Explainer: What is ecocide?

What is ecocide?

In short, ecocide refers to the mass destruction of ecosystems.

Formally, it is defined as “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”. This definition was crafted in June 2021 by an independent expert panel comprising 12 lawyers from around the world, convened by non-profit Stop Ecocide Foundation.

According to the Foundation, some general examples of ecocide include oil spills, deep sea trawling — the practice of dragging heavy nets across the sea floor to catch fish — and tar sands oil extraction. 

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Kate Yeo