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26 Cal. W. Int'l L.J. 215 (1995-1996)
The International Crime of Ecocide

handle is hein.journals/calwi26 and id is 227 raw text is: THE INTERNATIONAL CRIME OF ECOCIDE

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man
... Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth
William Wordsworth
From earliest times, humans have demonstrated a remarkable capacity to
subdue and alter their physical environment. What began as a struggle for
survival became a predominance among living things, then, in wealthier
societies, a relentless drive for comfort and pleasure.        Even, perhaps
especially, in less-developed countries (LDCs), where for many survival
remains a struggle, the conquest of nature proceeds apace. Development
is now a worldwide synonym for progress.'
It is therefore ironic that the scope and effects of human activity actually
threaten our survival as a species. Scientists and politicians cannot agree on
the precise causes and implications of, let alone solutions to, such internation-
al catastrophes as ozone layer depletion, global warming and species
extinction. There is nevertheless growing acceptance of the notion that
arrogance, ignorance and greed, combined with overpopulation and powered
by technology, are responsible for such severe resource exploitation and
* LL.B. (Toronto), LL.M. (Monash). First Secretary, Australian Permanent Mission to the
United Nations, New York. Former Head of the Environmental Law Unit, Legal Office,
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra. The opinions expressed in this
Article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Australian Government or
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The author wishes to acknowledge the advice and
assistance of Associate Professor Barry Connell of Monash University, Melbourne.
1. For a thoughtful exposition of changing perceptions of development, its purposes and its
real effects, see Mark Abley, Developing Doubts About Development and A Measure of Hope:
Recipes for Rethinking How We Rank a Nation's Wealth, OTTAWA CITIZEN, Jan. 8, 1994, at A10.
Abley's thesis is that development of LDCs has only made them poorer, widened domestic
disparities and shown First World values as flawed. Progress, indeed, but towards what?

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