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End Ecocide in Europe

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory. Let’s end Ecocide in Europe together!

What’s our aim?

The main idea of our initiative is intriguingly simple: Environmental destruction must become a crime. A crime for which those responsible can be held accountable.

What is ecocide?

Eco-cide derives from the Greek “oikos” meaning “house” or “home” and the Latin “caedere” meaning “stike down, demolish, kill”. It literally translates to killing our home. Ecocide is the destruction of our natural environment. Defined as the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory it covers all major environmental disasters.

  • Ecocide is environmental destruction.
  • Ecocide is damage or loss of ecosystems.
  • Ecocide is the murder of humans, plants and animals.
  • Ecocide ignores the rights of future generations.
  • Ecocide is a crime.

Ecocide has been discussed since the 1970s as a potential international Crime Against Peace but was excluded from the Rome Statute. Today, it is a war crime, but allowed during peace. We believe it’s time to update the law Read more about the history of ecocide in the United Nations.

Check some examples of ecocide, or read the legal definition of ecocide

What would a law of ecocide change?

An ecocide law would mean ‘extensive damage’ or ‘destruction’ of ecosystems would become a crime, so someone committing ecocide is doing something illegal. No intent is necessary. Therefore, companies and individuals could be held responsible for committing ecocide according to criminal law and the principle of superior responsibility, i. e. those in positions of power would be convicted. If a company commits ecocide, the CEO and the senior management will be held responsible, not the average employee. The proposed Ecocide Directive is much stronger than existing EU environmental legislation. In existing law, each element contributing to life is more or less protected, air, soil, endangered species, flora and fauna; however, the legislation regards each element independently. The proposed Ecocide Directive, to the contrary, does look at entire ecosystems. In ecology, an ecosystem describes a unit composed of communities of living organisms and their environment. The elements that constitute an ecosystem develop a system, which exchanges both matter and energy, allowing life in the system to be maintained and to develop. By protection such ecosystems, the Ecocide Directive is much more encompassing than existing environmental legislation. In addition, it shifts the focus away from risks (i. e. probabilities) towards consequences. If an activity has potentially devastating consequences, it should be illegal, no matter how small the likelihood that the catastrophe occurs.

The ecocide law can contribute to a shift in values where future generations as well as the earth are given rights and biodiversity is preserved. It has the potential to trigger the transformation to the green economy, towards a way of doing business that places people and planet before profits.

The European Citizens Initiative “End Ecocide in Europe”

The European Citizens Initiative calls for making ecocide a crime in 5 cases:

  • Ecocide committed on EU territory; or
  • Ecocide committed by EU citizens; or
  • Ecocide committed by EU registered companies, even when operating outside the EU; or
  • The import of goods and services resulting from activities causing ecocide into the EU; or
  • The financing by EU banks and other financial institutions of activities causing ecocide, no matter where these activities take place

An implemented ecocide directive will have worldwide implications. Many of the major companies committing ecocide are registered in the EU and European pension funds and banks are among the biggest investors in ecocide causing activities. Due to the provision prohibiting the import of goods and services resulting from activities causing ecocide the law creates a level-playing field as anyone wanting to sell inside the EU – a huge market – will have to comply with the rules.

How does it work?

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a directly democratic instrument that was introduced in the European Union in 2009 and is working since April 2012. It enables citizens to propose EU legislation. When 1 million EU citizens from at least 7 countries votes for our proposal, the European Commission will have to consider it and we will have the right to hold a public hearing in the European Parliament. This is much more than a petition, signing an ECI means exercising your legal rightas EU citizen to propose legislation.

Not from the EU?

Our European Citizens’ Initiative was born after some of us listened to Polly Higgins, an international lawyer proposing to make Ecocide the 5th Crime Against Peace. Ecocide would thus become illegal worldwide and any breachers of the law could be convicted by the International Criminal Court. Check out Polly’s TED talk.

If you are interested in the international Ecocide movement, please read more.

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32 comments on “More Info
  1. Marko says:

    Introducing (Global) Basic Income would do more for ecology than new restrictive laws. Stop talking about jooobs and employment, let people out of rat race and they’ll stop creating and peddling waste only to justify their existence. People desperately trying to survive will not be stopped by some silly laws.

    • eitzenbe says:

      Dear Marko,

      you are right in that a global basic income would free people from the slavery of consumism. However I dont see a contradiction between this demand and our initiative. And we are not talking about people desperately trying to survive when we demand that large companies have to accept that nature has rights too. We actually handover a tool to people being employed at such companies to rightfully say NO to something that destroys ecosystems. I hope sincere you will support us once voting is open.

    • belicard says:

      Je en signe pas , car je ne suis pa spour l’Europe et donc toute ses régles à la con . Je vote Marine LEPEN pour sortir de ce marasme européén et vous feriez mieux d’en faire autant !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. David says:

    I am really irempssed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

  3. Oduntan says:

    If we agree to “think globally” about catilme destabillization and at least one of its consensually validated principal agencies, it becomes evident that riveting attention on more and more seemingly perpetual GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village’s resources are being dissipated, each town’s environment degraded and every city’s fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, ‘the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth’ fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people and pollutants. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally” and sustainably. More economic and population growth are soon to become no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth. Problems worldwide that are derived from conspicuous overconsumption and rapacious plundering of limited resources, rampant overproduction of unnecessary stuff, and rapid human overpopulation of the Earth can be solved by human thought, judgment and action. After all, the things we have done can be undone. Think of it as ‘the great unwinding of human folly’. Like deconstructing the Tower of Babel. Any species that gives itself the moniker, Homo sapiens sapiens, can do that much, can it not?“We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainbly. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous catilme of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing. Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities. If we choose to review the perspective of a ‘marketwatcher’ who can see what is actually before our eyes, perhaps all of us can get a little more reality-oriented to the world we inhabit and a less deceived by an attractive, flawed ideology that is highly touted and widely shared but evidently illusory and patently unsustainable.This situation is no longer deniable. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are having to confront now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.

    • Chris says:

      You say: ‘There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.’ But that’s a formula for doing nothing. Best to do that work locally and let go of the politics, whether the party kind or just banging on.

  4. Nord says:

    OK – let me get this straight: I found this reference somewhere on your website for “countries with existing laws agains ecocide” (or something similar):

    All these are either totalitarian or rogue states, we can barely speak of freedom & democracy – agree? Besides, these laws were basically inherited from the former Soviet Union … another great example of Democracy.

    Now, do you really expect us to believe that these are *examples* to follow? And by that rationale, you could also have listed the 1935 “Reich Nature Protection Act”, for crying out loud!

    To be very frank, you scare the s*** out of me and I *am* pro-nature!

  5. RiccardoRB says:

    I think more than a Global BASIC income, what should be established in all companies and countries is a MAXIMUM income!!! That would definitely cut off the greedy profit-obsession of the company directing board, who are the ones to decide for additional de-foresting or poluting only for scandalous profits for their own pockets.
    This maximum salary would not be an absolute number, but relative, like for example in one company nobody can gain more than say 12 times the lowest wage in that company (so nobody can gain per month more than others in a year). Since this will meet a lot of opposition (from an insignificant minoraty, that, however, is in charge) this cannot be done in one step, but should be a slow process to have them get accostumed, most probably over decades and maybe generations. It is a question of getting the idea through first and might start with a 100 to 1 rate enforced by country laws, later the rate can be adjusted over time.

    But we can also work on the other (and maybe far worse) end: Tax Paradises and Bank Secrecy. In my opinion they constitute the first link of the long chain of corruption, that not only leads to Ecocide, but also to Genocide, war, dictatorship, famine and large scale crime (drugs, prostitution, traffic of arms and people).
    I strongly believe that for succes, all NGOs and human/nature-rights manifestations should always include a significant reference to the total and absolute abolishion and closure of Tax Paradises and Bank Secrecy (Treasure Islands).

    Democracy is not as bad as it seems now, nor is the free market mechanism, as long as it is played honestly and transparent. When the greedy financial Pirates have no more place to hide there Loot most of the incentive will disappear for corrupt speculators, politicians, Wall Street sharks, “businessmen”, judges, police and all other organized crime.

  6. RiccardoRB says:

    Gathering and compiling information (in spare time) on and corresponding FB page.

    (one cannot just edit former comments, sorry)

  7. Tom Bombadil says:

    We need more opportunity cost analyses on the subject. Carefully reasoned balanced arguments why this is/is not a good idea. The only way you get people to change their minds is to embarrass them into it.

    Tom Bombadil

  8. Le monde d’après serait -il en train de se débarrasser de l’économie toxique. enfin des règles du jeu pour une économie humaine, loyale, de proximité, qui profite à tous!

  9. Ensemble pour une planète plus propre et des citoyens plus responsables ! Merci à l’équipe d’endecocide de nous permettre à tous de faire avancer le sujet et déjà, de sensibiliser la population souvent “endormie” par nos dirigeants…

  10. Geniální, jsme s Vámi. Kontaktujte mne, dohodneme další postup. Váš nápad bych rád rozšířil na svět. Speciálně bych žaloval Kanadu za těžbu ropných písků ve státě Alberta. Jako Koalice STOP HF pořádáme v berouně mezinárodní konferenci, bylo by skvělé zde přiblížit Vás projekt, do 10 minut max. Více zde:

    Máme projekt Koalice antifrakčních hnutí Evropa a svět, který hccme rozjet rovněž v Berouně. Dále chceme vyzvat EP, aby doporučil stop frack národním státům. Bude tu skvělý europoslanec Poc, takže s ním možno odladit. Pošlete mi prosím návrh Vašeho nápadu. Jinak pozor. Obč. iniciativa, chceme ji dělat taky na břidlice, níe jen tak, nejdříve záměr shvaluje EP, zda to má smysl a není to v rozporu s EU aquis, což tohle určo bude. Ale máme možnosti to zjistit v EP. Hezký den a držte se! Za Koalici STOp HF JM, vedoucí národní kampaně

  11. David says:


    A couple of points:

    First, who will pay the legal costs of bringing a case? Many people would love to bring cases but costs become a real barrier?

    Second, I have looked briefly at The Team profiles of the team running this campaign and most, if not all, of you have a substantial ecological footprint which exposes you all to being called hypocrites! For example, university education is resource intensive and with having formal qualifications comes the expectation of wanting a “nice” life with all mod cons! Perhaps lifestyle change is needed which means consuming a lot less? This website can provide people with a brief moment of that “Green Feel-good Factor” at the touch of a click of a mouse”! Can anyone on this Team really talk of having integrity regarding eradicating ecocide when their own lifestyle contributes to it as in “death by a thousand cuts?”

    Oil companies have little integrity regarding corporate responsibility to the environment. They are hypocrites on a large scale. The same hypocrisy is there in most of us only on a smaller scale.

    Lastly, I think he International Criminal Court has managed one conviction and I have to wonder how much, by way of energy and resources, it has used up because legal people do like to surround themselves with plenty of expensive stuff.

    Most campaigns and movements such as this are started by White Middle Class who have consumed way more than they need. These people are often Left-wing consumerists who still consume way more than they need. Yes, they may talk of greater wealth redistribution than their nemesis: the Right, but still consume way more than they need which is the ultimate point as far as the Earth is concerned!

    Death by a thousand cuts indeed.


    • Ramón says:

      Hello David,

      We were also afraid of this feel-free click, but we are happy to see how the reality is not happening this way. We can see how a big percentage of the people who support us don´t only go through the information in the website, but also send us emails interested in supporting the cause in any way they can, with content, visual material, art, research and even telling their friends and family about it.

      For this, if you are interested, you can also help us. You rise a very good topic footprint and consumism. What do you think about writing something more about this, new for many, way of life that we must promote in order to achieve a world without ecocide. Maybe putting together a set of guidelines could be useful.

      Life by healing thousand of cuts :)


  12. Ida says:


    Le petit film est violent…et rajoute encore du catastrophisme à l’actuelle situation…Je réprouve donc la forme et le terme même d’Ecocide…ProEco, Biorespect, EcoConscience…me semble bien plus porteur !!!! Il faut être pour, pour, pour….Ce discours alarmiste de moins en moins de personnes veulent l’entendre, en ces temps de chaos, privilégions l’espoir, l’alternative, unissons-nos forces par l’energie créatrice!!!!
    Je signe néanmoins votre pétition car justice doit être rendue pour toute forme de vie sur notre Planète. Gaïa, je t’aime très fort. Pardonne-nous.

  13. D'Alexandris says:

    A young farmer of Senegal has an agricultural land on which for 5 years, it has cultivated agronomy with a less production of with a lack of water. It’s informed that a process “Pit Biological” lyseconcept purifies in a biological way domestic waste waters by providing a water of watering fertilizing and enriching for the vegetable hiding. He gets in touch with the company lyseconcept because the process answers all these search criteria to conclude its project. Elements are already in place:
    An agricultural farm, a farmer trained with the already collected agronomic culture several times, heat, domestic waste waters. It misses only the process to recycle these waste waters.
    Its exploitation is in rural environment. It is surrounded by 100 strewn dwellings rather close to its project. Each house is equipped with a tight pit of a volume of 1 m3 to see 1,5m3 which stores the waste water effluent and which must be drained once filled to the brim. These pits are drained per period at the time of an operation carried out by the administration. When the pit is full, in front of the requirement and without means of draining, the user empties it in front of his door.

    The waste water

    Lyseconcept develops a system of treatment of purification biological of waste waters per biological micro process. The waste waters concerned with the project, are waste waters different from waste waters of Europe. The biological parameters of the places of the project are identical certain are simply higher such as for example the temperature. The proportion “of drinking water” in waste waters is on the contrary very low. The process is adapted by taking account of this difference. For example: in rural configuration in France with the current effluents the process is regulated for a time of transit evaluated between 12 and 15 days. The temperature can make it possible to reduce this time of transit.


    The waste waters found in these tight pits cannot be used in the state. The farmer obtained a contract with the control of the water of Senegal. This drinking water supply will have two advantages for the project. From with dimensions it will dilute the concentrated natural pollution of this kind of waste waters, other it will increase the quantity of water recycled for watering. The quantity of waste waters available of the close tight pits is of 125 000 liters renewable with profusion. The procurement agreement of drinking water of the SDE is 10 000 liters of water, the unit which can give a possibility of watering of 1500 liters per easy day. It is necessary to take account of wintry times when watering will continue but just for the fertilization of the topsoil.


    A specific protocol of collecting and transfer will be set up by taking account of certain biological parameters. A small tanker will practise a draining day labourer to come to transfer her taking away in the process. The waste waters recovered in the end of the day are drained in the process during the night to avoid their deterioration and also a great evaporation.

    nature should not any more be used as dustbin of the cleansing of waste waters

  14. Michel Weissenbacher says:

    Les écocides sont des crimes contre l’humanité.

    • Herber Martine says:

      Tu as bien raison Michel.
      Je n’ai eu cette pétition qu’aujourd’hui.
      Pour la prochaine, peux tu me l’envoyer en direct ?
      Merci d’avance

  15. zac says:

    I was about to register my support for this… Until I read…

    “In addition, it shifts the focus away from risksw (i. e. probabilities) towards consequences. If an activity has potentially devastating consequences, it should be illegal, no matter how small the likelihood that the catastrophe occurs. ”

    To any self respecting scientist (or anyone else who understands what it actually means) that is a nonsensical statement & has no place in law.
    such an extreme position should be reserved for (if anything) scenarios that threaten the survival of the species (& I fear I mean the human species, but that is a point for debate)

    • eitzenbe says:

      Dear Zac,

      As scientist you also are aware of how risks are determined and that a risk consists of two factors likelyhood (approx of really happening) and the then caused damage. For example: nuclear power plants

      Yes the likelyhood that they will cause a desaster is very low (3 times in 60 years) but then it really causes heave (HEAVY) damage to the ecosystem. Fukushima is an excellent example. If there is one thing that can be learned from Fukushima, then it is that nuclear power plants are hazardous to the survival of mankind. Just google for removing the already processed “nuclear sticks” (Sorry dont know the english word for it) from their cargo container in building 4 to be done in november… potentially causing REALLY HEAVY contamination if they fail (roughly 400 tons of radiactive material there)

      So yes it stands some things are to be forbidden simply because THEY ARE TOO DANGEROUS / RISKY

  16. Rossi says:

    The problem this days are Corporations that do not care about anything else then profit.

  17. Petra says:

    In my view there’s a crying need for a counter-balance to the present policies of governments, multinationals etc., whether on a global, national or local scale.
    I’m not in favour of the EU, but it’s there & it is -or can be- influential.
    Please let’s support as many as possible initiatives (like this one)in order to try to make the world a better place for humans & animals which will have to live with the consequences of what already has been destroyed and polluted.
    Thank you to everyone who voted & to the organising team of ‘End ecocide in Europe’ for their efforts!

  18. Pašilės 59-1 Kaunas LT-51312 Lithuania says:

    taip, tai reikalinga priemonė drausminti gamtos žalotojus.

  19. nick says:

    These ecologists are scrooges, their agenda is to bring us back to stone age, shivering in caves (without fire, it pollutes , you know..)

    For example in France, a green party deputy cumulated over € 18 000 of traffic fines that he hoped to escape, until it was discovered by a news magazine. Yes, biking under the rain was for you but not for him !

    Don’t fall into this trap !

    • eitzenbe says:

      Dear Nick.

      Ok lets assume you are right. Then I would also propose that the ones that drive our economoy will profiteer us back to stone age or even further back to the beginning of human life forms on this planet.
      So even if your absurd arguments would be accepted I would choose to protect our planet and go back to stone age ;)


  20. Eric Blaise says:

    Est-ce que cela veut dire qu’il y a un problème de déforestation en Europe?

    Eric | Gauvreau Terre de Surface

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