Green crime

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  • Created by: charl_w
  • Created on: 10-03-16 11:30
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  • Green crime
    • Green crime can be defined as crimes against the environment.
    • Much green crime can be linked to globalisation and increasing interconnectedness of societies.
    • Global Risk Society and the environment
      • Acid rain and atmospheric pollution are examples of human made rather than natural.
      • Unlike the natural dangers of the past e.g droughts and famines, the major risks we face today are our own making.
      • Ulrich Beck (1992) argues in todays late modern society we can provide adequate resources for all.
        • However, the massive increase in productivity and technology that sustains it have produced 'manufactured risks'.
          • Many of these risks include harm to the environment and have consequences for humanity e.g global warming.
            • Like climate change, many of these risks are global rather than local in nature, leading Beck to describe late modern society as 'Global risk society'.
    • Green criminology
      • Takes a radical approach. Starts from the notion of harm rather than criminal law.
      • Rob White argues that the proper subject of criminology is any action that harms the physical environment, animals or humans even if no law has been broken.
      • Some of the worst environmental crimes are not illegal. Green criminology is much wider than traditional criminology.
      • Different countries have different laws, so the same harmful action may be a crime in one county but not in another.
      • Legal definitions cannot provide a consistent standard of harm since they are the product of individual nation states.
      • Marxists take a similar approach. Marxists argue capitalist classes shape law and define crime so their own exploitative activiites are not criminalised.
      • PRO'S- recognises the importance of environmental issues and the need to address the harms and risks of environmental damage
      • CON'S- by not focusing on legally defined crimes, it is hard to define the boundaries of its field of study clearly.
    • Traditional criminology
      • Traditional criminology's subject matter is defined by criminal law.
      • Situ and Emmons define green crime as "an unauthorised act or omission that violates the law".
      • Investigates the patterns and causes of law breaking.
      • PRO'S- Clearly defined subject matter.
      • CON'S- accepts official definition's of environmental crimes which are often shaped by powerful groups to serve their own interests.
    • Two views of harm (White (2008).
      • Anthropocentric- this view assumes humans have the right to dominate nature for their own ends and out economic growth before the environment.
      • Ecocentric- humans and their environment are independent, so environmental harm hurts humans too.
    • Types of green crime. (Nigel South 2008)
      • Primary crime
        • Crimes that result directly from the destruction and degradation of the earth's resources.
          • Crimes of air pollution, crimes of deforestation, crimes of species decline and animal rights and crimes of water pollution.
      • Secondary crimes
        • Crime that are generated by ignoring rules aimed at preventing or regulating environmental disasters
          • State violence against oppositional groups. (States condemn terrorism but have been prepared to resort to similar illegal methods themselves.
          • Hazardous waste and organised crime: disposal of toxic waste is highly profitable but the safe and legal way of disposing is expensive.


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