8 Green Crime:


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8 Green Crime:

  1. 1. 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 TRADITIONAL CRIMINOLOGY GREEN CRIMINOLOGY Only concerned with illegal acts. Only considers acts which contravene national & international environmental laws and regulations. A02 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 global capitalism. 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): STRENGTHS: 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 WEAKNESSES: 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 environmental harm 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 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 markets. Banning products and regulating waste disposal in developing nations raises costs and offloads green crime into poor nations.