Environmental law is a growth area, without doubt, with climate change and a range of related issues occupying increasing numbers of lawyers in the environment law area.
‘Ecocide’ is defined by Wikipedia as criminalized human activity that violates the principles of environmental justice, as by substantially damaging or destroying ecosystems or by harming the health and well-being of a species (including humans).
And the latest to ‘fall victim’ to claims of ecoside is right wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro who indigenous leaders and human rights groups say has committed crimes against humanity that could land him the international criminal court.
Indigenous leaders in Brazil and human rights groups are urging the court to investigate the Brazilian president over his dismantling of environmental policies and violations of indigenous rights, which they say amount to ecocide.
The Guardian reports that since taking office in 2019, Bolsonaro has seen vast amounts of rainforest destroyed, along with the threat to traditional communities that have suffered from deforestation, amounting to 50 per cent in two years – the highest levels since 2008.
That is a demonstration of ecocide.
Invasions of indigenous territories increased 135 per cent in 2019, and at least 18 people were murdered in land conflicts last year.
Despite that, fines for environmental crimes dropped 42% in the Amazon basin in 2019, and the federal government cut the budget for enforcement by 27.4% this year, a report revealed.
“While the scenario is getting worse and worse, the government is reducing enforcement,” said Marcio Astrini, the executive director of Climate Observatory, the group of NGOs behind the report. “It is frightening to see that there is a coordinated attack on the climate, the forest and its people.”
The rise of ecocide and other environmental law matters is increasingly placing leaders like Bolsonaro in the lens of lawyers seeking to right the environmental law issues faced by the globe.