Green crime (ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME)
Green Crime = CRIMES AGAINST THE ENVIRONMENT (CATE)
Zemiology = study of harms
Green crime is linked to GLOBALISATION. Regardless of the division of the world into separate nation states the planet is a single ECOSYSTEM .
For example an incident in the nuclear industry, at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986 where atmospheric winds dumped radioactive fallout material on parts of Wales.
GLOBAL RISK SOCIETY (BECK, 1992)
Most threats to human well-being and the eco-system are no longer
natural (droughts etc) but human made. In our technological advances
and our emphasis on ever increasing productivity we have created now
MANUFACTURED RISKS – dangers that we have never faced before e.g.
global warming. The fact that many of these risks are global rather than
local in nature led ULRICH BECK to famously describe late modern society
as ‘global risk society’ (1992).
TWO VIEWS OF HARM White (2008)
1 ANTHROPOCENTRIC VIEW
TRADITIONAL CRIMINOLOGY versus GREEN CRIMINOLOGY
Only concerned with illegal acts. Only
considers acts which contravene
national & international environmental
laws and regulations.
This gives it a clearly defined subject
matter however critics argue it simply
accepts official definitions which are
often shaped by powerful selfinterested business groups.
Bhopal Disaster: breaches of safety
legislation, failure to follow procedures
Adopted by nation states &TNCs. Assumes that humans have a
right to dominate nature for their own ends. Puts economic
growth before the environment.
TYPE OF GREEN CRIME 1: PRIMARY CRIMES
2 ECOCENTRIC VIEW
1 CRIMES OF AIR POLLUTION
Sees humans and their environment as interdependent.
What hurts the environment also hurts humans.
Sees both humans and the environment being exploited by
Evidence: burning fossil fuels adds 3 million tons of carbon to
the atmosphere per year. This contributes to global warming
Criminals: governments, business, consumers
Green Criminology adopts the ecocentric view
EVALUATION OF GREEN CRIMINOLOGY (A02):
Crimes that result directly from the destruction and degradation of the
earths resources. FOUR main types
2 CRIMES OF DEFORESTATION
Evidence: 1/5 of tropical rainforest felled 1960-1990. In Amazon
to rear beef cattle for export.
Criminals: governments, logging companies, consumers of
burgers, McDonalds, cattle ranchers
1 Recognises the growing importance of environmental
issues and the need to address the harms and risks of
environmental damage both to humans & animals.
2 Is transgressive – it considers acts and issues which are
not defined as crimes but which cause enormous harm.
3 CRIMES OF SPECIES DECLINE & ANIMAL RIGHTS
Evidence: 25 million die a year from drinking contaminated
water. Marine pollution threatens oceans reefs & species.
Criminals: governments that discharge sewage, businesses that
dump toxic waste, BP in the Gulf of Mexico.
1 By focusing on harm rather than legally defined crimes it
is hard to define clear boundaries of its field of study.
2 It comes down to moral or political value judgements
about which actions are wrong not objective research.
Evidence: 50 species a day becoming extinct. Trafficking in
animals and animal parts, abuse of animals.
Criminals: illegal business, consumers, dog-fighters…
4 CRIMES OF WATER POLLUTION
More radical approach. Starts from notion of harm, rather than criminal law.
Many of the worst environmental harms are not illegal. Subject matter much
wider than traditional criminology. Is a form of transgressive criminology – it
aims to broaden the boundaries of what we consider crime to be. Because
different states have different laws the same harmful act may be a crime in
one place but not another. By moving away from legal definitions green
criminology gives a global perspective on environmental harm. Like Marxists
argue that powerful interests, especially nation states and TNCs, are able to
define in their own interests what counts and doesn’t count as
Bhopal Disaster: Notes the advantages for a company in locating their plant
in a country with weak health & safety and environmental laws.
TYPE OF GREEN CRIME 2: SECONDARY
Crimes that are generated by ignoring rules aimed at preventing or
regulating environmental disasters. South divides these into:
1 STATE VIOLENCE AGAINST OPPOSITIONAL GROUPS
States condemn terrorism but do it themselves. For example in
1985 the French Secret Service sank the Greenpeace ship
Rainbow Warrior which was trying to prevent a green crime –
testing of nuclear weapons in the south Pacific.
2 HAZARDOUS WASTE AND ORGANISED CRIME
Safe and legal disposal of toxic waste from chemical/nuclear
industries is costly. Criminal entrepreneurs do it cheaper e.g. in
Italy eco-mafias. 28,500 barrels of radioactive waste lie on the
seabed off the Channel Isles, dumped by the UK in the 1950s.
Western businesses ship their waste to be processed in
developing countries where it is cheaper and safety standards
are often non existent. In the US to dispose of a ton of toxic
waste costs around $2,500, in some poor countries cost is $3.
TNCs also offload their banned products onto Third World
Banning products and regulating waste disposal in developing
nations raises costs and offloads green crime into poor nations.