Campaigners make final push for European ecocide law

Campaigners vow to continue fighting ecosystem destruction as a campaign to make ecocide a crime in Europe draws to a close

An initiative to create a law that would prohibit the destruction or loss of ecosystems in EU territories is making a final effort to gather support. Eradicate Ecocide Europe (EEE) is a European Citizen’s Initiative that needs the support of one million European citizens by 21 January 2014. If successful the European Commission would have to consider the proposal, which could then lead to a vote by the European parliament on implementing an ecocide law. However so far just 85,000 people have signed up online.

EEE admit they face a monumental task. “Unless a very famous personality decides to support the campaign, it’s quite unlikely that we will hit the target,” said EEE spokesperson Valérie Cabanes. “But this is not the end. Whatever the result, we have decided to continue the campaign in 2014.”

All signatures already collected will be turned into a petition and submitted to the European parliament, who could still decide to vote on the proposed law.

EEE has been supported by some high-profile figures and organisations including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Friends of the Earth and several MEPs including UK Green Party MEP Keith Taylor.

“I believe that a law of ecocide would enforce sustainable and ethical trade. This would inevitably lead to a more sustainable economy and a sustainable world,” said Taylor.

However, despite this support, the volunteer-led campaign has suffered from a lack of resources and problems with the online sign-up system including the need for passport numbers in some countries. According to EEE, four out of five of the intended votes in France were lost because of such restrictions.

Organisers have decided to continue their efforts with a final push towards the deadline. Campaigners have spoken at conferences, they report that media coverage is increasing, and a competition is currently running for individuals to submit videos that will persuade more people to vote.

So far these efforts appear to be paying off, with the number of votes rising significantly in many countries during November including a 27% increase in Germany and 64% in the Netherlands. But it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to reach the January target.