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Stop Ecocide: Causing serious harm to nature will be a crime under EU law

Be The Earth was established to be on the side of nature. We believe in a world that nurtures all beings, and we’re thrilled to learn that the European Union (EU) has taken a vital and historic step towards recognising the rights of nature and the more-than-human world. We are so proud to support the work of Stop Ecocide, whose passion and dedication has played an important role in bringing this crime into EU law.

The EU announced on 17th November 2023 that it will create a new offence that aims to punish the most serious crimes against the environment. This new law is aimed at preventing and punishing “cases comparable to ecocide”, which means actions that cause widespread, substantial and irreversible or long-lasting damage to large or important ecosystems, habitats or the quality of air, soil or water.

Jojo Mehta, Co-Founder and CEO of Stop Ecocide International, said in response:

“A hugely important step and a massive win for nature, significantly strengthening environmental protection through criminal law throughout the EU. We can see from the rapidly growing momentum of the ecocide law initiative that European states will not be long in engaging more deeply with it in their own jurisdictions. I have no doubt that with this direction of travel being rapidly established, it is only a matter of time before ecocide is recognised in criminal law at every level.”

Be The Earth leads a group of funders supporting Stop Ecocide International in a unique collaboration that’s trust-based and women-led. "What they are doing is changing the narrative, creating space by actually creating that consciousness. The work they are doing is crucial from a systemic perspective." says Anne Rammi, Creative Director at Be The Earth, and the initiator of the funders group which also includes Bertha, Savitri Trust, Gower Street and The Roddick Foundation.

Established in 2017, Stop Ecocide International has achieved extraordinary success in changing the culture around the rights of nature. In less than half a decade since the organisation was established, the proposed law has been discussed across global institutions, including the UN, the EU, and in the national parliaments of more than twenty countries. This is in large part thanks to the collaborative mass movement they have built, with over 50 thousand endorsing signatories across civil society and faith groups, over 21,000 subscribed members and a growing number of endorsing businesses and organisations.

The new EU law is the first time that a legislative text at the European level has recognised mass destruction of nature as criminal in and of itself. The public appetite for recognition of ecocide and related crimes is clearly present and growing. A coalition of politicians, NGOs and civil society has been campaigning for its inclusion in the directive for over a year, with an online petition organised by WeMove Europe and Avaaz receiving over 617,000 signatures.

Be The Earth are so proud to be a part of this growing movement for the rights of nature and to support the pioneering work of Stop Ecocide International. If you would like to play your part in defending the rights of nature and helping Stop Ecocide, you can get involved here.


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