[P2P-F] Fwd: Against Ecocide (GTN Discussion)

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 22 07:32:29 CEST 2016

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Great Transition Network <gtnetwork at greattransition.org>
Date: Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 8:45 PM
Subject: Against Ecocide (GTN Discussion)
To: michelsub2004 at gmail.com

>From J Kim Wright <jkimwright at gmail.com>

For many years, I've been following the efforts to make ecocide a crime
against peace. On the one hand, I am encouraged that so many people are
beginning to feel a connection to the Earth and wanting to take action. I
celebrate their passion and commitment. I am elated that conversations are
exploring the best way to approach the subject. On the other hand, I am
distressed about using an old paradigm approach, an adversarial court
system, as the means for addressing the harm being done.

My work is in the new paradigm of law that is grounded in an awareness of
our interconnectedness, where lawyers see themselves as peacemakers,
problem-solvers, and healers of conflicts. In this new paradigm, lawyers
around the world are inventing and reinventing models of engaging conflict
in productive and conscious ways.

The old adversarial system is based upon separation. It focuses on
differences and steers away from common ground. I believe that separation
from the Earth, and from each other, is the root of much that is not
working in the world. Earth is seen as a resource to claim, to tame, and to
exploit. Frankly, the same attitude is not uncommon when applied to human
beings. Cogs in a machine, we are the means to an end: the accumulation of
property. The adversarial court system fortifies and exacerbates the

Of the many non-adversarial models that have been emerging over the last
two or three decades, I find that restorative justice offers the most
possibility for healing in environmental crisis. Restorative Justice has
its origins in the circle practices and tribal lodges of indigenous
peoples. Restorative justice focuses on healing the harm to everyone,
including the sense of shame and separation that is characteristic of the
so-called perpetrator. As Martin Luther King Jr. described: Justice is Love
correcting that which revolts against Love.

RJ has been used in small circles in elementary schools, in families, in
neighborhoods, and in addressing large-scale harms such as the South
African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. RJ allows all the stakeholders
to come together, recognizing that we're all intertwined in the problem,
that it is our problem to solve together. There is truth-telling without

In a restorative justice circle, each person must share from his or her own
experiences. Every voice is equal. Power comes within, not from a role. If
I were sitting in a circle with an oil company executive, I might be
talking about how I drive a car and I use gasoline, I would admit that I
run the air conditioning in the summer. I would talk about how being a
consumer, I realize that I am complicit in oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico
and fracking in Colorado. The oil company executive would hear my pain and
the circle would hold space for her to share her perspective. Human to
Human, rather than Enemy to Enemy, we would invite the perspectives of
everyone who is touched by the harm. Connecting in this way, compassion and
empathy are likely to emerge. Thinking together becomes possible.

It is much easier to point the finger at an Other and blame, than it is to
engage in the hard questions of how we are going to live together on the
planet. Restorative Justice recognizes that we are all in this together,
that we must find solutions that honor all the stakeholders (including

J. Kim Wright


Friday, July 1, 2016

>From Paul Raskin
Dear GTN:

Our JULY discussion will approach GTI’s overarching theme – shaping a
civilized planetary future – from a fresh angle: the legal effort now
gaining traction to criminalize the wanton destruction of nature.

Femke Wijdekop takes this on in a new Viewpoint, “Against Ecocide: Legal
Protection for Earth.” Femke introduces the idea of the “rights of nature”
and the history of the concept of “ecocide.” However, her primary focus is
on action, specifically, the movement to add ecocide as a crime against
peace under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

Expanding the juridical architecture for protecting rights will surely be a
vital prong in the systemic movement we so urgently need. But to what
degree can it succeed in isolation? And what is the larger role of law and
legal activism in a Great Transition?

Please read Femke’s short piece at
www.greattransition.org/publication/against-ecocide and weigh in with your
thoughts. It will be published in August, along with selected comments
drawn from the forthcoming discussion

Comments are welcome through JULY 31.

Looking forward,
Paul Raskin
GTI Director

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