. Once they are gone they are gone. There is no Planet B.
Ground breaking restorative justice process
The event which I am so excited about is the sentencing of Bannerman and Tench. It is being organised by the Hamilton Group and the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution (IDCR) at the University of Essex, Colchester campus and is being held on 31st March.
The reason this event is so unique is because under the Ecocide Act, new revolutionary provisions have been applied where restorative justice is an option for the offenders, providing they accept responsibility for committing Ecocide.
Using restorative justice for corporate crimes of this kind has never been done before. This event is a world first. We are holding this event to see whether and how restorative justice will work in practice.
So what is restorative justice? It is a unique healing process, which brings offenders face to face with the victims, in this case they include representatives speaking on behalf of birds and other natural life, indigenous peoples and future generations. It will allow the victims to tell the CEOs about the effects of Ecocide on their lives. It allows the CEOs to truly understand the extent of the damage they have caused. This process may result in an agreement between the parties which will help restore the damage done. It could also prevent CEOs from committing future Ecocide. You can also watch more about the event and restorative justice here and see answers to frequently asked questions here.
This is what could really make an International crime of Ecocide be a game changer for the whole of humanity. This is what could start to change corporate behaviour. This really is history in the making, which I am proud to be a part of, and which I want you to be a part of too.
Leading lawyers including Michael Mansfield QC, journalists, business people, politicians, academics and campaigners will take part in the sentencing process, and throughout the day there will also be breakout groups and debates. Breakout sessions include a presentation by Canadian photographer Garth Lenz about the tar sands, and a panel of experts will discuss “How could Ecocide be a Transformative Law for Sustainable Business?”
Please spread the message or come along…
Please help us spread the news of this event and forward this article or share it on Facebook or Twitter.
If you know journalists who may be interested please do tell them about it too — they can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much. I hope you’re as excited as I am and I look forward to talking to you again soon.
With hope and faith,
Louise Kulbicki, the legal co-ordinator for Eradicating Ecocide. To learn more, visit: www.eradicatingecocide.com
Article picture: Puckel via Pixabay