A message from the European Citizen's Initiative to End Ecocide
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Podcasts / Report for End Ecocide on Earth Conference Online

On October the 13th, End Ecocide on Earth gathered legal experts, scientists, NGOs, politicians and citizens to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels to talk about the concept of ecocide and ways to legally implement it at national, European and international levels.

We heard from a number of well-known speakers and experts about the history of ecocide and what it means, the relationships between ecocide and health, indigenous rights, environmental security, justice, climate change and more. It gave us the opportunity to learn more about the latest legal developments and what is still missing to protect our health and the environment in an efficient way.

You can find a summary and all the podcasts of the day here.

The next day, experts were invited to discuss the best way to prevent ecocide and decided upon a common strategy to get an amendment adopted by the International Criminal Court to recognize Ecocide as a crime against humanity and peace.

On Tuesday 14th October, young Europeans were given the opportunity to meet policy makers and discuss ways to improve the European Citizens´ Initiative (ECI). This event was organised in partnership with the ECI campaign. During the workshop we explored the challenges that Citizens’ Initiatives face, and developed proposals for making it better – to benefit initiatives in the future years. In particular, we focused on the question of engaging more young people within ECIs.

The excellent attendance at this conference which was highly oversubscribed shows the huge interest in the concept of ecocide throughout Europe. It is remarkable what a grassroots movement can achieve and we will continue to do all we can to ensure an effective legal protection of ecosystems.

The journey to End Ecocide on Earth has just begun and we invite you all to join us on that journey – first of all by adding your signature on our website www.endecocide.org.

Christmas / December activities

This Christmas we have two special actions for you to participate in and show your support to END Ecocide. First, our Spanish supporter Annalivia was again very hard at work already preparing her world known special hand crafted Christmas cards !

An article about her cards is to be released in the December edition of the Austrian women´s magazine « Die Gute ». Take a look at all the Goodies follow this link and join her this year spreading info about our movement via special Christmas cards!

And for all that are not good at arts and crafts, we have the Earth Hug Day coming up on the 12th of December.

Gather a few friends, get out on the streets and hug other people telling them : “The most important things in life, money can't buy” - like a Hug, love or spending time with the ones you care for. It is also the last day of the climate conference COP20 in Lima and two days after International Human Rights Day. So there are plenty of reasons to tell people to STOP consuming and to START protecting our planet. More details and which hashtags to use for social media pics of your activities with a link to the facebook event can be found here (http://tinyurl.com/earthhugday). Join us, as 1200 volunteers around the world have already - including Friends of the Earth Australia and Friends of the Earth Austria and be part of a global Hug Event !

Ecocide of the month – El Rio de Aguas

Here in South Eastern Spain, extending over 150 sq Kilometers, is the largest aquifer in the Province of Almeria. It lies under the ground where the “Spaghetti Westerns” were filmed and where the epic film, “Exodus” was filmed last year. It is named the Sorbas-Tabernas basin, in the province of Almeria in Andalucia, Southern Spain.

This aquifer supplies water to 15 towns, numerous small villages, (some with no access to “mains water”), and subsistence farmers. This demarcation includes the area of Special Scientific Interest known as the Paraje Natural of El Rio De Aguas, (Paraje Natural Karst en Yesos de Sorbas), unique in Europe. Since 1998, owing to continuous over-exploitation, the “water table” has been dropping by at least 3.3 meters a year. Conservatively this indicates a lowering of 52.8 meters over the intervening years. In recent years the department of Environment has allowed two million olive trees to be planted on this aquifer with a further three million destined to be planted in the coming years.The situation is now critical. The largest Spring draining this huge aquifer, the Spring of El Rio De Aguas is no longer producing enough water to maintain the protected Eco-system of the Paraje Natural, and barely enough to supply the needs of local farmers.

Villagers and subsistence farmers down-stream from the Spring of El Rio De Aguas are now facing the total loss of their livelihoods. El Rio De Aguas is their one and only access to free water. The Eco-system of the Paraje Natural is already compromised. Some irrigation lines previously used to water fruit trees and vegetable gardens are dry, the trees dead, and the land impossible to use.These villagers and farmers have nowhere to go. The Eco-system of the Paraje Natural is dying. Rainfall is insufficient to re-charge the aquifer. Underground water levels are continuing to drop.If the present irrigation of two million olive trees continues we will be without water within two years.

If a further three million olive trees are planted, (now in planning), all life at present enabled by El Rio De Aguas will cease to exist.In both cases we are faced by the most extreme form of Ecocide. There is no life without water. Peaceful enjoyment of the territory will be forever lost.

UNESCO Conference “The Call of Paris”

The Call of Paris on November the 14th at UNESCO's ¨Ten Years of Existence¨ anniversary, was celebrated in the form of an international symposium organized by the Association for the Anti-cancer Therapeutic Research (ARTAC), to which our spokesperson Valérie Cabanes was invited, where she presented the strategy of the End Ecocide on Earth movement.

The Call of Paris, signed in 2004 by many scientific personalities, such as the entire Councils of Doctors of the twenty-five Member States of Europe, 1.500 NGOs and 350.000 European citizens, stated:

  • that most diseases are caused by chemical pollution;
  • that because of this pollution, children are in danger;
  • and that if we continue to pollute the environment as we do now, mankind itself will be is endangered.

This conference brought together scientists, political and civil society, actors expressing the wish that pollution is regarded as a crime against humanity.

Last January, authors of the Charter of Brussels, which included End Ecocide on Earth, launched a petition going in the same direction.

This conference underlined the lack of coherent policies regarding both health and the environment. The absence of environmental protection - resulting from the refusal of political powers to accept accumulating scientific evidence correlating environmental factors with emerging diseases - allows those who pollute/ pollutors to contaminate with impunity while the victims of their actions pay multiple times through their exposure t o the pollutants and their obligation to pay – physiologically and financially for their exposure.

During his speech, Dr Belpomme, a cancer specialist and organizer of the conference, explained why it is morally and legally imperative that ¨the fight must start now”. Under the terms of the Call of Paris, both pollution and the serious destruction of nature must be recognised as crimes and perpetrators must be proscecuted as criminals. Such actions directly affect health – and life of flora and fauna – not only of this generation, but for future generations as well. Dr Belpomme spoke of the emergence of cancers, congenital malformations, chronic and neuro-generative diseases which he and a large body of scientists have linked to increasingly polluted environments. He calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to note the signatories of the Call of Paris together with the working group setup by End Ecocide on Earth and a growing swell of concerned citizens, to act now to make this wish a reality.

Stay tuned for two more conferences coming-up this year where Valerie and Thomas will speak to END Ecocide:

Let’s End Ecocide together!
Every hand helps!

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