Political Leaders and the Case for Ecocide
Join the Centre for Criminology and Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) for an insightful seminar with Professor Reece Walters
Reece Walters is Professor of Criminology at Deakin University (Australia). His areas of research interest and expertise include Green and Southern Criminology, Crimes of the Powerful, and the Sociology of Criminological Knowledge. He is particularly interested in the ways in which corporations and governments exploit and compromise the ‘essentials of life’, namely air, food and water for power and profit.
he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continues to assert the hazardous consequences of ongoing greenhouse gas emissions inertia and the urgent need to transition to renewable energies (IPCC, 2022). A position endorsed at the November 2022 COP27 in Egypt by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. In his opening address reiterating the urgency and emergency of the impending climate disaster stating: ‘…We are in the fight of our lives and we are losing … And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible…. We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.’ This is a powerful statement, it’s a call to arms, it’s a challenge to world leaders to do more in the fight for ongoing human existence against those who deny climate change and perpetuate planetary demise.
The perils of human and non-human species are globally monitored by various international institutions. The Doomsday Clock, established in 1947 by atomic scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project. Its intention was to provide a symbolic representation, based on the evidence of available destructive technologies, contemporary conflicts and geopolitical stability, of the likelihood of humanity annihilating itself. When the Clock is set at midnight, then a panel of world nuclear, physical and climate scientists, who meet twice a year, will have decided that based on available scientific facts, humanity is facing extinction. The Clock’s latest setting was positioned at 100 seconds to midnight, its most alarming in six decades.
This presentation adopts a green criminological lens to the emerging concept of ‘ecocide’ to examine political leaders and their mismanagement of devastating bushfires. Through a detailed interrogation of Australia’s Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements it traces the devastating Summer events of 2019/2020 and concludes that political inaction underpinned by fossil fuel economic priorities were instrumental in creating the contexts for a preventable environmental and human catastrophe.
This seminar is part of an open seminar series, hosted by the Centre for Criminology and Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI)
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Essex students within the department can attend this event as part of eligibility criteria for module SC199. Once attended, you can complete a short reflection on what you learned by attending the event. This can be downloaded here (via Moodle) and then uploaded to FASER.