Femke Wijdekop, Against Ecocide: Legal Protection for Earth, GREAT TRANSITION INITIATIVE (Aug. 2016)

In this short article, Wijdekop discusses criminalizing ecocide, “the massive damage and destruction of ecosystems” and an emerging ecocentric worldview in law. She begins with the landmark decision of Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands,[1] which established, for the first time, that the Dutch Government owes a duty of care to its citizens and required it to reduce CO2 emissions. Beyond integrating the interests of future generations, Wijdekop advocates for an ecocentric framework under which duty of care is owed to nature, whose rights and legal standing should be recognized, instead of being treated as property under the current paradigm. She considers the work of Polly Higgins to amend the Rome Statute to include ecocide in 2010 a “conceptual comeback.” In this regard, “[d]esignating ecocide an international crime against peace can catalyze a transition to a green economy and a more peaceful global civilization.”

[1] Urgenda Foundation v. The Netherlands [2015] HAZA C/09/00456689 (June 24, 2015).