A Climate Change with Matt Matern Climate Podcast


46: Jojo Mehta on Stopping Ecocide & Transforming Environmental Accountability

Guest Name(s): Max Sloves

Guest host Max Sloves speaks with Jojo Mehta from Stop Ecocide International discusses her mission to criminalize mass environmental destruction at the International Criminal Court. Founded in 2017, Stop Ecocide aims to classify ecocide alongside genocide and war crimes.

Jojo highlights the growing support for this initiative and the importance of public discourse. Despite the U.S. not being an ICC member, American voices can still impact the global dialogue.

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“It’s time to change the rules. It’s time to protect our home. We are working, together with a growing global network of lawyers, diplomats, and across all sectors of civil society, towards making ecocide an international crime.”

Hello, this is Max Sloves I’m sitting in for Matt Matern, Unite and Heal America, back today. Our guest is Jojo. Jojo, I’m excited to have you on today because you’re involved in, in an organization call. Where can you please tell me what what is the name of the organization that you that you founded and run.

It’s called Stop Ecocide International, and it was founded in 2017 with one particular goal in mind, which is to criminalize mass damage to nature, at the highest level at the International Criminal Court and to put it alongside genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Okay, so I’m particularly excited about this conversation. Because when we think about ecological damage, damage to the natural environment by human activity, especially industrial, industrialized human activity, this is something that’s been well understood for at least 50-60 years, and I’m low balling that number, you know, I usually just look to like, like your heart and publish tragedy of the commons in 1968. That’s kind of like a dividing line for me.

And yet, the changing behavior, preventing harm remains such an elusive goal on local and global scale. So here we are in 2021. scene, the emergence of really innovative and creative ways to approach environmental harm through different strategies and tactics. And I think what you’re doing is a really important one. So let’s start off with the baseline question. What what is ecocide? What, how would we approach that from a legal definition, but also on a conceptual level?

02:01Lately, it feels like the obvious place to start I mean, ecocide, I think is broadly understood to mean mass, mass damage and destruction of nature. And it’s a relatively new word. It was coined in 1970, to describe the damage that was caused by Agent Orange in Vietnam. And it was first mentioned on the international stage by the Swedish Prime Minister in 1972, at the first UN Environment conference, but it’s only really entered the kind of, you know, general lexicon, if you like, over the last few years.

And that’s been mostly due to the work of that My dear departed, friend and and colleague, the late great, Polly Higgins, who is a Scottish barrister, and legal pioneer, who was looking at the question, the question that drove it was actually how can we create a legal duty of care for the earth? You know, on the basis that, you know, the laws create the framework within which we act.

And what she discovered was that when the International Criminal Court was first set up, the draft document that became the Rome Statute, which contains genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, was originally intended to include a crime against the crimes against the environment at a serious level, and that did not translate did not come through to the final treaty.

And so effectively, what she was looking at, was replacing what she saw as a missing crime, and actually making the damage to nature, serious harm to nature, a criminal act. And that I think, is the key thing in the light of what you just sort of outlined are the different ways of approaching how to how to change the way that we behave in relation to the environment, what she saw, and what we can actually see if we look at the way we treat criminal law in our culture is, that is it’s a kind of a moral line as well as a legal line.

And that’s really the kind of thinking behind moving forward, this concept of criminalizing the worst harms.

Is there. So it’s interesting that that that it was in the initial proposition for the Rome Statute, but then got got left out. Is there a, is there a threshold for what, what rises to the level of ecocide? Or Are there guidelines for for approaching that question?

Absolutely. And, and actually, that’s become even clearer this year, because while they’ve been working definitions in the past, they’ve mostly been including one from Polly itself, mostly been lawyers saying, Well, this should be a crime and this is what I think it should look like. Now, what we’ve now got is a legal definition that emerged in June of this year, that was created collaboratively by 12 top international, criminal and environmental lawyers from around the world with different obviously different gender geographical backgrounds, but also different legal backgrounds.

From Criminal Law to public humanitarian law to climate law, and also very different leanings. So from rather more conventional lawyers from the International Law Commission, a former judge from the International Criminal Court from the ICC, but also at the other end, activist sort of people’s lawyers like Pablo for Hardy, who, who argued the chevron case in Ecuador.

And it’s a very, very big range of of lawyers. And it also that was convened in response to political demand. And that was also first so last year, Swedish parliamentarians approached us saying, you know, could you convener, could you commission a definition, a legal definition of ecocide as an international crime that we could actually propose to our governments, so not just a wish list, but actually something that could be practically proposed at the political level, and the definition they came up with was actually very concise and very simple.

It fits on the back of a business card, and I can just run it through, run it through now, in a few seconds. Really, the core of the definition is this. So Ecocide means 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?

If I can you set foot on the back of a car? And I was like, well, Carrie, is it typing in really small font? Or is it a really large business card? No, that’s pretty concise. What? So what are some of the most common types of of activities that meet that definition? Like, what are some sort of iconic examples of of what one would call ecocide?

Sure, I mean, because what we’re talking about here is an international level crime, we’re not looking at cutting down the trees on your village green, you know, what we’re looking at is the kind of damage like serious levels of deforestation, you know, one might think of what’s happened in the Niger Delta, it was under the influence of shell and subsidiaries over and a long time, one might be looking at the kinds of deep sea bottom trawling that decimate marine ecosystems.

But it would have to be something that either crosses boundaries, or involves a whole ecosystem, or an entire species or, you know, all praise is very, you know, high risk to a certain, you know, a large population, or, indeed, the cultural practices of a population. So, that’s one aspect of the definition you when you look into the actual terms as they’re defined.

And so, you know, we’re not looking at sort of every kind of environmental damage, what we’re looking at is the most serious cases, and ones that are also either already illegal or shouldn’t be happening, or they’re wanton. In other words, they’re the effects of disproportionate, you know, to what’s actually gained by that activity.

And that doesn’t just mean, you know, what’s getting by the investor, it means what the actual benefits are not to the social and economic life of those people locally as well. So, so yeah, so we’re looking at the serious, the serious kinds of harm. And one of the reasons for that, it’s actually, I mean, there’s a number of reasons for aiming for this at the international level, like going for that top level. But one of the reasons for this is that the environmental the body of environmental law is relatively young, it’s been built up over the last sort of 40 years or so.

And it isn’t taken as seriously as other areas of law, effectively protection of people protection of property, in particular, protection of the environment just doesn’t have that status. And a lot of environmental law sits in the civil regulation sphere, which means that the biggest companies, which are often the biggest polluters, effectively just budget for dealing with fines or dealing with court cases, when you move that legal aspect into the criminal sphere and you create a really serious crime, what you’re doing is almost, you’re kind of putting in a missing foundational piece.

So what you’re saying is, you know, if you, you know, breach this regulation, and actually you’re threatening this level of damage, that’s actually an international crime. Not only that, but it’s geared to individuals. So it’s about effectively those who are sort of highest up the tree in terms of decision making. So just like with genocide, you don’t prosecute the foot soldiers, you prosecute the controlling minds. And the same would be true if when Ecocide becomes an international crime.

So what that does is it would it actually has a preventative potential that’s actually quite high because I A lot of ecocide law activity is corporate activity. And, you know, corporate officers or CEOs or so on, you know, actually care very deeply about their public reputations. They don’t want to be seen in the same category as a war criminal, because that’s actually going to have a devastating effect on their reputation, their share price, their investor confidence, all of those things.

So once you actually effectively target with, with with a crime, you’re targeting individuals, you’re actually shifting the kind of weight of what people are sort of thinking about when they’re making decisions in a very different way.

Yeah, it’s one thing when, when a company just has to pay an extra couple $100,000 A year or several million dollars a year as a cost of doing business. But when someone has to put their name on it and get it actually suffer a mark on their record as a criminal. You know, it’s not like you just have some senior vice president who’s designated to jump on that grenade.

I don’t know how many people would volunteer for that job, knowing that’s part of it. Let’s take a quick break. This is Max Sloves. I’m speaking with Jojo Mehta, and we’re here on Unite and Heal America with Matthew Matern. We will be back in a moment.

As you may know, your host Matt Matern of unite and heal America is also the founder of Matern Law Group, their team of experienced employment, consumer and environmental attorneys are dedicated to leveling the playing field by giving everyone access to the highest quality legal representation contact 844 MLG for you, that’s 844 MLG for you, or 8446544968446544968.

This is Max Sloves. I’m speaking with JoJo Mehta, and we’re talking about the peak that the pushed me Ecocide international crime, crime with putting putting it under the auspices of the International Criminal Court, in Shoji, off air, you brought up an interesting point that there are different ways of motivating individuals and corporate actors to change behavior.

One is is the stick punishment, but the other is the carrot incentive. And those were those recur words? Can Can you talk a little bit more about the ways in which making Ecocide and international crime would would function one way or the other?

Absolutely, I think we can cover sort of both of those sides of this. And I think it’s probably useful to think about the reasoning behind going for it at the international level, and how that impacts on those those two sides. So one key reason for looking for an international crime is that the International Criminal Court obviously, you know, that there’s no immunity or impunity at that level, you can actually prosecute anyone up to heads of state at the International Criminal Court, which can’t be done under national law.

That’s one aspect. But also, it makes sense in on a sort of practical legal level, because it’s the only global mechanism that directly accesses the criminal justice systems of its member states. So, you know, if you’re a member of the International Criminal Court and you ratify a crime there, you have to put it in your own domestic legislation as well. So what that means is it creates a kind of coherent sort of ground rule across across jurisdictions.

And that’s very useful because the worst polluters are often transnational corporations that have the ability to kind of hop per diem between jurisdictions, according to, you know, where the regulations are, and more lacks, for example, you know, another reason is, is the the the International Criminal Court focuses on individual criminal responsibility, and we covering this a short while ago, it effectively creates a kind of enforceable deterrent that is currently missing in the area of environmental law at the at the highest level.

And that’s, that’s really important in terms of having your corporate, you know, corporate offices, if you like, thinking before they make decisions. But I think when we look at this aspect, we’re also looking at, you know, another side to this, because when people can see this coming, and that’s what that’s one of the things that that arises when you aim for something at the international level, because changing international law does take time. I mean, obviously, we have not a huge amount of time, so we don’t have a huge amount of time to make serious difference with environmental destruction as we know from all the very stark international reports that have been coming out recently.

But having a certain amount of time to gather momentum and gather states behind this which is which is happening and I can obviously and give you more information on that a bit further down the line. But that time, sort of, if you like, between the now and the talking about it, and the potentially say three to five years before it’s actually being ratified is super important, and actually really empowering.

So this is where the other side of the equation comes in, which is more like the carrot if you like, because we also see that there’s a, there’s an empowering aspect of this, and I speak now really, as a former entrepreneur, myself, there is nothing like a clear limitation or parameter for unleashing creativity and innovation.

And what we’re seeing, and what we’ve seen at the COP talks in Glasgow of recent recent weeks, as we’re seeing, you know, corporate actors and political actors trying to play the same game better, you know, we will increase our ambition, you know, will increase our support here, and therefore, you know, it’s adaptation and mitigation, you know, for the effects that are already being seriously felt in many countries around around climate.

And, you know, we’re gonna kind of tweak here and there, and, you know, maybe we get a bit of progress, but ultimately, that’s just crawling, and we need to be sprinting. So in order to actually really get creative, having a sort of hard stop parameter, like a criminal criminal law, actually can change the game completely. So instead of trying to play the game better, you’re actually having to play it differently, because the rules are changing.

And that is really important. And of course, that’s been being cooled for by a number of people, including, you know, the youth movement, you know, Greta Thun, Berg, you know, we need to change the rules. You know, she said that very clearly, a couple of years ago. And I think that by introducing this new parameter, what we’re doing is saying, okay, within a certain length of time, you’re going to have to comply with this, and how are you going to do that in your particular sector.

And of course, all of the, you know, all of the right across industry, there are there is all the in depth knowledge that is needed to ask the right questions, and therefore find the right answers. But until that is prompted by an impending parameter, it’s very hard to see how that will actually happen. So I mean, you probably won’t be familiar with this in America, but we had a program a cookery program in the UK in the 90s. And it was called Ready Steady Cook.

And what it what they would do is they would give you a time limit and a set of unexpected ingredients. And you basically had to create this beautiful dish in in that time. And so there’s an there’s an aspect where we actually see what we’re doing as providing exactly that kind of situation.

That sounds very akin to Top Chef, I don’t want to plug a show that I have no interest in, but but I was a big fan of that show for a while. And that’s the type of competition they would do it and it’s reflective of a, it sounds like it’s reflective of a culture shift.

Because that, that you we seem to be very creative. Looking backwards, like, Okay, this is what we’ve broken, let’s get creative and fixing it. But being creative, looking forward in terms of because I think, you know, those who who study or just generally comprehend that the gravity of environmental issues, from fisheries, to air quality water quality, to to the hot button topic. Now the climate is, these are not things that was broken, you can necessarily fix.

So, it sounds like this could really play an important part, in that culture shift of getting getting the large actors with sort of the broadest impact, to be more forward looking rather than, you know, paying a penalty is looking backwards.

I absolutely agree. I mean, I think this, this brings in a whole nother element of this, which is that we’ve got where we are because of a certain mindset. And that mindset goes back an awfully long time. I mean, it goes back hundreds of years, if not 1000s of years, you know, and it’s a it’s a kind of dualistic mindset, you know, where, you know, the Hume humans are seen as, you know, the Lords over nature and effectively, you know, dominating nature using nature as something that they can manipulate, extract from, etc.

And that comes from a very deeply embedded, especially in the Western canon, which is obviously the dominating paradigm on the planet at the moment. And I use the word dominating very consciously in that, in that context, is that, you know, if you go back to you go back to Plato, you’ve got the ideal versus the real, you know, you go through the Catholic Church, you’ve got spirit versus body, you go through into the enlightenment, you’ve got rationality versus nature, you know, all of these, these dualisms that run very, very deeply through our culture.

And what that means is we have an incredibly you know, we’re really separated, we’re separated from each other, we’re separated from nature, you know, we’ve it ends up with a situation where a certain a certain view, you know, are effectively treating both The people and the natural world as simply as resources. And actually, the reality, of course, is that we’re deeply embedded in the world around us. We’re deeply embedded in, you know, in our communities that, you know, we depend on each other, but we also deeply depend on the natural world.

And it’s, it’s a kind of interesting irony, actually, that, that it’s the spiritual leaders and faith leaders like Pope Francis, or like, the indigenous leaders, who are pointing out a kind of a factual reality, which is, you know, if you damage Mother Nature, you know, you damage the earth, there are consequences. You know, and that’s just a fact.

You know, and by contrast, you know, our secular leaders who are supposedly terribly science and fact based, and all of that is still operating on a kind of faith, really an economic faith, that simply doesn’t work. I mean, you based stuff on GDP and perpetual growth, you’re gonna run up against the wall sooner or later, and that was approaching fairly fast now. So I think that’s a kind of interesting, interesting irony.

And I think that bringing in a very clear, you know, rule like a law of ecocide actually has the potential to start to rebalance that because if you put Ecocide alongside genocide, what you’re saying is damaging ecosystems is as bad and as dangerous as damaging people. And that starts to kind of shift that balance a bit in the cultural mindset, it actually speaks to a certain, you know, the sort of cultural moral imagination, and you know, helps to potentially move things in in a bit of a different direction that is ultimately going to be healthier for humanity as a whole, as well as for the ecosystems around us.

Yeah, I mean, I have no illusions that we’re going to shift the, the ingrained infatuation with with perpetual growth, that that dominates most economic systems in the world. But, you know, I have yet to see a bottle that demonstrates perpetual growth as a sustainable paradigm. I mean, it always ends in one thing in two things, either either levels off, or there’s a collapse. There’s perpetual growth. So creating boundaries, where we’re kind of incentivized and forced to pursue growth in different directions or in different ways. Maybe that’s what we need. And, and I think you also, you, in a sense, answered a question that I wanted to raise and we’ll just kind of gloss over this, like, why has environmental regulation and and laws related to the environment? Why has that lagged behind in our legal and legal schemes? And I think what you were saying about duality, seeing ourselves as separate, speaks very powerfully to that question.

We’ll take a quick break here. And we’re back in a moment. I’m Max Sloves. I’m speaking with JoJo Mehta. This is Unite and Heal America with Matt Matern today. We’ll be back and as you may know, your host Matt Matern of unite and heal America is also the founder of Matern Law Group, their team of experienced employment consumer and environmental attorneys are dedicated to leveling the playing field by giving everyone access to the highest quality legal representation contact 844 MLG for you, that’s 844 MLG for you, or 84465449688446544968.

This is Max Sloves sitting in for Matt Matern. I’m speaking with Jojo Mehta. Today, we’re talking about making Ecocide an international crime and Georgia in the last segment, you were talking about concepts of duality, how we see ourselves separate from nature. And I think anytime one finds themselves in, in a situation where air quality is involved, or waterfall is involved, there’s no escaping the problem with duality that that you cannot separate the human environment from what we generally termed the natural environment.

And so I think, what what you are proposing in terms of putting environmental crime on an equal footing with crimes against humanity is is it I think, to some people probably just like the most intuitive thing you could ever come up with, but on a global scale, and just given the realities of the world we live in quite radical and really exciting. What we’d like to talk about at this point is what what specifically does your organization do and how Where are you at in terms of bringing this project to fruition of making ecocide international crime?

It’s a really interesting position that we find ourselves in what we what we, what we say we do, what we do is is sort of activate and develop global support for Ecocide becoming an international crime. But in reality, we’re in quite an interesting position, because we sit between the legal developments because the panel that’s developed the legal definition of ecocide earlier this year was convened by our charitable foundation. We also, we’re at the kind of nexus between.

So that’s the legal developments, and also the political traction, which is something that was already in trade before we even launched the public campaign. So the diplomatic conversations going on between collateral unit between climate vulnerable countries and bringing them to the International Criminal Court to have a voice there. And, of course, the public narrative, which is what you know, is now emerging in many different places across the world, and in many different ways. And that’s very, we’re very much at the heart of that we’re not the only people doing it, but we’re kind of if you’d like you could call us, I know central communications hub for that growing global movement.

So that kind of positions, kind of, you know, what we what we do, in terms of, you know, where we’ve got to, I mean, it’s been a really remarkable couple of years. I mean, partly, my departed colleague, was talking about this for 10 years before she died. You know, I was working with her for four and a half of those years. But in the time since she passed away, there’s been a really huge kind of upsurge in in interest. And that’s been for a number of reasons that I would say that.

Probably the first one was, it is a very human and rather tragic one, which is that when an initiative has a very strong figurehead, as she was for this whole concept, and people often sit back and kind of go, Well, I don’t need to do anything about that. Because Polly’s doing that.

So there’s this, there’s this sort of sense that somehow someone else is taking care of it. I mean, what what actually emerged, when she passed away was a whole bunch of people standing up and getting in touch with me as a closest associate and saying, Well, how can we help you make this happen.

And that’s what made us realize, you know, this is a small team that we had that actually there were plenty of lawyers, campaigns, grassroots groups, you know, politicians who were interested in this and wanting to push it forward, but simply hadn’t been coordinating with each other. So there’s been a huge kind of dark joining exercise that’s gone on over the last couple of years.

But I think there are also a couple of other factors that are important. And one, of course, is the increasing visibility of the devastation to nature that’s happening and you know, that the the impacts of, of that which ultimately climate change and the things that we’re seeing in regards to that, you know, fires, floods, all of these kinds of damages, deforestation, and many other other things, we can kind of see this damage happening to nature all around us in a much more immediate way than has perhaps been true in the past.

And of course, that goes along with the ever more stark reports that have been coming out, for example, from the IPCC, back in 2080, in the 1.5 degree report, but you know, leading right up to this summer, where the the the AR six report that came out in August was very, very stark saying, you know, we have already passed some points, you know, tipping points, if you like, of damage to the natural environment that will not be able to be rectified for centuries.

And you know, that so those aspects are also kind of bringing it home to people, this is very human thing that when you can see things and you know, they they kind of immediate, it brings it home to you and then, you know, a solution like we’re proposing becomes much more common sense if you like, rather than feeling out there and radical.

And the third factor I think is really important as well has been the civil mobilizations. So you know, that’s, that includes the school strikes, led by Greta Thun Berg, it includes extinction rebellion, it includes in the US the sunrise movement, it includes in Africa, the stop the Mangum easy movement. So this kind of climate, mobilizations that have been happening around the globe, have done a very effective job in opening up that conversation in the media and in the political world. And that has enabled what we’re talking about to land in a way that wasn’t possible before.

So I think those those are all really important. And in terms of where we’ve actually got to, obviously, the emergence of the definition was a huge milestone because it really made it real for people. It made it real for politicians, it made it real for lawyers. And it also made it very real for the media. And we knew that it would be a milestone, but we had no idea how much of a milestone when that definition emerged back in June.

Within a week, you know, 100 publications around the world, all major publications, were talking about it. It was like, we’ve been building these circuits for years and someone suddenly flipped a switch and it was switched on. And you know, we’ve barely sort of touched the ground since in terms of people been in contact going this is really interesting, we really want to talk about it. But also in seeing the number of governments and Parliament’s that are now talking about this, you know, I mean, often when we talk about it, people say, Oh, that sounds like a great idea.

And we have to say, this is not just a great idea. This is something that is being seriously discussed at parliamentary and or government level already in 16. In fact, 17, now, member states of the International Criminal Court, but also more behind the scenes. I mean, just as an example, we held a little kind of pre launch meeting, when the definition was ready to come out. And we invited a certain number of states, we invited maybe 20-25 states representatives, and we expected to maybe have four or five, we have 13. And that’s really, you know, it’s really interesting.

It’s like the, you know, investors, insurers, CEOs, and, you know, obviously very personally for this, for this work, politicians and policymakers are seeing that something really serious needs to change, there needs to be some kind of, you know, really quite kind of profound change in how we’re doing things in order to address the situation in which we find ourselves. And so this conversation is actually growing very fast.

And I think one of the most interesting developments in that has been the corporate world paying close attention. And in particular, recently, just before the COP26 talks in Glasgow, there was a statement submitted to that to the presidency of the COP26, from a network called the International Corporate governance network. Now, that is an investor led network of asset management firms. And between them, they deal with over half the world’s managed assets 59 trillion plus, and it includes banks like BlackRock, like UBS includes companies like Ernst and Young, you know, I mean, it’s a massive network of corporate corporate finance effectively.

And they submitted a statement to the cop talks, where they recommended governments to mandate regulation and collaborate internationally to criminalize ecocide. And I think that’s phenomenal. I mean, it’s, it’s a real symptom that things are, you know, starting to shift and that those who are, you know, pulling those strings, you know, of all that level of corporate finance, are recognizing that there is a real value in having a legal deterrent.

So, I think that, you know, we can certainly say confidently that whatever this looks like, from the outside, it’s actually further advanced than you think. And it’s moving very fast. So that’s really hugely exciting. I mean, to the extent that we, you know, we we suspect that within three to five years countries will actually be ratifying this at the International Criminal Court.

I think that that joint letter, that you just discussed that that’s really interesting. Do you think that those corporate entities submit submitted that what do you think was the inspiration for that? I mean, that that certainly reflects the cultural shift, that certainly reflects like a paradigm shift.

It’s just in your personal opinion, is that a shift that reflects sort of a new morality, or maybe like a, like a very technical analytical evaluation of the bottom line of what’s going to be most profitable? Or some kind of combination of both? I mean, how do you how do you see something like that? Because it’s really, it’s kind of unless it’s just for show, it’s really against the grain?

No, I actually think that this is a symptom of the the corporate world and the world of finance, recognizing that the risks that they’re looking at in terms of things like insurability, invest stability, and so on, are actually going to be seriously affected by what is happening to the natural world. So, you know, I think it’s, I mean, I’d like to think that it’s also a moral shift. And I think ultimately, it will create a moral shift.

But I think that there’s also some real kind of, you know, hard analysis that’s gone on here, that has, you know, has actually, you know, is leading people to go, okay, what are the new parameters going to be, and also how is the playing field going to be leveled, because the people that are wanting to move in the right direction, and the public pressure is pushing more and more, you know, towards sustainability.

And we can talk about the inadequacy of that term as well, if you like, but and therefore, those those companies and those finances, and those investors are kind of looking at, you know, how that’s going to affect, you know, their portfolios. But then there’s another aspect, which I very much hope is one of the things that’s behind this.

And that is actually just looking at their kids, looking at the future looking at their, you know, the next generation and what we’re actually going to be leaving to them and You know, this isn’t really inspiring not just rhetoric, but you know, jumping, chuckling let’s pick this up in the next segment because it’s it’s, it’s I think it’s a it’s a really important point to touch on this max lows. I’m speaking with JoJo Mehta Ecocide International run, Unite and Heal America. I’m sitting in for Matt Matern today. We’ll be back in a second.

As you may know, your host Matt Matern of unite and heal America is also the founder of Matern Law Group, their team of experienced employment consumer and environmental attorneys are dedicated to leveling the playing field by giving everyone access to the highest quality legal representation contact 844 MLG for you, that’s 844 MLG for you or 84465449688446544968.

This is Max Sloves. I’m sitting in for Matthew Matern. Today I’m speaking with JoJo Mehta, stock Ecocide international on Unite and Heal America with Matt Matern. Jojo, at the end of the last segment, we were talking about shifting corporate attitudes towards things like the criminalization of ecocide and how there’s both a an economic incentive to pursue a shift, but also a moral one. And there’s sort of the classic question of what do you want to leave to your children? And it seems like, that’s something that that gets discussed.

But are we seeing people actually thinking like, like, it’s like, oh, you can’t just leave this house, you can’t just leave this car, you can’t just leave this bank account? Actually do have to leave something more? Is that part of what we’re seeing with with corporate executives on a global scale?

I certainly hope so. I mean, I think that, you know, the time we have to really shift this discussion, and, you know, our behavior collectively, is relatively short. And I think that the call is coming from our youth is, is, is being heard in you know, it, I’d love to say it’s being heard in the corridors of power, I think in the corridors of power, there’s a lot of kind of nudging going on from a lot of people in, you know, say, my generation, your generation, whose kids are saying to them, what are you doing about this? You know, and and actually sort of hold, you know, calling, calling into account, but when it comes down to it?

I mean, there’s, it’s funny, I mean, I have, I’ve heard people say, oh, you know, it’s the young people who are going to, you know, I know, fix all this, or they’re going to lead us, etc. It’s like, yes, they’re going to probably be amazing and be different, but actually, we’re the ones that need to be acting, because at the moment, you know, the people who are making those decisions, you know, need to be able to be making them in the next few years, you know, now, and in the next few years, this is not something we can sit and wait, for the greeters of this world to actually be, you know, in the prime ministerial positions, you know, this is that we don’t have that kind of timeframe.

So I think that you know, that constant pressure from the youth is really important that the action has to come from those who are holding the purse strings, those who are writing the policies. And I think that that’s, that’s actually super important. And, and it’s interesting thinking about that insurability side of things, you know, for those who are sort of deciding on corporate projects, and so on. I mean, I spoke with an insurance expert last year, who said to me, you know, where does Ecocide fit in the kind of risk and governance frameworks that we’re dealing with?

And, and I was like, Well, you know, I’m not a risk and governance expert, but wherever you put murder, that’s where you’re gonna put Ecocide and you could see his face kind of almost kind of go pop, because he was like, Well, hang on a minute, that’s not insurable. And it’s like, well, yeah, that’s the point. You know, effectively, you’re starting to look at really sort of shifting that that dial. And of course, one of the things that we’ve done, because of this sort of dualistic mindset that we have, is we’ve actually assigned a zero value to nature.

You know, and, of course, you know, we don’t ultimately want to be putting a price on nature, but at the moment with the failure to acknowledge the value of the world around this has actually increased that separation mentality, and that, you know, the problem of the kind of code of corporate activity not taking into account those externalities. So you know, I think it’s it is, you know, it’s a really important point.

That’s so interesting. So, so much of our so much of the profit that’s generated in the world has been based on strategies of externalizing costs, externalize environmental impact, externalize workplace safety, treatment of workers, but then it kind of comes full circle. Because if global if the project of globalization is fully realized, and there’s no place left to externalize your costs, you’re kind of forced to look in the mirror and take some action. And speaking of taking action, so it Yeah, something that I think you mentioned off air, the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court.

And so I wanted to ask you, it your what would your guidance be to those in the in the US that that wants to help support this initiative? And I think it could apply to, to anyone, whether they live in a nation that that is a member of the ICC? Or is not but but just given the size and influence that the United States has on on global economies and, and behaviors? What What are things that people in the US can do if they support an initiative like this?

I think that’s a fantastic question. I love that question. And effectively, that I mean, there are a whole number of things that you we would suggest on our own website, stop Ecocide dot Earth, there’s a whole act down menu of different things that you can do from, you know, from joining the campaign, to giving talks to you know, all of those kinds of things.

But the US in particular, although it’s not a member of the International Criminal Court, in the US has some of the loudest voices in the world. And one of the things that we are looking at in terms of, you know, when we look at our analytics, and we see what, if anything is influencing the growth of this conversation, it is about who’s talking about ecocide? And where and in what contexts, it’s not actually it doesn’t relate directly, for example, to how many people are signed up to our campaign, much as we’d love everyone to sign up to our campaign, actually, the movement of the political level is coming from where the conversations are happening.

So, you know, obviously, look at the palette of things that you could potentially do to support the campaign. But whatever else, you do talk about Ecocide because actually that word in itself, the language of it is very powerful that word because, you know, firstly, it sounds serious, it sounds like genocide, you know, ecocide? Genocide, homicide, you know, you can hear that it’s a crime, and then it’s to do with nature.

So it’s got, its got its own kind of intuitive understanding, but also it brings together for people, all of those different areas that they that we can all perceive damage is happening, you know, and we may have different particular things that touch our hearts, whether that is the fate of a particular species, or whether that is, you know, marine ecosystems or forests or, you know, air pollution and the influence that has on you know, the asthma that our children suffer from, you know, there’s all of these different things. And somehow that word Ecocide sums up, you know, all of that damage.

And actually, you can, you know, as one of our US allies put it so eloquently actually was that you know, ecocide is a word, to articulate what is happening to our planet. And what it actually means is to kill one’s home. Yeah, because eco actually comes from a Greek or ecourse, which is home. And, and I think that’s a really, it just, just, it’s hugely powerful.

And I think that, you know, particularly since, you know, 1969, and the, you know, the astronauts view of the planet that we’ve had, since the end, if you like, you know, you know, conceptualization, we are realizing that there is no, you know, there is no other home that we have, you know, this, this is the most incredible planet, and we is to the best of our knowledge, there is nowhere else like it in the universe, and that is our home, and we don’t want to be killing our home, and we would all do, you know, probably go to extraordinary lengths to protect our own individual homes. Let’s do the same for our collective home and talking about Ecocide is probably the single single most powerful thing that we can be doing in the media, in our own networks, that we all have networks big and small. You know, and that’s really powerful thing.

And of course, even though the US is not a member of the ICC, it is still hugely influential. And it may also be because the federal structure in the US that there could be ways, for example of individual states to potentially you know, vocally support even maybe legislate for ecocide. Who knows, you know, there are ways that that can enter the legislative conversation in the US in different ways.

And it will be very relevant because the US is hugely influential and a lot of those big corporations, you know, do you know, are either based or have subsidiaries or what have you in the US? So, I think that there’s a, you know, there’s actually a huge amount that can be done to amplify this stateside, if you like.

I love what you were saying about the etymology of the word Ecocide because by Yeah, by using that word by consciously or subconsciously suggesting the destruction of one’s own home, essentially, which is essentially the destruction of oneself.

So Ecocide I think you could be, there’s sort of a functional equivalence to suicide, which then sort of annihilates this, this dualism that we’ve talked about that, that it’s that humans and nature are separate and and kind of like, like just the inherent contract cognitive contradictions that creates.

So I think the words we use are important can and I really love how how that particular word and the way the way you break it down into its component parts, the implications of that are so powerful.

Some of the loudest voices are in the United States that I thought you were talking about American tourists in Europe, but I guess I guess that’s kind of a stale, stale stereotype. But But it’s true, you know, a lot of media is generated in the US and a lot of influence can be exercised.

And so I think you make a really good point with that. As we wrap things up, could you just reiterate some of the resources people can turn to in terms of online resources or other resources that people can turn to to learn more about the initiatives, isssues, and ways to participate?

Absolutely. So I mean, our website again, is stopecocide.earth, and social media feeds are all that Ecocide Law, that you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and so on. And if you look up stop Ecocide on LinkedIn. We’re in there as well.

So there’s this, there’s plenty of information there. There’s lots of frequently asked questions on the website, all of that, and also just Google Ecocide and see what you find. Because there’s, you know, this, this is a conversation that is that is growing and that you’ll you will come up with a whole bunch of really interesting material in terms of articles in terms of academic papers, but all sorts of sorts of discussions. So yeah, just Google “ecocide.” Look us up at stopping Ecocide got a go,

You got it. Ecocide? Stopecocide.earth. I love that there is a doctor Jojo, it’s been an absolute delight to speak with you today. This has been Max Sloves sitting in Matt Matern on Unite and Heal America with Matt Matern. Look forward to the next time Jojo, thank you so much.

Thank you.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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