May 23, 2024

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Blue Planet, Green Ideas | Is destroying an ecosystem soon a crime against humanity?

Blue Planet, Green Ideas |  Is destroying an ecosystem soon a crime against humanity?

(Blainville) Without much fanfare in Canada, the European Parliament took an unprecedented step this spring by adopting an “environmental” proposal. The ultimate environmental condemnation. If this concept reaches the International Criminal Court, environmental crimes will be on the same level as crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes of war or aggression.

Once ecocide is adopted, it has the potential to imprison those responsible for mass destruction of forests or wetlands, illegal fishing of bluefin tuna, oil spills, water pollution with chlordecone, illegal export of waste to African countries, and agro-industrial pollution. Or carbon market fraud.

  • Walking along the vast Plainville peat bog, a 3.6 km2 oasis rich in biodiversity, La Presse found rusted barrels...

    Photo by Charles William Pelletier, special collaboration

    A 3.6 km oasis while walking through the great Blainville Peat Swamp2 Biodiversity, Pres Pass the rusty barrels…

  • A propane tank...

    Photo by Charles William Pelletier, special collaboration

    A propane tank…

  • ... and even a toilet.

    Photo by Charles William Pelletier, special collaboration

    … and even a toilet.


Talks of European countries around Ecocide are not new. They began 50 years ago when the US military used Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide, to destroy the forest canopy used as cover by the Vietnamese military. Today, an international coalition of parliamentarians is campaigning against the environment to bring people or nations to trial before the Supreme Court.

Ecocide is defined as “an act that causes serious and widespread or lasting or irreversible damage to the environment”.

In Canada, the concept of ecocide is not on the table of federal elected officials. Not for now, at least. Major environmental crimes are punishable by different fines, prohibitions, strict rules. There is also the famous carbon tax. and laws for each province.

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River protection

In the spring of 2022, New Democratic Party (NDP) MNA Alexandre Boulerice introduced a bill in Parliament to protect the St. Lawrence River as a system in its own right.

In the interview Pres, MP, recalled defending the legal status of our river waters last year in front of the United Nations together with the International Watch for the Rights of Nature. He believes that strengthening the laws is necessary to remove “holes and loopholes”.

Photo by Martin Tremblay, Press Archives

Alexandre Boulerice, Member of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

This is a new opportunity to empower nature. It’s in Ecuador’s constitution, there are plans in Bolivia, and people in Mexico and parts of Spain are working on it.

Alexandre Boulerice, Member of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

“The idea is to find new angles to protect our ecosystems, because currently, there is nothing if we destroy ecosystems, whole areas of animals, or destroy habitats,” Mr. Bouleris underlines.

Wetlands at risk

Photo by Charles William Pelletier, special collaboration

Peat swamps such as Plainville cover 14% of Canada’s land area.

In Quebec, a report released by Sustainable Development Commissioner Janic Lambert at the end of April warned that wetlands and aquifers are at risk. The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MELCCFP) said there were “significant deficiencies” in their management.

Citizens fear that one of these wetlands is threatened by plans to expand a hazardous waste site. It is located north of Montreal. This is the great Plainville Beat Bog.

Sundew Intermediate, Sunday rotundifolia And Sarracenia purpurea : These are the names of rare carnivorous plants found there. An oasis with an area of ​​3.6 km2 A habitat for moose. Green snakes.

During a walk in the heart of a peat bog, Matthew Bryan, founding ecologist of the Carnivorex organization, explains that peat bogs are the “kidneys of the planet”. According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, they make up 14% of Canada’s land area. But here it is surrounded by discarded tires, rusting barrels, and we even found a toilet bowl.

Photo by Charles William Pelletier, special collaboration

Matthew Bryan, ecologist and founder of Carnivorex

It is a crime to discredit this situation.

Matthew Bryan, ecologist and founder of Carnivorex

“In short, a peat bog is an old lake that stores carbon and acts as a filter. At first glance, it is not majestic, but peatlands are connected, which are necessary for the balance of our ecosystems. Here, we lose the opportunity to turn it into an eco-tourism destination. »

Member of the Quebec Center for Environmental Law (CQDE) Mr.e Anne-Julie Asselin believes that scientifically, debates are ripe for expanding “responsibility” in environmental matters.

“In the case of ecology, the Rome Statute should be amended to include serious damage to the environment. Taking the example of Viet Nam, the question to be asked is whether there was intent to destroy vegetation. There are still many questions to be clarified. But it is clear that human survival depends on the stability of ecosystems. »

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President of the Quebec Association of Doctors for the Environment DD Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers added that ecocide can act as a lever to identify the health impact of water, air and soil pollution. “We often react to chronic exposure. It’s unfortunate, but Canadian Environmental Protection Act Not opened for twenty years. »

Who is Matthew Bryan?

The ecologist, founder of the Carnivorex organization, accompanied him Pres During a walk through the Plainville Marsh to allow you to discover the biodiversity. On the way, we saw all kinds of waste, even an old toilet bowl.