Your article brings home the severity and extent of the ecological fallout from the war in Ukraine (The ‘silent victim’: Ukraine counts war’s cost for nature, 20 February). This wholesale demolition of nature is described as ecocide – a term put forward by the Stop Ecocide Foundation as “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”. Although no law has yet been passed, we know ecocide when we see it. It is a moral red line that is being crossed.
But how do we view the more insidious, piecemeal devastation of nature on our doorstep – the spraying of bee-killing pesticides, the poisoning of our local rivers, the ravaging of yet another biodiverse habitat for “development”?
I am part of a campaign to save four acres of undisturbed biodiverse meadows in Iffley village, Oxford. The city council zoned and bought the land for housing. It is even proposing moving all of the wildlife elsewhere. Hundreds of species would just have to hop it. Common sense and natural justice would fly out the window with them.
Ecocide applies equally to this smaller-scale wrecking of the natural local places that we know and connect with. Calling out such destruction as a crime wherever it happens is a crucial part of acknowledging our own place within – and our responsibility for – Earth’s ecosystems.
The dismantling of nature’s complexity can no longer be seen as acceptable fallout to maintain the way we have become accustomed to living, and to support the “growth” agenda to which we have become addicted. The planet is perilously close to ecosystem collapse. Humanity created the problem. It is our job to fix it – now.