New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Francis N. Botchway
Chapter 13: The Role of International Criminal Law in Environmental Protection
Regina Rauxloh They draw too heavily, too quickly, on already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts. They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us for our spendthrift ways, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.1 1 INTRODUCTION Industrialisation of the world has transformed the traditional understanding of the relationship between human beings and nature. The conventional worship, or at least respect for the sanctity, of the Earth2 has been replaced by a notion that nature’s sole function is to provide human beings with unlimited resources for survival and economic expansion. Every modern global economic system is based on the concept of growth without allowing for the simple fact that the riches of the planet are limited.3 Thus every industrialised state has an inexhaustible demand for natural resources, which causes unsustainable pollution of air, water and soil, deforestation, desertification,4 land degradation, depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of biodiversity and long-term damage to ecosystems. It will not be terrorism, religious wars or a financial crisis that will be the major concern of humanity in the twenty-first century but finding ways for a...
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