Climate 21

Ecocide - Making Mass Destruction Of Nature An International Crime - A Chat With Jojo Mehta

January 19, 2022 Tom Raftery / Jojo Mehta Season 1 Episode 56
Climate 21
Ecocide - Making Mass Destruction Of Nature An International Crime - A Chat With Jojo Mehta
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ecocide is a term that is recently starting to gain a little ground in the public's eye, but what is it, where does it come from, and just what are the chances of it becoming an internationally legislated crime?

To find out more about Ecocide I invited Jojo Mehta to come on the podcast. Jojo is the Co-Founder & Executive Director, Stop Ecocide International. Stop Ecocide International is the driving force behind, and central communications hub for, the growing global movement to make ecocide an international crime.

We had a fascinating conversation covering what Ecocide is, why it needs to be criminalised, and when (not if!) it will be made an international crime.

This was a truly fascinating episode of the podcast and I learned loads as always, and I hope you do too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page, head on over to the Climate 21 Podcast Forum, or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Sustainability solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/sustainability, and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Music credit - Intro and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Jojo Mehta:

I mean, if you think about Deepwater Horizon or Fukushima, I mean, in both those cases, we know that there were over safety protocols or design protocols that were known about but not followed. And I think with something like this in place, those kinds of safety issues would be far more carefully considered. And you know, those design issues and we could quite likely have ended up with a situation where those things are simply avoided.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the climate 21 podcast, the number one podcast showcasing best practices in climate emissions reductions. And I'm your host, global vice president for SAP. Tom Raftery. Climate 21 is the name of an initiative by SAP to allow our customers calculate, report and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In this climate 21 podcast, I would showcase best practices and thought leadership by SAP, by our customers by our partners on by our competitors if their game in climate emissions reductions. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast in your podcast app of choice to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Climate 21 podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show. Today I have my special guest Jojo. Jojo would you like to introduce yourself?

Jojo Mehta:

Hi there. lovely to be here, Tom. My name is Jojo Mehta and I co founded in 2017, an initiative to support the criminalization of mass damage and destruction of nature. In other words, to make Ecocide an international crime.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic, fantastic. And ecocide. This is a term that I've heard recently, as a result of coming in contact with yourself. And I saw it written up a couple of times, but it's a relatively new term, I want to think,

Jojo Mehta:

yes, it was coined about 50 years ago in 1970. Well, I mean, compared to a number of words that are around, it's quite new. It was first used back then to describe the damage caused by Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. And it was first mentioned on the international stage in the first UN Environment conference in 1972. But it was fair to say that in terms of the public familiarity with that word, it really is a lot newer than that. And that is really been due to the work of an amazing UK barrister Polly Higgins, who I worked very closely with until her untimely passing in 2019. She dedicated the last 10 years of her life, to bringing forward this initiative to recognizing damage to the natural world as a really serious crime. And that's the work that we've been continuing since you passed away in 2019. And it's gathering huge momentum at present.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Let's try and put a bit of context on this, though. I mean, what is ecocide? If I walk down the street and throw a sweet wrapper on the floor? You know, is it that is it if I do you know, what's called Fly tipping where I go with a van or to the countryside and dump a load of my rubbish into a ditch somewhere? Is it that I have a huge oil spill that takes out an ecosystem? You know, there's a big spectrum there. And where did the boundaries lie?

Jojo Mehta:

This is a really good question. And probably the most obvious one to start off with. Really, by Ecocide we mean mass damage and destruction. So something on a fairly large scale, you know, we're not talking about chopping down the trees on the village green, we're not talking about littering. We're not talking about the fact that you drive a fossil fuel car, as a as an as an end user, if you like, as a consumer, what we're talking about is the kind of scale of destruction that might be it might include things like serious deforestation, big oil spills, these kinds of seriously destructive incidents or activities that are quite clearly at the root cause of the crises that were that we're facing globally. You know, whether that's the climate, whether that's biodiversity loss, and, and I always think biodiversity loss is a bit of a casual way of describing what's happening. It's not like, Oh, I think I've lost my biodiversity might have fallen out of pocket. When actually, of course, what we're addressing is, is what a lot of people are describing as the sixth mass extinction. And we would draw, you know, we would see those things as, as symptoms, you know, which have a key root cause in this massive ecological destruction that we're calling ecocide.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah, and of course, biodiversity loss and climate are very closely related. Anyway. I mean, it the the loss of biodiversity is actually contributing to climate issues. And also just to clarify, I don't drive a fossil fuel car but

Jojo Mehta:

well, a lot of people can't afford to do anything else. And of course, that's where you that's one of the aspects where, you know, this law comes in in a way because What we're looking at is decisions that are made at the highest level, it's not for a lot of people is not a consumer choice to drive a fossil fuel car, it's actually an economic decision that is made on the basis of the options that they're offered as citizens. And those decisions come from the highest level, they come from the highest level of industry and policy. And so you know, what we're really aiming to do with criminalizing serious harm is to actually have those key decision makers Think carefully, before deciding on embarking on a particular kind of project, for example. Okay,

Tom Raftery:

so if, for example, there were a new oil fields proposed in the North Sea, and several fossil fuel companies were getting on board with it, and politicians had to make a decision whether to back it or not, the possibility that they might be held criminally liable for doing so might give them pause, is that the idea?

Jojo Mehta:

I think that would absolutely be the case, longer term, I mean, this is not something that you can, that is going to bring, you know, that is going to appear overnight, I think it's it's what's one of the aspects that's very important about this. And, and one of the reasons that we aim for an international crime is that it takes some time to gather the momentum behind this, and we can come back later to how fast that is gathering, because that's quite rapid right now. But it nonetheless takes some time. And it also takes a number of you know, a number of governments effectively to be able to sort of get behind it. But one of the advantages of that, I think, can be seen where we look at what's, you know, the results of internet intergovernmental gatherings like the the cop talks around climates, you know, that we just had in Glasgow, where, you know, there's some positive results, but effectively, we're still kind of crawling in the direction in which we really should be sprinting. And that is partly, we believe, because those governments and also those corporate sectors are kind of trying to play the same game better, you know, we'll do better this year, we've got to raise our ambition, you know, that there's, there's, there's additional levels of goodwill. And sometimes if we're lucky, probably not enough, there's additional levels of funding. But effectively, it's always playing the same game. Now. It's only when you change the parameters, in other words, the rules of that game, that you actually start to have people play it differently. And I think there's a growing awareness that and actually a growing willingness and a growing, sort of move towards wanting to do something different, realizing that there is actually serious change needed. But unless that parameter is visible, and kind of visible on the horizon, I mean, you don't necessarily want it appearing immediately, because so many of the core practices that we engage in economically worldwide, at their worst, can create these kinds of damage. But it's, it's if if there is something visible appearing over the horizon, that is going to be a new kind of compliance parameter, what that has the potential to do is to actually unleash the right kind of creativity and innovation. In other words, you know, for people to sort of be thinking to themselves, their decision makers to be thinking to themselves, you know, within, you know, let's say, four or five years, you know, I'm going to need to be thinking very carefully about what I insure what I invest in what I support, what I you know, say yes to as a policymaker, and, you know, covering all the different areas of the production chain. And so, you know, what do we need to do, instead of what we might have done that would have been problematic in this context. So, you know, one could almost think of that period of its approach as a kind of a kind of a compliance period, but also a kind of a period in which to get strategic. And, and that's a very, that's a very realistic, but actually potentially a very positive and empowering way to view this new parameter.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Why quite criminal law. I mean, it sounds kind of almost draconian. If if I if I think of, for example, here in the EU, in 2020, new legislation was passed, which requires automotive manufacturers to have the average emissions of their fleet be 120 grams co2 per kilometer. And that brought about massive change. Because let's say in 2019, two and a half percent of new vehicles sold or EVs that shifted to 6.7% in 2020. And this year, it'll end up being somewhere between 16 and 20%. So it's on that S curve. And that's without criminalization. So big change can happen without making a criminal.

Jojo Mehta:

All of these aspects are important. There's no question. I mean, you know, regulations of various kinds are, of course key. And it's really a question of a tool in our toolkit, but also, but it's a particularly powerful tool. And I mean, actually, there was a study done in I believe it's Colorado University a few years ago, where they actually examined you know, what happens when you change environmental regulation. And what they generally found is that the thing it changed most often was budgeting now Whereas what they found was that when you added a criminal aspect to that legal change, you actually saw behavioral change. And I think that is the powerful thing about criminal law. And, you know, we could look at particular examples, you know, I mean, I'm from the UK. So I mean, I'm sort of thinking, you know, how these things can change. I mean, you know, when I was a kid, it was still legally permissible to beat up your child as a, you know, as your as a disciplinary approach. And the Child Protection Act only came in in 1989. And actually, I still find that shocking when I think about it. But the fact is that, you know, over that time, you know, the intervening time, I mean, now, if you stop someone on the street, and ask them, if they think it's okay to, you know, to hit your child, you know, you'll most likely get a really strong moral recoil from that, you know, from that assertion. So, I think we, you know, we can see that, you know, in criminal law has not just a sort of behavioral impact, but also a moral impact. And I think that's actually really important here, because one of the things that we suffer from, and I would say, suffer from actually, in our culture, that has grown up over many decades, actually, centuries probably, is actually this this way we have of thinking of ourselves as separate to the natural world, and thinking of ourselves, as, you know, the sort of lords and masters of, you know, of all we survey. And effectively, of course, the reality is that we're deeply intertwined with those natural systems, and we absolutely survive on them. And you know, we can't eat, drink, breathe anything, you know, without healthy ecosystems. And so there's a way in which when you criminalize destruction of nature, and you do it at the highest level, and I think it on this symbolic arena, it's very important that that's the case, you know, in terms of international crimes, is what you're saying is, you know, if Ecocide is equivalent to genocide, in terms of the seriousness, I mean, it's a different kind of crime, but in some parts of the world, they're linked. But effectively, what you're saying is, it matters just as much that we, you know, respect and look after the world that sustains us, as it does that we care for each other. And I think that's really hugely powerful.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and why go the route of the International Criminal Court? I mean, America hasn't signed up to it. China hasn't signed up to it. You know, why, why that wrote,

Jojo Mehta:

there are some specific reasons, actually, and I'll come back to the membership later, because I completely appreciate that not every country as a member, but currently 123 states are, which is a sizeable proportion of the world in terms of in terms of numbers. But also, it has a unique mechanism, it's the only global mechanism, which directly accesses the criminal justice systems of its member states. So if as a member states, you ratify a crime there, you then must include it in your own domestic legislation. So it's actually quite an effective and sort of efficient way of creating a new really foundational ground rule that applies coherently across borders. And of course, with environmental damage, that's particularly useful because some of the worst polluters are very big corporations who can operate in many different jurisdictions. Nice. And there's that I mean, there are a couple of other other aspects that a key one is the symbolic one that we just spoke about. And the third one actually, we already did kind of touch on, but it's interesting politically, actually, which is that governments are a little bit wary, or can be a bit wary of jumping in with both feet into a new criminal law like this, because they don't want to sort of overnight, create friction with, you know, their, their their corporate sector, you know, with certain elements of the political spectrum, it could be a variety of reasons. Whereas getting behind it at the international level is a way for governments to acknowledge that something really serious does need doing, but also to acknowledge that we all need to act together, because actually, when it comes down to it, you know, we may be in different levels of luxury cabin or not, but we are ultimately all on the same Titanic. And and so you know, we do actually need to be acting in concert and not just, you know, at the political level, but also at the corporate level, also the civil society level. So the time and the momentum that it takes to sort of gather behind an international crime is actually very important, because it enables people to start acting together. And it also enables all of those sort of sectors, if you'd like of civil society, including the business sector to actually kind of get their heads around a new perspective that could be approaching and to get creative around it, and to, you know, to create that to grow that conversation if you like. And I think again, there's this sense now that it's very timely, because I mean, actually, we would say it's what long overdue but, but effectively, there is a moment that has really arisen over the last couple of years that I think, you know, we're all feeling and partly that is because we can see some of the drastic effects of climate change of ecological destruction, you know, in kind of Evermore public apocalyptic ways actually around us and farmers and floods and droughts and weather, weather events, and, and all of these things. So it sort of brings it home. I mean, there's this rather tragic but, you know, understandable human trait of not kind of really being able to grab something and it with one's mind until it's in front of one's eyes. So, you know, so there is that aspect. But I think also we've seen the alarm being raised in a number of different ways. I mean, on a grassroots level with, you know, Greta toon Burg has inspired school strikes, you know, extinction, rebellion, these more activist sides of, of this sort of awakening, if you like, which have been very important for opening up the conversation, you know, effectively, you know, we've been working on this whole initiative around Ecocide for over 10 years. But it's only in the last couple of years that that has really been sort of landing. And of course, the other factor here, I think, is the the international reports that have been coming out that have made it very starkly clear. And I think the last one that came out in August from the IPCC was, was quite shocking to a lot of people, you know, really bringing it home that, you know, there are points that are potentially being crossed that the can't be rectified within centuries. And so that sense of urgency is really now coming home, I think. And it's, it's it's no longer feeling like a kind of extreme solution, but actually more of a necessary one.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And just question from pure naivety. On my point, I'm not familiar with the workings of the International Criminal Court. But if the court does say that this crime is no, a crime, ecocide is no a crime. Does each country then individually have to pass its own legislation based on that so that they're there by pushing it out further? Or is it automatically embedded in the laws of those member countries,

Jojo Mehta:

it's not automatic. So the amendment procedure has a certain sort of sequence to it a state any state can propose it and actually, that's, that's really quite positive, because it means that it doesn't have to be the big players. It can actually be, in fact, this, this conversation is very live amongst some of the most climate vulnerable countries for obvious reasons. But it means that they can potentially lead on this if they want to, because it can be any state that proposes it, it then has to be sort of okayed by the the assembly of states there. And in other words, they have to agree that yes, we're going to discuss this. And then there's a process of, you know, discussion and negotiation between representatives of the states to actually finalize that text. And then once it's adopted, adoption requires at least two thirds of member states. And after that, you get ratification. And ratification is like many treaties is easier, you can write about straightaway, or some countries come along further down the line. But once you ratify it, then you have to include it in your domestic legislation. So we'll probably be looking at I mean, we estimate that it could be being ratified within four or five years. But then it would obviously take time for various countries to get on board. But there has been a very significant milestone this year, in the sense that there is now a legal definition of, of ecocide that has been drafted collaboratively by an expert panel that was brought together by our charitable arm, which is the Netherland Foundation. And what that group did over six months was draft a very concise text that could be used, you know, to be considered by states at the International Criminal Court, you know, as a potential fifth international crime. And that that's been that was incredibly important. I mean, when that was launched in June, we saw a huge sort of upswell of interest in the media. I mean, we had, you know, 100 Publications across the world within a week talking about it. It's like, you know, it's suddenly sort of hit the radar, if you like, of the mainstream media, but also politics. And since then, or rather, you know, sort of it's been accelerating since then, I mean, to the point that we now have on public record discussion of criminalizing Ecocide in at least 18 of the ICCs member states. So that's, you know, that that's No, you know, that's no small, little gathering of momentum. That's that that's, that's really quite a quite interesting. And perhaps your listeners might be interested to hear what the definition is, because it's actually very, it's actually very small. I mean, I know you can only hear me, you can't see me, but Tom can see me holding up my business card here. And the definition actually sits on the back of that business card four lines. Exactly. And so the the core of the definition that this independent drafting group came up with these 12 lawyers from around the world is just simply this Ecocide means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long term damage to the environment being caused by those acts. And that's it. That's it. I mean, there's that there's another paragraph that explains those terms a bit more what does it mean what does long term but but but that's the core of it, and I think what's what's really interesting about it is it has it has caused I mean, it's created some debate in academic and legal circles, but it has been actually on the whole, very well received in the world of politics in political world. And I think that that is due to this sort of it's very, it's very balanced in the sense that it both kind of potentially captures the worst harms or the threat of the worst harms even. But it also acknowledges that there are existing bodies of law. So that second threshold of unlawful or wanton is very important, because it recognizes that there is existing law in all of these different jurisdictions. And you know, that that may vary from one place to another. But then there's there's also this aspect of wanton, which means that, you know, even if something is legally permitted, if it's bad enough, and it could potentially create severe enough damage, then it might also fall under that definition. So so it has a kind of almost a respect for what's in place embedded within the definition. And I think the other thing that's very interesting about that is that it also supports the existing body of environmental law by doing that, because as you improve environmental regulation, as you improve the criminal law that exists, this definition moves with you. So effectively, it's always sort of future proof in the in that context, and it encourages and draws forward. All of those who are working on improving very specific areas, and which you know, many of your listeners, maybe in their different arenas will be working to improve the sustainability or the environmental friendliness of what they're doing. And all of those improvements in regulation and impact, best practice. And all of those things will be supported by having this foundational piece in place.

Tom Raftery:

Nice. And what about the fact that China and the US are not part of the ICC?

Jojo Mehta:

Yeah, this is an interesting one. So on the plus side, it means they can't vote against it. So that's obviously but apart from that, I think that many people don't realize that the ICC his remit is a little bit broader than it looks at first glance. So there are different ways of approaching prosecutions that so for example, at the moment, there's been a case with the Rohingya in Bangladesh. And recently the ICC has judged that it can cover a case of cases that might refer to that, even though Myanmar itself isn't a member. So but because those those people have are in Bangladesh and are finding themselves in Bangladesh, which is a member, then that you know, a case can be taken. So, it depends, it can depend on the location of victims, it can depend on, you know, again, it can even depend on sort of other considerations, like, for example, an American company. I mean, one thing, you know, there might be Ecocide law activity going on in a member state of the ICC. But equally, they could have, let's say, I don't know, an operational office in Belgium, for example, now Belgium is very interesting, because the Belgian Parliament recently overwhelmingly voted in favor of demanding that its government legislate for ecocide, nationally, and internationally. So that demand is there, in Belgium, and Belgium also has a history of using universal competence or universal jurisdiction. In other words, you know, potentially should an executive from that us or Chinese company set foot in Belgium, they could be arrested and prosecuted there. So the you know, the range is actually a bit broader than you think. But I think the other factor here is also that of a sort of almost a natural sort of marginalization factor over time. Because if if larger, if numbers of countries in the world are already saying this activity is not acceptable anymore, it's neither legally or morally acceptable to create large scale destruction of the environment, then that kind of has a kind of moral overspill and also potentially, you know, a business overspill in terms of what's acceptable in either in, you know, in supply chains or in parts of the, the business networks, if you like,

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and what kind of sanctions are likely to come out of this for organizations that are found guilty? And would the legislation be retroactive?

Jojo Mehta:

Okay, two very different questions. And I'll take the second one to begin with, because it's very simple. No, it wouldn't be retroactive. And actually, it's rather important, just not, because the whole point is we're looking to change behavior. And that that takes time and the thought, and obviously, with a kind of the sort of urgent stimulus of what we can actually perceive happening in the world, that can actually happen, that can potentially happen relatively rapidly. But it can't happen. If tomorrow you're about to become a criminal. Or I mean, or if you know, something you did last week, it's going to make you a criminal in a year's time, that isn't going to work. We actually need everybody on this boat, you know, everyone needs to come with a suit. So and in any case, criminal law doesn't generally work like that it doesn't work retro actively. So I think that's important from the other perspective. It's actually not aimed at corporations that this chrome, it's aimed at individuals. And that is something that the ICC is particularly clear on in its remit. It's particularly aimed at individuals. And I think this is actually really important because there is such a temptation to sort of assign what the corporation does to the corporation, which is a fictional person, it's not an actual person. So you can kind of, you know, it's possible to sort of hide behind that corporate veil to a certain extent. And, you know, effectively, that then is reflected in either changes in budgeting or in fines, and so on. But, you know, when one is personally, you know, if you have your own personal freedom on the line, you're going to think very carefully about the, you know, the decisions that you make, but you're also going to get really quite proactive about your due diligence going in the right direction. And I think this is interesting, because this shows a shift in mindset from the mitigation of risk, which is kind of where we currently stands really the way that we think economically, to avoidance of hazard, which is a different approach. And and it's one that we most commonly associate with sort of health and safety law, you know, you don't, you're not going to start thinking about, you know, how can I almost have somebody break their head open, but not quite, you know, that's not the approach that goes with this kind of legal approach. It's more like, Okay, how do we make sure nobody dies? You know, and that is, that is the kind of approach that we have not here that you had around destruction of nature. So, you know, we all know that you're not going to go to a government and say, Can I have a permit to kill 500 People from I do business, I mean, it literally isn't gonna cross your mind. But we don't have that same taboo around serious damage to nature, you know, we actually we even use completely sort of different language around it, and we potentially get licenses for the kinds of activities that at their worst, you know, can, you know, create these kinds of issues. But I think there's also, I mean, I think the safety, the safety aspect is an important one. Because, I mean, if you think about Deepwater Horizon, or Fukushima, I mean, in both those cases, we know that there were other safety protocols or design protocols that were known about, but not followed. And I think with something like this in place, those kinds of safety issues would be far more carefully considered. And you know, those design issues, and we could quite likely have ended up with a situation where those things were simply avoided, those disasters just wouldn't have happened. So so that the safety aspect, I think, is hugely important. Nice. Okay.

Tom Raftery:

How likely is this to get passed?

Jojo Mehta:

Well, we're really starting to be at the stage now, where it's not a question of if it's a question of when, and and we've we've actually been hearing this, I mean, it's not even, you know, us for saying it's, we're hearing this coming at us, if you like, I mean, you know, to the extent that I mean, interestingly, we've had, we've had political advisors saying, you know, we know this is coming, we just don't know when, but also, recently, very interestingly, the statement to cop 26, from the International Corporate governance network, which is a group of asset managers, asset management firms around the world. So and I mean, they manage 59 trillion plus, it's over half the world's managed assets. That network put in a statement to cop 26, in which they recommended governments to criminalize ecocide. And what that says to us is that the world of corporate investment is really starting to recognize that the legal frameworks of deterrence are actually going to be key for shifting practice in the right kind of direction towards sustainability. And what it sort of acknowledges to us as well is that without those in place, it's actually quite difficult to get those, you know, to get that movement happening. So I think that's a that was a really interesting

Tom Raftery:

acknowledgement. Okay, and roughly, what kind of timeline are we looking at?

Jojo Mehta:

Well, I mean, we think it the interesting thing at the moment is that things are moving faster than we would have anticipated. And amendments to the Rome Statute, which is the governing document at the International Criminal Court have been done before. And they've taken between around two years to add a sort of a clause on starvation to around 10 years, which was a whole, which was the crime of aggression, which was an additional crime. So, you know, it can vary quite a lot. But it also depends, we believe quite strongly on external circumstances. And right now we are in, we're in a very different climate. I mean, it's quite a phrase. I mean, both politically and literally. So there is a sense of urgency around this. I mean, the the official side event that we had, we held a virtual side event last week. So December 2021, at the International Criminal Court. And it was supported by four sovereign states. And it was attended. I mean, we had something like I think 1400 registrants and sell by over 700 people attending which far as we understand broke all records for the OCC in terms of interest in a subject. So I think that's a bit of a signal that things are on the move, and we would estimate that your ratification could be taking place within four to five years. So, you know, there's a really, you know, there's a strong acknowledgement, I think it's also coming into the discourse at the EU level. I mean, France Timmermans. Recently, I mean, he actually gave a wonderful quote, I wish I had it to hand where he said effectively that, you know, the climate crisis and and ecocide are kind of two sides of the same thing, which is humanity playing with its own destiny, or something like that. It really was, it was brilliant. It's wonderfully dramatic. But, but But effectively, you know, the, the corridors of establishment are very much taking this on board now.

Tom Raftery:

tremendous, tremendous. So, what's next? And how can we help?

Jojo Mehta:

Thank you. So what's next is really about the continued growth of this conversation. And, of course, I've been, you know, we find ourselves in an interesting position where we're sort of in between the legal developments, such as the drafting of the definition, the sort of political traction, which which, you know, we're working on before even the launch of the sort of public initiative back in 2017. But of course, the public narrative as well. And what we're discovering is that, you know, where those conversations are happening in civil society, there's also that pressure that that arrives at the political level. So growing, the conversation growing, the momentum is important. We believe it's possible, we don't know if it's necessarily going to happen in 2022. But it could happen as early as 2022, that a state or a group of states might be willing to actually propose an amendment, which would that would be obviously amazing. We, I mean, we would love to see a small group of states proposing I mean, it'd be interesting to see, for example, I mean, a country like Belgium, which is a front runner, you know, alongside countries like Samoa or Vanuatu or Bangladesh, you know, these incredibly climate vulnerable countries, you know, that could be you know, that that kind of mutual support could be quite a powerful combination. So, so, yeah, I mean, that that's, that's certainly what we would love to see happening. And what we do, as I say, what we do know is that, you know, there are, there are many ways of sort of moving this agenda forward. And most of them involve conversations, and, you know, between, between people, obviously, ultimately, with different different sectors of society, as well as politics. And so the, although there are many, you know, many different things that wouldn't want to do in support. I think expanding that conversation is really probably the single simplest and most powerful thing. So we would say that talk, you know, talk about Ecocide to talk about it in your networks use that term, you know, if you're already working on environmental damage, in some respects, call it call it that name, you know, effectively, I mean, it's not it means Ecocide means killing one's home. That's, that's the etymology of it. And, and currently, on a planetary level. That's kind of what we're busy doing. And, and, and once people kind of hear that word and understand it, quite often, there's a sort of intuitive response. Well, that bet should stop. So, so yes, just just even just talking about is very powerful. But of course, we would also suggest you, you know, visit our website, learn more stop Ecocide dot Earth, and, you know, absolutely get in touch if you'd be interested to find out more.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Is there any thing that would push countries to push that amendment next year,

Jojo Mehta:

I think that having the conversate I mean, when the the broader the conversation gets, the safer governments feel moving forward on it, it is very much about it's about safety and numbers. And it's also about a kind of a kind of a moral imperative. I mean, you know, it is becoming ever clearer that we simply can cannot continue with, you know, business as we've had it over the last 50 years, you know, where, where things are very siloed compartmentalized, we don't take account of effects in one area that and of course, the other thing that I have to say, I think, is really important for governments to understand and and for the corporate world to understand as well, which is that we've done a very bad job of really valuing what nature is providing us and, you know, effectively if we don't, value not, not, not, not in terms of like the value of a tree, because that tends to be its value when it's cut up and used. But when you think of the value of a forest and the services that it provides, you know, you're then looking at something very different, because what we what we're actually finally, I hope, really realizing is that, you know, nature is worth so much more alive than it is dead. And I think if we can kind of grasp that as a fundamental concept, you know, and have it you know, ecocide law as a sort of parameter that enshrines that if you like, you know, that the complements that. I think there's very little we can't achieve, but we know we need to have some of those basic interventions working.

Tom Raftery:

See, JoJo, we're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, is there any questions that I haven't asked you that you wish I had, or any topic we've not touched on that you think it's important for people to be aware of?

Jojo Mehta:

I think I mean, I had an interesting question from someone who said to me, what would you say to a government in terms of their budget if you say, how would you support this in it? In a government budget, and I, you know, I just was thinking about the fact that, you know, over COVID, over the pandemic, you know, governments have supported to the tune of sort of billions, you know, various businesses in terms of keeping them going. And all of this, I thought, Well, how about if they supported a bit of time every week for people in in each sector to think about how they would meet this parameter. I mean, we had this fascinating conversation with actually the brother of my co director, who works in these big infrastructure projects, you know, kind of electricity substations under the sea, you know, that kind of thing, really big stuff. And when she talked to him about ecocide, law, he he had this whole string of very specific questions. Well, what about the concrete? What about the engineering for this? What about how the lads work on that, you know, how would we approach together and we sat there and went, Oh, my God, this is gold dust. This is exactly the kind of conversation that needs to be happening in every sector, because those people are already experts in their sectors, they already know, what will need to be addressed. And that's the first step to, you know, to creating the change to actually, you know, making those adjustments that need to be made over over the coming years. And we know they need to be made fairly fast. So why don't ask the people that already know their industries inside out, and we're going to wait for, you know, the government to tell us that each sector what to do. You know, what about if the government just said, you know, what, every Friday afternoon, you're going to have a think tank about how to deal with Ecocide law, for example, imagine if that was in schools as well. I mean, you know that the youth movement calls itself Friday's for future. I mean, imagine if actually, we dedicated operators to that. I mean, wouldn't it be incredible,

Tom Raftery:

amazing, amazing, Jojo that's been really interesting, if people want to know more about yourself or about stop ecocide? International or lead ecocide? Where would you have me direct them?

Jojo Mehta:

I think the best first port of call would be our website, which is stop Ecocide dot Earth. Lots of lots of information there. There's also a whole menu of things you can do in terms of acting now. And yeah, I think this this is a conversation that is only set to grow. And we hope you'll all join in.

Tom Raftery:

tremendous, tremendous, Jojo. That's been really, really interesting. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Jojo Mehta:

Thanks for having me on here.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about climate 21 Feel free to drop me an email to Tom raftery@sap.com or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you'd like the show, please don't forget to subscribe to it and your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast it really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

Introduce yourself
Ecocide?
Give politicians pause...?
Why criminal law?
Why the ICC?
What kind of sanctions?
Will this get passed into law?
And the timeline?
What's next & how can we help?
Any question I haven't asked?
If people want to know more...