The 8th deadly sin: how a campaign to establish a global law of ecocide is gathering momentum

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has become the poster boy for those calling for systematic environmental destruction to become an international crime against peace. A sharp increase in deforestation in the Amazon, fuelled by deregulation, is an act of ecocide, they say. The International Criminal Court in The Hague must have the jurisdiction to prosecute leaders and businesses that knowingly cause ecological catastrophes, they argue. The idea is gaining traction, and recently won the support of Pope Francis. He proposes that “sins against ecology” be added to the teachings of the Catholic Church

At climate protests over the past year, the breasts of activists blossomed with “Stop Ecocide” slogans and stickers, showing their allegiance to a growing campaign to have environmental destruction labelled an international crime. While this wave of enthusiasm for the idea feels fresh, use of the term ‘ecocide’ to describe systemic environmental destruction has in fact been around since the 1960s.

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