Citizens of Europe is part of the European Citizens Initiative Campaign (ECI), a grassroots coalition of democracy advocates and over 120 European NGOs dedicated to the creation and successful implementation of a European citizens’ initiative right. As the coordinating association in Germany, Citizens of Europe from time to time gives European Citizens Initiatives the possibility to introduce themselves and the aims of their initiatives here on our website. This time we give the floor to “End Ecocide Movement”.
The power of the people
The greatest tool that citizens hold to play a role in politics is to gather efforts and work together. In this sense, ECI was introduced to the European Union in 2009 and was implemented in April 2012. It allows EU citizens to propose legislation. When 1 million EU citizens from at least 7 countries support an initiative, the European Commission has to consider the proposal. In addition, a public hearing must be held in the European Parliament. An ECI has thus much more power than an ordinary petition. Through the use of democracy as a venue for change, the policies governing our world rest in the hands of the people.
European citizens united in an effort to end ecocide
The main idea of this concept is that the destruction of our environment must become a crime. Eco-cide derives from the Greek oikos meaning house or home and the Latin (demolish or kill). It is literally translated as killing our home. Polly Higgins, an internationally known environmental attorney, defined ecocide to the United Nations as “the extensive destruction or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory.” Considering ecocide inside the EU illegal would hold citizens and companies accountable for actions against our environment. In addition, it would prohibit market access for goods and services resulting from activities causing ecocide, thus creating a level-playing field for all companies. Overall, it would promote a sustainable way of doing business, putting people and planet before profits.
An example of using democracy as tool to make people’s voice to be heard is “End Ecocide in Europe, which is run by a group of volunteers from all over Europe. Prisca Merz, Director of End Ecocide, states: “I am very happy to have the opportunity to unite the three things that I care most about in this initiative: Europe, active participation in democracy and sustainability. We must protect our planet from further harm and I’m very proud to live in a region that offers its citizens this instrument of direct democracy. This is a unique chance to participate in policy making and I wish that many citizens make use of this opportunity by voting today to End Ecocide in Europe.”
The goal of this initiative is to get one million votes from EU citizens. This is the first step in securing the health of the planet and bringing justice to crimes against the environment. To learn more about ecocide and sign the initiative, please visit End Ecocide in Europe’s website.
About the author
Andrew Miller is a member of the End Ecocide movement, blogger, environmental law student and co-founder of the tech startup Scan & Ban, www.ScanandBan.com.