Definition and reasons for increase
= Crime against the environment, illegal acts that damage the environment. Relatively new area of criminology, committed by individuals, businesses and governments. Fly-tipping, littering, picking endangered plants and hunting endangered animals.
Situ & Emmons (1999) Green crime is 'an environmental crime is an action that breaks national and international laws.'
Green crime is increasing being seen as a global crime for 2 reaons:
1) World is becoming more interconnected, damaging it seen as damaging future human life.
2) Tends to be carried out by powerful people / TNCs (oil, chemical and gas companies) have power to tackle any accusation.
Nigel South (2004) - 2 fold framework for understanding GC
1) PRIMARY- currently illegal, damage is debated, enviornmental issues- air, water pollution, deforestation and species decline.
Walters (2008)- commerical growth of GM crops 'ecological harm & uncertainties that have been widely documented' commerical benefit vs health.
Thornton & Beckwitth (2004)- 24,000 people die prematurely each yr due to pollution but it's not illegal an dis based on model of self-regulation. Places where it is illegal- small degree of enforcement.
2) LAW BREAKING- covers actions already illegal under law, may not be enforced. Dumping hazardous waste, unauthroised pollution through discharge of waste. Envionrmental Justice Foundation (2007)- estimates 3.2 milllion cubic metres of timer sold in UK is stolen from Amazon rainforest and other protected habitats.
Levels of Crime
Individual green crime
- Past- not seen as deviant to dump rubbish.
- More public awareness of global warming has made people more conciencious about their waste- greater levels of recycling, efforts to take public transport / walk.
Government Green crime.
- 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
- Whaling (not illegal) 5 out of 13 species of great whale becoming endangered.
Ulrich Beck - Manufactured risks.
- In latemodern soc, can provide adequate resources for all however this has created manufactured risk.
- Threats to ecosystem are manufactured risks and are a result of massive demand for consumer goods adn the technology that it underpins.
- Human demand for manufactured goods has potentially negative effects both humans and environment, increasing greenhouse gas emmissions are contributing to global warming an dclimate change, possibility of future disasters (floods).
- Beck notes that we now live in socities threatened by global risks.
Policing Green Crime
It is difficult to police because:
- There are few local / international laws governing the state of the environment. International laws difficult to constrcut, not all countries agreed - China and USA not agreeing to lower carbon dioxide emmissions.
- Laws that do exist are shaped by powerful capitalist interests, global 'big businesses' and governments, especially in LEDCs, don't want to control TNCs because they are dependent on the income that they offer from outsourcing labour to their country, few restrictions with a low leve of enforcement of such laws.
Green Crime laws
Rob White - radical criminologist.
- Present criminal laws inadequate for dealing with GC. Defined GC as 'any crime that harms the physical environment and any of the creatures that live within it, even if no laws have technically been broken.'
- Worst environmental harms are ommitted by big businesses (TNCs) and the state. Current laws are inconsistent, often differ from different countries and are biased often too influenced by businesses because they are dependent on raw materials.
- Only a green criminology that is focused on idea of environmental harm can devlop truly global perspective of green cirme.
- Green criminology takes eco-centric view (belief that damage to the environment ultimately damages the human race) of envionrmental crime.
- Capitalist ideology responsible for great deal of environmental harm 'culture of greed'
Official statistics and green crime
Difficult to use OS to measure extent of green crime, because:
- Countries have different laws about GC- different laws means OS between countries may not be comparable.
- Often carried out by wealth, powerful groups- can avoid laws, socially construct data so that extent of crime is less than it really is.
- Definition of GC problematic, some countries define it as damage tot he envionrment. However this could occur through legal activity- OS does not measure this.
- Marxists- GC result of global capitalisma and crimes of power- OS socially constructed to put them in positive light, will blame less powerful (encouraging social injustice).
- Focuses on harm rather than criminality, means that GC is often accused of being engaged with subjective interpretation rather than objective scientific analysis - bias.
- Result of environmental criminology is so wide that it can hardly be said to be area of criminology at all.